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Chunky Tomato Basil Soup

Chunky tomato soup with fresh basil is a hearty and comforting soup perfect for any time of year! Pair this easy tomato soup recipe with your favorite grilled cheese sandwich!

Small white bowl of chunky tomato soup with parmesan cheese on top and an orange napkin and silver spoon.

I first shared this recipe back in 2013. I have received such rave reviews over the years that I decided to revise the post to add much more relevant information (the original text was very short), and also update the recipe just slightly.

This simple yet delicious chunky tomato basil soup recipe is one of those feel-good family favorites everyone loves to love.

If your family is all about paring grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup, this is the absolute perfect addition to the tradition. 

The best part about this recipe is it uses straightforward ingredients that you can find at any grocery store. 

For consistent results, I use canned whole peeled tomatoes rather than fresh tomatoes, because as we all have experienced, amazing tomatoes can be difficult to come by during certain parts of the year.

Nevertheless, if you grow a garden with an abundance of tomatoes, feel free to use fresh tomatoes during tomato season rather than canned!

This simple chunky tomato soup recipe makes a HUGE batch, so feel free to scale it down if you don’t want a lot of leftovers.

White bowl of tomato soup with a napkin and a spoon, ready to eat.

Let’s dive into the details of the simple ingredients for chunky tomato soup.

Ingredients for Chunky Tomato Soup:

Olive Oil: Used to sauté the onion and garlic to soft and delicious perfection, we use extra virgin olive oil. You can also use avocado oil if it is what you typically use for cooking.

Yellow Onion and Fresh Garlic Cloves: Fresh onion and garlic bring big bold flavors to the soup to complement the sweet and tangy tomatoes. You can scale the amount you use up or down according to your personal taste.

Canned Whole Peeled Tomatoes: Pick up three large cans (28 ounces each) of quality whole tomatoes. Stick with a brand you trust and have used in the past that produces reliably awesome tomatoes.

My all time favorite brand of canned tomato products is Muir Glen.

You can use different kinds of canned tomato products or fresh tomatoes, but I don’t recommend using tomato sauce unless you are looking for a creamy consistency.

Adding tomato paste will bring richer tomato flavor and a little thickness but I don’t find this necessary. Nevertheless if you feel the soup is lacking tomato flavor, feel free to add 1 to 4 tablespoons of tomato paste.

Fresh Basil Leaves: What is tomato soup without sweet basil? Add chopped fresh basil or dried basil to the soup, bumping the amount up or down according to your liking. If you grow fresh basil in your garden, this is the perfect way to use it up!

Vegetable Broth: Pick your favorite type of broth and use it in this hearty tomato soup! I like sticking with vegetable broth or vegetable stock because it tracks with the flavor profile of tomatoes, but chicken broth, chicken stock, bone broth, and even beef broth work too.

Butter (Optional): Used to add a touch of creaminess and some fat to the otherwise lean soup, we throw in a little unsalted butter. You can omit the butter or add even more to your heart’s delight. For vegan tomato soup, skip the butter.

Baking Soda: There is no cream or milk in the soup, which makes it very acidic. In order to cut the acid, you can add sugar but as an alternative, I add baking soda. The rule of thumb is about ¼ teaspoon baking soda per 6 tomatoes to cut acid. 

Grated Parmesan Cheese (for serving): Parmesan cheese and tomato soup are the oldest of friends! Be sure to grate some over your bowl of soup before serving.

Depending on the type of tomatoes you use, you may or may not wanted to add salt to the soup. I found my canned tomatoes had plenty of sodium so I didn’t find the addition of salt to be needed. Feel free to add black pepper to your personal taste.

Optional Additions:

  • For a creamy tomato soup, you can add 1 to 2 cups of heavy cream or half and half to make creamy tomato basil soup. If you go this route, blending the soup is also a great option.
  • For thick and creamy tomato basil soup, add a thickening agent to the soup in addition to cream, and blend the soup until it reaches a creamy consistency. To thicken, make a cornstarch slurry of 1 to 2 tablespoons of corn starch combined with 2 to 4 tablespoons of water. You can also use all-purpose flour, gluten-free all-purpose flour, or tapioca flour to thicken the soup.
  • Add 1/4 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes to bring a little spice to this easy recipe.
  • Stir in 1 tablespoon of dried oregano or a combination of oregano and dried parsley for some additional herby flavor. If you have fresh herbs on hand, feel free to toss them in!
White bowl of chunky tomato basil soup with an orange napkin and an old fashioned spoon. Cheese sprinkled on top of the soup

Now that we’ve covered the basic ingredients for this easy tomato soup recipe, let’s make it!

How to Make Chunky Tomato Soup: 

Heat oil over medium heat in a large pot on the stove top. I use a Dutch oven, but any large thick-bottomed pot or large saucepan will work. Add the onion and sauté until the onion begins turning golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. 

Stir in the garlic and sauté another 2-3 minutes, or until the garlic is very fragrant.

