Copycat Panera Tomato Soup Recipe

Prep 10 mins
Cook 30 mins
Total 40 mins
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This Copycat Panera Tomato Soup Recipe is a family favorite – especially when served with a big, buttery, grilled cheese sandwich! An easy homemade soup made with San Marzano tomatoes, ready in 30 minutes.

(For another take on classic tomato soup, try this quick and easy Instant Pot Tomato Soup!)

Creamy, Homemade Tomato Soup You’ll Crave!

This tomato soup is my go-to soup recipe for fall, winter, or any time of year honestly. It’s easy to make, with simple ingredients, and comes together in only 30 minutes. It has a prefect rich and creamy tomato flavor thanks to a winning combination of canned San Marzano tomatoes and a good hearty pour of heavy cream.

I developed this recipe years ago, as a copycat of Panera’s creamy tomato soup. Since then, Panera changed their soup recipe somewhat, but this version is still our favorite! It’s rich, flavorful, and makes the perfect meal or a cold, brisk day. Don’t forget the grilled cheese for the perfect meal!

Ingredients for a copycat panera tomato soup recipe, measured and arranged on a work surface.

What Is Panera Tomato Soup Made Of?

This Panera tomato soup recipe was a long time in the making, but real talk – is this the exact same soup recipe used by Panera? No, probably not exactly. However, it is very, very close, and you only need a few ingredients:

  • Olive Oil: Or another oil, like avocado oil.
  • Garlic: Fresh garlic cloves, minced.
  • Onion: Slice up a large yellow onion, or a white onion if you prefer.
  • Canned Tomatoes: Look for the San Marzano peeled tomatoes – they are perfect for making tomato soup.
  • Chicken Stock: Or vegetable stock.
  • Sugar: A small amount of sugar balances the acidity in the tomatoes. 
  • Heavy Cream: Also known as whipping cream – you could also use half and half.
  • Basil: Large fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped. Dried would work, too, but fresh is even better.
  • Oregano: I use dried for the oregano, but fresh would be amazing too, if you have it.
  • Red Pepper Flakes: For a little heat. Omit these if you don’t care for that little spicy kick.
  • Salt and Pepper: To taste.
  • Parmesan: Optional, but so yummy!
  • Croutons: If you want it to be just like Panera, make sure to grab some croutons or make your own homemade croutons!
A red Dutch oven with tomato soup and a ladle.

What Is So Special About San Marzano Tomatoes?

San Marzano tomatoes come from San Marzano, Italy, where they grow in volcanic soil and enjoy a special microclimate that brings out the best: sweetness, firmness, and not too many seeds! These tomatoes are considered some of the best in the world for making sauces and soups. If the tomato is the star of your dish, it’s great to get these ultra-tasty tomatoes. 

Not all San Marzano tomatoes on the grocery store shelf actually come from San Marzano, Italy, though. Some are U.S. versions of the same tomato plant, and those have a dedicated following, too. My personal favorite brand is Cento, which is widely available. 

Of course, you could also just use regular old canned tomatoes! The soup will still be great even without San Marzano, so feel free to use what you have.

Bowls of creamy tomato bisque with sandwiches.

How to Make This Panera Tomato Soup Recipe

Making homemade tomato soup is as easy as pie. Actually, it’s a lot easier than pie, because you don’t have to make a crust or a filling or… okay, you get it. It’s easy! Here’s how to do it, step by step.

  • Saute the Garlic and Onion. In a heavy bottomed soup pot or a Dutch oven, heat up your olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic to the hot oil, and saute it for about 30 seconds to release the fragrance. Don’t let it scorch, or you will need to start over – scorched garlic is pretty much unusable in tomato soup. Next, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent – about 8 minutes.
  • Add Tomatoes, Stock, and Sugar. Next, add the canned tomatoes (juice and all) plus the chicken stock and sugar. Bring the soup to a low simmer, and let it cook uncovered until it thickens a bit.This should take about 12 minutes.
  • Add the Remaining Ingredients (Except Parmesan). Next, add the heavy cream, fresh basil, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Blend Until Creamy. To get that perfect creamy texture, use an immersion blender to puree the soup. You can also  transfer the soup to a blender (careful, it’s hot!) and puree it that way. 
  • Enjoy! Stir in the parmesan, if using, and serve the soup hot.
Overhead shot of tomato soup in a Dutch oven.

