Creamy Tomato Bisque - With a Secret Ingredient!

Tomato Bisque

easy and creamy tomato bisque soup recipe

A bowl of creamy Tomato Bisque alongside a grilled cheese sandwich is my ultimate comfort food (and the ultimate lunch)! I use an expected-yet-unexpected secret ingredient in this recipe to intensify the tomato flavor. Intrigued? Read on!

the best tomato bisque soup recipe

Why You’ll Love This Creamy Tomato Bisque Recipe

  • A Back-Pocket Recipe. Air Fryer Grilled Cheese. The Perfect BLT. Grilled Chicken Breast. These are all back-pocket recipes—the basics, the staples we turn to again and again. This tomato bisque will earn a spot in your regular rotation too!
  • So Much Better Than Canned. Yes, canned soup has come a long way from the days when congealed condensed soup blobs were your only choice, but even the best store-bought options can’t hold a candle to this homemade tomato bisque. 
  • Bonus: It’s Easy. But wait! Homemade doesn’t mean you have to hang out in the kitchen all afternoon while your soup simmers away! This tomato bisque needs just 30 minutes of simmering time and the entire recipe is done in under an hour.
  • Oh, and That Secret Ingredient. Surprise: it’s tomatoes! No, not that kind of tomatoes, it’s sun-dried tomatoes! Sun-dried tomatoes are absolute flavor bombs because as they dry, the sweetness becomes concentrated. (I also love them in Sun Dried Tomato Pasta!)
copy cat panera tomato bisque soup

How to Make Tomato Bisque

The Ingredients

  • Extra-Virgin Olive Oil. You’re cooking with it, so no need to use a pricy bottle.
  • Yellow Onion. Because you can’t make tomato bisque with tomatoes alone.
  • Carrots. Always good in a soup base!
  • Garlic. Add more if you like, but never add less. 
  • Low-Sodium Chicken Broth or Vegetable Broth. I use low-sodium so I can control the level of salt in the recipe. You can always add more salt, but you can’t take it away once it’s added!

Substitution Tip

You can also use chicken or vegetable stock instead of broth; if the stock is unsalted, you’ll want to salt. thesoup a bit more before serving.

  • Crushed Tomatoes. Canned tomatoes are easier than using fresh tomatoes, without sacrificing taste.
  • Sun-Dried Tomatoes. For rich tomato flavor! Using the kind packed in oil is fine, but pat them dry first. 
  • Ground Cumin. Adds an earthy flavor.
  • Sugar. Just a bit cuts the acidity of the soup and rounds it out.
  • Kosher Salt. My choice for cooking!
  • Ground Black Pepper. Freshly cracked has the best flavor.
  • Cayenne Pepper. This is optional; it’ll give your tomato bisque a bit of a kick.
  • Thyme. Fresh or dried both work here.
  • Half-and-Half or Heavy Cream. Just don’t substitute whole milk; you want something that will add a little more richness and creaminess.

Dietary Note

To make this tomato bisque recipe vegan, I recommend using full-fat coconut milk instead of the half-and-half. The amount needed is small compared to the overall volume of soup, so the coconut milk will add a boost of creaminess without giving the bisque an overpowering coconut flavor.

  • Fresh Basil or Parsley. That finishing touch!

The Directions

  1. Cook the Aromatics. Once they’re softened, stir in the garlic.
simmering tomato bisque
  1. Simmer. For 30 minutes to thicken the soup and intensity the flavors .
blending creamy tomato bisque
  1. Puree. You can use an immersion blender or regular blender. 
easy and creamy tomato bisque recipe
  1. Finish. Stir in the half-and-half. Season to taste, add fresh herbs for garnish, and ENJOY!

Recipe Variations

  • Make Grilled Cheese Croutons. You can do the classic white-bread-and-American-cheese version, or fancy it up by making grilled cheese with fresh mozzarella and basil leaves. Either way, cut the finished grilled cheese into bite-sized squares and float them in your tomato bisque.
  • Add Chickpea Croutons. For some crunch and a little bit of protein, add crispy roasted chickpeas to your creamy tomato soup. Follow the roasting instructions in my Chickpea Snack Mix recipe.
  • Swirl In Some Flavor. Go gourmet and drizzle a flavored olive oil (rosemary, basil, or garlic olive oil would be fabulous!) or syrupy aged balsamic vinegar over the top of the soup after you ladle it into bowls. Finish with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
  • To Freeze. Transfer tomato bisque to an airtight, freezer-safe storage container and freeze for up to 3 months. Let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
  • To Reheat. Warm on the stovetop or in the microwave until heated through.

