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Last updated on April 27th, 2024 at 02:30 pm

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Panera Bread Creamy Tomato Soup Copycat [VIDEO]

Panera Bread Creamy Tomato Soup is a renowned classic favorite at the familiar restaurant but making it yourself at home is easy and even more delicious. There is no reason to go out and spend money on something when you can make it yourself at home and it tastes even better. It is full of rich and tangy tomato flavor with hints of onion, garlic, basil, and oregano. And it is so quick and easy to make, you can do it in less than an hour.

Easy Panera Bread Creamy Tomato Soup

We even have a family tradition, every time we do a road trip, we always check the map and plan to stop for a bite at Panera Bread. I was all smiles when a location opened two blocks from my house and now I love to take my son there for after-school dinner dates.

He gets his usual Baked Potato Soup or Chicken Wild Rice Soup, with an apple and organic yogurt, and I get the Tomato Soup. This delicious homemade soup tastes just like the original, if not better! Soul-warming, flavorful and so creamy, you will make it over and over again!

When I tasted the creamy tomato soup at Panera Bread for the first time, I was blown away. After about a dozen different combinations of flavors and amounts, I got the perfectly creamy and incredibly tasty personal version. I think it is better than the restaurant version.

If you have never made your tomato soup at home, you should start with this recipe. You only need a handful of ingredients and about 40 minutes to have it on the table and you can serve it for dinner with grilled sandwiches tonight.

I love creamy and hearty comfort food, and this one is by far one of my favorites. If you are wondering what other soups my family likes, this Taco Soup and Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup have been on rotation lately.

What you’ll need to make Panera Bread creamy tomato soup:

Special items:

  • Dutch oven – Better than any crock pot or roasting pan, I love using my Dutch oven for the stovetop or baking in the oven.
  • A wooden spoon – Or a silicone spoon to keep the pot from getting scratched.
  • Immersion blender – To puree the soup at the end.

Ingredients:

  • Canned peeled tomatoes – I always use San Marzano tomatoes for the best flavor.
  • Olive oil – Just a little to sauté the garlic and onion. 
  • Sugar – White granulated sugar adds a sweet taste like the authentic Panera Bread soup.
  • Garlic cloves – Freshly minced for a sweet kick with a robust taste.
  • Yellow onion – Peeled and diced onions add a bite as well as a sweet flavor.
  • Vegetable stock – Using this will give your soup the most intense flavor while keeping it vegetarian.
  • Heavy cream – To give your creamy tomato soup its creaminess and a bit of sweetness as well.
  • Dried basil – This adds a spicy, sweet, and pungent taste. I like using dried because it has more flavor.
  • Dried oregano – Add an earthy and minty flavor profile with a robust aromatic flavor to make your mouth water.
  • Salt – Any kind will do to bring out the flavors in the soup. 
  • Ground black pepper – I always grind my own for a refreshing kick.

How to make the Panera Bread creamy tomato soup?

Heat the oil

To begin, heat the oil in the Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When it is hot, add the garlic and onion. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, for five to eight minutes until the onion is translucent.

Add the rest

Now, add the tomatoes including the juice as well as the vegetable stock, oregano, basil, and sugar. Then season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring it to a simmer, stirring occasionally before cooking it uncovered for 12 minutes or until it is thick. 

Add the cream

Let the soup cool a bit and then add the cream, stirring well.

Puree the soup

Then, use an immersion blender to puree the soup until there are no large chunks. Serve with your favorite bread or salad.

Expert tip

The best tomatoes for tomato soup

Everyone has their favorite tomatoes for salads and sandwiches but not many people think about what kind of tomatoes go into tomato soup until they are ready to make it. Because soup is such a simple dish to make from a can, hardly anyone seems to make their own anymore. But, with this recipe, the favorite is, hands down, San Marzano tomatoes.

The brand is also important to me for the absolute best tomato flavor. After all, it is the main ingredient! I prefer using Cento or Bianco DiNapoli tomatoes, but you may have your favorite. Using plum or Roma tomatoes is essential for the right flavor and texture in creamy tomato soup. I like to get organic because that means they do not have any pesticides to worry about.

For the smooth and silky texture you get from Panera Bread, you should use peeled tomatoes. It also makes the soup a little sweeter. If you like the textured tomato look, using tomatoes with the peel is fine. It adds more nutrients too.

Recipe variations and add-ins:

  • Meat: For meat. lovers, add shredded rotisserie chicken to the soup.
  • Add cheese: Freshly shredded or shaved parmesan cheese on top right before serving would be amazing.
  • Add noodles: Add some egg noodles or minestrone to this dish and let it cook in the soup for extra flavor and texture.
  • Spicy: Make your Panera Bread creamy tomato soup spicy with some red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper.
  • More veggies: To make a more filling soup, add your favorite veggies. Some ideas I love are corn, peas, bell peppers, celery, carrots, and zucchini. 

Serving suggestions:

  • creamy tomato soup goes hand in hand with a grilled cheese sandwich, cheesy quesadillas, or mac and cheese casserole.
  • This soup is even more delicious with some garlic and cheese croutons served in homemade bread bowls.
  • Have a simple lunch or light dinner of soup and salad. Try this recipe for chopped Mediterranean salad or this hearty Mexican bean salad.
  • Serve with a side of freshly baked Amish bread or bread rolls for dipping and wiping the bottom of the bowl.
  • Another fun way to serve this dish is with stuffed peppers. It would be so good with my perfect stuffed pepper recipe piled with rice, your favorite meat, and aromatics.
  • For a tomato and potato meal, serve this soup with some creamy twice-baked potatoes.
  • Make a fun afterschool snack of mozzarella sticks so the kids can dip the sticks in the soup.
  • For something crunchy, sprinkle some pepitas, sesame seeds, or sunflower seeds on top.

