5 Ingredients or Fewer

My Grandmother's Tomato Bisque

June  8, 2021
13 Ratings
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Serves 2
Author Notes

This is how my grandmother always made tomato soup. It's extremely simple, and relies entirely on extremely red, ripe tomatoes - I only make it if I happen to see tomatoes that look particularly ripe and fresh for sale, not the other way around. It's also very important to use a heavy cast iron pan that is well seasoned, and to get the butter as hot as you can without burning it. —The Weary Epicurean

Test Kitchen Notes

This recipe is half about seeking out the best ingredients possible, and half about an unexpected technique. There are only three ingredients on the list (not counting salt and pepper), which means everything needs to be just right: juicy, red tomatoes and good-quality butter and cream. The Weary Epicurean has a way with words, guiding you colorfully through the unusual method of sautéing blanched, seeded tomatoes with butter in a cast iron pan before madly stirring in the cream. The resulting mixture is rich, chunky and rustic -- a homemade cream of tomato soup that along with some thick toast and a green salad would make a perfect meal for a cool, late summer evening. - A&M —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 3 to 4 medium tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 5 tablespoons or 6 heavy cream
  1. Briefly blanche the tomatoes, but do not remove the skin. Cut them in half, scoop out the seeds and slice their backs two or three times each with a sharp knife. Season the halves on each side with salt and pepper.
  2. Get the butter sizzling in a cast iron pot, but do not let it brown. Add the tomatoes flesh side down. They are ready to flip when they have sweated a lot of juice, but do not let them burn. It should take about 10 minutes if the heat is correct (medium/low setting).
  3. Flip the tomatoes on their backs and turn the heat up slightly. Continue cooking about five minutes.
  4. Take the pan off the heat, and wait a few seconds for it to cool slightly. Add the cream, and stir like shit with a wooden spoon. You don't want the cream to boil but you want it to come close. After you've gotten everything tasty off the bottom of the pan, you are done - adjust the seasoning, then pour into two bowls.
  5. You may garnish the soup with some thin strips of basil, or not. Definitely leave it chunky - the mealy texture is important. It is good with crusty Italian bread or with poilane bread.
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25 Reviews

arun October 14, 2021
Moo April 8, 2021
Number 4, "Stir like sh*t"... Really?
Bian0039 December 1, 2019
I made this at the start of winter and it warmed our frozen Minnesota hearts. Love this , almost just sat there and ate out of the pan.
MamaSully November 12, 2019
I have now made this soup several times and love it for its heartiness, richness, and simplicity. I have used both heavy cream, as well as plant/nut based creams, and all work well! I also have used a variety of different tomatoes and find so long as they're perfectly ripe, they all lend themselves to it beautifully.
Mike S. January 18, 2019
I looooove this soup. My only question is that I would love to know how to make a large batch that can feed a lot of people. This made about two bowls, and I would love to feel comfortable doubling or even tripling the recipe. Not sure how to do that best!
Judith S. January 17, 2016
This is some good ass soup. That's all.
Julia Q. August 11, 2015
Do you think Mortgage Lifter Heirloom tomatoes would be good?
ortolan January 11, 2015
This looks perfect as far as tomato soups go! Now if I could only get my hands on some worthy tomatoes in the midst of winter...
The W. January 11, 2015
Hah - yes I tend to make it when I see the tomatoes rather than the other way around.
Robbie S. December 15, 2014
This is divine! I love that the skins are left in the soup. Nice texture. All hail Grandma!
The W. December 15, 2014
haha - thank you! yes I like the texture better that way.
Dan D. October 6, 2014
You had me a "stir like shit" I will give this a try tonight...I have a table full of ripe tomatoes!
mikedalena April 7, 2018
#TrueStory! I was mildly intrigued by the three ingredient soup but when I read the instructions to “stir like shit” I decided this Cook knew her stuff. I love the idea and summer is too far off to wait! Hurry up summer! I have to get this recipe on the stove!
tenpenny July 28, 2014
Good lord, is this soup good! I make this throughout tomato season. Can't believe I never commented to let you know how cherished this soup is!
The W. December 15, 2014
thank you!
tedd April 11, 2013
I use this as a sauce over pasta and it is amazing
Joy C. April 4, 2013
Just made the bisque. GREAT recipe! Super easy to make & ever so delicious. Thank your grandma for me.
Chana O. October 21, 2012
I would definitely remove the skin as the tomatoes cook down. Is there a reason why you recommend against that?
MarieWestmoreland June 11, 2012
Fantastic....so simple yet so delicious.

grazynahuk January 12, 2012
that looks so yummy and we are having this for dinner tonight.
btw: does the #4 need some editing? .....
Heidrun November 30, 2011
I have made this recipe more than any other on this site now. It's my go-to when I want to cook something for someone. Whether they're in a bad mood or sick or I just want to cook, this is always the first thing I think of. Thank you for this comforting and delicious recipe.
Heidrun December 12, 2010
How long do you suggest blanching the tomatoes for?
The W. September 14, 2011
I count "1 elephant, 2 elephant, 3 elephant . . . 8 elephants" then pull them out. You can blanche a lot of things by the way, like peaches, pears, almonds . . .
Veronica September 27, 2009
This is so good I've made it 3 times in the last 10 days! Thank you!
The W. September 14, 2011
Thank you, I am touched to hear it!