Creamy Tomato Soup (Panera Copycat Recipe)*

Creamy Tomato Panera Soup Copycat Recipe (via

Despite the heat, my mind and body have already decided it is Fall. Like full on FALL. I am ready to hang my beautiful pumpkin wreath my Mom and I made last year. I am asking anybody and everybody I know to go to Hobby Lobby to buy Fall decorations for my house. And I am fighting myself on getting a Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks. Yes I know you could get them early with the secret passcode and now they are being sold normally. I refused. How can I drink a pumpkin flavored hot coffee in this weather? It’s just not ok.

But somehow my craving for soups is even stronger than my craving for pumpkin spice lattes and fall decorations. I have a notebook where I keep ideas of recipes I want to make. If you look at it today, it has 11 soups in a row — no joke. I keep asking Jorge if he will eat soup for dinner yet…and his answer is “NO.” every. single. time.  And I always ask back, but what about Corn Chowder?? No! Chicken & Dumplings?? No! How about Sweet Potato Soup?? No! Ok, ok what about your favorite — Baked Potato Soup with extra bacon? NO! No soup until it’s under 80 degrees!

(Pssst! You can find 15 of my soup recipes here.)

Creamy Tomato Panera Soup Copycat Recipe (via

So I finally said screw you, I’m making soup. Tomato Soup like Panera and you can’t have any! Well ladies and gents, guess who ate a big bowl of this amazing tomato soup and a big grilled cheese??  In case you are keeping score:    Jessica – 1     Jorge – 0


This tomato soup is a recipe that has been a long time in the making. I tried using fresh tomatoes, but it was double the time and the flavor wasn’t close enough to the one I love to get at Panera. “Creamy” is in the name, but the soup at Panera is really not all that creamy. So I learned to use only a little half and half. I added a little sugar to cut the acidity of the tomatoes and not too much basil.

Is this the exact same soup you get from Panera? No, probably not exactly. However, it is dang close to it! And bonus? It only takes 30 minutes to make! The next time I make it, I plan on making a triple batch to freeze. That way whenever I am in the mood, I can just pull a bag out from the freezer!

P.S. To make your meal perfect, make a grilled cheese with fresh thick sourdough bread, havarti cheese and real butter. That is my PERFECT grilled cheese.


Creamy Tomato Soup (Panera Copycat Recipe)

Yield: 4 servings

Total Time: 30 Minutes

Recipe Note: I really like San Marzano canned tomatoes, especially for this recipe. I buy the Cento brand and can find it every where from Walmart to Publix (this is what the can looks like). 


2 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 large yellow onion, sliced
2 (28 oz) cans San Marzano peeled tomatoes
1 cup chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup half and half
8 large fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


In a heavy bottomed pot (or dutch oven), heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds - until fragrant. Add onion and cook, stirring as needed, until translucent - about 8 minutes.

Add San Marzano peeled tomatoes (juice and all), chicken stock, and sugar. Bring to a low simmer. Cook uncovered, for 12 minutes or until it has thickened.

Add the half and half, basil, oregano and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Using an immersion blender (or carefully transfer soup to a blender), puree soup until there are no large chunks left. Serve immediately with a grilled cheese or hunk of warm french bread!

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

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71 Responses to “Creamy Tomato Soup (Panera Copycat Recipe)”

  1. 1

    Belinda @themoonblushbaker — September 6, 2013 @ 4:34 am

    You must be magic or something. I needed something for dinner and your post popped up! I can only have soups right now and I need of the comforting and creamy. I am still trying to let go of winter (I am in the southern hemisphere), so I guess I am feel the same as you but with winter. It might be heating up over here but I still need soup!

  2. 2

    Averie @ Averie Cooks — September 6, 2013 @ 5:30 am

    I did a version of this soup from Panera right about this time last year! I remember b/c it was HOT out and I was making soup :) Yours is so gorgeous. Makes me want to dive in – just as soon at it’s not 90F here! lol pinned!

  3. 3

    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar — September 6, 2013 @ 8:17 am

    This looks seriously perfect!! Love this Jess!!

  4. 4

    Ashley | Spoonful of Flavor — September 6, 2013 @ 8:20 am

    I love the creamy tomato soup from Panera. I can’t wait to try this version which looks incredible! I have the hardest time thinking about fall when it is 90 degrees with 70% humidity, ugh.

