Creamy Tomato Soup: can the can – homemade is heavenly.

Cream of tomato soup is [fill in the blank]:

Delicious. Satisfying. Nostalgic.


All of the above? Not necessarily.

Many of us grew up on Campbell’s Soup, the hands-down king of the soup shelves at the A & P, or Grand Union, or First National.

Chicken Noodle was the #1 favorite of us kids.  Alphabet was fun, too – remember lining up the floating pasta letters to spell your name?

The adults went in for really icky stuff like Scotch Broth (mutton broth, vegetables and lamb); and Pepper Pot (beef tripe, carrots, and macaroni).

Yeah, tripe. You never read the label on the back of the can? I did, one day when my mom tried to pawn off some Pepper Pot on us, in a pinch. EWWWWWWW.

And then there was Cream of Tomato. I have to admit I was never a huge fan of tomato soup, but my brother loved it. As did my parents.

And I was OK with it, so long as there were enough saltines to enliven its smooth, bland flavor.

These days, I’m more than OK with cream of tomato soup – because I make my own. Better yet, I make it in my Zojirushi bread machine.

That’s right – in the bread machine. Same appliance in which I not only knead bread dough, but bake peach cobbler, hot artichoke dip, cheesecake, meatloaf, and all manner of tasty baked and simmered and stewed creations.

If you’ve got a Zojirushi, check out this soup, made on the machine’s jam cycle.

If you don’t have a bread machine – scroll down for stove-top instructions.

However you do it, make this soup; there’s nothing like it on a cold winter’s day.

Attach the paddles to the posts in the Zo’s bucket. Program the machine for the jam cycle. Set your own timer for 15 minutes.

Pour 5 tablespoons melted butter into the bucket. Add 1 tablespoon oil and sprinkle in 3 tablespoons King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour. Spread 1 cup chopped onion (2 small-to-medium onions) evenly over all. Press Start. Start your own timer, as well.

When the 15-minute timer goes off, add the following:

one 28-ounce can tomato purée
¼ teaspoon thyme
½ teaspoon basil
½ teaspoon salt
a couple of shakes of black pepper
1 to 3 tablespoons sugar, to taste; optional
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 can (a scant 2 cups, 14 to 15 ounces) chicken broth

Reset your timer for 45 minutes.

When the 45-minute timer goes off, heat 1 1/2 cups light cream, half & half, or evaporated milk (one 12-ounce can) over low heat on the stove top, or in the microwave, until it’s just below a simmer.

While the milk is heating, you can purée the soup, if you have a stick blender; insert the blender into the center of the bucket (carefully avoiding the paddles), and blend until relatively smooth.

Stir in the hot milk, close the lid, and allow the machine to complete its cycle.

And that’s it. Hot, creamy tomato soup, perfect with homemade crackers.

Best part yet – simply rinse your bread machine bucket in warm water. No scrubbing; no scouring. LOVE this non-stick bucket!

OK, I hear you – you don’t have a bread machine. Well, of COURSE I’ll show you how to make this soup in a pot on the stove!

Put the following in a large saucepan set over medium heat:

5 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup (about 4 1/2 ounces) chopped onions (2 small-to-medium onions)

Heat over medium heat, and sauté the onions until softened and golden, about 10 minutes.

Add the following:

1 (one) 28-ounce can tomato purée or tomatoes in purée
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon basil + 1/4 teaspoon thyme
a couple of shakes of black pepper

Bring the mixture to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes.

You’ll notice in the photos above that I used diced tomatoes, rather than tomato purée. MISTAKE. Diced tomatoes taste fine, but the soup they make is pale orange, rather than deep orange/red. Do as I say, not as I did, and use purée.

In a small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour and 1 can (a scant 2 cups, 14 to 15 ounces) chicken broth, whisking until smooth. Add this mixture to the soup, stirring constantly. Cover and simmer slowly for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

If desired, purée the soup in a blender or food processor, or with a hand blender. You can also just leave the soup as is; the onion bits will give it a bit of body. Return the soup to the stove, and set it on a burner over low-to-medium heat. Stir in the following:

1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 to 3 tablespoons sugar, to taste; optional
1 (one) 12-ounce can evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon salt

The baking soda will make the soup foam up briefly. Don’t worry; so long as it’s in a big enough pot, you’ll be fine.

Heat, continuing to stir, until the soup comes to a bare simmer.

Serve hot. With crackers.

And remember with fondness those winter days when you’d run up onto the porch with snow in your boots, wet mittens, red cheeks, and an empty tummy, and Mom would have a bowl of Campbell’s soup on the table, ready and waiting.

You CAN go home again – better yet, you can go homemade.

Read, make, and review (please) our recipe for Creamy Tomato Soup.

Print just the recipe.

Interested in more neat ways to use your bread machine? Check out our blogs on Cheese Bread and Baked Pasta; Peach Cobbler, Sloppy Jones, and Creamy Risotto; and Scalloped Potatoes, Classic Bread Stuffing, and Cranberry Sauce.

PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!


