Tomato Bisque Soup

Since the wet coldness is just barely receding from the Midwest, where I happen to reside, I am still in soup mode. But here’s the good news about this post – even if you happen to have the great fortune to live in a balmy, sunny, warm location, this soup can still hit the spot (but keep that information to yourself or I’m likely to move in with you and your miserable sunny spot)!

Simple and light and full of good things, this soup is the quintessential perfect soup to serve with grilled cheese sandwiches and would be perfect any time of the year since it isn’t heavy with cumbersome, filling ingredients. Ashley, a reader of this here blog, sent me the recipe. The first glance-through of the ingredients and I knew I couldn’t live with myself until I tried it, mostly, because this soup is so different from any other soup in my repertoire. And I don’t know about you, but I like to have a well-rounded soup repertoire.

Tomato Bisque Soup

So try it I did and it was fantastic. I mean, really, really delicious! This unusual soup is made of tender, pureed butternut squash that is combined with flavorful stewed tomatoes, garlic, cream (or half-and-half, if you please) and a handful of other simple ingredients. Here’s the best part – because the soup has a smooth, silky texture, my kids were none the wiser that it was indeed squash traveling down their little gullets.

I served this with grilled cheese sandwiches and a large green salad and it was extremely satisfying. Even my husband, who can be a bit, shall we say, snobby when it comes to “girlie soups” loved it. Thanks, Ashley!

Update 1/11: I’ve edited the recipe below to include the changes I’ve made over the last year – using nonfat half-and-half and fleshing out the instructions just a little.

What To ServeGrilled Cheese Sandwiches
Homemade Croutons
White Bean and Tuna Salad with Crackers
Fresh, seasonal fruit

Tomato Bisque Soup

Yield: Serves 4-6

Tomato Bisque Soup

Note: the butternut squash can be cooked a day in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Also, this soup definitely tastes best served warm.


  • 1 medium butternut squash (for about 1 1/2 cups cooked squash)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ¼ cup finely diced onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) Italian-style stewed tomatoes (or 1 can stewed tomatoes with 1 ½ teaspoons Italian seasoning)
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (add more or less to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 cup nonfat half-and-half
  • Tapatio or other hot sauce to taste


  1. Prepare the butternut squash by preheating the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the squash in half, lengthwise, so you have two long pieces. Scoop out the seeds and pulp from each half. Place both sides cut-side down in a 9X13-inch pan. Add enough water to come about 1/4-inch up the sides of the squash. Cover with foil and bake for about an hour. Test with a fork to make sure the squash is very tender when pierced with the fork in several places. If the flesh doesn’t easily give to the pressure of the fork, continue cooking in ten minute increments, and testing again, until the squash is tender. Remove the pan from the oven and transfer the squash to a large cutting board or plate. Let it cool about 15 minutes before scooping out the flesh. If preparing the day before, scoop out the flesh and place in a tupperware. Let cool completely. Cover and refrigerate until using it in the soup. If using the squash immediately, scoop the squash into the blender.
  2. While the squash is cooking, in a medium saucepan, melt the butter and saute the onion until soft and translucent. Add the minced garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Scoop the onion/garlic mixture into the blender with the squash.
  3. Add the canned tomatoes (undrained) to the blender. Process until the mixture is smooth – if the mixture is too thick to blend well, you can add the chicken broth/stock into the blender to help it along. Pour the blended mixture back into the saucepan and add the chicken broth (if you didn’t already add it to the blender), salt, sugar, basil and cream (or half-and-half). Stir to combine well. Heat over medium-low heat until the soup is warm (but don’t let it boil or simmer to avoid the cream curdling). Serve immediately and add hot sauce to taste, if desired.

Recipe Source: adapted from Ashley W., a reader

68 Responses to Tomato Bisque Soup

  1. Natalie says:

    This is such a great recipe!

  2. Heidy A says:

    Mmmmm…made this today for lunch with a squash that I needed to use up! Thanks.

  3. Reenie says:

    So delish…..and so easy too! Thanks Mel

  4. Becky says:

    This soup is regularly on our weekly menu! A few times I have added in homemade roasted red peppers as well, and they are delicious! Thanks for another great recipe

  5. Nicole says:

    Do you think this recipe will freeze well even with the cream? I would like to freeze and give away but was wondering if you had ever tried it. Thanks

  6. KJ says:

    Are you aware that the ridiculously named “nonfat half-and-half” is a combination of skimmed milk and corn syrup? Is corn syrup really less caloric than cream?