Cook’s Notes

Since I spent so much time working on this recipe, you can bet I learned a few things along the way. These are my main takeaways from developing my copycat Panera tomato soup recipe:

  • Fresh Tomatoes: You would think that using fresh, ripe tomatoes would make the best soup, but that’s not necessarily the case! I tried using fresh tomatoes, but it was double the time and effort, and the flavor was actually less complex and tasty as the soup I made with canned tomatoes.
  • About the Cream: Creamy” is in the name, but the soup at Panera is really not all that creamy, when you come down to it. So I learned to use only a little cream, and that helped a lot!
  • Add Sugar: This is an old trick for balancing dishes that may have too much bitterness or acidity. You can add a pinch or two of sugar to your greens, rutabagas, cabbage, etc. I added a spoonful to the soup to balance the natural tangy flavor of the tomatoes.
  • Basil: As with the cream, you can have too much of a good thing. So be careful with the basil and don’t overdo it. 
  • Parmesan: Adding a bit of parmesan cheese was the perfect finishing touch for my family– but it’s totally optional, so do what works for you.
Creamy tomato soup topped wit herbs.

What to Serve with This Copycat Panera Tomato Soup Recipe

Want to know the truth? To make your meal perfect, just throw together a grilled cheese with fresh, thick, crusty sourdough bread, havarti cheese, and a ton of real butter. That is my perfect grilled cheese. Looking for something besides grilled cheese? I’ve got you covered. Try one of these easy side dishes, instead:

  • Cucumber Sandwiches: Cool, creamy Cucumber Sandwiches are just lovely with creamy tomato soup, and this family recipe is extra-special. They’re made with ranch seasoning, cream cheese, grated fresh cucumbers, and pumpernickel swirl. Yum.
  • Macaroni and Cheese: Another spin on tomato soup with something cheesy is to pair the soup with Homemade Mac and Cheese. Kids especially will love this meal!
  • Croutons: Buttery, crunchy Garlic and Herb Homemade Croutons are perfect for topping a bowl of this copycat Panera tomato soup recipe. 
Three bowls of tomato soup on a table with grilled cheese sandwiches, grated parmesan, soup spoons, salt, and pepper.

How to Store, Freeze, and Reheat

My easy Panera tomato soup recipe is quick enough to make on the fly, but it also freezes really well. I plan to make a triple batch next time, actually, so I can freeze some and just pull a bag out of the freezer whenever the mood strikes. To store and freeze, follow these easy instructions.

  • Refrigerating: Cover the soup tightly or store it in an airtight container, and keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • Freezing: Cool the soup down, and pack it into freezer bags or containers, leaving a small amount of space for the soup to expand as it freezes. Freeze for up to 3 months, and thaw in the fridge before you reheat it.
  • Reheating: To reheat, place the desired amount in a saucepan over medium heat, and let the soup heat until piping hot.
Yield: 4 Servings

Copycat Panera Tomato Soup Recipe

A bowl of Copycat Panera Tomato Soup with a grilled cheese on the side.

This Copycat Panera Tomato Soup Recipe is a family favorite – especially when served with a big, buttery, grilled cheese sandwich! An easy homemade soup made with San Marzano tomatoes, ready in 30 minutes.

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.


  • Fresh Tomatoes: You would think that using fresh, ripe tomatoes would make the best soup, but that’s not necessarily the case! I tried using fresh tomatoes, but it was double the time and effort, and the flavor was actually less complex and tasty as the soup I made with canned tomatoes.
  • About the Cream: "Creamy” is in the name, but the soup at Panera is really not all that creamy, when you come down to it. So I learned to use only a little cream, and that helped a lot!
  • Add Sugar: This is an old trick for balancing dishes that may have too much bitterness or acidity. You can add a pinch or two of sugar to your greens, rutabagas, cabbage, etc. I added a spoonful to the soup to balance the natural tangy flavor of the tomatoes.
  • Basil: As with the cream, you can have too much of a good thing. So be careful with the basil and don’t overdo it. 
  • Parmesan: Adding a bit of parmesan cheese was the perfect finishing touch for my family– but it’s totally optional, so do what works for you.
  • Refrigerating: Cover the soup tightly or store it in an airtight container, and keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • Freezing: Cool the soup down, and pack it into freezer bags or containers, leaving a small amount of space for the soup to expand as it freezes. Freeze for up to 3 months, and thaw in the fridge before you reheat it.
  • Reheating: To reheat, place the desired amount in a saucepan over medium heat, and let the soup heat until piping hot.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


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


More Comforting Soups

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185 Responses
  1. Ken

    I wanted to do a healthier version of this due to me being on a special diet because of bariatric surgery. I used cane sugar, chicken bone broth, and half n half as a substitute and it tastes absolutely amazing.

  2. Laura

    Just made your tomato soup recipe. I followed your recipe in every way, except, I had to use evaporated milk instead of the cream. WONDERFUL! I always thought it would be difficult to make, but now I know better. Perfect for our Simple Supper night of tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. Thank you for taking the time to create and post this recipe.

  3. Liz M.

    Thanks for this delicious and easy recipe. I made it last night for dinner to go with a quiche. I didn’t have fresh basil, so I just omitted that, and I used plain old Hunts canned whole tomatoes. I let it simmer probably double the time since I was doing other things in the kitchen. I put it through my Vitamix to make it silky smooth. I had it again for lunch today and enjoyed it so much!

