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Creamy Tomato Bisque

This luscious and creamy tomato bisque recipe looks super fancy but is quite easy to make. Packed with tomatoes, heavy cream, cheese, and herbs, it’s a perfect soup recipe for special occasions.

overhead shot of a soup pot with tomato bisque, topped with three basil leaves, and tomatoes and croutons placed around the pot.

Despite the elaborate name, this creamy tomato bisque is a leveled-up tomato soup that is pure homemade comfort food. It’s packed with canned tomatoes for the best flavor but also to keep you from standing over the stove for hours. With whole milk and heavy cream, it’s a luscious bowl of red tomatoey goodness. If I had to summarize the preparation of this recipe in 2 words, they would be “blend” and “simmer.” That’s how simple this bisque is! A bit of melted parmesan cheese brings everything together and makes each bowl worthy of a fancy restaurant.

What Is Tomato Bisque?

Tomato bisque is made with a dairy product like milk and/or heavy cream. Thus, bisque is like a thickened, creamy preparation of tomato soup. However, bisques are a traditional French preparation made with shellfish broth. They’re creamy soups, but the term “bisque” has changed over time to allow heavy cream and milk to replace the seafood broth interchangeably.

Ingredients for creamy tomato bisque.

Creamy Tomato Bisque Ingredients

  • Salted butter: You can also use unsalted but you’ll need to adjust the amount of salt in the recipe.
  • Yellow onion: No white or red onion.
  • Garlic: Swap it out for 3-1/2 teaspoons of garlic powder if needed.
  • Shallots: If you can’t find any, substitute it for 2 more garlic cloves.
  • Dried basil & dried oregano
  • Tomato Paste & Sun-dried tomatoes: You can leave them out, but they intensify the tomato flavor.
  • Red pepper flakes: Leave them out if you don’t want the bisque to have a spicy kick.
  • Canned fire-roasted crushed tomatoes: Feel free to use regular canned crushed tomatoes.
  • Canned fire-roasted diced tomatoes: Regular canned diced tomatoes work too.
  • Low-sodium chicken broth: If you use the regular kind, adjust the amount of salt in the recipe.
  • Cornstarch: You can leave it out, but it helps the bisque thicken.
  • Heavy whipping cream: Half and half works, too.
  • Whole milk: Low-fat milk works too, but not plant-based milk.
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper
  • Granulated sugar – Only use white sugar for this.

How to Make Creamy Tomato Bisque

  • Cook the onion. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and stir well. Let it cook for 4-6 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic, shallot, basil, oregano, tomato paste, sun-dried tomatoes, and red pepper flakes. Mix well and let it cook for another 2-3 minutes. The tomato paste should have changed color from a bright red to a darker hue.
  • Blend the onions. Add the onion mixture to the blender. Process until you get a smooth mixture. Pour it back into the pot.
  • Blend the tomatoes. Add the crushed tomatoes and diced tomatoes to the blender. Process until you get a smooth mixture. Pour the blended tomatoes into the pot. Mix well to combine.
  • Add the broth. Gently stir the broth into the pot and let it come to a simmer over medium heat.
  • Make the slurry. Whisk the cornstarch and heavy whipping cream in a small bowl. Pour it into the pot and mix. Add the milk and stir until completely combined. Don’t skip this step, otherwise, your bisque won’t be quite as thick and creamy.
  • Add the parmesan. Toss the parmesan into the pot and mix until completely dissolved. It should take around 6 to 8 minutes. Add the bay leaves. Reduce the heat to low and let the soup simmer for another 10 minutes.
  • Season. Add salt, pepper, and sugar to taste. Stir well and remove the soup from the heat. Serve warm. I know the sugar sounds counterintuitive, but don’t skip it. It helps balance the soup’s acidity.
Overhead shot of tomato bisque in a soup pot, and a wooden spoon stirring through it.

