Sweet Tomato Basil Bisque

by Dorothy Reinhold on January 2, 2012

Print This Post Print This Post Sweet Tomato Basil Bisque

It’s the dead of winter, but I am craving tomatoes. I have a full-on tomato jones going.

Best way to fix that is with this tomato soup, made more fanciful by calling it bisque. A bisque (say it bisk) is a rich, smooth, creamy soup often made with shellfish, and thickened with said shellfish including the pulverized shells. Well, this one is rich, creamy, and has a roux to thicken it, but is sans shellfish.

That’s OK. It’s plenty flavorful without them. (Although now that we’re thinking about it, it wouldn’t kill you to strew a few shrimp on top if you want to.)

This is far more than simply the sum of its parts. It’s truly shockingly delicious, in all the right ways.

Recipe: Sweet Tomato Basil Bisque

Summary: Rich, packed with tomato goodness and just the right touch of creamy sweetness, this is tomato soup of the Gods.


  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large onion (about 12 ounces), peeled and finely chopped
  • 5 tablespoons flour
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans peeled crushed tomatoes
  • 3 teaspoons dried dill weed
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 6 cups low-fat, low-salt chicken stock
  • 5 tablespoons honey
  • 3/4 cup half-and-half or cream (or a mixture of both)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Garnish: finely chopped fresh basil


  1. In large soup pot, melt butter. Over medium heat, sauté onions in butter, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Onions should be translucent but not brown. Add flour and stir; it will look a bit pasty. Cook and stir for a minute or two until the paste (called a roux), begins to brown slightly.
  2. Add tomatoes, dill, oregano and stock. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add honey, cream and parsley and return to a boil. Taste, add salt and pepper to season, and serve.
  3. Garnish with a shower of chopped basil if you like.
  4. Makes about 13 cups. Serves 6-8, depending on appetites.
  5. Store in refrigerator. Leftovers are even better the next day. And the following day.

Quick notes

Source: Thanks to high school friend Andy Alexis for the inspiration for this recipe.


You can easily make this vegetarian by substituting vegetable broth for the chicken broth.

Preparation time: 5 minute(s)
Cooking time: 30 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 6-8, depending on appetites
Culinary tradition: USA (General)
My rating 5 stars:  ★★★★★ 1 review(s)


{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Rosy March 7, 2018 at 3:12 pm

This soup is hands down 5 stars. Shockingly delicious indeed! Thanks for sharing! I have also tried substituting coconut cream for the creamer and omitted the oregano (was all out), added a touch of tomato paste and it was just as delicious.


Dorothy Reinhold March 7, 2018 at 6:16 pm

Great to know about your substitutions! I will try the coconut idea!


Ashley February 27, 2017 at 8:48 pm

Does this work well with butternut squash? I like butternut squash with my tomato soup.


Dorothy Reinhold February 28, 2017 at 4:38 pm

You mean butternut in the tomato soup? I have never tried that! Try it and let me know…I’m interested!


Laura Moore December 15, 2015 at 6:41 pm

Making this for our Christmas Eve family dinner. Doubling it will be too much. Think it will still taste great if I use a recipe and a half? If that makes any sense…


Dorothy Reinhold December 16, 2015 at 3:51 am

Sure, keep the proportions correct, and it will be fine. But seriously, it will be great as leftovers (or you could send some home with one of your guests as a little unexpected present).


Denise Antoszewski February 12, 2015 at 2:51 pm



Dorothy Reinhold February 13, 2015 at 8:03 am



Rosy November 14, 2012 at 4:58 pm

EXCELLENCE!! I’m newbie housewife and I made this for my husband who is an excellent cook by natur, rarely shares “his” kitchen and he thought it tasted amazing. Thank you for sharing the greatness…keep it coming.


Janice November 4, 2012 at 5:07 pm

This was AMAZING! a perfect meal for a cold winter day! I ate it with a side of rosemary-olive oil bread and melted mozzarella cheese..delicious. Thanks so much for the recipe!!


