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Creamy Tomato Basil Bisque

Creamy tomato basil bisque is a smooth, rich soup loaded with fresh tomatoes and just the right amount of basil and parmesan. It’s a taste of summer that is perfect for a rainy afternoon. In this post I cover different kinds of tomatoes to use, whether you should take the time to seed or peel them, and how I save the leftovers so that I can enjoy the taste of fresh summer tomatoes all year long. Read on for my tips and tricks, or scroll down to the recipe and start cooking!

Tomato basil bisque in a dark bowl with a swirl of cream and two basil leaves.

When it comes to making homemade soup, creamy tomato basil bisque is by far one of my favorites. It’s a perfect way to use end of summer tomatoes, and can be canned or frozen for longer storage.

In this soup, the fresh tomato flavor is balanced with basil, parmesan, balsamic, and cream. The sweet acidity of the tomatoes, the tang of the vinegar, and nutty parmesan cheese combine as a match made for my taste buds’ dreams.

Serve it cold on a hot summer day or serve it hot on a cold, wet day. I like mine best when paired with a grilled cheese sandwich for a delicious weekend lunch.

An overhead shot of two bowls of creamy tomato basil bisque drizzled with cream and a sprig of basil with a serving pot to the right.

How to Make Tomato Basil Bisque

In the world of tomato soups, there seems to be many opinions about how to do it right. So I tried quite a few of them. I’ve roasted the tomatoes, I’ve blanched and peeled the tomatoes, and I’ve tossed them in whole, skins and seeds in all.

In the quest for rich tomato goodness I’ve used the slow cooker, the stove top, and even the oven. I’ve figured out what works, what’s worth the effort, and what at the end of the day doesn’t matter so much.

The thing I found to be true is that while many of them are right, none of them are exactly wrong. It all comes down to personal preference.

This recipe however, is for creamy tomato basil bisque, so I’m going to focus on what gives the creamiest results. Only you can decide if it’s worth the extra effort.

Cooking Method

In my research I’ve learned that how you cook it (slow cooker, stovetop, oven) matters less than how long you cook it. As the tomatoes cook down, they take on a richer, almost meaty flavor and develop a deeper color.

However, you don’t necessarily need to cook it forever to achieve delicious results. Choose a method that works for you.

My go to method is the stovetop. Allow time for it to simmer at least an hour to let the flavors develop, but if you can make it early and let it simmer longer the flavors will be that much richer.

A close up of roma tomatoes and a head of garlic.

Best Tomatoes for Tomato Bisque

To get the absolute creamiest soup use meaty tomatoes that have been peeled and seeded. Roma tomatoes work well, but so do meaty heirloom.

This summer I was given a surplus of cherry tomatoes – thank you Monica! I put them in this soup without peeling or seeding, because small tomatoes are a pain to peel and seed, and you lose a lot of volume by discarding the seeds from cherry tomatoes.

The results, while not exactly creamy, were still better than anything you can get from a can.

Chopped peeled and seeded roma tomatoes.

Peeling the Tomatoes

A bisque should be completely smooth and creamy. This requires removing the tomato skins, which is much easier if you blanch your tomatoes first. Blanching simply means that you heat them up, then rapidly cool them off.

Start by scoring the tomatoes. Using a paring knife, pierce the skin at the bottom of the tomato to create an X. This will give the skins a breaking point, allowing them to fall off after the tomatoes are blanched.

Bring a small pot of water to a boil and set up an bowl of ice water next to it. Working with 3 – 4 tomatoes at a time, place the tomatoes into the boiling water for about 45 – 60 seconds. Then immediately place them in the ice water for a minute or two to cool.

As you remove the tomatoes from the ice bath, gently peel back the skins. They should come away quickly and easily, leaving you with whole peeled tomatoes.

Chopped oregano, basil, and garlic.

Removing the Tomato Seeds

Whether or not to remove the seeds is a question that seems to be asked a lot. While most people agree to remove them, their reasoning isn’t quite right. Many resources claim the seeds are bitter and make the soup taste bad, but I cannot agree with this statement.

I find the seeds to be tannic and loaded with flavor, flavor that you shouldn’t discard unless necessary. (I leave the seeds in for my Homemade Spaghetti Sauce.)

That said, I do agree with removing the seeds for this soup because our goal is CREAMY tomato basil bisque. When left in, the seeds add a bit of crunch in an otherwise smooth soup.

