You’ll never buy a can again with this genius approach.
Tomato Soup
Credit: Getty / LauriPatterson

If you ask me about comfort food, at some point I am going to bring up tomato soup. Whether it is the canned cream of tomato that my mom used to make me when I had a cold, or my homemade roasted tomato soup celebrating summer tomatoes, and everything in between, a great tomato soup is always a perfect choice. I like it chilled with topping of sour cream and chopped fresh mint, and hot swirled with extra virgin olive oil. I like it super tomatoey, or extra creamy. I like it mild and a bit spicy. And I like it plain or with rice or small pasta or crunchy croutons. 

But mostly, I like it fast. And while you can absolutely pop open the can of your choosing when you need that midweek lunch, you can also make it from scratch no less quickly, and with only two ingredients. 

The world's easiest (and fastest) tomato soup

My super speedy homemade tomato soup relies first and foremost on premium canned tomatoes. I source mine mostly from Italy, looking for the DOP designation on the can, because they have the best flavor and texture, and don't contain any extra additives or flavors. In terms of what's in the can, you can use crushed tomatoes, smooth passata, or whole tomatoes packed in juice. When you only have two main ingredients, it is worth seeking out the best. If I am making soup for one, I'll use a 15-ounce can. If I am serving a pal, I'll up it to a 28-ounce can or two cans.

Here's all you do! 

Easy & Fast Tomato Soup

1. Empty the can of tomatoes into a small saucepan. If you have chosen a whole tomato, crush it to the texture you want, either with your hands or with an immersion blender. 

2. Fill your unrinsed can with a liquid of your choice. For pure tomato flavor, use plain water. For a little oomph, use broth—vegetable, chicken, or even beef broth work well here, so use what you have on hand. Want it creamy? Use milk, alternative milk, or even half and half for a decadent cream of tomato. Coconut milk works great in this, especially if you want to add some warming spice or ginger, but can get a little too coconut forward, so try half coconut milk and half water if that is the direction you want to go. 

3. Mix the liquid into your tomatoes, and heat over medium high heat to your desired temperature, then season to your taste. Salt and pepper for sure, but also think about a pinch of red pepper flakes or a dash of hot sauce for heat.

4. For an optional upgrade, sprinkle some fresh chopped herbs into the soup (dried spices can work as well). Blends are also a great bet: Italian herbs or herbes de Provence. Other spice blends like garam masala or vadouvan add a depth of flavor, as do spice pastes like harissa and chili crisp. 

5. One more zhuzh: If I happen to have leftover rice, grains, beans, or pasta shapes, you can stir them in to make the soup heartier. (And obviously, a grilled cheese sandwich is always called for.)

Once you realize how truly simple it can be to make fast homemade tomato soup, your creativity can be boundless. But as much fun as it can be to play? Most of the time all I need is just the tomatoes, milk, salt, and pepper for a soup that tastes like I took a ton of time and care, but is just as fast as any canned soup.