Homemade Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese

Ditch the canned tomato soup and up your game with a crowd pleasing homemade tomato soup that comes together quick. This soup will easily become your go to on those cold soup days.

I have been making this recipe for years and is easily one of my hard to please husband’d favorites. So much in fact I routinely get requests for this so I keep the ingredients on hand at all times.

The secret to this soup is the San Marzano Whole Peeled Tomatoes. While they are two to three times as much as other peeled tomatoes, they make all the difference! They truly up the taste of a traditional tomato soup and are well worth the price difference. I am fortunate enough to have a Wegmans near me and I purchase their store brand, however I have also made these with other popular canned tomato brands and the taste is the same.

To get started put a heavy duty pan on medium with olive oil and butter. I like the combination to sauté onions. I am a big fan of deep golden onions. I also salt my onions when they are sautéing. I find that I have to add less salt throughout the process if I salt them while they are cooking down.

I use my Kitchen Aid chopper to chop 1 large Vidalia onion. I absolutely love this tool – in just seconds it will take an entire onion and finely chop it. I ditched the large food processor years ago as I found lugging it out of a cabinet and the time consuming clean up to be a hassle. Instead, when I have lots to chop I use this – it couldn’t be any easier. I have tried this recipe with yellow onions as well and find that Sweet Vidalia or Sweet Mayan onions give the best results.

Once the onions have turned to a golden brown, add your diced garlic and continue to cook for approximately 3 minutes. I use my chopper to finely chop the garlic. I have also used pre-diced garlic from a jar but tend to opt for fresh garlic when I can. The ingredients in this recipe are so simple I find it worthy of the fresh stuff.

Add in your liquids and tomatoes. You may be wondering why I would use a combination of chicken broth and chicken stock. Well, truth be told it was a happy accident I made several years back. I tend to buy broth – when I really need stock, and it just so happened I had half of each and the combination turned out better than all broth! I use one can of low sodium chicken broth and a chicken stock concentrate mixed with water. It gives me the perfect flavor and a rich consistency.

Allow the soup to come to a boil and then simmer for 15 minutes. During this time I get my “salty” water to a boil for my orzo. Adding in some orzo to the smooth soup kicks this up a notch and adds some texture back in. I cook the orzo to al dente because it will continue to cook in the soup once added. This is the only recipe I use Orzo for so one box lasts me forever! I keep it fresh in my OXO Good Grips Pop Square containers. I LOVE these containers! Not only do they make my pantry super organized, they keep everything fresh. I have slowly built my collection over the years, they are always on my wish list.

As the Orzo cooks take your immersion blender and puree the soup. It should then return to a simmer. Once the Orzo is ready drain and add it to the soup. Then whisk in the heavy cream and return it to a boil. I also add in my salt and pepper at this time and continue to taste test it as it returns to a boil and add more as needed.

Prepare your pan for the grilled cheese! I use my Le Cruset grill pan to get that panini look, but any pan will do! Now, for the big debate – I use mayonnaise on the outside of my bread instead of butter. This is a trick I learned from a restaurant I worked at many years ago. I know that traditionally butter is used, but I find mayonnaise makes the bread crispy on the outside and soft on the inside – butter tends to make the bread hard. Just try it! I swear you won’t be disappointed!!

Once the pan is heated I add butter directly to it and grill up my sandwiches. Over the years I have experimented with lots, and I mean lots, of different cheeses. Havarti, Gouda, Cooper, Cheddar – you name it. We decided traditional white slices American is the way to go. Feel free to experiment and let us know what cheese you like best!

Best Homemade Tomato Soup + Grilled Cheese

Hands down this is the best homemade tomato soup ever. Rich, creamy and easy to make – paired with a grilled cheese you will not be disappointed!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Course: Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 people


  • 1 Immersion Blender a traditional blender will also work


Tomato Soup

  • 1 Vidalia Onion
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • 2 cups Low Sodium Chicken Stock
  • 2 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
  • 1 28 oz. can Whole Peeled San Marzano Tomato
  • 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
  • 2/3 cup Orzo
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil

Grilled Cheese

  • 8 slices Hearty White Bread
  • 8 slices White American Cheese or Cooper Cheese
  • 2 tbsp Mayonaisse
  • 1 tbsp Butter


  • Heat a large heavy bottom pot with the butter and olive oil
  • Chop Vidalia Onion into small piece and add to pot, add a pinch of salt and pepper. Saute over medium heat for 8-10 minutes. Onions should be golden brown.
  • Finely chop garlic and add to browned onions for 3 minutes until fragrant.
  • Add chicken broth and chicken stock, whole peeled tomatoes. Stir frequently and bring to a boil.
  • Once boiling turn down the heat and use the immersion blender to puree into a smooth consistency. Bring soup to a simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a small pan boil water with salt added. Add Orzo for 6 minutes once water is boiling.
  • Drain Orzo and stir into the tomato soup. Continue to stir frquenclty to ensure Orzo does not stick to the bottom.
  • Stir in 1/2 cup of the heavy cream and add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Continue to simmer on low for 10 minutes while you prepare the grilled cheese.
  • Prepare the grilled cheese pan over medium adding butter directly to the pan.
  • Coat one side of each bread slice with mayonaisse and add it to the hot prepared pan.
  • Add cheese on top and cook for 3-5 minutes, looking for a golden brown bottom.
  • Sandwich both sides and allow to continue cooking for 1-2 minutes.
  • Turn heat off of soup and enjoy!


  • This must be made with San Marzano Tomatoes, you will find that they are more pricey than regular canned tomatoes – but they make a huge difference. 
  • We are huge fans of trying cheese! For this one, we stick to American or Cooper. Cooper cheese takes longer to melt and if using Cooper cheese place a pan lid over the grilled cheese while on the pan and use water to help steam them, this cheese takes longer to melt. 
  • I use a combination of chicken stock and broth, I find that it deepens the flavor. If you do not have both, I would opt for Chicken Stock. 
  • If you do not have an immersion blender that is Ok, any blender will do. Before I had my immersion blender I used a Nutri-bullet to smooth out this soup. It did the trick! 
  • I use a Kitchen Aid Chopper to chop my onions and garlic for this. It makes the prep super quick. 
  • Yes, I use mayo on my grilled cheese I just find it makes the bread crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. 
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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