    1. A woman holding a camera standing in front of some shelves.

      I haven’t pureed the tomatoes before cooking them in the soup, but it should work ok. Just might need a little longer to cook after to thicken the soup.

  4. Valerie

    I have some canned whole tomatoes from the garden,no way to roast them. Do u think these would wrk or how I can add a roasted effect. Or would you recommend me just buying your recommended tomatoes.

      1. Rich

        I made the soup with half the amount of red pepper. I felt it tasted great but still way too spicy for my young children according to Them so I am trying another pot with no red pepper. Do you have any recommendations on how to get that peppery flavor without the heat.

        1. A woman holding a camera standing in front of some shelves.

          Hi Rich! Sadly, not really. You could try adding some paprika or smoked paprika. Paprika is dried red bell peppers! So would add little bit of chili/pepper flavor without any heat.

  5. Cheryl

    Absolutely delicious ! I try new recipes all the time, and this was one of my favorites. Followed the recipe, but used a tsp of freeze-dried basil. Used a blender and it was beautifully smooth! Made my own croutons from a leftover baguette tossed in olive oil and s & p. Perfect winter meal!

  6. Fe Kramer

    I just made it for the first time and my husband said it is goodand a keeper . Thank you. So easy to make and delicious.

  7. Christina

    We have been making this soup for years and absolutely love it; it’s so delicious with grilled cheese dippers. I am a cult follower of America’s Test Kitchen (I hope it’s ok that I say that) and your recipe BY FAR beats every single one they have for tomato soup – and yours is easier! I am finally going to start trying other recipes from your site. Can’t wait!

  8. Cara

    The soup was delish. I spent A LOT of time using an immersion blender. I finally caved &used my blender. Would it make any difference if I used crushed tomatoes or does the whole peeled tomato preferred?

  9. Kristen

    Any tips to make this smoother? The flavor is great but my blender (ninja) doesn’t make it smooth no matter how long si blend.

  10. Lisa

    What is the significance of simmering for 12 minutes? I understand sautéing the garlic and onion but could you just add everything else to the blender after that and then heat? I’ve made this two days in row lol. That’s how much we enjoyed it.

  11. Kelly

    Hi! Just curious if I could use just crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce? I don’t have an immersion blender, so looking for a way around that. This soup looks super yummy!Thanks!!

    1. A woman holding a camera standing in front of some shelves.

      Hi Kelly! I haven’t tried it, so I don’t know for sure. Do you have a blender? You could always move the soup into a blender instead!

      1. Kelly

        Thanks for the reply! Unfortunately, no blender either (we’re not smoothie people, so we just never had much of a call to get one!). I will try it and hopefully it’s as good as yours sounds. Thanks!

  12. Sarah

    So yummy! As someone who is super picky, this soup is amazing and very similar to Panera’s. Fresh croutons on top make this

    1. A woman holding a camera standing in front of some shelves.

      Hi Sydney, I’m sorry but I do not measure out amounts of cooked food, but I do share how many I think it would feed. So for this recipe, I feel it makes 4 good sized servings for 4 people. Hope this helps!

  13. Kinley

    If I couldnt find San Marzano but did find Red Gold whole peeled tomatoes will that work hopefully?! Thank you! Im excited to make this tonight!

  14. 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!

  15. 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!!❤️

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. Halo

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

  19. 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.

  20. 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!!

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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???

  25. 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!!

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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!

  29. 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!!!!

  30. 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:)

  31. Ray

    Found this and tried it today. Very tasty and a keeper. Only thing I would change for next time is to go much lighter on the red pepper flakes … much too hot for my taste unless you love hot spicy Mexican and Indian foods.

  32. Lynne

    I made this recipe yesterday in the crockpot. I know you are thinking why? Well I needed to go to the gym and wanted something for when i got back. I put the Mazano tomatoes in my blender before adding them. My crockpot has a metal insert which allowed me to brown the onion and garlic on the stove. I used my mini food processor to puree the onion and garlic together. I did everything else the same. Set the crockpot for 3hrs. It was so good with some crusty italian bread I had on hand. Delicious. I froze the leftovers for another busy day.

  33. Shaunise

    Panera’s creamy tomato soup is my favorite! I can’t wait to make your recipe! Thank you so much, you’ll save me a fortune. LoL 

    1. Julie

      I have made this twice. Once following your exact recipe, which is really awesome! The second time I took some advice from other reviewers. I added the garlic after the onions were almost translucent, added an extra cup of chicken stock, 1/4 cup extra cream, and more seasoning. I also happened to have a parmesan rind which I simmered with the soup. Amazing! The spice level was perfect with the 1/2 tsp of red pepper.

      I always make a recipe as written the first time and then make adjustments according to my taste. Thank you so much for this delicious soup recipe!!!

  34. Debra

    This is a fantastic recipe!! I followed it to a T and it turned out exactly like Panera.. literally cannot tell the difference. This one is a winner for sure! I will be using this recipe for many dinners with family and friends. Thank you!

