Easy 3-Ingredient Tomato Soup with Canned Tomatoes
How to make the easiest-ever 3-ingredient tomato soup with canned tomatoes, broth, & onion! It’s perfectly creamy & savory, with a deliciously bright, tomatoey flavor. And it’s a great lower-sodium alternative to canned soups, simple enough to prep in just 30 minutes. Pair it with the perfect grilled cheese sandwich for the ultimate quick weeknight dinner!
Is tomato soup better with fresh or canned tomatoes?
In my experience, the best tomato soup is made with canned tomatoes. Canned tomatoes aren’t just more affordable & convenient—they also have a more consistent, concentrated flavor that makes for a richer & tastier homemade soup. Since they’re canned while fresh, it’s a reliable ingredient you can use year-round (especially when fresh tomatoes are out of season.)
It’s of course possible to make tomato soup with fresh tomatoes as well. But you’d want to do so when tomatoes are in-season, and it would take a longer time to chop & simmer down the ~4 cups of fresh tomatoes you’d need for this recipe. Personally, I prefer to make a quick tomato soup with canned tomatoes for the simplest prep—and the tastiest result!
What canned tomatoes are best for soup?
You can make this 3-ingredient tomato soup recipe with canned crushed tomatoes or whole peeled tomatoes (or tomato puree, in a pinch). I think crushed tomatoes are the best for soup since they’re more flavorful & only need a quick simmer. But whole peeled tomatoes are equally delicious—they just need to simmer a bit longer to break down. You can use tomato puree as a last resort if needed, but it’s often watery and will also need to simmer longer.
I do not recommend using canned diced tomatoes, stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce or tomato paste to make soup. The way diced tomatoes are processed makes them harder to break down, so they need to cook even longer than whole peeled. Stewed tomatoes are sweet and contain a variety of other flavorings that may or may not jive with your soup. And both tomato sauce & paste are too smooth in texture to make a satisfying stand-alone tomato soup.
Easy Homemade Tomato Soup Ingredients
- Onion. A simple secret to deepen the flavors in this any soup is to start with some sauteed onion! I’ve also pumped up the flavor with garlic in other recipes like my 5-ingredient curried sweet potato soup, so feel free to add some if you’re a fan. I like to saute in butter for the richest, most comforting flavor, or you can also use oil if you want to keep your tomato soup vegan.
- Canned Crushed Tomatoes. For the best flavor & texture, I recommend making this 3-ingredient tomato soup with canned crushed tomatoes. No need to drain them! Crushed tomatoes are my go-to in recipes like my minestrone soup because of their chunky texture, but you could also use canned whole peeled tomatoes since this whole soup is getting blended anyway. Some options have more sodium than others, so check the nutrition label if you’re concerned about sodium intake. (My favorite lower-sodium brand is Mutti crushed tomatoes.)
- Vegetable Broth. You can really use any broth you want in this easy tomato soup: vegetable, chicken, beef, etc. Again, if you’re concerned about sodium, added sugars, or other additives, be sure to check the labels & ingredients because different broths can vary widely. Since many broths are quite salty, I personally used a lower-sodium vegetable broth and then seasoned with salt. But if your broth has more sodium, you may want to skip the additional salt.
How to Make Tomato Soup from Canned Tomatoes
- Saute Onion. First, melt butter (or heat oil) in a deep pot over medium-high heat. Then, saute your chopped onion for 4-5 minutes, until it softens and becomes fragrant.
- Add Remaining Ingredients. Next, add in canned crushed tomatoes (or whole peeled) and broth, stirring well to integrate. If desired, you can season to taste with salt, depending on how salty your broth is already.
- Boil and Simmer. Bring the pot to a boil, then turn the heat down and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then, remove the pot from the heat and let it cool slightly before adding it into the blender. (If the soup is too hot, your blender might crack.)
- Blend Until Smooth. You can either pour the soup into a blender to puree it, or keep the soup in the pot and puree with an immersion blender. (If you want to make a tomato basil soup, add some fresh basil before blending!)
You can watch how I make this soup step-by-step in my Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese video!
Storage & Freezing
Once your blended tomato soup cools completely, transfer it into an airtight container it will last for 4-5 days stored in the fridge. For longer storage, you can also freeze this tomato soup for up to 3-4 months—just be sure to use freezer-safe containers.
What can I add to this 3-ingredient tomato soup to make it even better?
If you want to elevate this easy tomato soup recipe, get creative with other ingredients to change up the flavors & texture:
- For a tomato basil soup, add in a handful of fresh basil right before you blend the soup! Or, experiment with other fresh herbs like sage, rosemary, thyme, or oregano to add some bright, refreshing flavor.
- To make a creamy tomato soup, add ⅓-½ cup of heavy cream, half and half, milk, or coconut milk into your saucepan before simmering. After blending, the basic 3-ingredient soup is already nice & creamy. But adding some type of milk can make the texture even thicker & more velvety—almost like a bisque!
- For a heartier tomato soup, prep the soup as described and then stir in some cooked meat—like sweet or spicy Italian sausage, shredded chicken, pulled pork, or cooked crab.
- For a veggie-packed soup, blend the soup then add some leafy greens like spinach or arugula (while the soup’s still hot, so they’ll wilt). Or, try boiling some potatoes or cauliflower and then blend those into your soup for a sneaky vegetable source of added creaminess!
- If you love some crunch, you can elevate this basic tomato soup recipe by serving it with crunchy garnishes like croutons, toasted bread, pita chips, toasted nuts, pumpkin seeds, pretzels, or crackers like Goldfish or Cheez-Its!
3-Ingredient Tomato Soup from Canned Tomatoes
Basic Tomato Soup
- 1½ Tbsp butter, (or oil)
- 1 medium yellow onion, rough chopped, (or ½ large onion)
- 28 oz canned crushed tomatoes, (or canned whole peeled tomatoes)
- 1½ cups low sodium vegetable broth, (or chicken broth, or water)
- ¼ tsp salt, to taste, (depending on how salty your broth is)
- optional: handful of fresh basil
- fresh basil leaves
- croutons or pita chips
- shaved parmesan
- crackers or Goldfish
- Melt butter (or heat oil) in a pot over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion and saute 4-5 minutes, until softened.
- Add crushed tomatoes and broth, stirring to combine. If desired, season to taste with salt (depending on how salty your broth is).
- Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before transferring to a blender.
- Puree soup in a blender or with an immersion blender. (If desired, blend with fresh basil to make a tomato basil soup.) Be careful as to not burn yourself!
- Serve with croutons, fresh basil, parmesan, or whatever you like!
- Once soup cools completely, store in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days or freeze for 3-4 months.
- Yields~5 cups of homemade tomato soup.