Tomato Basil Soup

5 from 17 votes

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This Tomato Basil Soup recipe is so rich and creamy! Oh, it also has a secret ingredient that makes it the BEST!

Tomato Basil Soup in a bowl with a spoon next to it

Tomato Basil Soup

I’ve created the best tasting Tomato Basil Soup in the world… Guys, I’m really trying to be modest here, but it’s hard. I’ve made plain old tomato soup recipes in my time and this Creamed Tomato Bisque is pretty incredible too, but, friends…..I’ve made the be all end all of the tomato soups. {Even my husband was shocked at how good it was!!}

Main Ingredients

Simple ingredients come together to create this incredible Tomato Basil Soup. Here’s everything you need:

  • Olive Oil, Onions, and Garlic – the base of this soup starts with onions. Every good recipe starts with onions. And loads of garlic. You may reek of this stuff after peeling and chopping, but it’s totes worth it.
  • Chicken Broth – to add flavor while also making things soupy. If you are vegetarian, simply replace it with vegetable broth.
  • Diced Tomatoes – I used three whole cans of diced tomatoes. If you rather use fresh tomatoes be sure to cook them down first (roasting them in the oven is a great way to do this).
  • Secret Ingredient – more on this below! Trust me it is so simple yet so impactful!
  • Sugar, Bay Leaf, Thyme, Salt, and Pepper – sugar balances the acidity from the tomatoes while the rest of these seasonings create a deep flavor profile.
  • Half & Half – I used fat-free half & half but you can use regular half & half or even just straight-up cream.

The Secret Ingredient

What makes this tomato basil soup so good? Well, loads of garlic…and my secret ingredient: pesto!! It’s a creamy and flavorful addition that takes your taste buds to new heights.

So, the only thing you probably won’t have on hand is the pesto. I bought some premade stuff at the grocery store having intentions to make something completely different. {That ALWAYS happens to me!} And then I forgot about it, neglecting it completely, letting it come dangerously close to its expiration. {Ok, this always happens to me too…} That’s when I found it and had to figure out what to do with it. I was meaning to make soup, and then inspiration struck and I got right to work whipping a batch of this soup up.

Ohhh my word. Best decision of my life. So creamy. So smooth. So amazingly delicious it’s gonna hurt. Except not really.

Note: if you are allergic to nuts (pine nuts are in pesto) you can make homemade pesto and just replace the pine nuts with sunflower seeds.

Spoonful of tomato basil soup over bowl

How to Make Tomato Basil Soup

I suggest serving this Tomato Basil Soup with a good grilled cheese sandwich, this Hasselback Garlic Cheesy Bread, these Southern Style Biscuits, or some Sweet Potato Mini Loaves. For full details on how to make tomato basil soup, check out the recipe card down below.

  1.  So, you’re going to want to saute the onions in a little olive oil for a few minutes and then the garlic. Not rocket science. Not even close.
  2. After the onions are tender, pour in three cans of diced tomatoes, some chicken broth, that beloved pesto we’ve been chatting about, some sugar, a bay leaf,  thyme, salt & pepper. Let this simmer for half an hour with the lid cracked on the top. You don’t want a whole lot of water to evaporate out.
  3. After 30 minutes, we’re going to puree the soup. Make sure to fish out that bay leaf first! I blend my soups with an immersion blender from Calphalon and I LOVE it. As you can see, I like a little texture to my soups so I didn’t puree the heck out of this. Puree as you see fit.
  4. Once your soup is the consistency you want, pour in a bunch of fat-free half & half and serve it up.

Freezing Instructions

The only bad part about this recipe is it will get completely eaten, most likely under 24 hours and you won’t have any more in your fridge. Bummer.

Luckily for you, I have a great tip for freezing Tomato Basil Soup, which means you can make a HUGE batch and save some for later. Simply make the soup as directed except leave out the half & half. Freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months!

When ready to serve, reheat in a pot and stir in the cream. Voila!

More Soup Recipes to Try!

Overall, an amazing dinner, lunch, or snack on a cold day. Perfect for company too! No muss, no fuss, but presents really well and makes your house smell wonderful! Try this one out and see if you like it as much as me!