  35. Laura

    I forgot what Panera’s soup tastes like, and no longer care. I love this soup and will probably get burned out on it. Now I no longer have to go to Panera for this soup. 

    Thanks so much. 

  36. A

    I’ve made this recipe so many times but I had to finally leave a comment!! It’s always SO good! I’m vegan and so is my family, so we sub coconut sugar for regular sugar, unsweetened almond milk or unsweetened coconut milk for the half and half, and homemade vegetable broth for chicken broth! We also add a few tablespoons of nutritional yeast (vegan cheese-like flavor) and a little crushed red pepper for kick, sometimes some earth balance (vegan butter) Still tastes just like I remember Panera’s to be! Thanks a ton for this recipe!!

  37. Ray Methvin

    Nope. Not close. Is the recipe good? Yes, we had a really nice bowl of tomato soup with a melty, yummy grill cheese. But Panera? Nope. Nope. Nope. Not close. Not even in the same zip code. Make this because it’s tasty and tres’ easy, not because you think you’re making a Panera knockoff. Nope, you’re not. Nope. Nope. Nope.

  38. Paul Kubiak

    I made this soup today on a quiet, snowy afternoon. I followed the recipe exactly except I substituted dried herbs. The only other variation was that I only used 1 can of tomatoes because I misread the recipe. I did add some tomato paste though. This was absolutely delicious with grilled cheese! I’m so glad I found your website! A great soup for a cold stormy day!

  39. Angela calvey

    made this for my daughter who loves Panera tomatoe soup I didn’t think I liked it boy was I wrong ! Can’t wait to bring it for lunch tomorrow at work it’s gantastic 

  40. Linda Schiller

    I agree using good canned tomato, Cento San Marzano. Used 1 tablespoon sugar (even that amount might be too much), no chicken stock, 2 sticks butter instead. About 1/3 cup heavy cream, and lots of salt. Panera soup, if you look at the calorie count, is much more fattening than this recipe, thus why I used butter instead of chicken stock.

  41. Lori

    I used the suggestions in the comments and added 1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika and about 1/8 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (my son doesn’t like spicy), 1 tablespoon of Earth Balance, plus 2 tablespoons of tomato paste in a tube to the onions/garlic the last few minutes they were cooking. I also used SO Delicious Coconut Milk Creamer instead of Half and Half to make this a vegan dish. I served it with grilled cheese made with Daiya American slices and Earth Balance. The slices melted to a creamy, gooey goodness. The soup does taste just like Panera. Love it and this will be a repeat meal in our household. Thanks for the recipe.

  42. Vista

    I used this recipe as a guide to make tomato soup last night. I just used what I had at home. One 28 oz can stewed tomatoes and two 14 Oz cans of Italian diced tomatoes instead of San Marzanos. The only other thing I changed was adding more broth, and I skipped the sugar and cream. I tasted it before adding those missing ingredients and it was delicious. It was plenty sweet and I didn’t have any cream. A grilled ham and cheese rounded out the meal. Thanks for the recipe!!

  43. Eric White

    Last week I went to Wawa and got their version of Tomato and Basil Bisque which was awesome so I googled it and found this recipe. I’ve never had the Panera version but I can tell you this recipe came out almost exactly like Wawa. This was delicious and easy to make with minimal cleanup afterward. I went exactly by the recipe which is a hard thing for me to do most of the time and was rewarded. This recipe was great. I just whipped up a grilled Ham and Cheese to go with it. The older I get, the more I appreciate food like this. Thanks for the recipe!

  44. Janessa

    The soup tasted amazing however the texture was almost like I grated tomatoes instead of the traditional smooth creamy texture. I used the blender. What did I do wromg?

  45. Jen

    Loved the panera soup.   Has anyone made it as a vegan version?   I was thinking of substituting almond milk and a 1-2 tbsp cornstarch for the half and half.  Any recommendations?

  46. Alicia

    Just made it today – made a few substitutions because of what I had on hand. Purple onions & fresh oregano. 3 out of 3 people loved it. My daughter – who previously “didn’t like soups” said, I guess I like soups now. 

    Thanks for a great recipe and thank you for your effort in maintaining your site. 

  47. Kate

    Love the taste – is there any different type of canned tomato I can use that doesn’t come with seeds? Cannot get over the texture of biting them!

  48. Kim

    I’ve been looking for a close recipe for Panera’s creamy tomato. This was good and close but something was still missing, i dumped a huge helping of shaved Parmesan cheese and bam tasted almost identical to me. Our 5 year old ate it up!  

  49. tanya

    Not sure why all the great reviews because this lacked taste to me. Tasted nothing like the soup I  had from there last night. Perhaps they changed the recipe from when this was first  submitted.  

  50. Ginger

    Making this tonight! I forgot to pick up the basil but the tomatoes I bought have basil. Will this change the flavor much?

