The annoying thing about tomato soup is that the best time of year to enjoy it is in the dead of winter, but the best time to eat tomatoes is obviously in the summer. That's why this recipe relies on the beauty of tomato paste (a very concentrated tomato product AKA lots of FLAVOR) and whole canned tomatoes. Buy the best canned tomatoes you can find--San Marzano's are ideal. I also really like Muir Glen's whole tomatoes.

Creamy Tomato Soup with Cheesy Garlic Toasts

Prep Time
15 minutes
Cook Time
55 minutes
Total Time
1 hr 10 minutes



For the soup:

4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon finely chopped thyme leaves

Red pepper flakes, to taste, plus more for serving

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

¼ cup tomato paste

2 (28 ounce) cans whole or crushed tomatoes (San Marzano’s, if possible)

2 teaspoons honey, plus more to taste

¼ cup heavy cream, plus more for drizzling

For the cheesy croutons:

4-6 slices fresh sourdough bread

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 garlic clove, halved horizontally

1/2 cup grated gruyere cheese

1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese (white, yellow, or both)

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Fresh thyme leaves

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Make the soup. Melt butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, cooking until soft and translucent (if it starts to caramelize, turn down your heat), 7-8 minutes. Add garlic, thyme, and red pepper flakes, cooking until fragrant, 1 minute. Cook until onion is completely soft and translucent, 10–12 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring often, until paste has darkened and caramelized, 3-4 minutes.

Add canned tomatoes. Take a mental note of roughly where the height of the soup hits on your pot. Add honey and 6 cups water (could also use chicken or vegetable stock, though not necessary) to pot. Increase heat to high; bring to a boil then reduce to a heavy simmer (don’t season at this point, the soup needs to reduce). Simmer until soup reduces by 6 cups (the same height of the soup before the water was added), 40-45 minutes. Remove soup from heat; let cool slightly. Purée the soup with an immersion blender or work in batches and puree in a high speed blender. Return soup to pot if using a high speed blender.

Over medium low heat, stir in heavy cream. Simmer until warmed, 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and more honey, if necessary. Keep warm.

Meanwhile, make the croutons. Place a rack in the upper third of your oven and preheat to a high broil. Arrange slices of sourdough on a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil. Broil until top side is golden brown, 1-2 minutes (depending on the strength of your broiler). Remove sheet pan from oven and flip over bread slices. Repeat on remaining side. Remove from oven and rub the interior of the garlic clove over the toasted bread. Divide cheeses between bread slices and top with thyme leaves and pepper flakes. Put back under the broiler until the cheese melts, 2-3 minutes. Transfer bread slices to a cutting board and cut into small squares. 

Ladle soup into bowls, drizzle with cream and top with croutons and more pepper flakes. Serve immediately.