Easy creamy Tomato Bisque is the perfect comfort food on a chilly day. A savory fusion of tomatoes and aromatic vegetables with the slightest whisper of crushed red pepper heat, blended until smooth and finished with cream and a scatter of crispy croutons. So quick and easy to prepare! You'll be enjoying a bowl in less than 30 minutes.
You might be surprised to see water instead of broth in this recipe, but I promise it makes a better soup. So many delicious soups are made with a broth or stock base (like French Onion Soup), but in this soup, as with Caldo Verde and Albondigas Soup, water in the right quantity allows flavors to shine where broth might compete.
Ingredients You Need to Make Tomato Bisque
For the Soup
- Butter: salted butter or unsalted (whatever you have on hand)
- Olive oil: ideally extra-virgin olive oil
- Onion: yellow onion, white onion or sweet onion
- Carrot: peeled or unpeeled, your choice
- Celery: use an inner celery rib for the best flavor and texture
- Garlic: fresh cloves that are firm with smooth skin
- Canned Whole Tomatoes: be sure to use the juice as well
- Dried Basil: or twice the amount of fresh basil if you have it on hand
- Heavy Cream: a little goes a long way to give this bisque its rich and silky flavor
- Crushed Red Pepper: just a pinch for a very gentle heat
For the Croutons
- Bread: sourdough or other crusty loaf with the crust removed
- Olive oil: ideally extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher Salt
What goes well with tomato bisque?
Though it's hearty enough to be a meal on its own, this Tomato Bisque soup pairs well with almost any main dish (we often serve it with my favorite Turkey Meatloaf). At lunch, it's delicious with a classic Jambon-Beurre sandwich, a grilled cheese sandwich or, even better, Welsh Rarebit or Savory Scones. Or skip the toasted croutons replacing them with grilled cheese 'croutons' instead, just a grilled cheese sandwich cut into bite size pieces.
You may think of a seafood stock when you hear the word 'bisque' and though that is the heritage of the term, modern use often refers to a blended soup that includes cream, often red pepper, squash, mushroom and, of course, tomato!
Though the terms are often used interchangeably (along with Cream of Tomato Soup), bisque is typically creamier and has a splash (or more) of added cream.
More Vegetarian Soups to Try
How to Make Tomato Bisque
In a large saucepan, cook onion, carrot, celery and garlic in butter and olive oil until tender. Add tomatoes, water and spices. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes.
Remove soup from heat and stir in cream; blend with an immersion blender or in batches in a traditional blender (using a towel to cover the pitcher instead of the lid). Return soup to pan and season to taste with salt and pepper, reheat to simmer if needed.
Meanwhile make the croutons: Preheat oven to 400˚F. Toss fresh bread cubes with olive oil and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Season to taste with kosher salt. Bake 15 to 20 minutes until crisp and golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside. Serve soup hot topped with croutons.
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion diced small
- 1 large carrot diced small and peeled if desired
- 1 large rib celery diced small
- 2 cloves garlic smashed and peeled
- 28 ounce can whole tomatoes with juice
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- pinch crushed red pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 5 ounces sourdough bread crust removed and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- kosher salt to taste
- Heat butter and olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until sizzling. Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic; cook and stir until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, water, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper and basil. Stir and bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes.
- To finish the soup, remove from heat and stir in cream; blend in the pan with an immersion blender or blend in batches in a traditional blender. (Important note: Blending hot liquids in a traditional blender will blow the lid off which will make a mess and could burn you. Instead, use a towel to cover the top of of the pitcher while blending instead of the lid. )
- Return blended soup to pan and season to taste with salt and pepper; reheat to simmer if needed.
- Meanwhile make the croutons: Preheat oven to 400˚F. Add bread cubes to a medium bowl and drizzle with olive oil; toss to coat. Spread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet and season to taste with kosher salt. Bake 15 to 20 minutes until golden and crisp. Remove from oven and set aside.
- Serve soup hot topped with croutons.