Creamy Tomato Soup

There is nothing better on a cold, cruddy day than a big bowl of tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. I had always been perfectly happy with canned Campbell’s tomato soup until I decided to make it from scratch one day. There was no going back. I have been using this same basic Tomato Soup recipe for years and, to me, it’s pretty perfect. It is a nice balance of acid from the tomatoes and sweetness from the onions and garlic. The little bit of cream or half and half adds richness without being too heavy. I have included instructions for both stove top and Instant Pot cooking.

Creamy Tomato Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1/4 cup tomato paste

2-28 ounce cans whole tomatoes, with juices

1-2 teaspoons sugar, divided

1/4 cup heavy cream or half & half

Salt and pepper, to taste

Fresh or dried Parsley, for garnish (optional)

Heat olive oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and thyme. Cook until the onion is completely soft and translucent, about 10 to 12 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high. Add tomato paste and stir thoroughly to incorporate with onion mixture. Cook, stirring often, until the tomato paste has begun to brown in spots, about 5 to 6 minutes.

Add tomatoes with juices, 1 teaspoon of sugar and 8 cups of water to pot, and stir to combine. Increase heat to high and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until soup reduces to about 8 cups, about 45 to 55 minutes.

INSTANT POT: Cook the onions, garlic, thyme and tomato paste as directed above in the Instant Pot insert with the pot set to Saute/Medium. Turn off pot. Add tomatoes, sugar and ONE cup of water. Stir to combine. Set pot to Manual for 12 minutes. Release pressure manually and continue with directions below.

Remove soup from heat and allow to cool slightly. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth. If you do not have an immersion blender, you can use a regular blender and puree the soup in batches. Once pureed, stir in the heavy cream or half & half and allow to simmer for another 5-6 minutes. Stir in the remaining teaspoon of sugar, and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve soup with a sprinkle of fresh or dried parsley.

***If the soup is a little too acidic for your taste, try adding 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda and then stirring the soup thoroughly.


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