  1. nancyphippsbyrne

    I have made this soup lot of times in the more traditional way (stove top) and always receive compliments and requests for the recipe. I usually cut the butter back to 2 or 3 T. instead of 5, and it is still very delicious. Many thanks for this recipe!

  2. JuliaJ

    Homemade tomato soup is SO good! I usually add a carrot for sweetness (so no need for sugar), a minced clove of garlic, and for a lower calorie version, cook in a diced (peeled) medium russet potato instead of cream or evaporated milk that thickens the soup when blended in. And vegetable broth instead of chicken broth if there are any vegetarians dining with us. Yum!

  3. ohiosister53

    Looks yum! Love tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwiches. Curious about the baking soda…what does it do for the soup?

    The combination of baking soda and sugar completely eliminates the tomatoes’ acidity. Frank @ KAF.

    1. Scott

      If you dont use baking soda the acidity of the tomatoes may curdle the milk. Which is gross.

  4. waikikirie

    Was looking to make some homemade goodies in the Zo that didn’t requires any assist from the stove/oven whle mine was out. LOL Oh well, better late then never. I think I will do the cheese bread that accompanied the pasta bake recipe though. The DH will be happy to hear “the magic box”, as he calls it, humming away when he wakes up this morning.

  5. slg222000

    Can this recipe be doubled when making in the 2# Zo?

    I did make it in the 2-lb. Zo -so no, I wouldn’t double it for fear it would spill over. Probably could make it 50% bigger, though… PJH

  6. SheenaC

    I’m excited to try this recipe. PJ, how much sugar did you use in this version? I’ll start with your approach since I’m a rookies to making tomato soup. Thanks!

    Sheena, I used the full amount – 3 tablespoons. But many people scoff at that as being “too sweet.” Me, I don’t like any acidic flavor with my tomatoes… I’d say start with 1 tablespoon, stir it in, taste, and add more if you like. Enjoy – PJH

  7. Margy

    Just needs a grilled cheese sandwich on the side! I love the “Beyond Bread” booklet for the Zo–espicially good when the weather is too warm to fire up the oven, or when the oven is already in use. Any chance of a “Beyond Bread:Volume 2”?

    Always a chance, Margy, but nothing’s in the works right now… I encourage everyone to keep on experimenting – maybe sometime we can put together a “crowd sourced” “Beyond Bread Vol. II”! PJH

    1. muriel sweeney

      Try adding a packet of KNORR sauce mix to the dry ingredients in
      your bread machine. Just the powder (don’t make the sauce).
      I think you’ll like it, (or try another flavor of your choice). M.

  8. "Paul from Ohio"

    Love this soup! AND, when combined with the Vermont Cheese Crackers you have a Weight Watcher’s fillingishous lunch/dinner which =’s 5pts for a cup of soup, 6 Vermont Cheese Crackers the size noted in the recipe = 2pts……… hey, 7pt lunch/dinner!

    And after a recent discovery because they happened to be on sale, Muir Glenn Organic Whole Peeled Tomatoes with Basil – is absolutely a hands down FAVORITE CHOICE! Without pulsing them with a blender, you can squish them down just a wee bit, for an awesome ‘texture’ to the soup without being too lumpy as they cook down – seemingly?!

  9. JuliaJ

    Like “Paul from Ohio”, I also use Muir Glen canned tomatoes (diced, whole, whatever is on sale (!), though have never tried their pureed tomatoes). They all seem to be very vividly colored–I’ve never had the problem PJ mentioned of pale-colored soup. They’re organic so no coloring can be added.

    Non-organic is OK with me but I do check the ingredients labels if I buy a different brand to make sure that the product has no added water–just tomatoes, tomato puree or juice, salt, herbs (if not plain) and NO sugar (sorry, PJ), as sometimes sugar is added to mask the lack of flavor in the tomatoes.

    I just like the sugar for the way it cuts the acidity, Julia – I feel like I can’t taste the tomatoes for all their acid. It’s all personal taste – no rights or wrongs when it comes to cooking! 🙂 PJH

  10. tarragonmh

    Is there a reason that the stove top version calls for evaporated milk rather than the options listed for the machine version?

    Nope, no reason, just two versions of the same recipe – you can definitely use whatever kind of dairy you want. The richer the dairy, the richer the soup. Enjoy – PJH

  11. "said the hobbit"

    Don’t have the bread machine……still using a hand crank bucket. Have a little business that makes soup for those who don’t have time anymore and tomato is a favorite. Lucky enough to have an emulsifier. My recipe is similar however after blending I stir in chopped basil and orange zest and a bit of triple sec. When I’m feeling “rich” I puree a bit of cream cheese too! Everybody should try tomato soup……’s true comfort.

    Wow, those are some deluxe sounding ingredients – bet the soup is fabulous! Thank for sharing – PJH

  12. Csatkowski

    Is the KA Multipurpose gluten-free flour the best sub for the flour if the soup needs to be gluten free or would something else work better or could the flour be omitted?

