Recipe Review

Serious Eats’ Lightning-Fast Tomato Soup Is Made Creamy Without Cream

published Jan 17, 2023
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Serious Eat's tomato soup served in a bowl.
Credit: Photo: Linda Xiao; Food Stylist: Jessie YuChen

There were so many aspects of this Serious Eats tomato soup that I was intrigued by. It takes just 15 minutes from start to finish, is thickened with bread and olive oil, and it just so happens to be vegan. This quick and easy tomato soup recipe seemed ideal for an errands-packed weekend lunch or comforting end to a busy weeknight. I was eager to see the payoff I could get from a 15-minute meal.

Get the recipe: Serious Eats’ 15-Minute Creamy Tomato Soup

How to Make Serious Eats’ 15-Minute Creamy Tomato Soup

This soup starts with a basic sauté of onions and garlic seasoned with oregano and red pepper flakes. Two slices of bread are torn into pieces and added along with two cans of tomatoes, which are broken up with a potato masher. Some water is stirred in and it’s simmered for five minutes. Once it’s done cooking, you’ll add half of the soup to an upright blender and drizzle in half of the olive oil while it’s blending. You’ll repeat with the remaining soup. 

Credit: Photo: Linda Xiao; Food Stylist: Jessie YuChen

My Honest Review of Serious Eats’ 15-Minute Creamy Tomato Soup

Going into the kitchen, I felt a little frantic. I felt like I was up against the clock, even though I wasn’t in any particular rush. My anxiety aside, this recipe delivered good results, fast. 

The method was straightforward, although I was left with a couple of questions. You’re instructed to grate the garlic. I’m not sure why this was preferable over just mincing it. Similarly, the instructions tell you to remove the crusts from two slices of bread and then tear them into 1/2-inch pieces. I think it would be easier to just stack the two slices, cut off the crusts, and then cut them into 1/2-inch pieces. The potato masher did a really great job of breaking up the ingredients, especially because the short cooking time doesn’t give them the time to break down on their own. It was much easier than crushing things by hand, and more efficient than using a wooden spoon.

The short cooking time produced a much brighter tomato flavor than the other soups I tested, which all cooked for at least 30 minutes. While it was tasty, it was missing some of that sweetness I expect from slow-simmered tomato soup. The full teaspoon of dried oregano called for was also quite strong, and the 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper provided a definite kick at the end. The flavor profile was more pasta sauce than soup to me. My husband also said, “It’s good but I want to dip mozzarella sticks in it.” It still had good tomato flavor, and the texture was really nice — thinner than some of the other soups, but still with good body. The olive oil made it lush without being heavy. Overnight, some of the brightness mellowed, which I don’t necessarily think is a bad thing, and the garlic became more pronounced.

Credit: Photo: Linda Xiao; Food Stylist: Jessie YuChen

If You’re Making Serious Eats’s 15-Minute Creamy Tomato Soup, a Few Tips

  1. There’s no need to rush. Even if you take your time, this soup comes together very quickly.
  2. Adjust the spices. Consider reducing the amount of garlic, oregano, and red pepper flake for a more tomato soup-forward flavor. 
  3. Prepare the bread as you like: The bread can be torn or sliced into 1/2-inch pieces. I found it faster and easier to slice it.

Overall rating: 8/10