Dorothy November 4, 2012 at 6:03 pm

Thank you so much for telling me! You whole meal sounds like a home run!


Mercedes St. John October 3, 2012 at 3:43 pm

My family loved this! I did not have dry oregano and dill so I added Herbs de Provence as a substitute. I also added finely chopped celery with the onions. Yum!!! I froze some and will make this again. Thank you for sharing.


Connie August 28, 2012 at 10:00 am

This tomato basil bisque is awesome! I am vegetarian so did not use the chicken stock. Instead I made fake chicken stock with Mc Kay’s Chicken Seasoning (substitue for real chicken seasoning)and it worked out well! It can be gotten at health food stores.


Dorothy August 28, 2012 at 10:06 am

So glad you liked it! You could also feel free to sub veg brother wherever you like.


facebook_Todd_Trumbull.1357800978 January 26, 2012 at 1:07 pm

At dinner at a nice restaurant the other night, my friend asked me what a bisque was, and although I’m familiar with the soup, I found I couldn’t define it. So I appreciate that you included an explanation, Dorothy. But more importantly, I never would have thought of MAKING a tomato bisque — would normally just buy it in a store — so now I feel that much more empowered. You’re going to create foodies out of all of us yet!


Dorothy January 26, 2012 at 7:37 pm

Thanks! You MUST make this tomato soup for your friends. They will put you in their wills. I promise.


Carolyn January 25, 2012 at 9:50 pm

I’ve made this twice, and as I sit here, drinking my soup from my mug I smile. So tasty. 12oz of onion was actually 3 small (from a bag of onions) once weighed out. Two weeks ago I think I only used one, maybe 1.5. This time I used 2.5, but will go with 2 next time. Pureed it with an inversion blender as I used canned whole tomatoes. Thank you (x2… so far!) for this post.


Dorothy January 26, 2012 at 12:24 pm

So glad you liked it, and enough to make it twice! Yeah, onions come in all sizes, and I used a very large one, so I actually weighed it to give readers a better gauge. So use as many onions as you need to make about 12 ounces (or use as many as you like, to your taste).


Caroline January 8, 2012 at 7:28 am

I have made this tomato bisque ​​today. It seemed strange to put honey in it (I always use ginger syrup to sweeten soup) But when the soup was salted right, it tasted excellent! Thank you.


Dorothy January 8, 2012 at 10:32 am

So glad you enjoyed! Hmmmm…ginger syrup sounds fabulous!


Mercedes January 5, 2012 at 11:41 am

This looks so comforting, flavorful and delicious!


beti January 5, 2012 at 12:50 am

it looks so rich and delicious!


grace January 3, 2012 at 7:16 pm

Can’t wait to make this soup. It sounds just like what we need for our very snowy winter but will remind us that summer IS coming. Eventually.
Thank you. I’m making this as soon as I can get out to the store to buy stuff for it. 🙂


sippitysup January 3, 2012 at 1:03 pm

I made a similar “bisk” recently but I did use shellfish in the form of mussels. I wish I had thought to call it a a bisque! GREG


Lana January 2, 2012 at 11:34 pm

Dorothy, tomato bisque has to be one of my favorite soups (along French onion soup), even though I grew up eating more brothy tomato soups. My mom used to poach eggs in it and I transferred that tradition to my American home, much to my family’s pleasure:)
This recipe sounds easy, indeed, and I think I have all the necessary ingredients (I just made some chicken stock today).
BTW, I can’t believe you got up at dawn to make the soup:)


nancy priest November 30, 2014 at 10:37 am

I made this and have been trying for the “best” tomato bisque there is and this is fantastic. My husband even ate it and”Mikie” doesn’t like anything. Also share with others who loved it and thought I must have spent an eternity making it. I have been looking for a Squash soup as well and for the heck of it tried this substituting squash and it was fantastic as well. I did add a little worsheshire sauce to the squash.


Dorothy Reinhold December 3, 2014 at 5:19 am

Wonderful! So happy to hear that! And what a good idea for the squash. I will have to try that version now. Thanks so much for coming back to tell me.


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