Tomato Basil Soup

There was a little bistro here in my town – a sandwich, soup, and salad kind of place. It was successful, but the owners eventually retired and moved to Texas to be closer to their extended family.

The one thing I always ordered was their tomato basil soup. It was rich, tomatoey, and perfumed with sweet basil. And I don’t typically order soup at restaurants.

This is my attempt to recreate something hopefully similar, and definitely good, based on the following criteria.

1. I believe in using good quality canned tomatoes. Summer fresh tomatoes are lovely, but can lack in sweetness, or worse yet – can be tart.

2. I’m adding a carrot to provide a sweet boost, something I learned from making an Italian tomato tart.

3. I’m including a few sun-dried tomatoes for sweetness; they also help thicken.

4. Dried basil goes into this soup. I know that it seems unsophisticated, but I feel both fresh and dried herbs have their places in cooking.

Tomato Basil Soup
printable recipe below

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
1 carrot, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, halved
2 – 28 ounce cans San Marzano whole tomatoes, or other high quality brand
6 sun-dried tomato halves, jarred in oil
1 tablespoon (or more) dried sweet basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 ounces heavy cream

Melt the butter in a large enameled pot over medium heat. Add the onion and carrot and sauté for about 5 minutes.

Add the garlic halves and stir for about 30 seconds, then pour in the canned tomatoes and sun-dried tomatoes.

Simmer the tomato mixture for at least 30 minutes, uncovered. Cook longer if there’s still too much liquid; you’ll be adding cream later.

Stir in the sweet basil and salt, and season to taste.

Let the soup cool. Then pour the soup into a large blender jar, along with the cream.

Return the puréed soup to the pot and heat through before serving.

Even with the cream, the soup remains tomato-red, and definitely rich in flavor.

If more richness and creaminess are desired, you can always add a little sour cream or crème fraiche.

Alternatively, crumble a little goat cheese on top.

This soup is fairly quick and definitely easy. If you don’t have sun-dried tomatoes, just use a good quality tomato paste instead, about 3 tablespoons. I like tubular tomato paste for a small job.

Add more dried basil if the soup isn’t basil-y enough. You should definitely taste the tomato-basil combination!



By Published On: January 3rd, 201972 Comments on Tomato Basil Soup

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!


  1. Travel Gourmet January 3, 2019 at 6:21 AM - Reply

    There’s nothing as good as a good tomato soup – and this sounds fab!

    • chef mimi January 3, 2019 at 6:32 AM - Reply

      Thanks, Kay! You’re so right.

  2. lulu January 3, 2019 at 6:29 AM - Reply

    Yum, a favorite. We had a place in Houston known for its tomato basil soup and, like your bistro, it is now gone.

    • chef mimi January 3, 2019 at 6:32 AM - Reply

      I wonder if there was a secret ingredient!

  3. Jodi January 3, 2019 at 7:16 AM - Reply

    I love tomato basil soup – especially with big crunchy croutons or fresh bread or even grilled cheese to dunk!!! YUM! Wintry comfort food at its best :)

    • chef mimi January 3, 2019 at 8:12 AM - Reply

      Yes!!! My husband turned me on to that combination! I didn’t grow up with that, but it’s so comforting.

  4. popsiclesociety January 3, 2019 at 7:42 AM - Reply

    I always loved tomato soup! Is a comfort food for me 😋

    • chef mimi January 3, 2019 at 8:11 AM - Reply

      Definitely! Probably my favorite if I had to pick!

  5. Anonymous January 3, 2019 at 9:15 AM - Reply

    I make something similar but add a little cinnamon

    • grumpytyke January 3, 2019 at 9:19 AM - Reply

      Why that comment appeared as ‘anonymous’ I’ve no idea.

      • chef mimi January 3, 2019 at 10:00 AM

        Isn’t that weird how some things happen like that! Are you Greek?