    • Mel says:

      Actually there are several brands on the market (like Dean’s) that don’t include corn syrup, although you are right, many of them are full of additives. But the nonfat half and half can definitely be subbed with regular half and half.

  7. Nettie L. says:

    This may be a silly question…but what’s the white swirly thing in your photo? I’m using this recipe for a group dinner on Saturday and want the presentation to be spot on and was curious what that was so I can do it to mine 🙂

  8. Jenn W says:

    This was really good! There was a local restaurant here that closed down that made an amazing tomato bisque. THIS IS IT!! Thank you for sharing. I will be passing this on to all of my friends who miss the restaurant!

  9. Ginny says:

    It would be nice if you could separate comments by those who have actually made your recipe(s) and how it turned out, from those comments who have not tried the recipe but comment anyway.

  10. Diane says:

    I’ve taken to adding a small can of tomato sauce – I think it just gives it the perfect amount of tomato-y-ness and something extra. Maybe that’s what the hot sauce did for you, since we don’t ever have any.

  11. Nicole says:

    Just found this recipe as I was looking for something quick and easy to serve at a small luncheon. Looks YUMMY! Totally reminds me of this sketch: Totally Cracks me up.

  12. Ashley W. says:

    I’m so glad you brought this back to the top. Honestly, when I sent it to you in the beginning I was totally obsessed with this soup. Since then I forgot all about it. I will be adding this to my menu line up again!

  13. Katie says:

    Just made this for dinner tonight. It was heavenly. simply heavenly. The flavor is incredible, the texture creamy, and it’s healthy to boot. I served it with homemade croutons. I can’t wait to eat the leftovers with a grilled cheese sandwich. This soup rocks.

  14. Mary says:

    Oh my, I just made this soup and Mel, this is delicious! It was so fast and easy. I even had everything I needed. Oh, and Greg thanks you!

  15. Diane K says:

    I recently had some tomato basil bisque from Costco, and I thought it was so yummy that I wanted more! Your website came through, as always, and I made this tonight with delicious results. I added a little extra squash so I think there was just a little more squashiness, but it was still tasty (in spite of my two ginormous garlic cloves and extra basil). I will say that I tasted it before the half and half was added and next time I might only add a half cup or something. Maybe I was just in the mood for a heartier soup tonight, because I didn’t notice any special creaminess from it and it seemed to dilute the flavor. Still! I loved it.

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  19. Sarah Sparks Campbell says:

    We don’t usually eat creamy soups because of allergies, so I subsituted the 1 cup nonfat half-and-half for an additional cup of chicken stock. It was wonderful! My boys and dinner guests (5 men) were licking their bowls.

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  21. Lindsey says:

    I’ll have to try this! I definitely have my favorite, but always willing to try another one out. If you feel the same you HAVE to try making the Tomato Bisque from the Food Network. OH MY! It has carrots, celery, and tomatoes to give you the veggies, but it also has bacon in it. I KNOW! So good!! I also had an extra 8oz can of tomato sauce to mine too. My favorite tomato bisque recipes….hands down!!

  22. Melissa says:

    I just made this tonight and it’s to die for!! Thank you for sharing.

  23. […] home, made the kids some lunch. I heated up some of the tomato bisque soup I made the other day, (I mean, wowie is that stuff fantastic,) and heated up some minestrone soup […]

  24. Chris Shaffer says:

    Also nice with vegetable stock, for a vegetarian version.

  25. Karlie says:

    I can’t believe I didn’t find this recipe on here until now! Except for the fact that I added a little ground pepper and it does not have any orzo pasta in it, it is an almost exact replica of the soup I absolutely LOVE at a place called Zupas. I am so ecstatic that one of your readers sent it to you and that you were nice enough to put it on your site for all of us! Best part is that with the non-fat half and half and tons of healthy tomatoes and squash I don’t have to feel guilty about having it! Now if I could just get a good recipe for Zupas Wisconsin Cauliflower soup I think I would be in heaven.

