Say hello to the most flavorful tomato soup ever! This creamy tomato basil bisque is made with roasted tomatoes and roasted garlic, which add lots of flavor depth.
You’ll love how smooth and creamy it is. Pair it with a simple grilled cheese, your favorite sandwich, or a side salad. Great for lunch or dinner!
This tomato basil bisque is a great make-ahead recipe and it’s also freezer-friendly.
This creamy tomato basil bisque is a beloved recipe in our family. Whenever I make this soup, everyone knows it’s a tomato soup and grilled cheese kinda night…our favorite!
We love it as much as we love this Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup. As you can tell, we’re tomato soup fans over here!
If there’s one thing this tomato bisque is not missing, it’s flavor! There are two crucial steps in this recipe that make soup so delicious. The first one is roasting roma tomatoes, which brings out their natural sweetness. The second is roasting a whole head of garlic, which adds flavor depth like no other.
Why we love making tomato basil bisque at home:
- Loaded with flavor: This is the tastiest tomato basil bisque I have ever tasted, hands down!
- It’s smooth and creamy!
- Great for lunch or dinner. Pair it with a simple grilled cheese or rosemary focaccia.
- Make-ahead friendly and freezer-friendly.
Made with Fresh, Roasted Tomatoes
While this recipe does use a little bit of canned tomatoes (mostly for extra color and added texture), the main star here is the roasted roma tomatoes.
Roasting tomatoes brings out their natural sweetness and intensifies flavors, even if not in season. This also removes excessive moisture and caramelizes the exterior.
Roma tomatoes are best for roasting. They are less juicy than other kinds of tomatoes, which makes them a great choice for roasting. They are also sweeter and have a more intense flavor than other types of tomatoes.
As always, below are a few helpful kitchen notes on the ingredients. You can find the detailed ingredient list in the recipe card down below.
- Roma tomatoes: When roasted, their flavors intensify, adding a nice touch of sweetness to the soup.
- Garlic head: We’ll roast an entire head of garlic before adding it to the soup. It’s an incredible flavor booster that will take the tomato basil bisque to the next level.
- Yellow onions, fresh thyme and Italian seasoning are used to build the initial flavor base of the soup.
- Canned diced tomatoes: To give the tomato soup an extra boost in color and texture.
- Fresh basil leaves, blended into the soup. Basil adds unique aromatic tones and freshness.
- Chicken broth: Or vegetable broth.
- Heavy cream: To add creaminess and a touch of comfort!
- Olive oil, salt, and pepper
Here’s an overview and a few tips on how to make the best tomato bisque ever!
Step 1 | Roast garlic and tomatoes
- First, preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Prepare the garlic: Cut ¼ inch off the head of garlic from the top. Place garlic on aluminum foil. Drizzle with olive oil and a generous amount of salt and pepper.
- Close the garlic head with the aluminum foil tightly. Set aside.
- Place the halved tomatoes on a large sheet pan, cut side up. Season with salt and pepper. Make sure the sheet pan isn’t too crowded, otherwise the tomatoes will steam and not roast.
- Place the garlic head wrapped in foil on the sheet pan, along with the tomatoes. Roast at 425 degrees F for about 35 minutes.
Step 2 | Saute onions and aromatics
In a large Dutch oven or pot, heat some olive oil over medium high heat. Sauté onions until softened, about 6 to 8 minutes. Then, add the dried herbs and sauté for another 2 minutes until fragrant. This is the flavor base of the soup.
Step 3 | Add roasted tomatoes, basil, garlic, and simmer
Add chicken broth, the roasted tomatoes, roasted garlic cloves (squeeze it out), fresh basil, and the canned diced tomatoes with all its juices. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, uncovered, until somewhat reduced. Stir occasionally.
Step 4 | Blend soup
Using an immersion blender, blend soup until smooth and evenly combined.
Tip: If you don’t have an immersion blender, use a regular countertop blender. Do it in parts, as hot liquids tend to expand in the blender.
Step 5 | Stir in heavy cream and garnish
Stir in heavy cream to taste. To garnish, drizzle some heavy cream and olive oil over the soup (I’d recommend doing this after the soup has cooled down a little) and top with fresh basil leaves.
Make Ahead and Freezing Instructions
This creamy tomato basil bisque will keep in the fridge for about 3 days, so it’s a great make-ahead recipe.
Reheat it in the microwave oven or over the stovetop. The tomato basil bisque may thicken a little bit overnight – just add some water or broth until it reaches the right consistency.
Freezing: If freezing, skip the heavy cream. Dairy doesn’t keep well in the fridge. To serve, thaw in the refrigerator overnight and then reheat over the stovetop, adding heavy cream to taste. In a hurry? Submerge the frozen soup in warm water to loosen it up, and then reheat in microwave oven or stovetop.
Substitutions and Variations
There are a few substitutions you can make to this tomato basil bisque, if needed:
- Roma tomatoes: Large vine ripe red tomatoes are fine, but roma tomatoes are best.