    • chef mimi January 3, 2019 at 9:59 AM - Reply


  6. Tasty Eats Ronit Penso January 3, 2019 at 10:42 AM - Reply

    Looks delicious! No wonder you’ve been ordering it so often! :)

    • chef mimi January 3, 2019 at 3:01 PM - Reply

      Thanks. I miss them! (The people and the restaurant.)

  7. camparigirl January 3, 2019 at 1:05 PM - Reply

    Good use for my basil plant. I have learnt to like canned tomatoes – which are a much better choice than the anemic tomatoes sold in winter.

    • chef mimi January 3, 2019 at 3:00 PM - Reply

      Exactly. But I really like dried basil in this soup.

  8. jenniferguerrero1 January 3, 2019 at 1:29 PM - Reply

    I love the idea of adding the sun-dried tomatoes!

    • chef mimi January 3, 2019 at 2:59 PM - Reply

      Thank you!

  9. Gaz January 3, 2019 at 3:16 PM - Reply

    Yum, delicious 😋

    • chef mimi January 3, 2019 at 3:21 PM - Reply

      Thank you!

  10. gloria January 3, 2019 at 5:34 PM - Reply

    I love tomato soup and this looks delicious !
    Happy new year !!

    • chef mimi January 3, 2019 at 6:29 PM - Reply

      Thank you Gloria!

  11. Kelly, RD January 3, 2019 at 8:16 PM - Reply

    I’m going to make your tomato soup this week! I never would have guessed the sun dried tomatoes would have added sweetness! I’m with you on the canned tomatoes too! The flavor is so different! I have never found the perfect tomato basil soup recipe, but I suspect your recipe will earn a spot in my favorite recipes notebook!

  12. Tandy | Lavender and Lime January 3, 2019 at 9:46 PM - Reply

    I love a good tomato soup. I’ve never made one using tinned tomatoes though. Will give this a try in winter.

    • chef mimi January 4, 2019 at 9:12 AM - Reply

      Maybe I’ve just never been able to get my hands on perfect tomatoes, even the ones I grow. I’ve tried to grow San Marzano seeds, even. I’m not against soup made from good tomatoes, but canned/tinned tomatoes have to be ripe before they’re canned, so ripeness is pretty much guaranteed!

  13. Abbe Odenwalder January 3, 2019 at 9:59 PM - Reply

    As a child I detested tomato soup. But it wasn’t this soup! I have no doubt this soup would have changed my mind! Can’t wait to try it. Happy New Year Mimi!

    • chef mimi January 4, 2019 at 9:06 AM - Reply

      Like, from a can??? No wonder!!! I never knew about it till I went to college. My mother never opened a can of much of anything! Happy New Year!

  14. sherry January 3, 2019 at 10:58 PM - Reply

    happy new year mimi. i agree about dried herbs- there is definitely a place for them. i never (probably never) buy soups when eating out. soup never seems like a meal to me:-) i like your idea of thickening with some dried tomatoes. and the carrot would be a great addition. hope your festive hols have been great. cheers sherry

    • chef mimi January 4, 2019 at 9:04 AM - Reply

      Maybe that’s what it is – it’s not a meal, even though soups certainly can be a meal… Yes, fresh basil is fabulous, but so is dried. And I use a lot of dried thyme as well. Happy New Years!

  15. Healthy World Cuisine January 4, 2019 at 5:37 AM - Reply

    Mimi, I want to dive my grilled cheese sandwich right in to this bowl of deliciousness. Love the addition of sun dried tomatoes and that pop of flavour. Wishing you a super 2019 !

    • chef mimi January 4, 2019 at 9:03 AM - Reply

      Thank you Bobbi! Happy New Year back atcha!

  16. Our Growing Paynes January 4, 2019 at 10:11 AM - Reply

    What a great idea, adding the sun dried tomatoes. They provide such a depth of flavour.

    • chef mimi January 4, 2019 at 10:16 AM - Reply

      They really do! And sometimes I add them to pan sauces/reductions because they thicken them when puréed.

