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This tomato cheddar soup with grilled cheese croutons is exactly what we crave on a cold rainy day. It's an easy-to-make recipe that uses mostly pantry ingredients, and it's ready in just 30 minutes!
This creamy tomato cheddar soup is what we make when all we're after is something cozy and comforting, but don't want to spend all day in the kitchen. If you grew up on canned tomato soup, you'll be shocked at how easy it is to make tomato soup from scratch. You'll be wondering where this recipe has been all your life!
Since there's no better or more classic combo than tomato soup and grilled cheese, we had the genius idea to combine the two into one delicious recipe. The soup is rich and creamy and the easy-to-make grilled cheese croutons add the perfect crunchy texture.
It's a fun meal to serve to kids, but it's a favorite recipe that everyone enjoys!
Tomato cheddar soup ingredients
Here's what you need to make this creamy tomato cheddar soup:
- Olive oil – olive or avocado oil are our top choices for neutral flavored oils.
- Onion + garlic – for that classic savory flavor base.
- Tomato paste – gives a more intense tomato taste to tomato-based sauces, soups, and stews. We prefer to buy the tubes over the small cans because we can reseal them, which means less waste.
- Fire-roasted tomatoes – fire roasted tomatoes have a unique smoky and sweet flavor, but you can also use diced tomatoes if that's what you have available.
- Chicken or vegetable stock – we use our homemade chicken stock but store-bought works well, too.
- Seasonings – we keep it simple with a mix of dried thyme, sea salt, and pepper.
- Sharp cheddar cheese – the sharp cheddar cheese gets blended right into the soup for a bold cheesy taste. We recommend decent-quality cheese because we've found that lower-quality ones don't melt as well. If you find that the cheese doesn't melt smoothly into the soup, just give it a quick blend to make it silky again.
- Whole milk or cream – for an extra-creamy taste and texture.
- Grilled cheese croutons and minced parsley – take this soup to the next level with our easy-to-make grilled cheese croutons! It also tastes great with our bacon croutons or mini soup croutons. Top it off with a bit of minced parsley, to serve.
How to make tomato cheddar soup
This tomato cheddar soup is cozy, comforting, and perfect for cold weather days. It's also simple to make at home in a few easy steps:
- Start by sautéing the onion and garlic in the olive oil.
- Stir in the tomato paste, fire-roasted tomatoes, stock, and seasonings. Bring it all to a boil and let it simmer.
- Make it smooth by blending it with an immersion blender or a regular blender.
- Lastly, stir the cheddar cheese into the pot with the cream. Taste and adjust the salt if you'd like, then top with grilled cheese croutons and minced parsley to serve. Yum!
What to eat with tomato cheddar soup
If you serve this soup with grilled cheese croutons, it becomes a complete meal. But it also works great as an appetizer served in small bowls. You could even get really fancy for a party and serve it as an appetizer in shot glasses topped with one crouton!
How long does this soup last?
Store any leftover soup in an airtight container in your fridge for 3-4 days.
Can I freeze it?
Unfortunately no, soups with dairy in them don't taste great after being frozen and reheated. The texture tends to become grainy and separate.
Can I use pre-grated cheddar cheese?
No, pre-grated cheese doesn't work well because it doesn't melt well. Bags of grated cheddar cheese have a coating on the cheese that prevents it from sticking together but also prevents it from melting well.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion (chopped)
- 3 cloves garlic (minced)
- 4 tablespoons tomato paste
- 28 ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes (or diced tomatoes)
- 2 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
- 1 teaspoon EACH: dried thyme, salt, and pepper
- 6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese (shredded)
- ½ cup whole milk or cream
- Grilled cheese croutons and minced parsley (to serve)
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook it until it looks transparent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 medium onion, 3 cloves garlic
- Stir the tomato paste into the onions then let it cook for about 3 minutes, until it begins to smell sweet. Then add the fire-roasted tomatoes, stock, thyme, salt, and pepper to the pot and bring the pot to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let it simmer for 10 minutes.4 tablespoons tomato paste, 28 ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes, 2 cups chicken stock, 1 teaspoon EACH: dried thyme, salt, and pepper
- Blend the soup using either a blender or an immersion blender until it's smooth. See the notes if you're using a regular blender.
- Stir the cheese into the pot a few handfuls at a time. Stir in the milk or cream. Taste the soup and add more salt and pepper, if you'd like.6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, ½ cup whole milk or cream
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.