Panera Creamy Tomato Soup Copycat Recipe

Prep 10 mins
Cook 30 mins
Total 40 mins

This Creamy Tomato Soup recipe is a family favorite – especially when served with a big buttery grilled cheese sandwich! An easy homemade soup that’s a copycat of Panera’s Creamy Tomato Soup.

A bowl of tomato soup on a marble counter next to tomatoes.

Homemade Panera Creamy Tomato Soup

Despite the heat, my mind and body have already decided it is Fall. Like full on FALL — even if it is still in the 90’s here in Florida. And that’s why I am brining you this Panera Creamy Tomato Soup Copycat Recipe in September!

I have been asking anybody and everybody I know to go to Hobby Lobby to buy Fall decorations for my house.

I am also fighting myself on getting a Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks.

How can I drink a pumpkin flavored hot coffee in this weather? It’s just not ok.

Creamy tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich in the soup bowl.

Somehow my craving for soups is even stronger than my craving for pumpkin spice lattes and fall decorations.

I have a notebook where I keep ideas of recipes I want to make.

If you look at it today, it has 11 soups in a row — no joke.

I keep asking Jorge if he will eat soup for dinner yet…and his answer is “NO.” every. single. time.

A bowl of homemade tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich.

I always ask back, but what about your favorite Taco Ranch Chicken Chili?? No!

Ok, how about my favorite, One-Pot Bacon Corn Chowder?? NO! No soup until it’s under 80 degrees!

He is SUCH a kill joy.

(Pssst! You can find all my soup recipes right here.)

A bowl of creamy tomato soup on a wooden board.

So I finally said screw you, I’m making soup. Tomato Soup just like at Panera and you can’t have any!

Well ladies and gents, guess who ate a big bowl of this amazing tomato soup and a big grilled cheese?? Jorge. The soup naysayer.

This tomato soup is a recipe that has been a long time in the making.

I tried using fresh tomatoes, but it was double the time and the flavor wasn’t close enough to the one I love to get at Panera.

Panera Creamy Tomato Soup Copycat Recipe: this simple recipe is my families favorite creamy tomato soup when served with a big buttery grilled cheese sandwich!

“Creamy” is in the name, but the soup at Panera is really not all that creamy. So I learned to use only a little cream.

I also add a little sugar to cut the acidity of the tomatoes and not too much basil. And I add a little parmesan cheese – but it’s totally optional.

Is this the exact same soup you get from Panera? No, probably not exactly. However, it is dang close to it! And bonus? It only takes 30 minutes to make!

The next time I make it, I plan on making a triple batch to have extra to freeze the leftovers.

That way whenever I am in the mood, I can just pull a bag out from the freezer!

UPDATE: Panera changed their soup recipe a while back a little. But scroll down to read the reviews…this tomato soup still ROCKS and you must make it asap.

Yield: 4 Servings

Panera Creamy Tomato Soup Copycat Recipe

Panera Creamy Tomato Soup

To make your meal perfect, make a grilled cheese with fresh thick crusty sourdough bread, havarti cheese and a ton of real butter. That is my PERFECT grilled cheese.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced
  • 2 (28 oz) cans San Marzano peeled tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 8 large fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese, optional


  1. In a heavy bottomed pot (or dutch oven), heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds - until fragrant. Add onion and cook, stirring as needed, until translucent - about 8 minutes.
  2. Add San Marzano peeled tomatoes (juice and all), chicken stock, and sugar. Bring to a low simmer. Cook uncovered, for 12 minutes or until it has thickened.
  3. Add the heavy cream, basil, oregano, red pepper flakes and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Using an immersion blender (or carefully transfer soup to a blender), puree soup until there are no large chunks left.
  5. OPTIONAL: stir in parmesan cheese and serve topped with buttery croutons.
  6. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.


I really like San Marzano canned tomatoes, especially for this recipe. I buy the Cento brand and can find it every where from Walmart to Publix (this is what the can looks like). 

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 197Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 23mgSodium: 279mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 1gSugar: 7gProtein: 5g


Panera Creamy Tomato Soup Copycat Recipe: this simple recipe is my families favorite creamy tomato soup when served with a big buttery grilled cheese sandwich!

Panera Creamy Tomato Soup Copycat Recipe: this simple recipe is my families favorite creamy tomato soup when served with a big buttery grilled cheese sandwich!

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.

