Warm tomato soup is one of my favorite dishes. Served with a perfectly melty grilled cheese or topped with crispy chickpeas, tomato soup is a quintessential soup that every cook should know how to make.
So what's the secret to making great tomato soup year-round? A pantry staple that you should always have on hand.
1. Use canned tomatoes.
Canned tomatoes are the one thing you need to keep on hand for consistently amazing tomato soup. While ripe seasonal tomatoes have their own special place in summer soups like gazpacho, canned tomatoes are exactly the same year-round, making them essential for classic tomato soup and creamy tomato soup.
Whole or crushed tomatoes make the best soup, as they have the least amount of processing and fewest ingredients. Diced tomatoes often have calcium chloride added to help retain their shape, which is fine for chunkier soups like chili or minestrones, but not ideal for smooth tomato soups.
2. Add some tomato paste.
Another secret weapon for rich, flavorful soup year-round? Tomato paste. Tomato paste has a concentrated tomato flavor and earthy sweetness that other tomato products (and even fresh tomatoes) cannot beat. You'll only need a few tablespoons of the stuff to pump up the flavor of tomato soup, so dose out the rest of the can and freeze for future use.
A trick for tomato paste: The Best Way to Save Tomato Paste (and Use It Later)
3. Roast those canned tomatoes.
Assistant Food Editor Sheila's trick for better tomato soup with canned tomatoes: "Turn on your oven, toss those canned tomatoes in, and roast them until they're caramelized and sweet, and you've got the base for a killer tomato soup that will warm you up all fall and winter long." Roasting canned tomatoes concentrates their flavor and is a great work-around if you run out of tomato paste.