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This creamy Southern Tomato Bisque is an easy soup recipe that’s bursting with flavor from sweet tomatoes, onion, garlic and herbs. Pair a bowl of the homemade soup with a grilled cheese sandwich for a simple, satisfying and cozy dinner!

Close overhead shot of a bowl of Tomato Bisque topped with fresh basil and croutons

You can’t beat the sweet, creamy, smooth taste of a classic Southern tomato bisque soup. Whether you use fresh herbs or dried herbs, this is an easy recipe that’s perfect to enjoy all year round.

What’s the difference between tomato soup and tomato bisque?

Tomato bisque is a type of tomato soup. While some tomato soups are made with a thin, tomato-based broth, tomato bisque is smooth, creamy and highly seasoned. In either case, tomatoes are the primary ingredient!

What makes a bisque a bisque?

A traditional bisque is a French style soup that’s made from crustaceans (such as lobster, crab, shrimp, and crayfish). The shells of these crustaceans are used to make the stock, while the meat is incorporated into the finished soup. While you can certainly use a seafood stock in this recipe, I keep it simple with a chicken broth or vegetable broth instead. The main characteristic of any bisque is its smooth, velvety texture, which is achieved in this case with heavy cream and a quick puree.

Front shot of a bowl of tomato soup with croutons and basil on top

How to make Tomato Bisque:

You only need a handful of pantry staples and about 5 minutes of prep for this easy homemade tomato basil soup.

Ingredients for Tomato Bisque with Basil:

  • Butter
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Basil, oregano, bay leaf, salt and pepper
  • All-purpose flour
  • Chicken or vegetable broth
  • Canned petite diced tomatoes
  • Brown sugar
  • Half-and-half or heavy cream

First, sauté onion in butter, and then add the garlic, basil and oregano.

Sauteeing onion garlic and herbs in a white Dutch oven for tomato bisque

Next, add the flour (which will help to thicken the soup), and then the broth, tomatoes, brown sugar and bay leaf. Bring the pot to a boil; reduce heat to low, and simmer (covered) for 15-20 minutes.

Make sure that you stir the pot regularly to avoid scorching or sticking on the bottom.

Process shot of adding tomatoes to pot for tomato soup

Remove the soup from the heat, discard the bay leaf, and then slowly stir in the half-and-half.

Pouring heavy cream into a pot for tomato bisque soup

Finally, season with salt and pepper (to taste), and use an immersion blender or a regular blender to puree the soup until smooth.

A handheld immersion stick blender in a pot of tomato bisque soup to puree

Ladle into bowls, and serve!

Ladle scooping up smooth and creamy tomato bisque soup from a white pot

What goes well with Tomato Bisque?

You can garnish your cup of creamy tomato bisque soup with crunchy croutons or fresh basil. Grated Parmesan cheese would also be a great topping. Try any of these easy options on the side, too:

Close up shot of a spoon scooping up tomato bisque from a blue and white bowl

Cook’s Tips and Recipe Variations:

  • For a richer, creamier bisque, use heavy cream instead of half-and-half.
  • If you don’t have an immersion blender, use a regular stand blender. You can puree the soup in batches, if necessary. Be very careful when pureeing hot soup in a large blender, because the hot liquid and steam will build up pressure when you put on the lid (and you don’t want it to explode in your face)!
  • How long does tomato bisque last? Packaged in an airtight container, the soup will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
  • Can you freeze tomato bisque? No, I do not recommend freezing this soup. The cream in the bisque has a tendency to “break” when thawed, resulting in an undesirable texture.
  • Is tomato bisque healthy? This recipe yields about 6 cups of soup. Each cup of soup has about 150 calories, so it’s really fairly light for a bisque or cream-based soup. Tomato bisque soup is a healthy food choice based on the natural benefits of tomatoes. Processed tomatoes in canned soup are even more potent because the cooking concentrates the levels of lycopene, beta-carotene, B-complex, iron, potassium and vitamin C (source).
  • Is the soup Keto or low-carb? No, this soup contains about 17 grams of carbohydrates per cup, so it’s not a low carb option.
  • Is tomato bisque vegetarian? Yes! You can prepare a vegetarian bisque by using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. The recipe is not vegan, however, thanks to the cream and butter.
  • Is tomato bisque gluten-free? No, this recipe is not gluten-free, since all-purpose flour is used to thicken the soup.
Two bowls of Cream of Tomato Soup on a wooden table with French bread on the side

More easy homemade soup recipes that you might enjoy:

Close overhead shot of a bowl of Tomato Bisque topped with fresh basil and croutons

Southern Tomato Bisque

Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
0 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Servings 4 – 6 people (about 6 cups total)
Calories 149.1 kcal
This creamy Southern Tomato Bisque is an easy soup recipe that's bursting with flavor from sweet tomatoes, onion, garlic and herbs. The perfect companion for a grilled cheese sandwich!

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 (28 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, NOT drained
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • In a large saucepan or soup pot, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté until tender but not browned (about 5-7 minutes). Add garlic, basil and oregano; sauté for 1 more minute. Add flour; cook and stir until moistened. Stir in broth, tomatoes, brown sugar, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low, and simmer (covered) for 15-20 minutes. Stir the pot regularly to make sure that the bottom of the pan doesn’t scorch and nothing sticks.
  • Remove soup from heat. Discard bay leaf. Slowly stir in the half-and-half.
  • Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Use a handheld immersion blender (or a regular blender) to puree the soup until smooth. Ladle into bowls and enjoy!

Notes

  • For a richer, creamier bisque, use heavy cream instead of half-and-half.
  • If you don’t have an immersion blender, use a regular stand blender. You can puree the soup in batches, if necessary. Be very careful when pureeing hot soup in a large blender, because the hot liquid and steam will build up pressure when you put on the lid (and you don’t want it to explode in your face)!
  • How long does tomato bisque last? Packaged in an airtight container, the soup will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
  • Can you freeze tomato bisque? No, I do not recommend freezing this soup. The cream in the bisque has a tendency to “break” when thawed, resulting in an undesirable texture.
  • Is tomato bisque healthy? This recipe yields about 6 cups of soup. Each cup of soup has about 150 calories, so it’s really fairly light for a bisque or cream-based soup. Tomato bisque soup is a healthy food choice based on the natural benefits of tomatoes. Processed tomatoes in canned soup are even more potent because the cooking concentrates the levels of lycopene, beta-carotene, B-complex, iron, potassium and vitamin C (source).
  • Is the soup Keto or low-carb? No, this soup contains about 17 grams of carbohydrates per cup, so it’s not a low carb option.
  • Is tomato bisque vegetarian? Yes! You can prepare a vegetarian bisque by using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. The recipe is not vegan, however, thanks to the cream and butter.
  • Is tomato bisque gluten-free? No, this recipe is not gluten-free, since all-purpose flour is used to thicken the soup.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupCalories: 149.1kcalCarbohydrates: 16.9gProtein: 3.2gFat: 8.4gSaturated Fat: 5.4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.4gMonounsaturated Fat: 2.3gCholesterol: 26.5mgSodium: 449mgPotassium: 98.3mgFiber: 2.8gSugar: 9.3g
Keyword: cream of tomato soup, tomato basil soup, tomato bisque
Course: Lunch or Dinner
Cuisine: American, Southern
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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