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151 Responses
  1. Jenn

    I only used one 1-28 oz can of Marzano tomatoes and homemade chicken broth (2 cups), and it came out with the perfect consistency. It was a thicker soup even after the puree which is what I like, When cooking the onions, olive oil, and garlic, I also added minced basil, Italian seasoning, salted butter, red pepper flakes, two tsp of sriracha, and 1/2 cup of chopped celery to mix and it was made the soup so flavorful! The extra ingredients are full of antioxidants!

  2. Bianca

    I think it taste so similar to Panera’s. I used to live in US and this was by far my favorite soup. Having it again made me extremely happy!! Thank u!!❤️

  3. Kelly

    I am sure this will horrify most readers, I made this soup today and realized too late that I was out of cream. I had doubled the recipe, so I was doubly out of cream. I looked in my fridge to see what I had that might sub. French onion dip, don’t judge me it turned out REALLY good. I am sure this recipe is great with cream or half and half, but it’s amazing with the sour cream French onion dip. Thanks for this recipe! My kids love it.

  4. F. S.

    Very nice recipe, and thank you for posting this. So simple and easy!!

    If the soup is too watery, remove the seeds (if any) from the tomatoes or simmer longer, if you are impatient, add a little cornstarch (sprinkle it in) and stir it to the right consistency.
    My suggestion is to roast the tomatoes and garlic, and caramelize the onions prior to adding which makes this tasty soup even better, but that takes time as well.

    Too hot? always look at the ingredients. I can sit and eat ghost pepper and habanero like nothing, but I am from the South, up North black pepper is “too spicy”.
    South has spicy flavorful food, where Northern dishes are very bland and devoid of flavor , like in Canada and the UK (I travel a lot).

    Don’t bash the article writer, and yes taste test as you go along.

    If you goof up and make it Too Spicy – to save the meal , you can always add :
    – Something sweet (sugar, honey, etc.)
    – More liquid (water or broth) – you can always re thicken it.
    – Something starchy (like potatoes, rice, or pasta)
    – Something acidic (tomatoes, wine, citrus, etc.) – I’m picky about losing more wine in
    my dishes, I cook like Julia Childs (splash of wine, then “taste the wine”.
    – Dairy (yogurt, sour cream, milk, cheese)
    – Coconut milk (the creamier the better, since fats absorb spiciness)

    Who knows? a buddy was a Saucier (Sauce Chef) at Arnaud’s in New Orleans (5 Star World Renowned Fine Dining) , and half of his renowned sauces and soups were created trying to fix a mistake, Same goes for Chef Prudhomme (Super Nice Guy and Amazing Chef! – He makes each plate to taste, it is never the same, but always amazing and perfect).
    This is how you make great food – trial and error.

    Instead of whining at the poster, thank them, and if you make something amazing – Post it! I would love to try it!

      1. Sharyn

        Amazing I became addicted to this soup after recovering from bariatric surgery and it was the only thing I could eat with substituting the sugar for monk fruit sugar and added unflavored protein powder. It is sold at grocery stores and is a small savings, but still too expensive if you need to eat it daily. Thanks for helping me get more soup for a reasonable price.

  5. Halo

    This was very acidic. Definitely add some baking soda. I also added more cream, salt and extra spices. Great recipe!

  6. Lada

    I just cannot believe to these comments. Soup is too spicy for my kids!? You make it as spicy or bland as you want it!!!! Do not blame the creator . Just taste it and adjust. Only you know how much of pepper flakes your kids like- if any.

  7. ac

    Initially I laughed at the first comment, which was basically “so I changed the whole recipe but here’s my review of a different soup ,” but the recipe does need more seasoning. It’s a good start, but double the garlic, and add that to the onion after it’s nearly caramelized, or it will burn long before the onion is translucent. Double oregano, fresh basil. Aggressively season with pepper and (less) salt. The red pepper flakes are fine for a panera copycat (definitely not too spicy), and you could double those if you like a little kick. Double the chicken stock for flavor — then simmer twice as long to reduce it. Double the parmesan, and I actually prefer asiago because it lends a slightly nutty note like to the asiago croutons panera uses. Immersion blender on lowwww is perfect to get it to the right “creamy but slightly chunky” consistency. The key is to then take the dutch oven off the heat and let it sit overnight in the fridge for the flavors to come together. At that point it is pretty close to the original recipe, and I have eaten tons of it! Delish with grilled cheese. Will try it again for sure and make extra to have plenty to freeze in single serving quart bags, my go-to for late nights when I want real food but don’t want to cook.

