Cheesy Baked Tomato Bisque
A blanket of melted, crusty cheese covers a creamy, velvety smooth tomato bisque worthy of entertaining. Easy enough to make in just under 30 minutes, this Cheesy Baked Tomato Bisque recipe could also be added to the list of family favorites for weeknight dinners.
Originally published in March 2015 and updated November 2019.
Creamy soups are my absolute favorite thing on the planet. I know for a fact that they’re not, in any way, healthy when you order them in a restaurant. And sometimes they’re not so healthy when you order them at my house. 🙂
But sometimes it’s very evident, like when I cover the creamy bisque with a blanket of cheese. A blend of provolone and mozzarella cheese. And broil it until it’s bubbly and golden. Then…do you really care about the calories? You only live once and I, for one, live to eat.
BAKED TOMATO BISQUE
My family loves tomato soup….from a can. You know the classic Campbell’s tomato soup and they really don’t like it when I follow the instructions for adding milk instead of water. They actually could kill me with the looks they give me from the table. And the complaints….oh, the complaints. I just can’t even eat it unless I make it with milk so…..most of the time I don’t.
I wasn’t sure they would like this Tomato Bisque soup recipe for that reason…the milk reason. So, I covered it with cheese so they wouldn’t see anything. It was a tactical move. They didn’t even know what hit them until they broke through the cheesy crust and then it was too late.
Because everyone loves melty cheese and you become so distracted with the beauty that is melty cheese that you don’t even realize that mom put cream in the tomato soup. The stretchy, buttery crust…the crispy, crunchy croutons. Ha! It’s kitchen trickery.
Like hiding cauliflower in mac n cheese. Well, maybe not exactly like hiding veggies in comfort food but pretty darn close! You’re hiding tomatoes in cream under cheese. It’s so, so close to the same thing.
WHAT IS TOMATO BISQUE
Tomato Bisque is actually tomato soup that has a bit of cream added to it to make it creamy. So, basically, it’s a Creamy Tomato Soup….in a nutshell. You can use this Tomato Basil Bisque recipe as a meal all on it’s own or you can use it as a base for sooooo many different recipes like a Tortellini Tomato Soup.
INGREDIENTS YOU WILL NEED
This creamy tomato bisque is made with simple ingredients but that doesn’t mean it’s lacking in flavor.
Here’s what you will need:
- Bacon – We’re just using the bacon fat here so if you store your bacon fat in the fridge like I do after making a batch of bacon then you can just use a tablespoon of that. If you don’t want to use bacon you can totally substitute the bacon fat with olive oil. Bacon does add a ton of flavor though so I encourage you to give it a try.
- Onion – Try to find a vidalia or other sweet onion for the best flavor.
- Garlic – Fresh is best here. If you want to amp up the flavor a little more you can use Roasted Garlic. It’s insanely amazing!
- Chicken Stock – I like to use this homemade chicken stock but store bought stock is not frowned upon. I get it….and I use it, too. Try not to use broth because the flavor isn’t as pronounced. If you’re vegetarian…simply substitute the chicken stock with vegetable stock.
- Tomatoes – You can make Tomato Bisque from fresh tomatoes that are roasted with excellent results. If not, try to find canned Fire Roasted Tomatoes….I like them crushed because it cuts down on blending time.
- Fresh Parsley – Again, fresh is best but if you can’t get your hands on it, use half the amount of dried parsley called for in the recipe.
- Fresh Basil – Same as the parsley, you can use dried but be mindful of the amount because the dried herbs are more concentrated in flavor.
- Cream – You can use heavy cream but I found that Half and Half works just as well and has so much less calories. We didn’t even miss the cream the many times I used it.
- Salt and Pepper – No need to explain here.
- CHEESE – I like to use Provolone and Shredded Mozzarella but Gruyere would work so well here, too.
HOW TO MAKE IT
You’re going to want to use a fairly large dutch oven or heavy bottomed stock pot since things can bubble up….and out. Think like a salad…..you always need a bigger bowl than you anticipate. I always have to switch pots midway through the recipe because I underestimate how much tomato soup this actually makes.
In a large dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel lined plate.
Add the onion to the pot and cook until translucent.
Stir in the garlic and cook for one minute.
Add the chicken stock, tomatoes, parsley, basil, salt and pepper.
Bring the mixture to a boil and then turn the heat down to low. Simmer for 5 minutes.
Turn the heat off and blend the mixture with an immersion blender until smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can transfer the tomato soup to a blender and puree until smooth. Just be careful because the steam can cause your lid to pop off and make a big, painful mess.
Stir in the heavy cream.
- Divide the tomato bisque among four oven proof soup bowls and top with the cheese. I like to place the bowls on a baking sheet so I don’t make a mess in the oven and it helps make it easier to get them in and out of the oven.
- Place the bowls under the broiler on high and broil for 2-3 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbling.
- Remove from the oven and serve immediately.
What I love most about this bisque is it’s perfect on it’s own like I did with this Tomato Basil Bisque recipe. Without the cheese. (I can’t believe I’m saying “without the cheese.”) And you can make it in advance for quick dinners during the week…with or without cheese.
Or with a grilled cheese sandwich….or a light salad….or some of those grilled cheese croutons that were big on Pinterest a few years ago. Any way you serve it it’s going to be spectacular and satisfying and perfect for the chilly months we have of fall and winter.
If you want even more deliciously easy soup recipes we are totally digging this easy Baked French Onion Soup….it’s also super cheese and amazing. This Lobster Bisque recipe is super simple and perfect for special occasions. Or you can try this insanely simple Cream of Mushroom Soup.
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Cheesy Baked Tomato Bisque
- 2 slices bacon cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 large vidalia onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 28- ounce can crushed tomatoes I use Muir Glen Organic
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- croutons optional
- 1/2 cup shredded provolone cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- In a large dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel lined plate.
- Add the onion to the pot and cook until translucent. Stir in the garlic and cook for one minute.
- Add the chicken stock, tomatoes, parsley, basil, salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil and then turn the heat down to low. Simmer for 5 minutes.
- Turn the heat off and blend the mixture with an immersion blender until smooth.
- Stir in the heavy cream.
- Transfer the bisque evenly to 4 individual oven safe bowl and top with 2-3 croutons, if desired.
- Divide the cheese evenly over each of the 4 bowls and place them on a baking sheet.
- Place the bowls under the broiler on high for 2-3 minutes or until the cheese is golden and bubbly.
- Serve immediately.