  26. Allyson says:

    I just had to tell you how much I LOVE this soup!! I have made it twice in the past month – once for an adult potluck at church and then once for my husband and 5 children (plus a child’s friend that was visiting). I intended for the soup to be a small side-dish to our main meal (honestly expecting the kids to gross out at the soup), but it was a HIT with EVERYONE (miracle of miracles!). My 5 year old was so disappointed the next day when she asked if she could take some of it in her thermos to school for lunch … and I had to sadly tell her there were no leftovers. The look on her face broke my heart! Guess I’ll be making a much bigger batch really soon!! P.S. The family has not asked what the ingredients are (much to my surprise), and I’m not volunteering the information in case it changes their minds! Most of them HATE tomatoes and squash!

  27. Marie says:

    Have you ever substituted the butternut squash for a yellow summer squash? I’d love to find another way to use them. Tell me what you think…

    • Mel says:

      Marie – I’ve never substituted yellow squash. I can’t say it isn’t worth a try but to be honest, I have no idea how it will work out. The texture of butternut squash is a bit silkier and creamier than yellow squash. Let me know if you give it a go!

  28. Lindsay says:

    I will echo those who have posted before me.. I love your website!! It’s one of the first places I go to find dinner recipes. 🙂 We’ve loved what we’ve made so far! I am wondering, could you possibly use buttermilk in place of the half and half? I love to multi-purpose ingredients that I buy, and am wondering if this might work… let me know, if you have a minute… Thanks!!

  29. Mirien says:

    I love this soup–I’ve been making it all winter since I found the recipe here! It is a favorite with my husband and 6 kids, too. Last night I whipped this up with canned pumpkin since I don’t have any squash, and I used plain almond milk instead of the 1/2 and 1/2. It was delicious. Thanks for this great recipe!

  30. Mary says:

    Does anyone know how to bake the squash if it’s already cut up into pieces? Without the shell of it? I bought it already cut up.. without knowing i could have baked it whole.

  31. ambergray says:

    I made this soup last night and it is to die for. Thank you for sharing!

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  33. Erinn says:

    I’ve never made a pureed soup before…but this was so yummy. Perfect for the cold weather here. My husband & I had to fight over the left overs. Thanks!

    -I skipped the cream and used 1%milk & it was still creamy.

  34. Jennifer says:

    Amazing! I made it this weekend. I love that your recipies are so delicious, fresh and also simple. I’m hooked!!!

  35. Katie says:

    This is so simple and yummy! A friend gave me a butternut squash and I knew I could rely on you for a winner recipe to use it in! Last week I made your Chicken and Wild Rice Soup(AMAZINGLY AWESOME!) and had leftover fat free half and half so I used it here. Great turnout! Not sure if you use fat free for this one too but I just wanted to let you know how creamy and delicious it turned out using it in this soup as well! Repeater meals for sure. LOVE soup season!

  36. Jennifer says:

    I am so excited to try this recipe! Thanks for sharing 🙂 I’m hoping my picky one year old will also like it!

  37. Beth Hill says:

    FABULOUS! I have the Deceptively Delicious cookbook, so I had some butternut squash puree in my freezer. I threw it in after the onion and garlic was done and hand blendered the tomatoes in the pot. I went to the dentist today so this was perfect and delicious! Thanks for a wonderful, quick dinner!!

  38. Mel says:

    Hi Anissa – I’m sorry it curdled a bit…but I’m glad it still tasted ok! Thanks for letting me know. I’m thrilled your 18-month old suffered through a few bites…that IS a miracle.

  39. Anissa says:

    Made it tonight. Messed up a little bit and added all the puree from the squash (which was more like 2 1/2 cups). I compensated by adding another can of tomatoes and more salt, etc. It turned out pretty dang yummy. My super picky 18 month old even ate a few bites (miracle).
    My half and half did the curdling thing even though it never came to a boil… don’t know what I did wrong. 🙁
    Thanks for a great recipe!

  40. Mel says:

    deirdre – thanks for checking back in on this soup. I was curious to know if you had gone ahead and made it. I’m glad it still worked out well!

  41. deirdre says:

    Thank you so much for getting back to me. i ended up making it today just to see & it turned out great so I can only imagine how tasty it would be w/ the stewed tomatoes. i already have them on my grocery list so next time I’ll have them on hand. thanks so much for getting back to me so quickly & especially for your blog! It’s awesome!