  51. LotsaJoy56

    I was craving Panera tomato soup today and I googled and found your recipe. YUM!!! I didn’t even have all of the ingredients as you outlined them, but I used what I had and I am a satisfied sister! I used one large can of diced tomatoes, one large can of tomato sauce, and a can of coconut milk since I didn’t have the half and half or the tomatoes your recipe called for. I used the chopped garlic from the jar in the fridge, a fresh onion, dried basil, dried oregano, Himalayan pink salt, ground black pepper, a little parmesan cheese, and broth. After cooking and blending, I served it with croutons and a little parmesan cheese sprinkled on top. Served it with my own version of a panini (made with the waffle iron) and I was most content, to say the least!

  52. Susan

    I agree with some commenters that this soup needs a little spice.  For me and my family, the soup was way, way too sweet.  Next time, I will start with 1 teaspoon, not 2 tablespoons of sugar and add a few shakes of red pepper flakes.


    Made this soup last night and it was great. Panera’s version does have a more robust, spicy flavor though… I’ll try adding a little cayenne like one commenter suggested. The consistency was perfect though – exactly like Panera’s. Never going back to store-bought canned tomato soup again! Thank you so much for sharing your recipe!

  54. Karen Singrey

    I put the gutted tomatoes in my huge 20 stainless sauce pot in small batches and cooked until the skins were beginning to slide off and removed and did it to the comlpete batch. I added 4 cleaned, seeded and chopped butternut squash and in 16 gallons of tomatoes, spices… I added about 1/2 cup of brown sugar. I cooked this for almost 15 hours, adjusting the seasonings as needed. WARNING: NEVER EVER COOK TOMATOES IN AN ALUMINUM POT, CANNERS ARE USUALLY ALUMINUM. They will be very acids if you do and the tomato will leach the aluminum. I PROCESSES 36 PINTS OF THIS WONDERFUL SOUP.

  55. Karen Singrey

    I am making this version except, Ihave the 1st batch finished – it is yummy!, and I added the cream just to my bowl. I am going to can this 1st batch and hope it does well. Of course, you must know, I am using 30 gallon of fresh tomatoes (mostly Roma). I cored and cut in half around like you were going to slice them and removed the seeds with my thumbs. Got them coo,ingredients and slowly as it got hot, the skins slip off and come to the top. I cooked it down for 14 hours on low, added all the spices and, it is the most heavenly fragrance in the house!

  56. Robin Collins

    I’m so happy to have found this recipe! I made it today and it was PERFECT!!! I am by no means a cook at all and it was simple enough for me to make it. I love this soup at Panera and I will be making it all the time now at home. Made my day! Even though I didn’t have the lid closed all the way on the blender…made a mess EVERYWHERE and burned my arms. Even so, I’m so glad it turned out so well!!! Thanks so much for sharing!!!!!!

    1. Karen Singrey

      A.ways put and hold a wet dish cloth over the top of the blender when processing hot ingredients and process in small batches. Immersion blenders are wonderful because she you don’t get the swoosh of hot coming at You!

  57. aj

    It is unbelievably awesome… I have a dish that I can take to my next pot-luck. Thank u for publishing it.

  58. mars chia

    I’m already dreaming of tasting this soup right now but the other thing that caught my eye is that gooey cheese oozing out of the grilled cheese. Do you mind sharing the recipe? Please?

  59. Anders Svenson

    Wow!  It’s looking so delicious and yummy. I made tomato soup with added cream and some sugar. I am very glad that I found this recipe from your website. I just tried it at my home. It is amazing.

  60. Malin Andersson

    You know jessica. Delicious recipe you have shared. My mouth is watering just after looking at it. I will definitely try this soon. Thanks for sharing.

  61. Judith

    I was hoping for a real copycat recipe for Panera’s Creamy Tomato Soup. It just didn’t make the grade and too much sugar. I won’t make this again.

  62. Kristy Gantz

    Hi! Thanks for the recipe. I have canned tomato soup for years and it’s just near as chunky or thick as I’d like. I didn’t know if you had experience with canning this recipe? I would imagine it would just have to get back up to boiling before putting into the jars and then can it for 20 minutes in water bath canner. Any thoughts would be awesome! Thanks!

    1. A woman holding a camera standing in front of some shelves.

      HI Kristy! I am sorry, but I honestly have no experience canning. It is something I have always wanted to learn, but I do not have any helpful tips. Sorry I can’t be more help!

  63. Bella Donna

    It’s great pleasure to get a chance to comment on such a nice and informative blog. I love to enjoy reading new things. Thanks for share and keep it up.

  64. Margaret

    Wow, it’s the 2nd day of autumn/fall? 2015 In Perth Australia. It’s still hot and dry- I’d love some rain- but I can’t wait to try your Creamy Tomato soup.:) Maybe tomorrow!! I once had and misplaced a totally healthy & tasty tomatoe & oregano or some Greek herb-yummy! Has anyone out there got a recipe like this please? Cheers :)

  65. Tracy

    I followed recipe to a T as well. It tasted so acidic! Tried adding more cream, stock, and sugar. Didn’t work. Very disappointed.