Recipe Tips And Variations

  • Make it richer. Substitute the whole milk with heavy cream for a more decadent, thicker tomato bisque.
  • Use roasted garlic. Swap the garlic for roasted garlic and take the bisque to the next level.
  • Use Italian seasoning. Substitute the dried basil and oregano with 1 1/2 teaspoons of store-bought Italian seasoning.
  • Top with croutons. Once served, top the soup with your favorite croutons for a crunchy bite.
  • Add roasted nuts. Add 1 tablespoon of roughly chopped walnuts or pine nuts per serving to a pan over low heat. Pan-roast them, shaking the pan continuously, for 6-7 minutes or until fragrant. Use them as a garnish for your soup.
  • Swirl in cream. Swirl in 1 tablespoon of heavy cream in every bowl for a little more creaminess and an extra fancy look.

Serving Suggestions

A creamy tomato bisque and my Lasagna Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwich are a match made in heaven. Dipping in homemade breadsticks or Whole Wheat Focaccia Bread is a fantastic way to enjoy this soup. If you’re looking for more protein-packed dishes, try my Air Fryer Salmon Bites, Steak and Mushrooms Foil Packs, Oven Grilled Steak, and Bruschetta Stuffed Chicken Breasts.

close up shot of a bowl of creamy tomato bisque garnished with croutons and basil leaves, a spoon stirring through it.

How to Store & Reheat Leftovers

  • Refrigerate any cooled leftovers of this creamy tomato bisque in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
  • Reheat it in the microwave for 1 minute, stir it, and then heat it for another 1 to 2 minutes or until warm. You can also heat it in a pot over medium-low heat for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Can I Freeze Bisque?

  • To freeze the bisque, omit the heavy cream, cornstarch, and milk, as they separate during freezing and are difficult to blend back in after thawing. Freeze the cooled, dairy-free bisque in a freezer-safe container for up to 6 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight, then reheat in a pot, adding a slurry of heavy cream and cornstarch, along with milk. Simmer for 15 minutes on low heat, stirring occasionally, before serving.

More Easy Soup Recipes

overhead shot of a soup pot with tomato bisque, topped with three basil leaves, and tomatoes and croutons placed around the pot.

Creamy Tomato Bisque

Katerina | Diethood
Indulge in the luxurious taste of this Creamy Tomato Bisque brimming with the rich flavors of tomatoes, cheese, and heavy cream.
5 from 3 votes
Servings : 12 servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Ingredients
  

Instructions
 

  • Melt the butter in a large pot or Dutch oven set over medium heat.
  • Add the onion and stir well. Let it cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until softened.
  • Add the garlic, shallot, basil, oregano, tomato paste, sun-dried tomatoes, and red pepper flakes. Mix well and let it cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add the onion mixture to the blender. Process until you get a smooth mixture. Pour it back into the pot.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes and diced tomatoes to the blender. Process until you get a smooth mixture. Pour the blended tomatoes into the pot.
  • Gently stir the broth into the pot and let it come to a simmer over medium heat.
  • Whisk the cornstarch and heavy whipping cream in a small bowl. Pour it into the pot and mix. Add in the milk and stir until thoroughly combined.
  • Toss the parmesan into the pot and stir until completely melted and smooth, about 6 minutes. Add the bay leaves. Reduce the heat to low and let the soup simmer for another 10 minutes.
  • Add salt, pepper, and sugar to taste. Stir well and remove the soup from the heat.
  • Ladle soup into bowls and serve warm.

Notes

  • Bisque: This is an elegant French name for crayfish soup, but in recent times, we have started to use the word ‘bisque’ to define thick and creamy soups.
  • Tomatoes: Because it’s winter and because it’s easier, I like to make this soup with canned tomatoes, including fire-roasted crushed tomatoes, fire-roasted diced tomatoes, and a few sun-dried tomatoes. If you’d like to use fresh tomatoes, I suggest roasting them and continuing with the soup recipe.

Nutrition

Serving: 12 g | Calories: 308 kcal | Carbohydrates: 29 g | Protein: 11 g | Fat: 19 g | Saturated Fat: 11 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5 g | Trans Fat: 0.2 g | Cholesterol: 53 mg | Sodium: 724 mg | Potassium: 1071 mg | Fiber: 6 g | Sugar: 18 g | Vitamin A: 1356 IU | Vitamin C: 36 mg | Calcium: 291 mg | Iron: 5 mg

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

Course: Soup
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: best tomato bisque recipe, creamy tomato bisque, easy soup recipes, easy tomato soup, homemade tomato bisque
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