The best tomato soup recipe ever

There are some foods in life that just equal happiness and comfort. For me, grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup has always been one of those. In fact, it was one of the very first things I learned to cook, along with Kraft Mac & Cheese.

I can’t remember exactly when the first time was that Stefan and I made grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup over here in Germany…but I know it was a long time ago. In fact, we had even bought a can of Campbell’s tomato soup (the condensed stuff), which was horribly expensive, but totally worth it.

And once we started making that dinner combo, we just had to have it as one of our regular meals. Since then, we have tried every brand of tomato soup on the market here in Germany. And for the most part, the more expensive ones were worth the money. But I kept thinking that it had to be possible to make my own tomato soup without too much hassle.


Once, while we were living at the farm, I came across a tomato soup recipe that was based on tomato juice. The recipe called for way too much salt and we ended up having to boil a potato in the soup while we warmed it up for months afterwards as we thawed out the huge batch from the freezer. Needless to say I never made that recipe again, especially since it was just kinda missing something. Mostly texture and flavor. So while I think one can probably make a decent tomato soup from juice, I don’t entirely recommend it unless you’re adding some crushed tomatoes in there as well.

Shortly after we moved to Berlin, Mackenzie discovered the joys of tomato soup. Honestly, she wouldn’t even TOUCH soup in the past, and then all the sudden, it was as if someone flipped a switch and she was ready to give it a try. So on a rainy, cold day, I warmed up some tomato soup for her and she was hooked. There was no turning back. And thus began the quest once again for good tomato soup. I even bought some wildly expensive, all organic, fresh soup which is locally here in Berlin — but unfortunately it didn’t even taste like tomatoes.

So I went back to the old standby soup in a can, even though they seem to have changed their recipe lately and it just doesn’t taste right anymore. And since we all like our soup, we ended up having to open two cans of soup at a time just so everyone could get enough soup to dunk their sandwiches in.


Until a very special recipe popped up in my Google Reader. It was a note from Elle’s New England Kitchen and as soon as I tasted this soup, I knew my search for a good tomato soup recipe was officially over. The following recipe is so delicious but you can tweak it a bit for your own desires (like adding a bit of cream or a twist of freshly ground black pepper). All of us find it pretty much perfect just like this — especially with a plate full of grilled cheese sandwiches in front of you!

I even sent it to Mackenzie preschool class (we have to cook for the kids every few weeks) and it was such a huge hit that parents were sending me emails and asking for the recipe!Because there are some kids who are vegetarians in there, using vegetable broth is excellent in this recipe. But personally, I really like the flavor that the chicken broth adds.

So without further ado, go whip up some of this soup and enjoy!

The best tomato soup recipe ever

Yield: Makes just about 9 cups (2 1/4 quarts)

The best tomato soup recipe ever

A rich, delicious tomato soup recipe that is full of flavor and perfect with grilled cheese sandwiches.


  • 2 (14 oz) cans of crushed tomatoes or 20-24 fresh tomatoes
  • 1 (6 oz) tube/can tomato paste
  • 5 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter


  1. In a medium-sized pot, combine tomatoes, tomato paste, broth, garlic powder and sugar and simmer over low- medium heat. Stir occasionally to make sure that the tomato paste and sugar mix with the other ingredients.
  2. When the paste and sugar fully integrated, add the butter and stir until melted.
  3. Serve with grilled cheese sandwiches or your favorite bread.
  4. Store any leftovers in the fridge or freeze in smaller portions.


Using chicken broth gives it a fuller flavor, but if you are aiming to keep this vegan, vegetable broth works great as well. Also, you can add just a bit of cream at the end to make it a little bit richer. Or a twist of freshly ground pepper to bring some heat to the soup.


  1. sarahstaebler says

    Mmm, I could go for some tomato soup! That’s exactly the kind of comfort food for this kind of weather we’re having here in Hamburg! (And you can’t have tomato soup without grilled cheese, of course!) I’ll definitely make it a point to try your recipe this week!

    • says

      We’ve got weather like that in Berlin right now too. Grey and drizzly. But still not nearly as bad as it used to be in Frankfurt!

      Hope you enjoy the soup! I just made my sandwiches with real cheddar slices and it’s so much better than those processed cheese slice things. 😉

  2. Sandra Curry says

    I remember when I visited my grandparents in the summer that every day for lunch I would heat up a can of Campbell’s tomato soup for Grandpa when he came in from work for lunch. Probably was the only thing they figured I could cook. :) 

    Thanks for the recipe. I added it to my and plan for the weekend.OK, now we need a really good grilled cheese plan. I got them perfect – one time – and since then I can’t figure out what I did right. Do you have anything to share on the sandwich?

    • says

      I mostly keep the sandwiches simple. Either melt butter in a large frying pan and coat each side of the bread — or spread soft butter on each side (the latter of which is the healthier version). Then, at medium-high heat, fry the bread on one side until it’s lightly browned.
      Flip them and add 1-2 thin slices of real cheddar cheese (and ham or other lunch meat if you like) on the bottom half of the sandwich (browned side up so the cheese goes on top of it), then put another slice of bread, browned side down on the cheese, on top.
      Fry on each side until lightly browned and then devour. 😉

      Hope that helps and all makes sense :)

  3. says

    Tomato soup and grilled cheese have been on my comfort food list since I was a little kid and my mother would fix them for me.  I still love them but I have discovered a new twist on the grilled cheese.  This may not sound good to many of you but rather than grilling the sandwich in butter try substituting chicken fat.  Tastes fantastic!  

  4. says

    Mmmm! I love good tomato soup – but bad ones? The worst. After my first recipe too went wrong, I was jaded for a long time about trying another. But then I found this one and it’s quickly become my favorite thing: Highly recommend!

  5. Hoot says

    I tried a couple of other recipes for tomato soup before trying this one. None of the other recipes were very good. I am a big fan of tomato soup. This was by FAR the very best recipe.

    I cut the broth volume in half and replace it with 2% milk to add some creaminess. I also add a little flour for smoothness and also add whatever herbs (usually basil and rosemary) I happen to have on hand.

    My wife loves this soup and insists I make it all the time. No more canned tomato soup for us.

    • says

      :) Thanks for your nice comment! So glad you and your wife are enjoying the tomato soup. We also have fallen in love with it — and since it’s fairly easy to make, I can’t imagine buying the canned stuff anymore. Especially since we really prefer the flavor of this one.

      Sometimes I add a bit of cream to each bowl to thicken it and add some richness. I like your idea of just using milk as broth as well.

      • Hoot says

        Do you still reside in Germany? My wife and I toured southern Germany, Austria and Switzerland last year. Our best vacation ever.

          • Hoot says

            We were there for 3 and 1/2 weeks. I’d traveled in Europe on business before but it was my wife’s first visit.

            She really fell in love with the Berner Oberland in central Switzerland. I had a hard time collecting her and continuing forward from there. She especially liked the Lauterbrunnen Valley. It didn’t hurt that the weather was perfect while we were there (May).

            I liked the Mosel and Rhine rivers. Very relaxing and good wine!


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