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Creamy Tomato Basil Soup | Copycat First Watch Tomato Basil Soup

This creamy tomato basil soup recipe is a total copycat of my favorite soup at First Watch! Ready to serve in under 30 minutes and just perfect paired with a hot and melty classic grilled cheese sandwich…

creamy tomato basil soup in a blue and white bowl with and antique silver spoon

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

Growing up I hated tomato soup — like wouldn’t touch it with my spoon tied to a 10-foot pole, HATED IT. Believe me, my dad tried on numerous occasions to serve it to me for lunch. I was always considered a “good eater,” but it was one of the few foods that I steadfastly refused to eat.

Fast forward about 20 years to a random lunch with my hubby at First Watch. I decided to take a little taste of his cup of tomato basil soup, and I had a revelation… It was never been tomato soup itself that I hated! It’s that icky canned condensed blob of tomato-like substance that my dad always prepared that I despised.

So as with so many of my other favorite restaurant recipes, I set out to recreate that lovely creamy tomato basil soup at home. And I like to think my tomato basil soup recipe comes pretty darn close!


homemade tomato basil soup in a blue and white bowl garnished with fresh basil

Best Tomato Basil Soup Recipe Ever

A few things that make this (in my opinion) the BEST tomato basil soup recipe ever…

1| It starts with canned whole tomatoes. Surprised? I love fresh tomatoes as much as the next person, but making tomato basil soup with canned tomatoes gives you more consistency in flavor from batch to batch, while also making this a super easy and convenient recipe to prepare year round. Plus canned veggies actually rival fresh veggies when it comes to nutrients, because they’re harvested and packed at the peak of ripeness and freshness!

2| The addition of tomato paste adds more depth of flavor. Adding a couple of tablespoons of tomato paste really intensifies the tomato-y taste of this soup, especially when you add while sautéing the aromatics.

3| Fresh basil adds brightness. But if tomato and basil soup isn’t your thing, feel free to switch it up. Rosemary, thyme, parsley, and chives are also fabulous choices. It’s a great way to use up whatever fresh herbs you have on hand!

4| There’s just enough cream. While this IS a cream of tomato basil soup, we don’t have to be super heavy handed with the cream. Using just 1/2 cup of heavy cream is enough to add richness to the soup without adding a ton of extra calories. I think it’s the best of both worlds! Sometimes I’ll swap it for crème fraîche for a change of pace, and if you want to lighten it up a bit, you can totally just use milk.

how to make tomato basil soup with fresh basil and canned tomatoes

How To Make Tomato Basil Soup

You seriously won’t believe just how easy this tomato soup is to prepare. It *really* doesn’t take much longer than heating up the canned stuff, and I promise you it tastes a gazillion times better! Just 10 minutes of simmering after sautéing the onion and garlic, puree, and serve — preferably with a hot and melty grilled cheese sandwich on the side.

easy tomato basil soup served with grilled cheese

pureeing hot homemade tomato basil soup

I’m not big on having a multitude of kitchen gadgets, but one that I can’t live without is this immersion blender. It makes pureeing hot soups, like this tomato basil soup, a total cinch, and it cleans up like a dream. If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, I’ve heard this Cuisinart model is very good, as well.

If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can always drag out your blender or food processor. Please, please, PLEASE, just make sure to puree in small batches with plenty of headspace in your blending container. Hot liquids expand, and I’m hoping to save you all from spending hours cleaning tomato soup off of your walls, cabinets, ceiling, and every other possible kitchen surface — a lesson I learned the hard way as a newlywed.


creamy tomato basil soup recipe garnished with cream and fresh basil

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

Yield: 10 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

This creamy tomato basil soup recipe is a total copycat of my favorite soup at First Watch! Ready to serve in under 30 minutes and just perfect paired with a hot and melty classic grilled cheese sandwich...


  • 4 tablespoons salted butter
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 (28-oz.) cans whole tomatoes
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • additional salt & pepper, to taste


  1. In a Dutch oven, sauté onions and garlic in butter over medium heat until translucent. Stir in tomato paste and cook while stirring until it starts to brown.
  2. Pour in the chicken stock and scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spatula or spoon to remove any caramelized brown bits.
  3. Add both cans of tomatoes, including juice, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup right in the pot, or transfer the tomato mixture in batches to blender or food processor to process.
  5. After mixture is pureed, add in basil and pulse a few times to incorporate. Then whisk in heavy cream and season with additional salt and pepper to taste.


Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 134Total Fat: 9.3gSaturated Fat: 5.7gCholesterol: 28.7mgSodium: 454.3mgCarbohydrates: 10.2gFiber: 3.2gSugar: 7gProtein: 2.4g

How much did you LOVE this recipe?

Please leave a comment below or share a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #unsophisticook!

oven baked grilled cheese sliced on crinkled parchment paper

What To Serve With Tomato Basil Soup?

Hot and fresh grilled cheese sandwiches are a no brainer pairing for this easy tomato basil soup… Check out this brilliant sheet pan grilled cheese in the oven technique for making multiple grilled cheeses all at once in the oven while your soup is simmering away! SO EASY — you’ll never make grilled cheese on your stovetop again…

Other good options are this quick & easy homemade garlic bread loaf or this Italian chopped salad.

I’d love to see how your creamy tomato basil soup turns out… Tag me @Unsophisticook on Instagram or use the hashtag #Unsophisticook so I can check it out. Enjoy!


Saturday 23rd of October 2021

Is there a specific type of onion you recommend? Red, white, yellow? Thanks!

Tara Kuczykowski

Tuesday 26th of October 2021

Hey Leanna -- I typically just use a regular yellow onion!

Sharon Vigorito

Sunday 10th of January 2021

Hi Tara. I tried this recipe as my husband drools over First Watch tomato basil soup. The first time he said it was good, but something was missing. So, I tried again and added a little oregano and thyme. He still says something is missing. I found a copycat for Applebee’s that adds sugar. I’m going to try that next time. But, no mistake, it’s a great recipe and thank you for posting it.

Tara Kuczykowski

Sunday 10th of January 2021

Thanks for the feedback, Sharon! It's been a *very* long time since I've had First Watch's version, so I feel like I need to pick some up and compare them again now, LOL. Either way, I'm so glad you enjoyed it.


Wednesday 30th of October 2019

This soup was the perfect thing to have for lunch on a dreary cold day yesterday. It came together in a snap and was SO delicious. Great recipe!


Saturday 26th of October 2019

Nothing beats a good tomato and basil soup, unless it's a tomato and basil soup served with a grilled cheese sandwich! I'll have to try your oven method!


Friday 25th of October 2019

This is seriously the best creamy tomato soup! This will definitely be on our table a few times a month!

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