  5. 5

    Mimi — September 6, 2013 @ 8:26 am

    And I thought I was the only one who loves fall!! Great looking soup!

  6. 6

    Jessica — September 6, 2013 @ 8:40 am

    It’s like we’re on the same wavelength…I made a batch of creamy tomato basil would and a some fresh bread (for grilled cheese sandwiches) just last week! It totally hit the spot. I am so ready for fall!

  7. 7

    Tieghan — September 6, 2013 @ 9:05 am

    Yes, please! This looks so yummy and so creamy and so comforting! I want it all! I love Panera’s soups, but this looks better!

  8. 8

    Karoliina — September 6, 2013 @ 9:42 am

    Your soup looks absolutely delicious, can’t wait to try the recipe. I won’t be finding the canned tomato brand you used here in Finland, but I’ll try the one I have. But there is a part in the recipe that I do not understand: What is this “half and half” that I’m supposed to add?

  9. 9

    Laura (Blogging Over Thyme) — September 6, 2013 @ 10:06 am

    Haha, “screw you”–I totally would have done the same thing. Connor sort of has to just go along with my food cravings, luckily, he likes to eat everything, so usually doesn’t end up minding all that much.

    This soup looks heavenly! I love a good creamy tomato soup.

  10. 10

    Colleen, The Smart Cookie Cook — September 6, 2013 @ 12:12 pm

    I am with you; I have switched to full-on Fall mode. You’re killing me with this recipe; it looks so delicious, not to mention that grilled cheese is the perfect partner.

  11. 11

    Nikki @Seeded at the Table — September 6, 2013 @ 10:25 pm

    This Mississippi heat is KILLING me! I’m ready for soup, too! MAYBE the pumpkin spice latte…maybe.

    Okay, so you might see me post an IG tomorrow morning with one in hand. ;)

  12. 12

    Joanne — September 7, 2013 @ 10:08 am

    I got Panera’s tomato soup and grilled cheese for the first time last year and it took me about five seconds (and one slurp) to be hooked. NEED THIS. And I totally made soup yesterday and didn’t tell the.boy. Will I be sharing? hmmm, maybe not. :P

  13. 13

    Abby — September 7, 2013 @ 3:12 pm

    Oh my yum.
    I could (and do) eat soup at restaurants any time of year. Notoriously. But I don’t usually make it at home until it cools off a bit in Texas. Such a classic recipe. Do you think you could make it vegan with almond milk instead of the half and half?

    • Jessica replied: — September 12th, 2013 @ 9:57 pm

      To be honest, I don’t have a lot of experience using almond milk in savory cooking. If you find that it normally works in soups, then it is worth a shot!

  14. 14

    Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe — September 7, 2013 @ 8:36 pm

    This looks like the perfect tomato soup, especially along side a grilled cheese sandwich. Hello comfort! LOVE San Marzano tomatoes!

  15. 15

    Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. — September 8, 2013 @ 12:28 am

    Tomato soup and grilled cheese is basically the best thing ever! I love their tomato soup so I am definitely making this!!

  16. 16

    Courtney @ BakeMeBetter — September 8, 2013 @ 9:47 pm

    Jessica this looks phenomenal! I can’t wait to try it.

  17. 17

    Maggie @ A Bitchin' Kitchen — September 8, 2013 @ 10:13 pm

    This looks to die for! Tomato soup and grilled cheese has to be one of my favorite comfort food meals. It’s still pretty hot here in DC too, but I might just blast the AC and make a batch of this :)

  18. 18

    Traci — September 10, 2013 @ 11:39 am

    Delicious! I love a good creamy tomato soup and hate anything canned. This looks so simple and easy, going to have to try it!

  19. 19

    Victoria — September 12, 2013 @ 10:46 am

    Making this for dinner tonight…can’t wait!

  20. 20

    Cindy — September 13, 2013 @ 2:34 pm

    The cold weather arrived just today and I really want to get some tomato soup going

  21. 21

    Danielle — September 14, 2013 @ 5:16 pm

    Just made this and it was yummy. I used rice milk instead of half and half. Only thing I’d do different is maybe make a roux to give it a creamer texture. Other than that it was excellent. I had some hamburger buns that needed to be used up so I made croutons with garlic parsley salt and a sprinkle of thyme. Thanks for sharing!