  17. Kiki January 4, 2019 at 11:27 AM - Reply

    I have a very similar tomato soup recipe but use raw cane sugar for a sweet boost. Will have to try using carrot instead!

  18. Loretta January 4, 2019 at 2:24 PM - Reply

    Love how the color changed when you added the sun-dried tomatoes, sure it gave it some zip too. Nothing like soup everyday in the winter time. Will give this a try too.

  19. Debra January 4, 2019 at 6:38 PM - Reply

    Another winner, Mimi! I love a good tomato soup and this is a beautiful recipe! I just saved it on Pinterest and can’t wait to make it. I enjoy a good soup year-round, but in the winter time, it’s a must! Wishing you a very peaceful and healthy new year. I look forward to your posts!

  20. Sally Whiteneck January 4, 2019 at 8:52 PM - Reply

    Mimi, I made this tonight and it is just like Mary Beth’s soup!!! I even sliced up some croissants and toasted them and sprinkled them with paprika with a little melted butter. Katie said that the only thing missing were chocolate covered strawberries! Truly a walk down memory lane that will be repeated many times now that I have your recipe :-) Thank you!!!

    • chef mimi January 4, 2019 at 8:53 PM - Reply

      Oh, cool! I seriously think that dried basil is the key, besides good tomatoes. I’m so happy.

  21. Craving4More January 4, 2019 at 10:15 PM - Reply

    Always add carrots 🥕 for a bit of earthy sweet 😍

    • chef mimi January 5, 2019 at 4:01 PM - Reply


  22. cookingontheweekends January 4, 2019 at 11:36 PM - Reply

    I always think it’s fun to try to recreate a meal I’ve had in a restaurant. This looks so rich and creamy and wonderful. I agree about using dry herbs. :-) Thanks for this comforting recipe.

    • chef mimi January 5, 2019 at 4:01 PM - Reply

      Thanks so much. I use a lot of dried thyme as well, even in the summer!

  23. Susan@savoringtimeinthekitchen January 5, 2019 at 2:10 PM - Reply

    This sounds fantastic, Mimi, and would love to add this to our soup rotation in January. I love the idea of adding sun-dried tomatoes too as they are so packed with flavor.

    • chef mimi January 5, 2019 at 2:57 PM - Reply

      They are so flavorful, but can also be omitted because they add a different kind of tomato flavor! Happy New Year!

  24. Laura January 5, 2019 at 4:01 PM - Reply

    Happy New Year Chef Mimi, I love this recipe and your insistence on only the best Italian San Marzano tomatoes. The tip on adding carrot is fantastic too. I’m going to give this a go to shake me out of my pumpkin or sweet potato soup routine!

    • chef mimi January 5, 2019 at 6:18 PM - Reply

      Hahahaha! Nothing wrong with pumpkins and sweet potatoes. But aren’t you in summer now?

      • Laura January 7, 2019 at 12:06 AM

        Hi yes summer here but still plenty of potatoes and pumpkin around!

  25. January 5, 2019 at 4:25 PM - Reply

    Tomato soup is my all-time favorite and the only soup I will eat out of a can (when I’m desperate). I like the idea of adding sun-dried tomatoes – I have a good recipe I’ve been making a long time and even add celery in addition to carrots. I also use to make a tomato concentrate when I had my big garden and now when I get energetic I’ll buy 1/2 bushel at the market :) An American comfort food for sure!

    • chef mimi January 5, 2019 at 6:17 PM - Reply

      I can take or leave celery. It definitely goes into some soups and stews, but I cared more about the tomatoey goodness in this one! I’ve never made a concentrate. Very smart!!!

  26. Angela@eatlivehappy January 5, 2019 at 7:00 PM - Reply

    Looks wonderful!

    • chef mimi January 5, 2019 at 7:00 PM - Reply

      Thanks Angela!