Printable recipe card is below. Have a great day! 🙂

Tomato Basil Soup
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5 from 17 votes

Tomato Basil Soup

This Tomato Basil Soup Recipe is so rich and creamy! Oh, it also has a secret ingredient that makes it the BEST!
servings 4 servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 43.5 oz diced tomatoes three 14.5 cans
  • 2 cups chicken stock or vegetable broth
  • 7 oz prepared pesto store bought is fine!
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/8 teaspoon thyme
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 cup fat free half & half


  • In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Saute onions 3-5 minutes or until they start to soften and turn translucent. Stir in garlic and cook another minute.
    Cooked onions
  • Pour in tomatoes, chicken stock, pesto, sugar, bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer 30 minutes.
    collage of adding different ingredients to a pot
  • Remove bay leaf and puree using an immersion blender. {A regular blender works just fine as well.} 
    blending the soup
  • Stir in half & half and serve hot.
    adding cream


Calories: 394kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 726mg | Potassium: 342mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 1050IU | Vitamin C: 5.9mg | Calcium: 160mg | Iron: 0.9mg
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: tomato basil soup

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Recipe Rating

57 Responses
  1. Thirty, 30 Minute Meals | Lauren's Latest

    […] 16. Secret Ingredient Tomato Soup–I love hot soup and fresh biscuits for dinner. Perfect for a chilly fall day! […]

  2. Patricia G.

    5 stars
    Hi Lauren,
    Love your blog. I just made this soup today because I was so intrigued by the use of pesto in the recipe and I just happened to have a 7 oz jar of pesto that I wanted to use up in the pantry.
    It turned out absolutely delicious and I didn’t even add the half and half yet. I will be adding it before I serve the soup.
    I plan on freezing some was wondering if I should freeze it without the half and half.. What are your thoughts?
    Thank You!

  3. Kristen

    5 stars
    This is my number one, go to recipe for tomato soup! I never even buy the canned stuff anymore because I normally have everything I need to make this in the pantry. It’s so good and easy!

  4. Kristen Rowe

    5 stars
    I have made this soup so many times and absolutely ADORE the complex flavors. Thank you for such a simple, delicious, and healthy recipe!!

  5. Marylin Backes

    Is Pesto suppose to be the secret ingredient or the loads of garlic? I have never had pesto and pray it doesn’t ruin the soup. I have been looking for a good tomato soup but neverfound one with pesto in it.

  6. barb k

    My younger daughter & I love tomato soup, so we want to try this one! Quick question tho…your pesto looks creamier or cheesier than the pesto I see in grocery store. Could you share the brand of pesto you like best? Maybe it’s the photo? thanks a bunch!

  7. Marilyn

    5 stars
    The flavors in this soup are delicious!! We loooooved it! I used Classico pesto, yum, but I’ll make my own pesto for my next batch. Next time I think I will cut back on the liquid though. I like my tomato soups to be a bit thicker.

  8. Carole

    I’ve added pesto to tomato soup for years. It’s even better made with fresh vine ripened toms as opposed to canned. Freezes well too. Honestly I’m a little surprised that this is considered such a sensation.

  9. Lauren

    I say give the sunflower seeds a whirl. Most of the taste in pesto comes from the basil and parmesan anyways, so that might be a great substitute!

  10. Wendy

    My son is allergic to nuts, so I forgo so many delicious looking recipes which include pesto, for obvious reasons. Do you have any suggestions as to how to include the pesto ingredients without the pine nuts? I have heard of making pesto with sunflower seeds in place of the pine nuts but have never tried it myself. Not sure if it would alter the flavor of your recipe more than it should. Thanks!

  11. Sarah

    Can’t wait to try this!! Although I did have two questions: 1. was it a particular kind of pesto flavour used? and 2. being Australian I am not up to date with all the different milk types you seem to have! What is mean by “low fat half and half?”

    1. Lauren

      Just regular pesto made with basil, pine nuts, etc. No specialty flavor. And, I think low fat half and half is an American made thing. Just use regular half and half {aka half milk half cream}. OR, all cream if you’re feeling particularly naughty 🙂

  12. susan

    5 stars
    so yummy! i love love love tomato soup and pesto is the perfect addition. i might have gotten alil carried away with the pesto cos my soup wasnt the most appetizing color but it got raves regardless!
    so thanks for upping my tomato soup game : )

  13. Cindy

    I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect tomato soup (premade) for over a year now. It just occurred to me I might be able to make my own perfect soup. I make all sorts of soups from scratch so I don’t know why it took me so long to give tomato a try. I made a tomato soup last week that was terrible. So terrible I threw it out. I’ve been scared to give it another go, but I found your recipe and got Pesto yesterday, so here I go. I’ll post an update once I get to taste this recipe.

    Lynda – my dream life, you are living it! Way to fulfill your life doing something you love!

  14. Scarlett

    5 stars
    I just made this recipe, and it is delicious!!!!! When it was simmering, I was a little skeptical, but I blended it all up and added the half and half… and couldn’t be happier! Honestly, my family has finished almost all of it within the last hour and a half. Yielded about 1/2 of a large pan. Next time I may double of triple the ingredients! Love this, definitely a must try.