- Fresh thyme: If using dried thyme, use about half the amount of the fresh thyme.
- Chicken broth: Vegetable broth.
- Canned diced tomatoes: If you can’t find diced, whole canned tomatoes are totally fine.
- Heavy cream: Half-and-half is a good substitute. You can also use milk, but the soup may turn out a bit thinner than desired.
Pairing and Serving Ideas
I’m a simple person – just give me a bowl of this creamy tomato basil bisque with a simple grilled cheese, and I’m a happy camper! It would also go well with Rosemary Focaccia, Turkey Mozzarella Sandwich, or a Roasted Vegetable Sandwich.
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No need! The seeds will soften as they roast in the oven, and won’t affect the texture of taste of the soup.
Yes, but do it in batches. Be careful since hot liquids tend to expand in the blender. I’d highly recommend using an immersion blender.
Try grilled cheese, a grilled panini, salad, or sandwich. I also like topping the soup with grated parmesan cheese and a few grinds of black pepper.
Yes, use whole milk. It might turn out a little thinner than with heavy cream though.
This recipe was published in 2018 and updated in September 2022 to include new photos and information, plus a few recipe modifications.
Tips for Success
- Don’t overcrowd the sheet pan when roasting tomatoes, otherwise they will steam and not roast. If needed, use two sheet pans.
- Garlic needs about 35 to 40 minutes to roast. Don’t rush this process.
- I’d highly recommend using an immersion blender. A countertop blender will work too, but it’s not easy or safe to transfer hot liquids to a blender.
Creamy Tomato Basil Bisque
- 1 head fresh garlic, unpeeled
- 2 ½ to 3 pounds roma tomatoes - halved lengthwise (from top to bottom)
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- 4 cups chicken broth, plus more as needed - or vegetable broth
- 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes - with all its juices
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar - plus more as needed
- 1 cup heavy cream - or to taste
Roast garlic and tomatoes
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Cut off ¼ inch of the head of garlic from the top. Place garlic on top of aluminum foil and drizzle with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper. Fold up the aluminum foil and seal by twisting the foil. Set aside.
- On a large sheet pan, drizzle roma tomatoes with olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste (about 1 ½ teaspoons salt, ½ teaspoon pepper). Arrange tomatoes flat side up, without overcrowding the pan. Tip: use 2 sheet pans if needed, as overcrowding will lead to steaming and not roasting.
- Place the prepared garlic head on the same sheet pan, along with the tomatoes. Roast for 35 minutes, flipping the tomatoes halfway through. Set aside. Tip: If the tomatoes start to burn (from the caramelization), flip them over with tongs.
- In a large Dutch oven or pot, heat about 2-3 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the diced onions and saute until softened, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add thyme and Italian seasoning and cook until fragrant, about 1 to 2 more minutes.
- Stir in chicken broth, the prepared roasted tomatoes, the canned diced tomatoes, and fresh basil leaves. Then, squeeze out the garlic cloves from the head and add it to the soup.
- Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer. At this point, season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally for about 20-25 minutes, until somewhat reduced.
- Using an immersion blender, blend soup until smooth. Add a little bit of sugar to taste (about ½ or 1 teaspoon) to remove the acidity of the tomatoes. Season with more salt and pepper to taste.
- Stir in heavy cream to taste, and simmer for another 1 to 2 minutes. Adjust soup until desired consistency by adding more broth or heavy cream. Garnish as desired and serve warm. Enjoy!
- Roasting tomatoes: Don’t overcrowd the sheet pans, use two sheet pans if needed. If they look like they are burning (this can happen when they start to caramelize), flip them.
- An immersion blender is your best bet here. It’s easy to use and much safer than transferring hot liquids to a countertop blender.
- If needed, you can use a regular countertop blender, but be careful – hot liquids tend to expand, so don’t fill the blender too much. Do it in parts.
- Make ahead: Make up to 3 days in advance and keep refrigerated in an airtight container. Reheat over the stovetop or microwave oven, adding a little bit more of broth since it will thicken overnight.
- Freezing: Leave out the heavy cream, as dairy doesn’t freeze well. Freeze in containers or freezer-friendly bags for up to 2 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight and warm up the next day, adding heavy cream at the end. If you’re in a rush, microwave the soup in a microwave-safe container or use a warm water bath.
- Roma tomatoes: Large vine ripe red tomatoes are okay too, but roma tomatoes are best.
- Roasted garlic: Not a huge fan of garlic? That’s totally fine – skip the roasted garlic, and saute some minced garlic along with the diced onions instead.
- Fresh thyme: Dried thyme works too, use ⅓ teaspoon dried instead of 1 teaspoon fresh.
- Chicken broth: Vegetable broth.
- Heavy cream: Half-and-half or whole milk, but adjust consistency to taste since it may be thinner.