An aromatic bowl of Tomato bisque is one of life’s simple pleasures. It is a silky smooth tomato basil bisque brimming with infused flavor in every spoonful. This restaurant-quality soup is so easy to make with bold flavors that stand up to any grilled cheese. Top it off with homemade crispy croutons, and the option of smoky bacon, and this soup will elevate all your senses!
For something a little extra special, skip the store bought package and make the easiest homemade sourdough croutons. They’re crispy, buttery, and seasoned with a bit of salt, parmesan, and parsley. You could add an easy Italian salad and/or a fresh pesto pasta salad on the side for a larger meal also.
What is tomato bisque soup?
Get ready, because this is not your ordinary tomato soup! This simple bisque isn’t hard by any means, but what makes it so special is how it’s made and the flavors it produces.
The first step is roasting tomatoes with just a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Roasting anything produces incredible flavors! We get a bit of smokiness, a beautiful char and all of those natural juices come out to play.
Next, you’ve got sauteed garlic, onion, and red pepper flakes, which caramelize the onions and bring out all of that deliciousness. Wine, thyme, and fresh basil get added to the rich tomato base which is blended to a luxuriously thick and smooth texture. It is then finished off with a drizzle of heavy cream.
It is a soup meant to be sipped, savored, and thoroughly enjoyed!
Ok, but what is the difference between bisque and soup?
Bisque originated in France and was made popular in the US by Julia Childs. It started off as a soup only made with seafood. The shells of crustaceans such as lobster, crab, and shrimp would be used to make a broth. The meat was then added to the soup, along with wine and other flavorful ingredients. It would be finished off with heavy cream and sometimes butter! MMMmmmm.
What sets a bisque apart from other soups is its deep flavors coming from using even parts of the ingredients you can’t eat, the use of wine and cream, and of course, its fancy name.
The evolution of tomato bisque
Across time and place, as it happens, food evolves and it was no longer just seafood bisque. These days bisque also includes vegetable bisque. Enter this incredible tomato bisque recipe.
It’s safe to say that all bisques are generally considered soup, but not all soup is considered a bisque!
A great recipe for beginners
If you’ve never made a bisque but are looking for a special dish to serve a crowd, or just want to fancy up your tomato soup and grilled cheese game, this is a great recipe to start with. It is easy to follow, uses simple ingredients, and really guides you on how to properly prepare a bisque with delicious buttery homemade sourdough croutons.
In the end, you’ve got one of the most delicious, harmonious tomato soups you’ll ever have. Grilled cheese or not!
Immersion blender – You can get by with a blender, especially if it’s a high-speed blender. It will absolutely do the trick. However, the beauty of the immersion blender, is that everything remains in one pot. There is no transferring from pot to blender and back to the pot again.
- Roma tomatoes – Also known as plum tomatoes, these typically have more flesh and less juice. You still want to look for the more ripe tomatoes as they’ll have more flavor. And if it’s mid-summer and you have garden fresh tomatoes, you’re really in for a treat!
- Salt and pepper – to taste
- Olive oil – Used mostly for roasting the tomatoes and a bit for the saute.
- Crushed red pepper flakes – Adds a subtle heat.
- Garlic – minced
- Yellow onion – diced
- Red wine – Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Syrah, etc.
- Diced tomatoes – Canned (or if you’ve jarred your own tomatoes)
- Thyme – dried
- Fresh basil – roughly chopped
- Heavy cream – The weight of heavy cream gives the texture and body you are looking for in a bisque.
- Optional toppings – chopped bacon, chives, or green onions, homemade sourdough croutons
How to Make This Tomato Bisque Soup Recipe:
Step 1: Preheat the oven and prepare tomatoes for roasting. You’ll want to take out most of the extra seeds and juices. Place on a shallow pan and coat with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast, flipping them half way.
Step 2: While tomatoes are roasting, place olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, and diced onion in a large cooking pot or Dutch oven. Saute until garlic is fragrant and onion is tender and just beginning to caramelize. Add wine and dried thyme and continue to saute a little while longer. After the alcohol has simmered down (about 2 minutes), go ahead and add the canned tomatoes.
Step 3: Once tomatoes are done roasting, pour all of the contents into the pot with the garlic and onions. Add fresh basil, and water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Cover with a lid and simmer.
Step 4: Remove soup from heat. Puree with an immersion blender. If you are using a countertop blender, you’ll need to work in batches. Be careful of splatter, it’s hot!
Step 5: Add heavy cream to taste and serve immediately.
It’s perfect for serving as an appetizer to a crowd on a special occasion or simple enough for a weeknight dinner.
Add sliced green onions or chives, some cooked bacon crumbles, or some crunchy homemade croutons to your table, and allow everyone to garnish their own!
Lucky for you yes! Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Allow cooling completely before storing.
You can reheat on the stove or the microwave. If it is frozen, allow it to thaw in the fridge overnight.
Tomato Bisque Ingredients
- 3 pounds Roma tomatoes
- salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ cup + 3 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 1 large yellow onion diced
- ⅓ cup red wine Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Syrah, etc.
- 1 quart canned, diced tomatoes
- ½ teaspoon dried ground thyme
- 1 cup fresh basil roughly chopped
- 4 cups water
- ½-3/4 cup heavy cream
- chopped, cooked bacon
- chives or green onions chopped
- homemade sourdough croutons
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Half and pit the tomatoes, scooping out most of the extra seeds and juices.
- Spread tomatoes in a shallow pan and coat with ¼ cup olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Roast tomatoes for 40 minutes, turning halfway through.
- While tomatoes are roasting, place 3 tablespoons of olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, and diced onion in a large cooking pot or Dutch oven.
- Saute over medium-low heat until garlic is fragrant and onion is tender and beginning to caramelize (4-5 minutes).
- Add wine and dried thyme. Saute 2-3 minutes longer.
- Pour roasted tomatoes (including skins and juices) into the cooking pot. Add canned tomatoes, fresh basil, and 4 cups of water.
- Bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 40-50 minutes (or longer), covered.
- Remove soup from heat. Puree with an immersion blender or transfer in batches to a countertop blender and blend. (Be careful the hot soup does not splatter).
- Add heavy cream to taste and serve immediately.
- Add chives, bacon, and/or croutons when serving. You can also drizzle a bit more heavy cream into the bowl of soup.