Frequently asked questions

Is there cream in Panera Bread creamy tomato soup?

Yes, Panera Bread uses real fresh heavy cream to make its creamy tomato soup. That is why I add cream to this recipe too. It adds that extra thickness and creaminess you just cannot get from milk. If you want to substitute the cream for something with less sugar and fat, try it with plain Greek yogurt instead. The other ingredients in Panera Bread’s creamy tomato soup are cornstarch, olive oil, garlic, onion, sugar, and salt.

What is the difference between tomato soup and creamy tomato soup?

Just like the name states, creamy soup is tomato soup with cream added to it. Also, it is cooked longer and at a lower temperature, so the cream does not curdle. Any kind of creamy or “cream of” soup has heavy cream whipped into it during the creaming process. This gives it a thicker texture with a smoother taste.

Why is my creamy tomato soup so runny?

It could be that covered the pot while the soup was cooking. The condensation will build up inside the lid and cause it to be watery. Making a slurry with cornstarch and water and adding it to the soup will help thicken it up. Or you can add flour or cornstarch to the veggies when cooking them.

Can I use fresh tomatoes for this recipe?

You can use fresh tomatoes instead of canned ones. However, it is important to note that canned tomatoes are used by even the best chefs at high-end restaurants for a reason. First of all, it takes more time with fresh because you have to peel them and cook them longer. Also, good canned tomatoes have even more deliciousness than regular ones because they are slow-cooked in a variety of seasonings.

How to store:

  • Refrigerate: After letting your soup cool completely, pour it into an airtight container that can stay in the fridge for several days. 
  • Freezing: To freeze, pour the cooled soup into quart-sized freezer bags so you can thaw them out as needed. Sometimes, you just want one bowl of soup for yourself. Eat it within three months for the best flavor. 
  • Defrost: To get the best texture and taste, defrost leftovers in the fridge overnight.
  • Reheating: Reheat in a pot on the stove for five minutes or in the microwave for one minute. 

More creamy soup recipes:

Recipe tips:

  • Wait a few minutes after heating the tomatoes before adding the cream so it does not curdle.
  • Always use the best quality tomatoes. They are the star of the recipe, after all.
  • You can use a regular blender instead of an immersion blender to puree the soup.
  • Do not skip the basil and oregano. Even though you are only adding a teaspoon, they are essential to the flavor of this dish.
  • Using heavy cream makes a big difference too. If you use milk, it just won’t have that thick and creamy flavor and texture.
  • For those looking to cut sugar intake, you can leave out the sugar, but it won’t taste as much like Panera Bread’s version.
  • Originally this meal is made with vegetable stock. However, for more flavor, you can use chicken stock, but the soup won’t be vegetarian.

Panera Bread Creamy Tomato Soup

Panera Bread Creamy Tomato Soup is a renowned classic favorite at the familiar restaurant but making it yourself at home is easy and even more delicious. Full of rich and tangy tomato flavor with hints of onion, garlic, basil, and oregano. And it is so quick and easy to make, you can do it in less than an hour.

Homemade Panera Bread Creamy Tomato Soup Copycat is the chain's classic, famous, creamy soup that will warm your soul and make your taste buds happy.
  • Prep Time10 MIN
  • Cook Time30 MIN
  • Servings 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 large yellow onion diced
  • 2 cans San Marzano peeled tomatoes (28 oz can sizes) crushed or blended
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 cup half and half or heavy cream
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

  • In a heavy-bottomed pot or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.
  • Add diced onion and garlic. Cook, stirring as needed, until onion is translucent - about 5-8 minutes.
  • Add the San Marzano peeled tomatoes, including the juice, vegetable stock, dried oregano, dried basil, and sugar. Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Bring to a low simmer. Cook uncovered, for 12 minutes or until it has thickened. Stir occasionally.
  • Add the half-and-half or heavy cream 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 garnished with croutons and french bread on the side.
  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or you can freeze the soup for up to 3 months.

Nutrition Facts

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Comments

(67)
Erica

Erica

So delicious. I added shaved parmesan cheese to the top. This is one of my favorite comfort food recipes.

JULIE BORKENHAGEN

JULIE BORKENHAGEN

I made this last night for the first time. Perfect night for a delicious soup (we were having a winter ice storm). This was absolutely delicious. I made the recipe as stated except used chicken broth instead of vegetable as that's what I had. I highly recommend using the San Marzano tomatoes also. They're the best. I did add some shredded parmesan cheese to the finished soup and let it melt into the soup. My husband and son, who don't like tomato soup, loved it as much as I did. Thank you for the wonderful recipe!


Catalina Castravet

Catalina Castravet

Thank you Julie!

Jeanne C.

Jeanne C.

Outstanding! My family loves this soup and it is really easy to make. My husband adds red pepper flakes to his bowl and we all enjoy the soup with home made croutons or pepitas sprinkled on top.

Heather

Heather

This was excellent tomato soup! Thank you so so much for sharing! I have been looking for a good homemade tomato soup and this is better than good, it is awesome. I used my canned tomatoes from our garden and it turned out perfectly! Best of all, it was so easy and fast☺️

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