  66. Donna

    Hello, does anyone know what the calories would be for one bowl of this soup? and I’m sure could use fat free half and half – right? or would it not come out right? Looks like great recipe and will try! Thanks.

    1. A woman holding a camera standing in front of some shelves.

      It will not be as creamy, but yes you can use fat free half & half. I do not do the nutrition on recipes, but you can calculate any recipe’s nutrition with Enjoy!

  67. Jennifer D

    Made this recipe and followed the ingredients to a T. It was horrible. The taste reminds me of an onion – tomato spaghetti sauce. Definitely would not recommend this one.

    1. Rosyred

      I agree!I followed the recipe to a t and it tasted like sweet tomato sauce. I will have to get creative. There is a spice in Paneras soup that’s lacking in this recipe. Overall the consistency was good.

  68. Ann M

    I was just looking at your recipe for tomato soup (looks yummy). If you want less calories you can add cream cheese instead of the half and half. I was told this by a restaurant chef that eat at.

  69. Lorin

    I was excited to try this recipe because I love tomato soup! The taste was great, but I didn’t care for the chunkiness of the soup (even after pureeing it for a long time there were bits of tomatoes and seeds floating around, which turned me off). Had the consistency been creamy I would have loved it.

  70. Katerine Granda


    I love to try cooking new recepies and I’ve added this one to my favorites!
    Even though it’s “spring” here in the Northeast Coast of the USA, it still feels like winter. I’ve recently have been loving Panera and their creamy tomato soup is amazing. So with the cold weather I decided to try out this recepie! Well I loved it! It came out to be less creamy than I wanted it to be because I don’t measure my ingredients, but I just go with my gut feeling. I still loved it! I didn’t think it would be that good but it surpassed my expectations! It wasn’t difficult to make and it’s definitively worth it! I can’t wait to make some more!! Thank you for the recepie!!

  71. Emma

    This is my favorite soup recipe. I’ve made it several times, exactly to recipe, and it’s turned out great every time. Still tastes great halved. I’ve made it a weekly dinner item with mozzarella basil sandwiches on sour dough.

    Thanks for sharing it!

  72. Linda

    Made this soup for my mom who la la loves tomato soup, and lets just say she had 2 bowls, Thank you for the recipe!!

  73. Carol

    I should say I added a can of tomato paste and used an entire 26 oz container of chicken stock (but I used no salt added, and there was no taste difference, or at least we didn’t think so. We are always trying to reduce salt intake.) I thought next time I may try using stevia instead of sugar, to reduce the sugar content as well. Still with these changes, the soup was thick enough and phenomenal! kudos!

  74. Carol

    This is a FANTASTIC recipe!! I loved it! My 15 year old daughter LOVES Panera creamy tomato soup but as we all know it can be pricy, so I decided to look online for a copy cat recipe and VOILA! I did make a few minor adjustments (to make a larger batch, and because I was missing a couple ingredients) but it still turned out delicious and it’s about as close as I think I would ever get to Panera’s actual recipe and taste. Thank you!! YUMMY!!

  75. Athena Rodriguez

    I had to come back to your web page and give credit where credit is due. I made this for a girls’ vacation at the Northern California coast last weekend along side some grilled cheese sandwiches. It was a huge hit! 12 women can’t be wrong! I heard comments like, “This is the best tomato soup I’ve ever had in my LIFE!” and “You could sell this professionally!” I wanted to mention I went with the recommendation of a previous commenter and substituted one can of tomatoes for one can of tomato paste because I wanted that concentrated tomato flavor. Thank you so much for posting this. It’s going to be one of my staples.

  76. Tina

    Wow! My husband requested grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup for dinner…I have never made tomato soup before, and this stuff was delicious! I just had Panera tomato soup yesterday, so that’s why I did a search for Panera-esque tomato soup. Your recipe is fabulous. Tastes just like Panera, and it’s so easy to make. I’m saving it. Definitely making it again! Thanks!

  77. Angel

    Can you buy the San marzano tomatoes fresh? If so where can you usually find them? As I try not to eat to much that comes out of a can.I’m excited to try this recipe!!!! It looks amazing!!!!!!

  78. Fallon

    I made this tonight for my family and it was phenomenal! Awesome job with this recipe; so identical to panera’s! I couldn’t find the brand of tomatoes you used so I bought meijer organics. It was awesome! Will make it again soon!

  79. Suzy

    To Abby,

    In response to her question about using Almond Milk, if I want to make a vegan version of any recipe asking for cream or half & half, I do substitute with unsweetened Coconut milk (bought from the refrigerated section – do not use ‘in the can’ version.
    I made this tomato soup recipe using unsweetened coconut milk and it came out divine!