A strong blender may be able to break them up, but I find it easier to deseed the tomatoes than to transfer soup to a blender.

After your peel the tomatoes, simply slice them in half and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. It’s quite easy to do and it’s worth the extra step.

A bowl creamy tomato basil bisque drizzled with cream and a sprig of basil with another bowl in the back and a serving pot to the right.

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Creamy Tomato Basil Bisque Recipe

This rich creamy tomato basil bisque is full of tangy tomato flavor with a smooth texture. It’s a great way to use up a surplus of roma tomatoes and can be canned or frozen to come back to all fall and winter long. It makes a great first course for a dinner party but it also makes a delicious lunch.

Leftover soup can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 3 – 5 days. For longer storage you can freezer it, or use proper canning techniques for shelf stable storage.

If you are looking for more ways to use up your summer bounty of tomatoes check out my Tomato Burrata Salad and my Homemade Spaghetti Sauce, or browse all my summer recipes.

If you like this recipe, please give it a FIVE STAR rating and share with your friends!

Tomato basil bisque in a dark bowl with a swirl of cream and two basil leaves.

Creamy Tomato Basil Bisque

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Creamy tomato basil bisque is loaded with rich tomato flavor and just the right amount of basil and parmesan. A taste of summer that is perfect for a rainy afternoon.

Ingredients

  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion, 1 cup chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic, about 2 TBSP chopped
  • 1 TBSP salt
  • 2 tsp pepper
  • 3 lbs roma tomatoes, 8 cups chopped
  • 4 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 TBSP balsamic vinegar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil - chopped
  • 1 cup cream
  • 3 TBSP cornstarch
  • 1 ounce of parmesan, about 3/4 cups freshly grated

Instructions

  1. Score, blanch, and peel the tomatoes. Cut in half, scoop out and discard the seeds. Chop the peeled and seeded tomatoes.
  2. Roughly chop onion and garlic.
  3. Heat the pan on the stove over a medium flame. Once it's hot, add the olive oil and heat an additional minute.
  4. Stir in the onions. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the onions are fragrant and starting to turn a translucent golden color add the garlic and cook 1 minute longer.
  5. Add the salt, pepper, tomatoes, vegetable stock, vinegar, and bay leaves. Stir to combine.
  6. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  7. Cover, drop heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. After 30 minutes, remove the bay leaves and puree the soup until smooth, preferably using a stick blender.
  9. Make a cornstarch slurry by mixing the cornstarch with the cold whipping cream, stirring to dissolve completely. Julienne the basil and chop the oregano.
  10. Add the cornstarch slurry, grated parmesan, and basil into the soup. Stir to combine. Cover and allow to cook on low an additional 15 minutes.
  11. Serve garnished with additional parmesan or a drizzle of cream and a sprig of fresh basil.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1.5 cups
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 308

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram and don't forget to #reneenicoleskitchen

Jen b

Sunday 15th of August 2021

I took a screen shot of the ingredients with me to the store. However, the list does not include oregano but is needed for the recipe. How much oregano is needed? I have it dried.

Beth Seliga

Friday 10th of January 2020

This was fabulous! We substituted some extra creamy homemade cashew milk for cream because we are vegan but otherwise followed just as written above.

Renee N Gardner

Tuesday 14th of January 2020

I am so glad you loved it and that your vegan substitute worked! - Renee

Rhonda

Saturday 19th of October 2019

I made this today and it is absolutely delicious. Great dinner for this rainy day! Thank you for sharing your recipe.

Renee N Gardner

Sunday 27th of October 2019

So glad you enjoyed it Rhonda.

Anne Jayne

Friday 4th of October 2019

I bought some Black tomatoe seeds back from South Africa they are wonderful slightly thicker skins but much sweeter I saved last years seeds from them an Got 75!!! Plants gave loads away everyone loved them and the soup was delicious

Renee N Gardner

Sunday 27th of October 2019

Wow! I wish my tomato plants were that productive! I bet they would be delicious in this soup.

Kristina

Sunday 30th of September 2018

You mention oregano in the recipe instructions, but don’t list it in the ingredient list. How much oregano is needed?

Renee Gardner

Wednesday 3rd of October 2018

Kristina, Thanks so much for catching that! I included oregano in an earlier version. It's really not needed in this soup, so I omitted it in the latest update. I'll get that instruction fixed right now.

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