  42. Mel says:

    deirdre – the stewed tomatoes do help with the flavor but you could definitely try using another variety of canned tomatoes and adding some Italian seasoning, like it mentions in the recipe. I think it is worth trying. Let me know if you do!

  43. deirdre says:

    Hi Mel,

    I LOVE your site & visit frequently. This recipe sounds awesome. Do you think it would work ok w/ diced tomatoes or peeled plum shaped tomatoes (both in can) instead of stewed? I would add the seasoning but just wasn’t sure if the stewed flavor would make much of a difference? Maybe I’ll just give it a try. Thanks again for all of the fabulous recipes & stories you tell.

  44. Mel says:

    JoAnn – thank you! I’m so glad this soup went over well with your non-soup-loving husband. Thanks for letting me know!

  45. JoAnn says:

    Mel, love the new website!

    And we loved this soup. My husband isn’t usually big on soups, but he loved this one. My only issue was that there wasn’t enough of it! With 2 adults and 3 kids, it was barely enough for us…I will double the recipe next time!

  46. Mel says:

    Jenna – I didn’t add this to the whole pot, just let everyone put on their own to taste. Of course my boys wanted none of it. I did a slight drizzle over my soup and it was perfect. If I put it in the whole pot, I would start with 1/2 tablespoon and add from there.

  47. Jenna says:

    How much Tapatio sauce does your family like? Do you put it in the whole pot of soup or just yours? How much would you put in a whole pot? Thanks!

  48. Cammee says:

    I have a good tomato basil soup recipe, but I’m betting butternut squash puts this over the top!

  49. Loralee says:

    I LOVE butternut squash, so I am going have to try this recipe for sure!

  50. Sarah says:

    Congrats on the new website! I really hope people aren’t actually sending you rude emails. That’s really sad. Anyway, everything looks great!

  51. Ashley W. says:

    YEAH!!!! I’m so glad that you loved this soup as much as I do. Since my first attempt at this soup, it’s now on the menu at least once every two weeks. I’ve also found that I can buy one or two large butternut squash, bake them, divide into 3 cup portions and freeze. Makes prep time a lot faster for those spur of the moment cravings!

  52. Katie says:

    Hi Mel!

    I just had to say that I love your new recipe index, it is so helpful! I’ve been visiting your blog for a couple months now, I love how all your recipes are down to earth and easy to fix. Thanks so much for sharing all your recipes!!


  53. Monica says:

    Good to know you got the husband approval! That’s so funny you mentioned ‘girly soups’–they are always my favorite to eat but not very satisfying for my husband. Anywho, thanks again for another fabulous recipe! Love your site!

  54. Chelsea says:

    I just love your website SO much, everything I have made from here is to die for! I am just wondering if you have any good tilapia recipes up your sleeve? Thanks!

  55. Danielle says:

    I am loving the new site. Nice work!

    Thanks for the soup recipe. It will still be soup season for at least another month where I live.

    For those who cook for someone who is lactose intolerant, like me, I have found plain soy milk to be a great substitute for half and half in creamy soup recipes.

  56. AJ says:

    I am a big fan of this soup and I haven’t even made it yet. I just love butternut squash and tomato soups. And it looks fantastic.
    Also, have you ever cooked your squash in the microwave? I know it sounds like it wouldn’t work that well, but a friend told me about it. It really saves a lot of time, especially in recipes like this. You can put the whole squash in the microwave after poking a few holes to vent it, then cook for 10ish minutes (sorry I can’t remember the exact time) and just turn it over half way through. Once it is all soft you can cut it open, scoop out the seeds, then use the flesh how you like. I’m not sure that it changes the taste at all, but it really saves a ton of time, which is a big deal for me.

  57. Barbi says:

    We love tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwiches! I wonder if I can sneak this one into the mix…… I will give it a try! We dont cook with squash, EVER, and I think it is because we assume we dont like it. I should work on that! Starting with this here recipe. 🙂

  58. Barbara says:

    Love your new site!

    And the soup. I’ve made butternut squash soup, but never added tomatoes and basil. Interesting that it still retains the color of the butternut squash. I would have expected the tomatoes to trump the squash.

  59. Kim in MD says:

    This looks fantastic, Mel! (I am so happy that I can see the photo now…thanks!). I love the addition of the butternut squash!

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