Cream of Tomato Soup with Orzo

cream of tomato soup with orzo and fresh basil.

Making homemade tomato soup is easier than you think with just a few simple ingredients. This creamy tomato soup is made with real Pomodoro San Marzano dell’Agro Sarnese-Nocerino DOP tomatoes, a touch of vermouth and a swirl of cream for a velvety mouth feel. Cooked orzo pasta adds more heft to this easy cream of tomato soup recipe. #ILoveSanMarzanoDOP

A can of San Marzano DOP tomatoes.
Authentic San Marzano Tomatoes

Homemade Cream of Tomato Soup

When I was a kid, the only creamy tomato soup we ever had came from a red and white can. It was never homemade. But once you’ve had cream of tomato soup from scratch, it pales in comparison.

Ingredients for Creamy Tomato Soup with Orzo

  • Basil
  • Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • Cream
  • Orzo Pasta (or other small pasta)
  • Vermouth (optional, but good)
  • Parmesan Cheese
Sweating vegetables in a dutch oven for the homemade tomato soup.
Sweat the vegetables in olive oil until tender.

How to make homemade cream of tomato soup

  1. Heat olive oil in a dutch oven over medium heat and add the carrots, onions and kosher salt. Sweat the vegetables until they’re tender and slightly translucent.
  2. Add the sugar and crushed red pepper flakes and cook, stirring for one minute.
  3. Stir in the chicken broth, San Marzano D.O.P. tomatoes, and basil. Heat to boiling and reduce heat to a simmer. Cover the pot partway with the lid so that steam can escape. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Remove the basil.
  5. Working in batches, puree the tomato soup in a blender or food processor until smooth and transfer back to the dutch oven (but not over the heat).
  6. Stir in the vermouth to blend thoroughly before adding the cream, to prevent curdling.
  7. Add cream, parmesan cheese and cooked orzo pasta (or other noodle, optional) and stir well to combine. Taste for seasonings and adjust as necessary.
  8. Serve with a garnish of fresh basil and shaved parmesan cheese.
Adding chicken stock and whole canned tomatoes to the vegetables for the cream of tomato soup.
Add the San Marzano tomatoes and chicken broth to the veggies and break apart the tomatoes with the back of a spoon.

What type of tomatoes should I use in the soup recipe?

I recommend authentic San Marzano D.O.P tomatoes for this creamy soup. Why? San Marzano D.O.P. are sweeter than other canned tomatoes with a pure tomato flavor that’s not as acidic. These will give your creamy tomato soup a lush, velvety taste and texture.

But buyer beware. There are many brands of canned tomatoes that claim to be San Marzano, or San-Marzano “style” when they’re not.

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How to identify real San Marzano tomatoes:

  • Real San Marzano D.O.P. tomatoes are always sold peeled and whole in a can. If you’re buying chopped, crushed or puréed tomatoes, or if they’re boxed, they can’t be authentic San Marzano dell’Agro Sarnese – Nocerino with a D.O.P certification.
  • Authentic San Marzano D.O.P. can be identified by the D.O.P. symbol (Protected Designation of Origin, shown below, bottom right) and will have two authentication seals.
  • Certified product will be labeled as San Marzano dell’Agro Sarnese – Nocerino and will have the proper certified designations on the can (shown below, bottom left). You can generally tell the wannabes because they’re just labeled as San Marzano or San-Marzano Style or even “from Italy” but they won’t have any certifications.
  • Each can will have an ID number (shown below).
seals of authenticity for San Marzano tomatoes.

What can I substitute for cream in tomato soup recipe?

I hear from people all the time that they want to substitute something “lighter” for the cream in a cream of tomato soup recipe and I get it. Extra calories and fat and you want to be healthy.

What you should know about cream:

Cream has a high enough fat content that it doesn’t curdle when heated to boiling whereas half and half and milk can denature and separate into strands in a hot soup. It doesn’t make it inedible, but it can be unsightly.

You can use milk or half and half, but avoid reheating the cream of tomato soup on too high of a heat, otherwise it will curdle.

adding fresh basil and simmering.
Add the fresh basil and simmer over medium heat with the lid sitting slightly askew.

About vermouth

Dry vermouth is a fortified wine and it adds a unique flavor to the homemade tomato soup recipe, but it’s also acidic, and can curdle the cream or milk in the soup. To ensure it doesn’t curdle, add the vermouth separately, before adding the cream and stir it into the soup well.

blending the tomato soup to make it creamy and smooth.
Blend the simmered tomatoes in a blender or food processor until smooth.