  80. Gigi

    I made this just now – excellent!!!! I added a stalk of celery and a small organic carrot and doubled the amount of stock – its heavenly!!!! Thank you for the recipe :)

  81. Amy

    This is the best Panera copycat recipe I’ve ever tried! I just made it and the family loves it! This was a perfect ending to a cold autumn day. I think this recipe will be a staple in our home! Thank you!!

      1. Lilly

        You will find the recipe at the top of this thread, scroll all the way back to the
        Beginning, before the comments section.

  82. Olga

    I have just made it and it’s awesome. Thank you very much!!! I especially appreciate publishing the pictures of the soup and the cans- they inspired me to go grocery shopping late and night and now I feel happy that my family will have good soup tomorrow while I’ll be working late. Thank you.
    For everyone who is thinking about making it- it was super easy.

  83. Tammy

    Made this soup for dinner last night and it was delicious. Served with homemade mac and cheese and crusty seven grain baguette. It was a big hit with my vegan/vegetarian family. No leftovers this morning! Will definitely be making this again soon.

  84. Stacy

    Made this soup and I used 1 28 oz can of San Marz. Tomatoes and 1 28 oz can of TOMATO PUREE BOTH CENTOS!! An both SAN MARZ.( WHICH MAKES A HUGE DIFFERENCE IN ANYTHING YOU ARE MAKING W/ CANNED TOMAOES) the Tomato puree is not as thick as PASTE would be but is a fuller in flavor because the tomaoes are already pureed as u would do with a blender…but i also used 2 cups of my own chicken stock I made a few days ago. I have made tomato soup with the canned tomatoes only as in this recipe but…after watch alot of Micheal Symon sauces and other old recipe research I decided to use 1/2 and Half with tomatoes and puree..( i use puree in other recipes at times)… YOU WILL get a richer flavor and hit it with a dash of crushed red pepper while onions are softening or a dash of cayanne to spice it up..if you like a little kick! This is a very good base recipe that will allow for a little personalizing! Grate some asiago or Parm Regg. In while cooking and over at the end..its GREAT THAT WAY! THE CRILLED CHEESE CAN ACTUALLY BE MADE INTO SMALL CROUTONS AND GO RIGHT ON TOP FOR YOU CHEESE LOVERS LIKE ME! MEAL IN A BOWL FOR SURE! THANKS FOR POSTING THIS RECIPE!

  85. Lucy

    I don’t usually cook but had to try and find a recipe for the Panera tomato soup because I love it a lot. Just made this today and not only was it relatively easy but the soup turned out PERFECT! I can’t get enough of it. The tomatoes I got had basil and oregano seasoning mixed in already so that made it even easier and still tasted great. I also added a little bit of grated cheese but don’t know if it made a real difference.

    Long story short, thank you for putting in the work of figuring out the recipe! I’ll be making this for a long time to come.

  86. Susie

    This was AMAZING! I made it tonight for a quick supper for my family of 5 and they all loved it. Even my 3 year old ask for seconds! Thanks for an awesome tomato soup recipe for the whole family!

  87. Linda

    First, let me say I am making this tomorrow. No waiting. Nope. Can’t wait. OMG this looks good! Thank You!
    Next, the “screw you” part in particular cracked me up. I just love, love a girl with attitude! To be honest, the entire post had me smiling………. I’m new your site, but I bet I’ll be an avid follower.

  88. Karen butcher

    YUUUUUMO! Made exactly to the recipe but instead of 2 cans tomatoes, I also had a couple lbs of fresh San Marzano tomatoes. I blanched them, removed the skins & proceeded with the recipe. Used my immersion blender. Also, my farmers market had spinach Parmesan bread that I used for my grilled cheese sandwiches. Buttered both sides, shredded fresh fontina cheese, added some sliced delicious heirloom tomato, torn fresh basil, topped again with more cheese. The meal was outstanding. TIP: cut your cheese sandwiches in half, then sliced them in either finger size or croutons. So yummy when you dip them into the soup.

  89. Mar

    Thanks for the recipe – I found it by googling the day after my husband and I went to Panera and he had the tomato soup and I had the butternut squash soup which was disappointing to me. The onions in the soup I made were a little crunchier than I would have preferred – next time I will cook them longer. But really like this soup, shared some of the leftovers with my mom and she liked it too.

      1. Lana

        I added just a pinch of cayenne and a tablespoon of butter and, to me, it tasted just like Panera.  It was perfect!  Thanks for the recipe.

    1. Foodie...

      Add 2 T of tubed tomato paste to the onions and garlic when sautéing as well as about a 1/2 tsp of cayenne red pepper flakes.  I also add one cube of Rapunzel (organic) boullion.  Himalayan sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste and some grated parmesan cheese.  I think you’ll get the ‘kick’ your missing from this really wonderful basic recipe!   The result is 99% dead on! 

