I’d easily put this Tomato Bisque into my top 3 favorite soup recipes ever! It has an incredibly creamy, silky smooth texture, and rich tomato flavor. It’s fantastic on its own, or paired with grilled cheese!

Tomato Bisque - In White bowl with Crouton Garnish

There are a million different kinds of soups that I love, like a classic French Onion Soup, Quick Chicken Noodle Soup, and Lasagna Soup, but some of them are quite a process to make, or require a long list of ingredients.

Not this one. This one checks off multiple boxes, being relatively quick, totally delicious, and make-ahead friendly.

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, and a great recipe to rely on.

What’s Great About This Recipe

 You can use canned tomatoes – I certainly believe in the greatness of fresh food, but fresh tomatoes are not necessary here for amazing flavor. You’d be surprised how good the end result is, simply by using convenient canned tomatoes.

✅ Relatively quick – The soup can be made start to finish in 40 minutes, which is on the quicker side for soup, which is usually enhanced with a longer simmer time. But this bisque doesn’t need long to develop good flavor.

✅ Incredible flavor – This soup is all about the tomato, but we’ll add a few ingredients that really enhance the flavor, like bacon, and a base of onion and celery.

✅ Make-ahead friendly – This keeps beautifully in the fridge, and can be prepared in advance. Simply reheat on the stove or in the microwave before you want to serve it.

Tomato Bisque Recipe - Served in White bowl with Crouton and Bacon Garnish

In true bisque style, this is a pureed cream-based soup. 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 It Step by Step:

To start the flavor base, crisp up a few slices of chopped bacon in a large soup pot:

Crispy Bacon Bits in Soup Pot

Why is the bacon important?

  1. The bacon fat gives a nice flavor to the soup.
  2. The crispy bacon makes for a great topper when we serve.

Remove the bacon bits from the pan with a slotted spoon, leaving the bacon fat behind.

Celery and onion form the flavor base

Add chopped celery, chopped onion, butter, and a pinch of salt to the pot:

Butter, Onion, and Celery Added to Soup Pot

Saute the vegetables for about 5 minutes, until softened.

Add flour to thicken

Next, add all-purpose flour:

Flour On Top of Vegetables in Soup Pot

Stir it in with the vegetables for about a minute, until smooth, to make a roux. This will thicken our soup later on.

Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, and seasoning

Next add canned diced tomatoes, chicken stock, a bay leaf, and some freshly cracked black pepper to the pot:

Pouring Chicken Stock Into Pot with Tomatoes, Bay Leaf, and Pepper

Simmer the soup for about 15 minutes, covered. This helps bloom the flavor in the pepper and bay leaf.

Add the richness

Finally, add heavy cream, which will enhance the flavor of the soup and give it a velvety texture:

Pouring Cream Into Tomato Bisque

Adding cream is really what makes this a bisque and not just a tomato soup.

Stir the cream in, 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:

Tomato Bisque Soup - Pouring Into White Bowl for Serving

Though immersion blenders are a little bit easier to use, I find they don’t blend as well as a traditional blender. I own a Blendtec (affiliate) and love it, but any traditional blender will do.

I like to pair the soup with a grilled cheese sandwich, or with crumbled bacon, croutons, and creme fraiche:

Tomato Bisque Soup Recipe - Served in White Dish with Cream Drizzle and Croutons

Butternut Squash Soup, Chicken Tortilla Soup, and Sausage and Kale Soup are some of my other favorite cozy soups. Enjoy!

The full recipe and a video are both below.

FAQ and Expert Tips:

How do you store leftover tomato bisque?

Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days, though I recommend trying to finish within 3 days for optimal flavor.

Can you freeze tomato bisque?

I find that soups with milk or cream don’t freeze well, because they get grainy. I don’t recommend it.

What goes well with tomato bisque?

I like Drop Biscuits, Waffle Iron Grilled Cheese Sandwich, or Chicken Cordon Bleu Panini.

What’s the difference between tomato bisque and soup?

Technically a true bisque is made with a crustacean stock base (most people are familiar with lobster bisque), but the term bisque can more loosely refers to pureed soups that incorporate an ample amount of heavy cream.

How do you reheat leftovers?

I prefer to reheat in a saucepan on the stove over medium heat for 5-10 minutes, until hot. You may also use the microwave.

Did you enjoy the recipe? Please leave a 5-star rating in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page. Or, follow me on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest!

Tomato Bisque in White Bowl with Croutons and Bacon

Tomato Bisque

This creamy Tomato Bisque has lusciously smooth texture and rich tomato flavor. It’s my go-to soup for pairing with grilled cheese!
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Ingredients

For the tomato bisque:

  • 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

Instructions 

  • Heat a large soup pot over medium high heat and add the bacon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 5 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!

Notes

Vegetarian option: This soup is still delicious without the bacon, so if you’re vegetarian, just leave the bacon out and use vegetable stock.
Storing leftovers: Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days, though I recommend trying to finish within 3 days for optimal flavor.
Freezing: I find that soups with milk or cream don’t freeze well, because they get grainy. I don’t recommend freezing this one.
Reheating: I prefer to reheat in a saucepan on the stove over medium heat for 5-10 minutes, until hot. You can also use the microwave.

Nutrition

Calories: 281kcal, Carbohydrates: 13g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 23g, Saturated Fat: 12g, Cholesterol: 65mg, Sodium: 387mg, Potassium: 375mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 750IU, Vitamin C: 14.7mg, Calcium: 70mg, Iron: 1.7mg

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.