  27. Ron January 6, 2019 at 2:13 AM - Reply

    Nothing better on a cold afternoon that a hot bowl of tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. You tomato basil soup looks to fit that bill perfectly. I use tomato paste but love the sun-dried tomato idea. Thanks for teaching this old dog a new trick.

    • chef mimi January 6, 2019 at 6:58 AM - Reply

      You are so welcome. Hope you had a fabulous holiday.

  28. 2pots2cook January 6, 2019 at 9:06 AM - Reply

    Love your version of tomato soup …. heavy cream ? Hooked :-) Thnak you Mimi.

    • chef mimi January 6, 2019 at 9:07 AM - Reply

      I use cream often. But I also love evaporated milk and goat milk.

  29. David January 6, 2019 at 1:33 PM - Reply

    What a beautiful and flavorful soup! My mother’s tomato soup is flavored with thyme – dried thyme! So I definitely understand using dried basil! Happy New Year!

    • chef mimi January 6, 2019 at 1:51 PM - Reply

      I use dried thyme year round, but I prefer basil in tomato soup. Dried herbs have so much more flavor, although I’d never use dried rosemary or sage. Or parsley. Or cilantro. I guess I mostly use dried basil, oregano, and thyme!

  30. sippitysup January 6, 2019 at 3:52 PM - Reply

    I completely agree about fresh and dried herbs. They are not replacements for each other but distinct. Beautiful soup… GREG

    • chef mimi January 6, 2019 at 8:54 PM - Reply

      They’re truly different, aren’t they?!! I have mentioned in comments that I use dried thyme a lot, throughout the year, in anything homey, and in herbed cheeses as well. Plus, in Mexican and Southwestern dishes, I use a lot of oregano. Dried basil has its place as well.

  31. David @ Spiced January 7, 2019 at 6:58 AM - Reply

    Cheers to tomato soup! There’s just something so comforting about this classic soup. I normally don’t order soup when I go out either, but I can see how this one became a favorite! Interesting tip about the carrot as well as the sun-dried tomatoes…I’ll have to stash that tidbit in the back of my mind for next time. And, yes, I agree that dried herbs have a place in recipes!!

    • chef mimi January 7, 2019 at 7:08 AM - Reply

      Thank you. I definitely use dried thyme year around, and lots of oregano when I cook Mexican and Southwestern dishes. Dried basil is so flavorful and sweet!

  32. Laura January 7, 2019 at 1:37 PM - Reply

    Mimi – what a brilliant idea to add sun dried tomatoes! I always have a jar in the fridge, but have never even thought to add it to soup! Thanks for the tip! Beautiful soup!

  33. Lynz Real Cooking January 7, 2019 at 6:40 PM - Reply

    Love this recipe, pinned it and will try it! Thanks Mimi

  34. Bernice January 7, 2019 at 7:44 PM - Reply

    Tomato Basil is one of my favorite soups!!

  35. Elena Bourke January 7, 2019 at 9:13 PM - Reply

    I will absolutely try this recipe. Like the carrot tip.

    • chef mimi January 8, 2019 at 2:40 PM - Reply

      Thanks Elena! Enjoy!

  36. Marcellina January 7, 2019 at 11:41 PM - Reply

    Oooh, Mimi, I love the idea of adding sundried tomatoes! Brilliant!

    • chef mimi January 8, 2019 at 2:40 PM - Reply

      Thank you so much!

  37. Kathryn January 12, 2019 at 6:58 PM - Reply

    Love the idea to add carrot Mimi… makes perfect sense. I love eating and cooking soup…there is just something about tucking in to a hearty bowl of warm soup…it’s like a hug from the inside 😊

  38. Emma January 20, 2019 at 6:41 PM - Reply

    What a great tip about adding the carrot for added sweetness, this soup looks fab.

    • chef mimi January 20, 2019 at 10:15 PM - Reply

      Thank you.It works. Not necessary, but it’s good!

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