  22. 22

    ErinsFoodFiles — September 17, 2013 @ 3:13 pm

    I’ve been waiting on you to post this since I saw it on FB! (Actually, I’ve been waiting until you posted it AND I actually had time to catch up on blogs.) I LOVE from Panera,and that is a GREAT idea to make a double batch and freeze. I’m totally doing that one weekend soon.

    PS. I made slow cooker soup on Sunday (White Chicken Chili) and another soup today while I’ve been home with a slightly sick Elliott (Curried Cauliflower Soup). I’m LOVING soup season, even if we aren’t technically there yet!

  23. 23

    Trixie — September 21, 2013 @ 7:09 pm

    Found you via Pinterest and made this tonight – phenomenal! So easy and delicious. I used fat free half & half and still came out rich and creamy.

  24. 24

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  25. 25

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  26. 26

    Cecilia — September 28, 2013 @ 11:52 pm

    Made soup for the first time for some guests. Everyone enjoyed the soup. I’m glad I stumbled onto your site. Looking forward to trying the other recipes found here.

  27. 27

    Stephanie — October 3, 2013 @ 10:31 pm

    This soup is very tasty, but panera’s has a little spice or kick to it. Thanks for the recipe.

  28. 28

    Mar — October 7, 2013 @ 2:46 pm

    Thanks for the recipe – I found it by googling the day after my husband and I went to Panera and he had the tomato soup and I had the butternut squash soup which was disappointing to me. The onions in the soup I made were a little crunchier than I would have preferred – next time I will cook them longer. But really like this soup, shared some of the leftovers with my mom and she liked it too.

  29. 29

    Karen butcher — October 11, 2013 @ 1:34 pm

    YUUUUUMO! Made exactly to the recipe but instead of 2 cans tomatoes, I also had a couple lbs of fresh San Marzano tomatoes. I blanched them, removed the skins & proceeded with the recipe. Used my immersion blender. Also, my farmers market had spinach Parmesan bread that I used for my grilled cheese sandwiches. Buttered both sides, shredded fresh fontina cheese, added some sliced delicious heirloom tomato, torn fresh basil, topped again with more cheese. The meal was outstanding. TIP: cut your cheese sandwiches in half, then sliced them in either finger size or croutons. So yummy when you dip them into the soup.

  30. 30

    Linda — October 13, 2013 @ 8:16 pm

    First, let me say I am making this tomorrow. No waiting. Nope. Can’t wait. OMG this looks good! Thank You!
    Next, the “screw you” part in particular cracked me up. I just love, love a girl with attitude! To be honest, the entire post had me smiling………. I’m new your site, but I bet I’ll be an avid follower.

  31. 31

    Susie — October 13, 2013 @ 8:29 pm

    This was AMAZING! I made it tonight for a quick supper for my family of 5 and they all loved it. Even my 3 year old ask for seconds! Thanks for an awesome tomato soup recipe for the whole family!

  32. 32

    Lucy — November 3, 2013 @ 11:54 pm

    I don’t usually cook but had to try and find a recipe for the Panera tomato soup because I love it a lot. Just made this today and not only was it relatively easy but the soup turned out PERFECT! I can’t get enough of it. The tomatoes I got had basil and oregano seasoning mixed in already so that made it even easier and still tasted great. I also added a little bit of grated cheese but don’t know if it made a real difference.

    Long story short, thank you for putting in the work of figuring out the recipe! I’ll be making this for a long time to come.

  33. 33

    branny — November 4, 2013 @ 8:39 pm

    Really enjoyed this tonight. Thanks!

  34. 34

    Stacy — November 5, 2013 @ 4:06 pm

    Made this soup and I used 1 28 oz can of San Marz. Tomatoes and 1 28 oz can of TOMATO PUREE BOTH CENTOS!! An both SAN MARZ.( WHICH MAKES A HUGE DIFFERENCE IN ANYTHING YOU ARE MAKING W/ CANNED TOMAOES) the Tomato puree is not as thick as PASTE would be but is a fuller in flavor because the tomaoes are already pureed as u would do with a blender…but i also used 2 cups of my own chicken stock I made a few days ago. I have made tomato soup with the canned tomatoes only as in this recipe but…after watch alot of Micheal Symon sauces and other old recipe research I decided to use 1/2 and Half with tomatoes and puree..( i use puree in other recipes at times)… YOU WILL get a richer flavor and hit it with a dash of crushed red pepper while onions are softening or a dash of cayanne to spice it up..if you like a little kick! This is a very good base recipe that will allow for a little personalizing! Grate some asiago or Parm Regg. In while cooking and over at the end..its GREAT THAT WAY! THE CRILLED CHEESE CAN ACTUALLY BE MADE INTO SMALL CROUTONS AND GO RIGHT ON TOP FOR YOU CHEESE LOVERS LIKE ME! MEAL IN A BOWL FOR SURE! THANKS FOR POSTING THIS RECIPE!

