Thick and creamy tomato bisque soup is the perfect weekend lunch recipe with a side of garlic bread or buttery grilled cheese!
Autumn weather calls for warm soup and delicious homemade bread recipes. We love including at least one soup night on our weekly menu where we rotate some of our favorite soups, like our roasted vegetable minestrone soup or our beefy Mexican rice soup.
Heavy and hearty soups are a comfort, but sometimes you need a smooth and creamy soup that is perfect for dipping in warm breads, like this tomato bisque recipe!
What is tomato bisque soup?
Tomato bisque soup is a creamy, smooth, and thick tomato soup that is pureed to ensure there are no thick chunks or lumps in your soup.
Tomato Soup vs Tomato Bisque
If you’re wondering what the difference is between tomato soup and tomato bisque, it is texture.
Tomato soup’s broth is thin where tomato bisque’s broth is thick and creamy.
Tomato bisque is pureed. Tomato soup can also be pureed, but tomato bisque soup is thickened by creating a roux with heavy cream and flour. The roux thickens the tomato soup and transforms it into a hearty, yet smooth tomato bisque.
Ingredients in Tomato Soup
- olive oil
- fresh parsley
- fresh thyme
- garlic cloves
- fresh basil
- crushed canned tomatoes (This makes it easy and convenient, but you’re welcome to use fresh from the garden tomatoes.)
- chicken broth
- sugar (this helps balance the acidity)
- heavy cream
Naturally, the fresher the ingredients the better the recipe. But nature has a way of making fresh produce hard to come by during the cooler months. Feel free to substitute the fresh herbs with dried herbs.
Using quality canned tomatoes makes making this tomato soup so much quicker and easier too!
**Pro tip: Use crushed tomatoes, not whole tomatoes, chopped tomatoes, or tomato sauce .**
How To Make Tomato Bisque Soup
To make tomato bisque soup, you will warm olive oil over medium high heat in a deep heavy bottom pot. Add in your herbs and whole garlic cloves. Cook for a minute to just release the fragrances and oils from the herbs and garlic.
Be sure not to burn the garlic. Burnt garlic will make your tomato soup taste bitter, we don’t want that!
- Add in remaining tomato bisque soup ingredients and bring tomato soup to a boil. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer.
- Cover and cook for a minimum of 30 minutes.
Just like homemade spaghetti sauce, the longer you let your tomato soup simmer the stronger the flavor of the soup.
- After a minimum of 30 minutes have passed, remove the garlic and thyme. and remove the pot from the heat.
- Allow the tomato soup to slightly cool, and blend the soup carefully with an immersion blender.
- If you do not have an immersion blender, dump tomato soup into a regular blender or food processor.
- Return smooth tomato soup to the pot and turn heat to low.
- In a separate pan, make the roux and then whisk in the roux to the tomato soup to create a tomato bisque.
- Taste your soup for flavor and adjust with salt and pepper if needed.
What is a roux?
A roux is a thick sauce made out of butter, flour, and a liquid (typically heavy cream or broth) that is heated through and whisked to ensure that it is smooth.
The roux is then slowly added into a soup or sauce (or sauce is added to the pan with the roux).
How To Make Roux For Tomato Soup
To make the roux, melt butter over medium high heat in a small pan. Once butter melts, add flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Once flour cooks, slowly whisk in heavy cream, and keep adding heavy cream until the roux is creamy and soft, like the texture of Greek yogurt.
How To Make Tomato Soup In A Slow Cooker
Using a slow cooker to make tomato soup is a great way to allow the flavors of the herbs to truly infuse into the tomato sauce to create a deep depth of flavor.
Also, using a slow cooker is a great way to make tomato soup for large crowds, such as for a potluck or Thanksgiving. Just double or triple this homemade tomato soup recipe for a crowd!
- To make tomato bisque soup in a slow cooker, add in all of the ingredients (except for roux ingredients), and cook low for 4-6 hours.
- Once your tomato soup has warmed through and cooked the desired length of time, remove the garlic and thyme.
- Use an immersion blender to puree the tomato soup.
- In a small pan, make the roux and blend it into the tomato soup in the slow cooker. Taste for seasonings.
Topping Ideas For Tomato Soup
The smooth texture of creamy tomato soup makes adding crunchy toppings a fun and creative option for your guests.
Here are some topping ideas:
- Crumbled Bacon
- Shredded Cheese (Mozzarella or grated Parmesan are great choices!)
- Garlic Croutons
- Basil or Parsley
- Sour Cream (Not crunchy, but it is great!)
Want more creamy soup recipes?
Tomato Bisque Soup
For the soup:
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- 2 sprigs of thyme
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 tablespoons parsley (chopped)
- 3 tablespoons chopped basil
- 15 ounces crushed tomatoes
- ½ cup chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon sugar
For the roux:
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 3-4 tablespoons heavy cream (or as needed)
- Warm oil over medium high heat in a pot. Add in salt, thyme, garlic, and basil. Let it cook for a minute before adding the remaining soup ingredients.
- Lower heat to medium once soup begins to simmer. Let it cook for half an hour before removing the thyme and garlic.
- Lower heat to low and once soup begins to cool, gently blend with a hand immersion blender until the soup is creamy and has thickened.
- To make the roux, melt butter over medium high heat in a small pan. Once butter melts, add flour and cook for 2 minutes -stirring occasionally. Once flour cooks, slowly whisk in milk, and keep adding heavy cream until the roux is creamy and soft, like Greek yogurt.
- Gently pour in the roux mix to the tomato bisque, and whisk until tomato bisque thickens.
- Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt, if desired.
- Top with fresh herbs, cheese or croutons.