Home » Soup Recipes » Creamy Tomato Basil Bisque – Stovetop Recipe

Creamy Tomato Basil Bisque – Stovetop Recipe

4.6 stars (82 ratings)

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.

Creamy tomato basil bisque is loaded with fresh tomatoes and just the right balance of basil, parmesan, and balsamic vinegar. Made on the stovetop in just over an hour, this tomato basil soup is smooth and creamy, with all the flavor of a rich tomato bisque. A taste of summer that is perfect for a rainy afternoon.

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

Tomato Bisque Recipe

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 the 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 weekday 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.

What You’ll Need

Any time an ingredient list goes into the double digits, it can start to look intimidating, but don’t let that stop you! Many of these ingredients can be found in a well-stocked pantry, but if you don’t have them yet, you’ll find many other ways to use them. See the recipe card below for exact measurements.

  • Avocado oil – The go-to oil in my kitchen, I find it to be more versatile because it withstands higher heat than olive oil, although that will work just fine in this recipe.
  • Onion – Sweet onion provides a more delicate flavor, while white onion will give a bit more of a bite. I wouldn’t use red onion.
  • Garlic – An aromatic that adds flavor. Garlic lovers, you have my permission to double it.
  • Kosher salt – Morton is the choice for my pantry, so adjust as you see fit.
  • Ground pepper – Freshly ground packs more flavor and is what I used to develop this recipe. If using pre-ground, you may want to add more.
  • Roma tomatoes – A dense plum tomato, perfect for creating a rich, flavorful bisque.
  • Vegetable stock – Adds flavor and nuance to our soup, the flavors most dominant in your stock will be noticeable in the final soup.
  • Balsamic vinegar – Adds acidity and sweetness.
  • Bay leaves – Whole bay leaves add an aromatic that, in my opinion, takes it to the next level. If you don’t like them, leave them out.
  • Fresh basil – One of the few herbs that I will encourage you not to swap for dried, as I find the flavors in this delicate herb change too much. If you do need a swap, try adding jarred pesto instead.
  • Heavy cream – It’s not a bisque without the heavy cream, but it doesn’t take a lot to get the rich flavor and creamy texture.
  • Cornstarch – Used to thicken our soup, it’s combined with the cream to make a slurry before going into the pot.
  • Parmesan – Adds flavor and helps to thicken the soup. It’s going to melt the best when grated fresh from the block with a microplane.

Featured Ingredient: Plum Tomatoes

The best tomatoes to get the absolute creamiest soup are peeled and seeded plum tomatoes. Plum tomatoes are dense and meaty, with an oblong shape. They are also known as paste tomatoes, sauce tomatoes, or processing tomatoes, with the most common varieties being Roma and San Marzanos.

I use fresh Roma tomatoes in my Homemade Spaghetti Sauce, and canned Roma tomatoes in the simple marina I serve with these garlic knots.

One summer, my neighbor Monica gifted me a surplus of grape tomatoes, which are basically small plum tomatoes. I used them in this soup recipe 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 grape tomatoes. The results, while not exactly creamy, were still better than anything you can get from a can.
A close up of roma tomatoes and a head of garlic.

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Check out my Amazon shop to see all of my recommended kitchen tools.

How to Make Tomato Basil Bisque

Making this tomato basil bisque is fairly simple and straightforward. Let me walk you through it.

  • Prep the ingredients – Peel, seed, and chop the tomatoes. Chop onion and garlic. Julienne the basil. Grab the rest of your ingredients and ensure you have the appropriate tools and utensils.
  • Heat a 6 quart or larger pot on the stove over a medium flame, add the oil, then add the onions. Cook for 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.
  • Add the salt, pepper, tomatoes, vegetable stock, vinegar, and bay leaves. Stir to combine, then bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, drop heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • After 30 minutes, remove the bay leaves and puree the soup with a stick blender until smooth.
  • Make a cornstarch slurry by mixing the cornstarch with the cold whipping cream, stirring to dissolve completely.
  • Add the cornstarch slurry, grated parmesan, and basil into the soup, stirring to combine. Cover and allow to cook on low for an additional 15 minutes to thicken the soup.
  • Serve garnished with additional parmesan, a drizzle of cream, and a sprig of fresh basil, as desired.

