This easy Tomato Bisque has a silky smooth texture and rich tomato flavor. It’s my go-to soup for pairing with grilled cheese!
I’d easily put this soup into my top 3 favorites ever.
In a nutshell, here’s why:
- The ingredients are simple.
- It doesn’t take long to make.
- You can reach for the can of tomatoes here and still end up with really delicious flavor.
I often make this for myself and my family on busy weeknights, but I’ve also served this to company plenty of times.
Just a few days ago when my husband’s family was visiting, I made a big batch of this soup in advance and simply reheated it for dinner, and made a big tray of gruyere grilled cheese sandwiches to go with it.
It’s always a hit!
In true bisque style, this is a cream-based soup, but I find it has a really nice tomato and vegetable flavor that comes through.
Sometimes creamy soups can be too heavy for me, but this one strikes the right balance of mellowing the acidity of the tomatoes, but still undoubtedly tasting like a tomato soup.
How to Make Tomato Bisque:
To start the flavor base, crisp up a few slices of chopped bacon in a large soup pot:
The bacon fat gives a nice flavor to the soup, and the crispy bacon makes for a great soup topper when we serve it later.
Remove the bacon bits from the pan with a slotted spoon, leaving the bacon fat behind.
Then add chopped celery, chopped onion, butter, and a pinch of salt:
Saute the vegetables for about 5 minutes, until softened, then add all-purpose flour:
Stir the flour in with the vegetables for about a minute, until smooth, to make a roux. This will thicken our soup later on.
Next, add canned diced tomatoes, chicken stock, a bay leaf, and some freshly cracked black pepper to the pot:
Simmer the soup for about 15 minutes, covered, then add heavy cream:
Stir that through, then taste for seasoning. Usually I add a little more salt at this point.
Let the soup cool slightly, then blend in batches, until creamy and smooth:
I like to pair the soup with a gruyere grilled cheese sandwich, or with crumbled bacon, croutons, and creme fraiche:
The full recipe and a video are both below.
Tomato Bisque Tips and FAQ:
How to Store: Keep leftover bisque in the fridge for up to 5 days, though I recommend trying to finish within 3 days for optimal flavor.
Can you Freeze It? I find that soups with milk or cream don’t freeze well, because they get grainy. I don’t recommend it.
- 5 strips bacon chopped
- 2 tbsp butter (salted or unsalted)
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 28 oz can diced tomatoes (try to use a good quality organic brand)
- 1.5 cups high-quality chicken stock or broth (Imagine organic is my favorite)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- salt to taste
- Heat a large soup pot over medium heat and add the bacon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 10 minutes.
- Remove the bacon bits with a slotted spoon to a paper towel, leaving the bacon fat in the pan.
- Add the butter, onion, and celery, and season with a pinch of salt. Cook for 5 minutes, until softened.
- Add the flour and cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute.
- Add the diced tomatoes, chicken stock, bay leaf, and black pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer over low heat, and cook (covered) for 20 minutes, giving the bottom of the pan a good scrape every 5 minutes.
- Add the heavy cream, remove the bay leaf, then season the soup to taste with salt. Because chicken stocks can vary in salt content, it's important to adjust it to your liking (I usually add 1/4 to 1/2 tsp more salt).
- Let the soup cool slightly, then blend the soup in batches, until silky smooth. Serve with the crumbled bacon on top, and any other desired toppings, like croutons, or a side of grilled cheese. Enjoy!
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.
Post updated in October 2020. Originally published July 2012.