While onion and garlic are sautéing, open your canned tomatoes and dice the whole tomatoes. Add the diced tomatoes to the pot in addition to the juices and tomato puree that come in the cans.

Add the vegetable stock, chopped basil and butter. Stir until the butter is melted and incorporated.

Stir in the baking soda. This will cause the soup to bubble up quite a bit, so make sure your pot is big enough to hold a little momentary soup fizz. The bubbles and fizz will die down after a few seconds of stirring.

Bring the pot of soup to a full boil then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes.

As an optional step, you can blend part or all of this soup using an immersion blender or high powered blender for a smoother consistency. I like leaving the chunky texture.

Serve soup as a side dish alongside your main dish (such as that delightful grilled cheese sandwich), and enjoy! I love including some type of rustic crusty bread alongside to complete the meal. 

Store soup in an airtight container or jars in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. If you’re familiar with canning, you can also can this soup for long-term storage. You can also store the soup in individual airtight containers and keep it as a grab and go lunch for weekday meals. 

And that’s it! A chunky tomato soup recipe you’ll want to keep on constant rotation year round!

This simple recipe exudes great flavor and is the perfect side dish or even light meal for those following a low calorie diet.

White bowl of tomato basil soup on a wooden cutting board with a napkin and a spoon.

For a vegan option, make my Creamy Vegan Tomato Basil Soup recipe.

If you’re looking for more healthy soup recipes, be sure to check out my Easy Vegetable Soup Recipe.

Here is more soup inspiration for all my soup lovers out there.

More Healthy Soup Recipes:

Tomato soup on repeat!

White bowl of tomato soup with a napkin and a spoon, ready to eat.
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4.45 from 38 votes

Chunky Tomato Basil Soup

Easy tomato soup with basil is a hearty, delicious side dish or light entrée, perfect for serving guests.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Total Time55 minutes
Course: Soups, Stews, & Chilies
Cuisine: American
Servings: 10 to 12 servings
Calories: 170kcal
Author: Julia

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium-sized yellow onions chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic minced
  • 2.5 ounces fresh basil leaves chopped (or 1.5 teaspoons dried basil)
  • 3 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes including juices/puree*
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • sea salt I added no salt
  • Grated Parmesan cheese for serving

Instructions

  • In a large pot, sauté the onion in the olive oil over medium heat until browned, about 10 to 12 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and sauté another 3 minutes.
  • While onion and garlic are sautéing, open your canned tomatoes and dice the whole tomatoes.
  • Add the diced tomatoes and juices/tomato puree to the pot with the sauteed onion and garlic.
  • Add the vegetable stock, chopped basil and butter. Stir until butter is melted and incorporated.
  • Add the baking soda. This will cause the soup to bubble up quite a bit, so make sure your pot is big enough to hold a little momentary soup fizz. The bubbles/fizz will die down after a few seconds of stirring.
  • Bring pot to a full boil then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes.
  • Optional: You can blend part or all of this soup for a smoother consistency, though I like it chunky.
  • Serve with grated parmesan on top. Seriously. It’s the bomb!

Notes

*You can also use 3 (28-oz) cans of diced tomatoes as well! I simply prefer using the whole peeled tomatoes and chopping them myself. 
Recipe Adapted from Jovial Food’s Homemade Tomato Soup recipe.

Nutrition

Serving: 1of 10 | Calories: 170kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 6g | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 19g

This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission off items you purchase at no additional cost to you.

I originally published this recipe in February of 2013. I updated the information to be more helpful as well as the photos. The recipe itself remains the same.

Recipe Rating




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maball

Tuesday 26th of September 2023

This was one of the best soups I have ever eaten- definitely don't want to lose this recipe. It is really fantastic. Love that it's also simple.

Julia

Thursday 28th of September 2023

I love hearing that! Thanks so much for the sweet note! xo

cynthia

Friday 8th of September 2023

I make this all the time. It's the best recipe I've found anywhere. I have shared this with many people and they also love it. Thanks!

Julia

Saturday 9th of September 2023

I love hearing that, Cynthia! Thanks so much for your sweet words and for the support! xoxo

Patty Laure

Thursday 23rd of February 2023

Why baking soda to your soup?

Julia

Sunday 26th of February 2023

Hi Patty! It cuts some of the acidity from the tomatoes :)

Lynz

Wednesday 23rd of November 2022

Can I use sugar instead of baking soda as I don’t have any baking soda? If so how much sugar? Thanks!

Julia

Wednesday 23rd of November 2022

Hi Lynz! You can use sugar! I would add it to your personal taste. I'd start with 1 tablespoon and adjust up from there if I felt it needed it. Hope you enjoy! xoxo

Wendy

Sunday 22nd of August 2021

I didn’t follow the recipe completely, as I only wanted a small amount for the two of us. It was a definite hit! I’ll be making this again.

Julia

Monday 23rd of August 2021

I'm so happy to hear it, Wendy! Thanks so much for the sweet note! xoxo

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