Cooking Method – Stove Top

In the quest for rich tomato goodness, I’ve used the slow cooker, the stovetop, and even an Instant Pot. After all that testing, my go-to method for this recipe is the stovetop. What I really like the most about using this method is the amount of control you have over the results while minimizing the amounts of pots and pans used.

With the slow cooker, I had to cook the garlic and onions in a separate pan. The Instant Pot kept giving me burn notices and made it impossible to see the results as they were happening. Both devices made it feel like more work without much more benefit.

On the stovetop, you can watch as the tomatoes cook down, taking on a richer, almost meaty flavor and developing a deeper color. It’s also easier to adjust the seasoning as you go. Allow time for it to simmer for 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.

Chopped peeled and seeded roma tomatoes.

Making the Creamiest Tomato Basil Soup

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

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, which means it’s totally worth it to peel and seed the tomatoes.

Peeling the Tomatoes

The easiest way to peel tomatoes is to score, blanche, ice bath, then peel. If all of that sounds like culinary jargon, allow me to explain.

The first step is to score the tomatoes, which is a fancy way of saying that you are going to use a paring knife to pierce the skin at the bottom of the tomato, creating an X. This will give the skins a breaking point, allowing them to fall off after the tomatoes are blanched.

Blanching simply means that you boil for a short period of time. We are going to follow the blanching with an ice bath, which will stop the cooking process immediately. Bring a small pot of water to a boil and set up a 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 completely.

As you remove the tomatoes from the ice bath, the skins should fall off in your hands. If they stick, gently peel them off. 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 is 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 and marinara.)

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 to an otherwise smooth soup. While a powerful blender may be able to break them up, I find the results are better when you remove them.

After you 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.

When to Serve and How to Store

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 freeze it, or use proper canning techniques for shelf-stable storage.

If you like this recipe, please give it a FIVE-STAR rating and share it on your favorite social channel!

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

Creamy Tomato Basil Bisque – Stovetop Recipe

Creamy tomato basil bisque is loaded with fresh tomatoes and just the right balance of basil, parmesan, and balsamic vinegar. Made on the stovetop, this tomato basil soup is smooth and creamy, with all the flavor of a rich tomato bisque. A taste of summer that is perfect for a rainy afternoon.
4.6 stars (82 ratings)
prep: 30 minutes
cook: 45 minutes
total: 1 hour 15 minutes
servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil (olive oil also works)
  • 1/2 large onion (about 1 cup chopped)
  • 4 cloves garlic (about 2 tablespoons chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 3 1/2 pounds Roma tomatoes (about 8 cups chopped)
  • 4 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil – chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 ounce parmesan (about 3/4 cups freshly grated)

Instructions

  • Score, blanch, and peel the tomatoes. Cut in half, scoop out and discard the seeds. Chop the peeled and seeded tomatoes. Roughly chop onion and garlic. Julienne the basil.
  • Heat the pan on the stove over a medium flame. Once it's hot, add the oil and heat for an additional minute before stirring in the onions.
  • Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until they are fragrant and starting to turn a translucent golden color, about 5 minutes, then add the garlic and cook 1 minute longer.
  • Add the salt, pepper, tomatoes, vegetable stock, vinegar, and bay leaves. Stir to combine then bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, drop heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • After 30 minutes, remove the bay leaves, then puree the soup until smooth, preferably using a stick blender.
  • Make a cornstarch slurry by mixing the cornstarch with the cold whipping cream, stirring to dissolve completely.
  • 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.
  • Serve garnished with additional parmesan, a drizzle of cream, or a sprig of fresh basil as desired.

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Check out my Amazon shop to see all of my recommended kitchen tools.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupsCalories: 278kcalCarbohydrates: 20gProtein: 6gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 11gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 48mgSodium: 1969mgPotassium: 708mgFiber: 4gSugar: 11gVitamin A: 3206IUVitamin C: 38mgCalcium: 120mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated and is for general information purposes only. For the most accurate information, calculate using your select brands and exact measurements.