    Yes, definitely use the GF flour – that would be best. You could also use cornstarch, though not sure exactly how much… Enjoy! PJH

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Yes, Jan, you can substitute the GF flour 1:1 in this recipe. You could also substitue cornstarch (about half as much), if you like. PJH

  13. elizpete

    This was perfect for using up leftover bread from the Superbowl party yesterday. At first declaring that it sounded gross, my 4 and 7 year old did their own versions of the touchdown happy dance at the table after tasting!

    Tomato soup never loses its cross-generational appeal, does it? Glad it was a hit with the kids- PJH

  14. Kim

    I’ve never liked Campbell’s tomato soup. When my parents would fix it, I would ask them for a taste just to make sure I didn’t like it. Yep, still don’t. Then I was introduced to a version that begins with Campbell’s and adds canned (diced) tomatoes, cream cheese (NOW we’re talkin’!), and basil. I forget the other ingredients, but it’s wonderful. My mom made it recently for some people and one gal took a small portion b/c she didn’t like tomato soup, but then went back for seconds. She liked it! The recipe is from the Naniboujou Lodge near Grand Marais, MN. Despite it starting with Cambell’s, it tastes nothing like it.

  15. wingboy

    Hmmm. We did the top-of-the stove, unblended version.

    I didn’t like it all that well: Too much butter, not enough basil, a bit too much salt, needed oregano and the non-fat evap milk looked slightly curdled. But, after tripling the basil and adding some oregano, it was OK.

    I do like the sugar and baking soda trick to reduce the acid.

    Glad you were able to tweak it up to “OK” status, WB. To each his own, I guess – can I tempt you with another of my favorites, Velvet Pumpkin Soup, instead? 🙂 PJH

  16. amjohnson30

    This is really, really tasty. I am eating it for dinner right now with the Rieska recipe from an earlier post. I will get to have some for lunch for the next few days too!

    Glad we’ve been able to add a new soup/bread combo to your recipe collection – enjoy! PJH

  17. giselem

    I have made this soup several times already and am making it again for supper tonight. Hubby loves this, says it is his favorite and loves to eat it with the french baguettes that I make with KA french flour. I do add wheat macaroni that I precook al dente to add to the tomato soup.

    This recipe is a keeper!

    Great idea, adding the macaroni – I’ll have to try that sometime for sure! PJH

  18. "beccas breadworks"

    beccas breadworks

    I have had several bread machines in past years but haven’t used one for quite awhile. Today my new Zo was delivered and the first thing I made was your Creamy Tomato Soup. My hubby is having some dental work done and needs to eat soft foods. I thought this would be a pleasant change for him and he loved it!!! I just wanted you to know that you inspired my first recipe with the new Zo!! Thanks so much!!
    We are so glad we could inspire you! Enjoy your new “toy” and contact us with any questions, Ok? Elisabeth

  19. sundance183

    PJ, how much does this make? I need to do two soups for a luncheon gathering of 10 ladies in a couple of weeks. Would this make enough for a serving or so each? And maybe a bit for my husband, in return for disappearing during the meeting?
    If it were me, I would make this soup 1 1/2 X so there will be enough for sure and even some left over. Then your husband can have 2 bowls and maybe some for the next day. Nothing better than tomato soup! Elisabeth

  20. Lois Gill @

    I don’t like canned tomato soup and now I know why. Just made this and it is heavenly!

  21. Maggie Bancroft

    Here in south central Fl. tomatoes are starting to come in and I would like to know how to make this soup with the native tomatoes and how many should I use. I will be using the stovetop for this.

    1. Amy Trage

      You will need to puree at least 28 ounces of tomatoes to yield 28 ounces of uncooked puree. ~Amy

  22. Doodler

    PJ, you have special powers over me. First it was the Cheese and Scallion Scones I served with Bloody Marys. Then, mid soup, I was inspired to morph what was going to be vegetable soup into tomato soup, in 90 degree weather! I am waiting on my latest KAF order to arrive so I can enjoy your cheese crackers with said soup. Keep the motivation flowing my way, thank you for your recipes 😀

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We thank you for baking them up and serving them so beautifully to your family and friends! Keep up the good work and happy baking! Jocelyn@KAF

  23. muriel sweeney

    I have acid reflux, so ,as much as I love tomato, I avoid things like pizza etc.The tomato soup recipe (with b.soda and sugar) may be the answer to all the questions. I will try it.
    In answer to “beyond Bread “, I add a packet of Knorr sauce mix (of your liking)(just the powder).
    to the dry ingredients (I use Herb and Garlic) to the bread machine. The
    bread is great!! Also, my Mom always added an egg to her bread so I do that to. I love to eat, so cooking goes well with that , and Iv’e got the hips to prove it. M.

  24. Lyn

    I love this recipe! I had a similar one that I must have misplaced in the last couple moves.
    Anyway, I didn’t have puree so I used 28 oz diced and 2 T of Tomato Paste. Also I didn’t have any milk except powdered for bread machine. I used that. With subbing the 2 items it still was a wonderful tasting soup that I had been craving!
    Thank you!


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