Tomato Bisque is a creamy variation of a classic tomato soup with rich tomato flavors and smooth, creamy texture. This heartwarming soup goes perfectly with gooey grilled cheese, crunchy croutons, or simply shaved Parmesan cheese on top. It’s a perfect comfort food for colder seasons.
The best pairing for grilled cheese will always be tomato soup, whether it’s a creamy tomato soup, classic tomato soup, tomato basil soup, or tomato zucchini soup.
So what is tomato bisque and how is it different from a classic tomato soup? Tomato bisque is actually a twist on a classic tomato soup made with thickened cream mixture to create a smooth, hearty pair for your grilled cheese. A “Bisque” is a rich, thick, and creamy soup that is pureed into smooth consistency. We are most familiar with lobster bisque but tomato bisque is another one that is worth adding to your menu.
I make my tomato bisque a little different, it’s not just heavy cream added to tomato soup. This makes the soup into a truer bisque as opposed to creamy tomato soup. There is a little more work to it but the end result is unlike any other. It’s very rich and filling.
This soup is wonderful once the weather starts getting cooler. You can serve it with a grilled cheese sandwich, croutons (Parmesan croutons are the best), any other sandwich, or with a simple sprinkle of shaved Parmesan cheese on top.
HOW TO MAKE TOMATO BISQUE
Note: To make this soup you can either work with two pots or one step at a time in the same pot.
Step 1 – tomato mixture
Preheat a large pot over medium heat and add canola oil. Saute onion until transparent and add minced garlic. Add tomatoes and crush them up with the spatula. Season in with garlic powder, salt, sugar, black pepper, and dried basil.
Cover with a lid and simmer for about 15 minutes. Use either an immersion blender or a food processor to blend the tomato mixture and set aside.
Step 2 – creamy roux mixture
In the same pot (or a separate pot) melt butter and whisk in flour until combined and slowly pour in milk and heavy whipping cream, while slowly stirring. I like to use a whisk because it blends flour in with milk much better.
Season the milk mixture with some salt and pepper and cook while stirring until it’s thickened.
Step 3 – combine
Once the mixture is thickened, you can pour in the tomato mixture and stir until smooth. Bring the mixture to simmer and cook for just a few more minutes covered with a lid.
HOW LONG DOES TOMATO BISQUE LAST
Properly stored, tomato bisque will last 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator. Make sure to store it an air-tight container that is plastic or glass.
Reheated it in a microwave just make sure to cover the bowl with a microwave-safe lid or with another plate turned upside down. This soup tends to splatter so covering the bowl will save you a lot of clean up.
If you need to reheat the whole batch of soup as opposed to just one serving, use a medium pot and reheat it over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes or until completely heated through.
GLUTEN FREE OPTION
This soup is to make gluten free just by swapping out regular flour for gluten free all purpose flour. Some gluten free flour doesn’t thicken as well as regular so you may need to use one or two extra tablespoons of gluten free flour.
DAIRY FREE OPTION
You can also make this tomato bisque dairy free but the taste will be affected slightly. Substitute butter for the vegan I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter substitute, or another brand you prefer. (If you have access, Green Valley Creamery dairy free products are wonderful and you won’t notice the difference.)
Milk and cream can be substituted for a 13 oz. can of unsweetened coconut cream. Size of the can varies from brand to brand but they’re all about 13 oz. The taste of soup be slightly sweeter and it might have a mild hint of coconut.
You can also try using oat milk but it’s not as thick so more flour may be needed.
If lactose is the reason and not dairy all together, use lactose free milk.
SOME MORE RECIPES TO TRY
Instant Pot Butternut Squash Soup
Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
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- 2 tbsp canola oil
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 4 garlic cloves crashed and minced
- 28 oz peeled whole tomatoes (or crushed tomatoes)
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp dried basil
- fresh cracked black pepper
- 6 tbsp butter
- 1/3 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 cup whole milk or 2% milk
- fresh cracked black pepper
- Preheat a large pot over medium heat and add canola oil. Saute diced onion until transparent and add minced garlic.
- Add tomatoes and crush them up with the spatula (unless using crushed tomatoes). Add garlic powder, salt, sugar, black pepper, and dried basil. Mix well and cover with a lid. Let it simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Use either an immersion blender or a food processor to blend the tomato mixture and set aside.
- In the same pot (or a separate pot), melt butter and whisk in flour until combined and slowly pour in milk and heavy whipping cream, while slowly stirring. (I like to use a whisk because it blends flour in with milk much better.)
- Season the milk mixture with some salt and pepper and cook while stirring until it’s thickened.
- Once the mixture is thickened, pour in the tomato mixture and stir until smooth. Bring the mixture to simmer and cook for just a few more minutes covered with a lid.
- Take off heat and serve.
Originally published on Will Cook For Smiles on April 9, 2011. Updated August 26, 2019.
Ginger S. says
First time making a tomato soup and this recipe was so easy and super delicious. I did add a large grated carrot for extra veg when I sauted the onion but that’s the only adjustment I did. Will definitely make this again.
Glad you liked it and were able to make it your own.
Was awfully thick and lacking flavor. Any idea what I can do to improve it?
Hi Sharon, this is a smooth and mild soup, definitely. If you want more flavor, you can adjust your seasoning to your taste. Add a little more salt, pepper, and a little more garlic powder. You can also make it spicier if you wish by adding some crushed red pepper flakes. If you find it too thick for your taste, no worries, you can thin it out with some chicken or vegetable broth.