  35. 35

    Stacy — November 5, 2013 @ 4:07 pm

    Also, it will taste better the next day!!

  36. 36

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  37. 37

    Tammy — November 13, 2013 @ 7:15 am

    Made this soup for dinner last night and it was delicious. Served with homemade mac and cheese and crusty seven grain baguette. It was a big hit with my vegan/vegetarian family. No leftovers this morning! Will definitely be making this again soon.

  38. 38

    Olga — November 20, 2013 @ 10:10 pm

    I have just made it and it’s awesome. Thank you very much!!! I especially appreciate publishing the pictures of the soup and the cans- they inspired me to go grocery shopping late and night and now I feel happy that my family will have good soup tomorrow while I’ll be working late. Thank you.
    For everyone who is thinking about making it- it was super easy.

  39. 39

    Amy — November 25, 2013 @ 6:23 pm

    This is the best Panera copycat recipe I’ve ever tried! I just made it and the family loves it! This was a perfect ending to a cold autumn day. I think this recipe will be a staple in our home! Thank you!!

  40. 40

    Gigi — December 5, 2013 @ 8:53 pm

    I made this just now – excellent!!!! I added a stalk of celery and a small organic carrot and doubled the amount of stock – its heavenly!!!! Thank you for the recipe :)

  41. 41

    Suzy — December 12, 2013 @ 4:37 pm

    To Abby,

    In response to her question about using Almond Milk, if I want to make a vegan version of any recipe asking for cream or half & half, I do substitute with unsweetened Coconut milk (bought from the refrigerated section – do not use ‘in the can’ version.
    I made this tomato soup recipe using unsweetened coconut milk and it came out divine!

  42. 42

    Fallon — December 17, 2013 @ 8:34 pm

    I made this tonight for my family and it was phenomenal! Awesome job with this recipe; so identical to panera’s! I couldn’t find the brand of tomatoes you used so I bought meijer organics. It was awesome! Will make it again soon!

  43. 43

    Angel — December 22, 2013 @ 3:56 pm

    Can you buy the San marzano tomatoes fresh? If so where can you usually find them? As I try not to eat to much that comes out of a can.I’m excited to try this recipe!!!! It looks amazing!!!!!!

  44. 44

    Tina — December 22, 2013 @ 9:10 pm

    Wow! My husband requested grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup for dinner…I have never made tomato soup before, and this stuff was delicious! I just had Panera tomato soup yesterday, so that’s why I did a search for Panera-esque tomato soup. Your recipe is fabulous. Tastes just like Panera, and it’s so easy to make. I’m saving it. Definitely making it again! Thanks!

  45. 45

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  46. 46

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  47. 47

    Athena Rodriguez — January 22, 2014 @ 7:26 pm

    I had to come back to your web page and give credit where credit is due. I made this for a girls’ vacation at the Northern California coast last weekend along side some grilled cheese sandwiches. It was a huge hit! 12 women can’t be wrong! I heard comments like, “This is the best tomato soup I’ve ever had in my LIFE!” and “You could sell this professionally!” I wanted to mention I went with the recommendation of a previous commenter and substituted one can of tomatoes for one can of tomato paste because I wanted that concentrated tomato flavor. Thank you so much for posting this. It’s going to be one of my staples.

  48. 48

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  49. 49

    lisa hill — February 17, 2014 @ 3:06 pm

    Way too much sugar, soup is too sweet

  50. 50

    Carol — February 25, 2014 @ 9:16 am

    This is a FANTASTIC recipe!! I loved it! My 15 year old daughter LOVES Panera creamy tomato soup but as we all know it can be pricy, so I decided to look online for a copy cat recipe and VOILA! I did make a few minor adjustments (to make a larger batch, and because I was missing a couple ingredients) but it still turned out delicious and it’s about as close as I think I would ever get to Panera’s actual recipe and taste. Thank you!! YUMMY!!