Meal Prep Tip

Because this tomato bisque lasts 4 days in the refrigerator, it’s fantastic for meal prep. Just be sure to store it in glass containers—it will stain your plastic storageware!

a bowl of easy tomato bisque

What to Serve with Tomato Bisque

  • Salad. Soup and a salad—it’s a You-Pick-Two at home! This tomato bisque soup recipe would pair well with Arugula Salad and Antipasto Salad.
  • Sandwiches. If a sandwich is your You-Pick-Two option, try my Chickpea Salad Sandwich or Apple Grilled Cheese with Turkey.
  • Bread. Sop up that tomato soup with some Cornbread Muffins or No Knead Focaccia.
  • Dutch Oven. A good Dutch oven will last decades.
  • Immersion Blender. So much easier than using a countertop blender!
  • Ladle. I love a roomy ladle to make serving a cinch.

Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • Tie Up the Thyme. If you use fresh sprigs of thyme, it will make your life a whole lot easier to tie them up with a piece of kitchen twine so you can remove them without having to do a lot of fishing.
  • Make It Thick or Not-So-Thick. This recipe calls for 3 to 4 cups of broth so you can customize the consistency. If you prefer a thicker soup, 3 cups may be enough! Add the full 4 cups for a thinner soup experience, but keep in mind you’ll also be adding the half-and-half or cream after pureeing.
  • Be Careful With a Countertop Blender. I really prefer using an immersion blender for pureed soups, but it does leave the soup a little bit chunky. A regular blender will get your soup silky smooth, but you’ll need to let the soup cool a bit before transferring it to the blender jar. Hot soup + a closed blender is a recipe for a soup explosion, and no one wants that!
easy and creamy tomato bisque soup recipe
the best tomato bisque soup recipe
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Tomato Bisque

This homemade tomato bisque is rich, creamy, and full of flavor. Easy recipe that's ready in less than an hour. Comforting and delicious!
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 246kcal
Author Erin Clarke / Well Plated


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion 1/4-inch diced
  • 2 medium carrots scrubbed and 1/4-inch diced
  • 3 cloves minced garlic about 1 tablespoon
  • 3 to 4 cups low sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes if packed in oil, drain and pat dry
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper optional
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half or heavy cream
  • Chopped fresh basil or parsley optional for serving


  • In a Dutch oven or similar large sturdy pot, heat the oil over medium. Add the onion and carrots and cook until the onion is tender beginning to turn translucent, about 6 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and cook 30 additional seconds, just until fragrant.
  • Add 3 cups of the broth, crushed tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, cumin, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper.
  • Stir in the crushed tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, sugar, salt, and pepper. Tie the fresh thyme together with kitchen twine, then add it (or stir in the dried thyme).
    simmering tomato bisque
  • Bring the soup to boil, then partially cover and reduce to a simmer. Let simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes, until the soup has reduced, the flavors have married, and the carrots are tender. Fish and out discard the thyme bundle.
  • With an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth and creamy, adding more of the remaining 1 cup broth as needed to reach your desired consistency (remember you’ll be adding half-and-half too). You also can carefully transfer the soup to a blender or food processor in batches to blend (add it back to the pot at the end). Be careful not to overfill your blender, as hot soup can easily splatter.
    blending creamy tomato bisque
  • Stir in the half and half. Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired. Serve hot with a sprinkle of fresh herbs.
    easy and creamy tomato bisque recipe


  • TO STORE: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
  • TO FREEZE: Transfer tomato bisque to an airtight, freezer-safe storage container and freeze for up to 3 months. Let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
  • TO REHEAT: Warm on the stovetop or in the microwave until heated through.


Serving: 1(of 4) | Calories: 246kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 11mg | Potassium: 1179mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 5774IU | Vitamin C: 27mg | Calcium: 147mg | Iron: 5mg

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the Difference Between Tomato Bisque and Tomato Soup?

Just like all squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares, tomato bisque is a tomato soup, but not all tomato soups are bisques. Tomato bisque is a specific type of tomato soup that is made with heavy cream (or half-and-half) for a richer, thicker texture.

What Classifies a Soup as a Bisque?

Originally, bisque referred only to soups made with shellfish. Over time, the definition expanded and bisque is now used to describe any thick, creamy pureed soup.

What Is the Classic Thickening for Bisque?

Fun food fact! The original ingredient used to thicken bisque was ground shells from shellfish. These days, rice, roux, or cream are much more common (and aren’t we thankful for that!?).

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