Did you make this recipe?Mention @reneenicoleskitchen or tag #reneenicoleskitchen!

More Delicious Tomato Recipes

More Soup Recipes:

About Renee N Gardner

I'm the recipe developer, food photographer, and mastermind behind Renee Nicole's Kitchen, where I help create kitchen confidence to inspire home cooks to become home chefs. No fancy fads here, just high-quality, homemade recipes featuring seasonal ingredients.

More about Renee

47 Comments on “Creamy Tomato Basil Bisque – Stovetop Recipe”

  1. 5 stars
    This was my first time making tomato basil bisque from scratch. Your recipe was incredible! My family RAVED about it. Your information, tips and tricks were spot on! I used 1 TBSP garlic infused olive oil and 1 stick of butter to cook the onions and garlic in. The only other substitution I did was use cooking sherry in place of the the balsamic vinegar. I used a quart bag of frozen tomatoes from our garden and utilized my immersion stick. Easy, intuitive and elevated dish. A do again, and again, and again! Cheers!

    Reply
  2. 5 stars
    Hello! This is my family’s absolute favorite soup and there always tends to be some leftover as I double the recipe – is there anyway to freeze this and if so, how would I go about reheating and how long would it last?
    Thanks so much!

    Reply
    • Hi Kaylee! You can absolutely freeze this soup. I’ve kept it in my freezer for 3 – 6 months without a lot of flavor loss.

      Put it into an airtight, freezer-safe container and pop it in the freezer. I’ve used glass mason jars (leave 1″ of clearance at the top and freeze fully before placing the lid on) and I’ve used plastic leftover containers, like the ones you can often find in delis and restaurants. You can defrost it overnight in the fridge, or if you are impatient like me, defrost it in the microwave on about 40% power.

      Enjoy!!

      Reply
    • I’m not sure what you are asking. Do you want the conversions to know how many quarts it makes? Do you want to increase the recipe to make multiple quarts? Let me know more about the info you need and I’ll see what I can do!

      Reply
  3. 4 stars
    This soup is absolutely delicious! I added a tiny bit more salt and parmesan cheese, but other than that I followed the recipe to a T! Husband and 14 year old daughter devoured it with grilled cheese sandwiches. This recipe is a keeper!

    Reply
  4. I helped my friend take care of her 92-year-old mother. She is a picky eater. I came across this recipe and I thought okay Flex Tomatoes let me give it a try. Well I just finished making it again for the 10th time she loves the soup.

    Reply
    • Thank you so much for bringing this to my attention Bobbie! The recipe was updated back in 2018 and I removed the oregano. It’s not a bad addition, I just realized it was unnecessary. Since I wasn’t using it in real life, I changed the recipe to reflect that, except for that one step. I’ve updated the recipe card to remove the reference.

      Renee

      Reply
    • Is it me, or is there something a little off about the tomato ratios? I can’t make 3 pounds equal 8 cups. Please clarify.

      Reply
      • Hi Michael,

        Looks like there was a typo in the recipe card, as it should have said 3.5 lbs instead of 3 lbs. I have updated the card to reflect the correct weight. Thank you for taking the time to kindly point out the error.

        Renee

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

    Reply
  6. 5 stars
    As a child growing up, I HATED tomatoe soup, didn’t matter how it was fixed…UNTIL one day I came across Renee by accident and thime video for this recipe came up.So it looked so delicious,, I said let me give it a try(because as you get older your taste bud changes).. I made it and it’s a recipe for LIFE… Thank you sooo much, I can’t get enough of it😋.

    Reply
  7. 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

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
    • Sophie,

      My apologies! I am fairly certain that the 6 servings is based on a estimated 1 1/2 cup portion, or a standard bowl. The photos on this recipe are on the schedule to be updated, so I’ll make sure to measure and adjust the recipe to reflect the serving size too. Thanks for pointing out that it was missing.

      Renee

      Reply

Leave a Comment & Rate this Recipe

If you love this recipe, please give it a FIVE-STAR rating along with your comment. Star ratings make it easier for people to find my recipes online. Thank you for all the love and support!

Sincerely,

Recipe Rating