  51. 51

    Carol — February 25, 2014 @ 9:19 am

    I should say I added a can of tomato paste and used an entire 26 oz container of chicken stock (but I used no salt added, and there was no taste difference, or at least we didn’t think so. We are always trying to reduce salt intake.) I thought next time I may try using stevia instead of sugar, to reduce the sugar content as well. Still with these changes, the soup was thick enough and phenomenal! kudos!

  52. 52

    Linda — March 7, 2014 @ 2:29 pm

    Made this soup for my mom who la la loves tomato soup, and lets just say she had 2 bowls, Thank you for the recipe!!

  53. 53

    Emma — March 13, 2014 @ 12:22 pm

    This is my favorite soup recipe. I’ve made it several times, exactly to recipe, and it’s turned out great every time. Still tastes great halved. I’ve made it a weekly dinner item with mozzarella basil sandwiches on sour dough.

    Thanks for sharing it!

  54. 54

    Katerine Granda — March 25, 2014 @ 12:45 am


    I love to try cooking new recepies and I’ve added this one to my favorites!
    Even though it’s “spring” here in the Northeast Coast of the USA, it still feels like winter. I’ve recently have been loving Panera and their creamy tomato soup is amazing. So with the cold weather I decided to try out this recepie! Well I loved it! It came out to be less creamy than I wanted it to be because I don’t measure my ingredients, but I just go with my gut feeling. I still loved it! I didn’t think it would be that good but it surpassed my expectations! It wasn’t difficult to make and it’s definitively worth it! I can’t wait to make some more!! Thank you for the recepie!!

  55. 55

    Lorin — April 25, 2014 @ 9:04 am

    I was excited to try this recipe because I love tomato soup! The taste was great, but I didn’t care for the chunkiness of the soup (even after pureeing it for a long time there were bits of tomatoes and seeds floating around, which turned me off). Had the consistency been creamy I would have loved it.

  56. 56

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  57. 57

    Ann M — August 15, 2014 @ 8:20 pm

    I was just looking at your recipe for tomato soup (looks yummy). If you want less calories you can add cream cheese instead of the half and half. I was told this by a restaurant chef that eat at.

  58. 58

    Barbara — September 19, 2014 @ 3:08 pm

    I think it was even better than Panera’s. Great recipe! Was wondering if you could freeze it?

  59. 59

    Jennifer D — October 14, 2014 @ 7:00 pm

    Made this recipe and followed the ingredients to a T. It was horrible. The taste reminds me of an onion – tomato spaghetti sauce. Definitely would not recommend this one.

  60. 60

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  62. 62

    Carolyn — November 26, 2014 @ 5:11 pm

    I made this soup recently, we loved it! We finally had cold weather in Houston so it was perfect.

  63. 63

    Donna — January 5, 2015 @ 12:13 pm

    Hello, does anyone know what the calories would be for one bowl of this soup? and I’m sure could use fat free half and half – right? or would it not come out right? Looks like great recipe and will try! Thanks.

    • Jessica replied: — January 6th, 2015 @ 4:10 pm

      It will not be as creamy, but yes you can use fat free half & half. I do not do the nutrition on recipes, but you can calculate any recipe’s nutrition with Enjoy!

  64. 64

    Tracy — January 7, 2015 @ 7:20 am

    I followed recipe to a T as well. It tasted so acidic! Tried adding more cream, stock, and sugar. Didn’t work. Very disappointed.

  65. 65

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  66. 66

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  67. 67

    Margaret — March 2, 2015 @ 10:50 am

    Wow, it’s the 2nd day of autumn/fall? 2015 In Perth Australia. It’s still hot and dry- I’d love some rain- but I can’t wait to try your Creamy Tomato soup.:) Maybe tomorrow!! I once had and misplaced a totally healthy & tasty tomatoe & oregano or some Greek herb-yummy! Has anyone out there got a recipe like this please? Cheers :)

  68. 68

    Bella Donna — March 24, 2015 @ 7:09 am

    It’s great pleasure to get a chance to comment on such a nice and informative blog. I love to enjoy reading new things. Thanks for share and keep it up.

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