  15. Lynda

    5 stars
    Hi there Lauren
    I run a little Cafe in a little village, inside an old jail that is now a Heritage Site and a seasonally-run museum, it happens to be the oldest in Ontario and the 2nd oldest in Canada.. Anyway, I started the Cafe for a bit of fun, I don’t advertise so it’s just word-of-mouth… from humble beginnings with freshly made sandwiches, I soon entered into home-made soups and the odd hot meal (specially during the colder months) …I immediately found myself opening year-round since my clientele consists mainly of lawyers, police, judges and security-people… My over-heads are low so I chose to put almost all of my takings into buying fresh quality ingredients to give my customers a great deal, wholesome food cooked with TLC at prices they can’t argue with (from 8 to 3 / Mon to Fri) … I am a ‘one-woman-band’ so I can’t even afford to get too popular, all I want is to keep my regulars happy and satisfied – all I want is to take enough money to pay for the ‘next week’s ‘ food .. it’s not a living I make from this but ‘a life’ – I enjoy it so much I never think twice about jumping out of bed and leaping into action – lol, I’m supposed to be retired and relaxing but hey, this brings me purpose and pleasure and occupies almost all of my time (between the shopping and cooking and trying to keep up with household chores lol!) … So in a nutshell, this is who I am ; now for Your tomato soup recipe – I love it! … it’s the one soup that I make which isn’t ‘from scratch’ as such, since tinned tomatoes don’t need peeling! … I just ‘upped’ the quantity of ingredients a bit and ended up with a 14 Litre pot-full! (which I am hoping will get me through a few days this week in the Cafe?! … My previous recipe for the ‘best tomato soup’ was similar, but without the Pesto – I just know this is going to be a Big Hit! … Thanks for your time and energy in sharing the recipe – I’ll be looking at your site to find more interesting things to serve my customers 🙂 … Thanks again and Well done! 🙂

  16. Janie

    5 stars
    This is such a wonderful soup. I’ve made it, and made it, and then made it again! It’s easy, healthy and so tasty.
    Thanks for sharing.

  17. LJ

    Sorry, but this soup was not so special! I have tried many of your delicious recipes and will continue to stay turned.


  18. Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese « Meaningful Nonsense

    […] cups for dinner (but never did) and printed about 15 recipes I want to try. This was one of them. Tomato Soup with a secret ingredient! (A small 7 oz bottle of pesto). I highly recommend it. I even liked it […]

  19. Amy

    5 stars
    This is hands down, the most amazing, incredible, delicious, I want to eat this every day of my life, best tomato soup I’ve ever had. My taste buds are shivering in anticipation of having left overs tomorrow… perhaps for breakfast… or maybe in about 30 minutes.

    Sooo… yeah. I’m going to be putting this baby in the Keeper file : )

  20. Kelsey

    This soup looks wonderful! I love tomato soup, especially with a grilled cheese sandwich. I’m going to have to make this very soon, except with cream instead of fat free half-and-half. “Go big or go home” is my motto! 😉

  21. Kiran @

    Pesto makes everything tastes, the BESTO! What a great secret ingredient, Lauren! That soup looks truly yum! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  22. Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga

    I love creamy tomato soup. When I was pregnant, it was like…the only thing that I wanted to eat. And guess who makes the BEST creamy tomato bisque? Nordstrom Cafe. Not kidding. Shopping and souping, perfect 🙂

  23. Natalie @ Cooking for My Kids

    What a great secret ingredient. I love tomato soup, and I cannot wait to try this one. Happy Friday!

  24. Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking

    LOVE your addition of pesto, Lauren! Adding this to my to-try list for soon. You make it sound too irresistible!

  25. Kelly

    My 10 yr. old twins and I have the cinnabon rolls from your site rising as I write this. Now we need to make this soup also. Do you have a list of your maybe top 10 best kitchen gadgets – like you mentioned the hand blender? I would be interested if you do.

  26. Renee @ Tortillas and Honey

    Sounds yummy! It sounds like the pesto give it that extra pop! I’ll have to save this recipe. Thanks!

  27. Kathy (Marilyn's use to be neighbor)

    It sounds really delicious! I have been craving tomato soup lately. I am definitely going to try it this weekend. Thanks for sharing Lauren! 🙂

  28. Julie @ Table for Two

    I’m literally drooling. This soup looks fabulous and tomato soup is my all time favorite. Bookmarking this for sure! 🙂

  29. Cookin' Canuck

    No need to be modest – this soup looks wonderful! Pesto really does liven things up. We often add a spoonful into our tomato sauce when we make pasta.

  30. Katie

    I love pesto + tomato! Cannot wait to try this soup. (From the colour of the soup I wouldn’t have guessed that pesto was the “secret”…awesome!)

  31. Gina @ Running to the Kitchen

    This almost seems like a no-brainer considering how well pesto + tomatoes go together but I would’ve never thought to add it to tomato soup. Awesome idea!