Classic tomato soup recipe

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It’s hard to beat a classic tomato soup, whether as a simple lunch on its own or as a dip for a melty grilled cheese. We used canned diced tomatoes so we could make this soup any time of year. To enhance the tomatoes’ complexity, we browned most of them in our Dutch oven to concentrate their flavor, and saved some to add toward the end of cooking to keep the soup fresh. But the real key to a satiny, well-balanced soup turned out to be just ½ teaspoon of baking soda, which helped neutralize the metallic taste and acidity of the canned tomatoes. We were tempted to add a variety of classic seasonings, but found they made the soup taste like marinara sauce. Tasters were most satisfied with a single bay leaf, chicken broth, and the richness of heavy cream.

  • Yield: 8 Servings
  • Total Time: 1 Hour


  • 2 (28-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
  • ¾ cup chicken broth, plus extra as needed
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • Salt and pepper
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
How to Make It
  1. Drain tomatoes in colander set over large bowl, pressing lightly to release juices. Transfer tomato juice to large measuring cup and add broth. You should have about 4 cups tomato juice–broth mixture; add extra broth as needed to equal 4 cups. Set aside.
  2. Melt butter in Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add two-thirds of tomatoes, bay leaf, and sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes begin to brown, about 15 minutes.
  3. Add tomato paste and flour and cook, stirring frequently, until paste begins to darken, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in reserved tomato juice–broth mixture, scraping up any browned bits and smoothing out any lumps. Stir in remaining tomatoes, baking soda, and ½ teaspoon salt. Bring to simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
  4. Discard bay leaf. Working in batches, process soup in blender until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes, then return to clean pot. Stir in cream and bring to brief simmer over medium-low heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle individual portions with oil and sprinkle with chives before serving.

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