How to make tomato soup creamy

You can use a blender or food processor to puree the tomato soup. For a soup with a bit more body, you can use a food mill to process the tomato soup.

For a chunkier cream of tomato soup, reserve about 1-2 cups of soup and puree the rest. Add the rest of the tomatoes back into the soup when you add the cream and pasta.

PRO-TIP: Don’t get burned by the hot soup

Blending hot liquids in a blender or food processor can be dangerous, because they can escape and burn anyone within range.

To be on the safe side, only fill the food processor or blender about halfway and seal the lid well, then place a dish towel over the appliance before blending.

The dish towel will “catch” any hot liquids that do erupt and prevent a serious burn.

Stirring in the cream and orzo pasta to the cream of tomato soup.

Swaps and Variations

  • Swap sherry or Marsala wine for the vermouth or skip the alcohol altogether.
  • Substitute alphabet pasta or pastina for the orzo (or skip the pasta for a lower carb cream of tomato soup).
  • Stir in a handful or two of baby spinach leaves for color and more nutrition
  • Add crumbled bacon just before serving for a smoky flavor
An overhead shot of a bowl of creamy homemade tomato soup.


Is creamy tomato soup good for you?

Overall, yes. This soup is relatively low in calories and loaded with lycopene from the San Marzano tomatoes. The fresh vegetables add more nutrition and though it does have cream, the overall amount is negligible. For lower carbs, skip the pasta.

Can I use fresh tomatoes rather than canned tomatoes for the homemade soup?

You can, but you’ll want to blanch and shock the tomatoes first, then peel and chop them.

How do you thicken tomato soup?

This soup has just the right thickness and body, which comes from simmering and reducing the volume of liquid with the lid sitting slightly askew on the pot. Reducing the tomato soup concentrates the flavors. Another way to thicken soup is to process a piece of bread when you blend the soup. It adds body.

How long will leftovers last in the fridge?

They keep well for up to a week when tightly covered. I recommend reheating in 30 second to 1 minute intervals in the microwave or over a low heat on the stovetop.

Serving the soup with croutons on the side.

What to serve with creamy tomato soup

Dipping a crouton into the cream of tomato soup.

More tomato soup recipes you’ll love:

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creamy tomato soup in a bowl with parmesan and basil garnish.
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4.84 from 6 votes

Cream of Tomato Soup with Orzo

This hearty homemade tomato soup is creamy and luxurious. Spiked with a bit of dry vermouth and enriched with cooked orzo pasta, this cream of tomato soup tastes decadent, but goes perfectly with a good grilled cheese.
Author: Lisa Lotts
Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine American
Keyword orzo, tomato
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 6


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium carrots peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt divided
  • 28 ounce can san marzano tomatoes crushed lightly with your hand or wooden spoon
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or stock
  • 1 large stem fresh basil
  • teaspoon dash of red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup cream
  • 1 cup cooked orzo or other small pasta
  • 2 tablespoons dry vermouth
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese


  • In a large dutch oven, add the olive oil and heat over medium heat. Add the carrots, onions and kosher salt and stir to combine. Sweat the vegetables until the carrots are softened and the onions start to take on a translucent look, about 8-10 minutes.
  • Stir in the sugar and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute until warmed through.
  • Add the tomatoes, chicken broth and basil. Heat to boiling, then reduce heat to a low simmer and place the lid on the pot loosely so that the steam can escape. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Remove from heat. Fish out the basil stem and discard.
  • Working in batches, transfer the soup to a blender and puree until smooth. Transfer the pureed tomato soup back to the dutch oven (but do not heat on the stove).
  • Add the vermouth and stir well to combine.
  • Stir in the cream,, parmesan cheese and cooked orzo pasta. Check the seasoning and adjust as necessary.
  • Serve with shaved parmesan cheese and extra basil.


Calories: 254kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 30mg | Sodium: 768mg | Potassium: 469mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 3932IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 146mg | Iron: 2mg

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  1. Can you use fresh basil? How much would you suggest?

    1. Absolutely! I would take a stem of basil – with 3-4 leaves and add it whole to the pot to simmer, then before you blend, fish out the basil and discard. Use more fresh basil for garnish!

  2. 5 stars
    This looks delicious! – and simple! Can’t wait to try it!