    2. Foodie...

      Add 2 T of tubed tomato paste to the onions and garlic when sautéing as well as about a 1/2 tsp of cayenne red pepper flakes.  I also add one cube of Rapunzel (organic) boullion.  Himalayan sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste and some grated parmesan cheese.  I think you’ll get the ‘kick’ your missing from this really wonderful basic recipe!   The result is 99% dead on! 

      Oh.. almost forgot… I use half butter and half olive oil to sauté… 

  90. Cecilia

    Made soup for the first time for some guests. Everyone enjoyed the soup. I’m glad I stumbled onto your site. Looking forward to trying the other recipes found here.

  91. Trixie

    Found you via Pinterest and made this tonight – phenomenal! So easy and delicious. I used fat free half & half and still came out rich and creamy.

  92. ErinsFoodFiles

    I’ve been waiting on you to post this since I saw it on FB! (Actually, I’ve been waiting until you posted it AND I actually had time to catch up on blogs.) I LOVE from Panera,and that is a GREAT idea to make a double batch and freeze. I’m totally doing that one weekend soon.

    PS. I made slow cooker soup on Sunday (White Chicken Chili) and another soup today while I’ve been home with a slightly sick Elliott (Curried Cauliflower Soup). I’m LOVING soup season, even if we aren’t technically there yet!

  93. Danielle

    Just made this and it was yummy. I used rice milk instead of half and half. Only thing I’d do different is maybe make a roux to give it a creamer texture. Other than that it was excellent. I had some hamburger buns that needed to be used up so I made croutons with garlic parsley salt and a sprinkle of thyme. Thanks for sharing!

  94. Traci

    Delicious! I love a good creamy tomato soup and hate anything canned. This looks so simple and easy, going to have to try it!

  95. Maggie @ A Bitchin' Kitchen

    This looks to die for! Tomato soup and grilled cheese has to be one of my favorite comfort food meals. It’s still pretty hot here in DC too, but I might just blast the AC and make a batch of this :)

  96. Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love.

    Tomato soup and grilled cheese is basically the best thing ever! I love their tomato soup so I am definitely making this!!

  97. Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe

    This looks like the perfect tomato soup, especially along side a grilled cheese sandwich. Hello comfort! LOVE San Marzano tomatoes!

  98. Abby

    Oh my yum.
    I could (and do) eat soup at restaurants any time of year. Notoriously. But I don’t usually make it at home until it cools off a bit in Texas. Such a classic recipe. Do you think you could make it vegan with almond milk instead of the half and half?

    1. A woman holding a camera standing in front of some shelves.

      To be honest, I don’t have a lot of experience using almond milk in savory cooking. If you find that it normally works in soups, then it is worth a shot!

  99. Joanne

    I got Panera’s tomato soup and grilled cheese for the first time last year and it took me about five seconds (and one slurp) to be hooked. NEED THIS. And I totally made soup yesterday and didn’t tell the.boy. Will I be sharing? hmmm, maybe not. :P

  100. Nikki @Seeded at the Table

    This Mississippi heat is KILLING me! I’m ready for soup, too! MAYBE the pumpkin spice latte…maybe.

    Okay, so you might see me post an IG tomorrow morning with one in hand. ;)

  101. Colleen, The Smart Cookie Cook

    I am with you; I have switched to full-on Fall mode. You’re killing me with this recipe; it looks so delicious, not to mention that grilled cheese is the perfect partner.

  102. Laura (Blogging Over Thyme)

    Haha, “screw you”–I totally would have done the same thing. Connor sort of has to just go along with my food cravings, luckily, he likes to eat everything, so usually doesn’t end up minding all that much.

    This soup looks heavenly! I love a good creamy tomato soup.

  103. Karoliina

    Your soup looks absolutely delicious, can’t wait to try the recipe. I won’t be finding the canned tomato brand you used here in Finland, but I’ll try the one I have. But there is a part in the recipe that I do not understand: What is this “half and half” that I’m supposed to add?

  104. Tieghan

    Yes, please! This looks so yummy and so creamy and so comforting! I want it all! I love Panera’s soups, but this looks better!

  105. Jessica

    It’s like we’re on the same wavelength…I made a batch of creamy tomato basil would and a some fresh bread (for grilled cheese sandwiches) just last week! It totally hit the spot. I am so ready for fall!

  106. Ashley | Spoonful of Flavor

    I love the creamy tomato soup from Panera. I can’t wait to try this version which looks incredible! I have the hardest time thinking about fall when it is 90 degrees with 70% humidity, ugh.

  107. Averie @ Averie Cooks

    I did a version of this soup from Panera right about this time last year! I remember b/c it was HOT out and I was making soup :) Yours is so gorgeous. Makes me want to dive in – just as soon at it’s not 90F here! lol pinned!

  108. Belinda @themoonblushbaker

    You must be magic or something. I needed something for dinner and your post popped up! I can only have soups right now and I need of the comforting and creamy. I am still trying to let go of winter (I am in the southern hemisphere), so I guess I am feel the same as you but with winter. It might be heating up over here but I still need soup!


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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