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.
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
⅓cupshredded parmesan cheese, optional
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.
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.
Add the heavy cream, basil, oregano, red pepper flakes and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Using an immersion blender (or carefully transfer soup to a blender), puree soup until there are no large chunks left.
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.