    1. Raquel

      Absolutely divine! Of course I adjusted the seasoning to my liking and cooked the onions first than the garlic after and let it simmer for 20 mins before adding the heavy cream. Even my 3 year old loved it especially with sourdough bread to dip!!

  8. Kevin

    Excellent recipe. I couldn’t resist tinkering though, and I prefer my adaptation. I forego the San Marzano. They are great for pasta topping, but for a pureed soup, IMO, the flavor profile is lost anyway. Add more sugar if you need the sweeter profile of the San Marzano. I use a cup of buttermilk in place of the cream and I whisk in a few Tbsp of flour to the buttermilk before adding, to thicken slightly. I use sweet onion in place of yellow and add a diced carrot to the onion saute. With that, there is no need for adding sugar IMO. I love fresh basil, but it gets lost when cooked and pureed. I add a tsp of Italian seasoning instead of basil and oregano. The fresh basil is chopped and added as a topper. If I’m in the mood, I’ll also dice up some fresh tomatoes as a topper. Perhaps a dollop of sour cream. I forego the red pepper flakes, and let individuals add cayenne to their portion if they wish to add some heat.

    No disrespect to the original recipe presented here. That’s just how I made it my own.

  9. Katie

    Just tried another similar recipe that added an entire chopped bell pepper. The pepper taste overpowered everything else, so I’m excited to taste this version instead. Thank you for making it! I’ll reply letting you know how we like it.

  10. Laurie

    I made this today and it fabulous!!! I doubled the amounts and gave my sister half. My son, who never liked tomato soup, loves it!

    Thanks again for sharing this recipe.

  11. Rachel

    For the canned tomatoes, is it TWO 28 oz cans of tomatoes, making 56 oz total, or TWO cans of 14 oz, making 28 oz of tomatoes total???

  12. Patsy

    Love this recipe!! Can’t believe I thought Campbell’s was good! (No offense to Campbell’s!!) This is so delicious and super easy!!

  13. Zac

    Way too spicy. Tastes nothing like Panera’s because theirs isn’t burn your mouth hot. 1/2 a tsp of red pepper is way too much. Probably a 1/4 tsp or less would be enough. My dinner is ruined, too spicy for my kids. Disappointed.

    1. Robyn

      Agreed! I should have read the comments before I made it. I thought it sounded like too much because I normally only put 1/4 tsp in a whole pot of spaghetti sauce. It will be much better next time.

    2. Mel

      If that amount of red pepper flakes is too spicy for you, you should probably be taste-testing your food every time you add spice or pepper, just in case.

  14. MKUltra

    Cento does not can real San Marzano tomatoes. If there is no D.O.P stamp on the can, they are purely “San marzano style” which basically is a plum tomato. There has been more confusion than there needs to be but you can thank the unscrupulous Cento brand for not abiding by the “truth in advertising” mantra.

  15. Sam

    Loved this recipe! Huge fan of this Panera soup and found this recipe just as tasty–and much more cost-effective! I couldn’t find the brand-name tomatoes so used generic peeled tomatoes. I used dried instead of fresh basil. I like things spicy so upped the red pepper, basil and oregano amounts. I added a pinch of sugar but didn’t think it needed more. I used better than bouillon veggie soup base instead of the broth. In addition to the cream I added 2T butter. I’m not sure if it was my immersion blender or the fact that my tomatoes had a lot of seeds but the texture of the soup was different–somewhere in between chunky and creamy. I liked it but it was different than the original which I categorize as creamy with occasional chunks. I suspect a true blender would create a creamier soup. Will definitely be making this recipe again! Thanks for posting it!

  16. Crystal

    I’ve never had tomato soup before, and my husband always hated it growing up. I found this recipe and decided to give it a try. We both decided it’s our new favorite soup ever! SO GOOD!!!!

  17. Bernadette

    I used Hunts brand San Mara amp tomatoes and found them VERY acidic. I added a Lot of cream to my bowl of soup to cut the acid. Also 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper was spicier than I like it. I will try it again though. I too think soup can be eaten for dinner any time of the year:)

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I'm a trial & error, self taught, sugar addict who thankfully learned how to survive in the kitchen! I am also a wife, mama of 3.
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