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Tomato Basil Soup made with yummy pesto is just the BEST for dipping grilled cheese sandwiches. This tomato soup recipe is the last one you’ll need (and you can make it right in your Instant Pot or Crock Pot!) It’s extremely flavorful, creamy (even without the cream), and kid-approved!
How I created this Tomato Soup Recipe
I’m not a huge tomato person. In fact, I honestly tolerate them and eat them in salads/sandwiches because I want to be healthy.
I’ve never been the type of person to pop cherry tomatoes in my mouth and call it good.
Even though tomatoes are not my favorite, I still love making this soup about once or twice a year. It’s Lisa-approved!
To me, tomato soup needs a little texture and oomph besides just straight, watery tomato flavor.
I incorporate my tomato soup with veggies, browned butter, heavy cream, and yummy pesto to add lots of flavor elements.
Great Baby Shower Food
I made these mini cheese encrusted grilled cheeses to top tiny bowls of Tomato Basil soup for my sister in law’s baby shower I hosted for her last weekend.
They were so fun to serve on top of my favorite wooden cutting board and sprinkled with fresh basil. Learn how to make the best grilled cheese sandwich ever with crispy cheese crust here!
This simple dish is a great vegetarian dish, perfect for brunch, bridal showers, lunch parties, baby showers, or parties!
How to avoid BURNING in the Instant Pot
The Instant Pot is an amazing contraption that has a lot of built in safety measures. One of the features it has is a burn detection safety feature.
The Instant Pot automatically can sense when something is burned to the bottom of the pot, and will not let it come to pressure if it is.
Tomato products are high in sugar and notorious for burning under high heat. You need to make sure that the heat isn’t too high when sauteing, and deglaze the pot if you get anything burning to the bottom.
If the tomato paste and veggies start burning, turn the heat to low or take the pot out of the base and keep stirring.
You’ll need to quickly deglaze the pot by adding water or chicken stock (part of the recipe) and scraping down the burned bits.
Don’t put the lid on the Instant Pot and start pressure cooking if you’ve got a layer of burned food on the bottom.
Deglazing the Instant Pot
Deglazing is a term/practice I use all the time when cooking because it incorporates amazing flavor, and avoids burn.
Whenever you saute something in the Instant Pot (especially meats), you’ll have browned (not burned!) bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. That’s good!
The technical name for all that browned goodness is called FOND. I remember teaching my freshman college roommate how to cook chicken once and she proudly exclaimed, “Oh wow! Cooking noises!”
Yes, when you correctly brown or saute food at the proper heat, you’ll create the maillard reaction and have “cooking noises” AND flavorful fond as a result!
That flavorful goodness at the bottom of the pot needs to be lifted up using liquid, which incorporates it into a sauce. Be sure to scrape it all up to get the best flavor
How to make Instant Pot Tomato Basil Soup
My recipe for tomato soup starts with browned butter, and a traditional mirepoix (mere-eh-pu-ah) of carrots, celery, and onion. I then add tomato products and pesto. So good.
How to Make Browned Butter
Browned butter is really easy to make in the Instant Pot. I just saute a stick of butter on medium saute until it gets brown, foamy, and fragrant. I stir or swirl occasionally to get even distribution.
You’ll know when it’s ready because it smells nutty and beautiful. Can I get a browned butter candle, please??
Once it starts turning brown, it goes really fast! So you need to swirl and keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn!
To the butter, I add some garlic and diced veggies to let them sweat down and soften. Then, make a well in the center of the pot and add a small can of tomato paste to cook down.
I like cooking it down into the veggies so it’ll dissolve and get a bit of caramelization. Be careful not to let it burn!
After sauteing the veggies, deglaze the pot with chicken broth and scrape any browned bits off the bottom of the pot. If there is anything stuck on the pot, it may not come to pressure (see above).
Add the diced tomato and tomato sauce, sugar, basil pesto, and salt. Give it a quick stir, and cook for 20 minutes. It shouldn’t take very long to come to pressure since the pot has been hot the entire time.
Allow a 15 minute Natural Pressure Release, if you have time. This soup is fine to do a quick release in short bursts (don’t let it go all at once or you could be sprayed with tomato soup!)
Creamy Tomato Soup
I wish I had an immersion blender for this soup, but instead I use my Blendtec blender to blend the soup together. I usually have to do this in batches to ensure I don’t overfill my blender. Blending everything together makes it super creamy and gives it the perfect texture.
You can blend maybe 2 batches super smooth, and leave one batch a little chunkier to add some texture, or just do it all the same. To this, I’ll add some heavy cream for added richness (though it’s not necessary!)
Crock Pot Tomato Soup Recipe
Follow all the above instructions for Instant Pot Tomato soup. Just saute the ingredients in a pot, then transfer it all to a Crock Pot. Cook on low for 8 hours, or high for 4-6 hours. Then, blend as directed.
- Instant Pot Cauliflower Soup
- Instant Pot Hot and Sour Soup
- Loaded Baked Potato Soup
- Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup with Homemade Egg Noodles
- Instant Pot White Chicken Chili
- Instant Pot Beef Stew
- Super Simple Miso Soup
- Instant Pot Potato Ham Chowder
- Instant Pot Clam Chowder
- Instant Pot Chicken Enchilada Soup
- Instant Pot Lasagna Soup
- Instant Pot Potato Ham Chowder
- Egg Drop Soup
- Instant Pot Beef Stew
- Instant Pot Pineapple Chicken Curry
Tomato Soup Toppings
I love topping my tomato soup with all sorts of fun textures and garnishes. Some like cheese, but I prefer sour cream, extra cream, extra pesto, fresh basil, or something crunchy like croutons or crispy fried onions or leeks.
And of course, you’ve gotta serve it with a perfect grilled cheese sandwich with crispy cheese crust.
Tomato Basil Soup
- 1/2 Cup Butter Browned
- 4 Stalks Celery Diced
- 1 lb Carrots I use one bag mini carrots
- 1 Medium Onion Diced
- 2 Tablespoons Minced Garlic
- 1 6 oz can Tomato Paste
- 1 Cup Chicken Broth
- 2, 15 oz cans Diced Tomatoes
- 1, 15 oz can Tomato Sauce
- 1 Tablespoon Sugar
- 1 Cup Basil Pesto
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 Teaspoon Pepper
- 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream Optional
- Press the Saute button on the Instant Pot and adjust to Medium. Add butter and saute until it gets brown, foamy, and fragrant. I stir or swirl occasionally to get even distribution. You’ll know when it’s ready because it smells nutty and not burned.
- To the butter, add celery, carrots, onion, and garlic. Saute for 5 minutes. Make a well in the center of the pot and add the can of tomato paste to cook down. Be careful not to let it burn!
- Deglaze the pot with chicken broth and scrape any browned bits off the bottom of the pot. If there is anything stuck on the pot, it may not come to pressure (see above).
- Add the diced tomato and tomato sauce, sugar, basil pesto, salt, and pepper. Give it a quick stir. Lock the lid, turn the knob to sealing, and cook on manual high pressure for 20 minutes. Allow a 10-15 minute natural pressure release.
- Use an immersion blender or high powered blender (I use my Blendtec blender) to blend the soup together. I usually have to do this in batches to ensure I don’t overfill my blender. You can blend maybe 2 batches super smooth, and leave one batch a little chunkier to add some texture, or just do it all the same. After blending, return the soup to the Instant Pot and add heavy cream to taste.
- Serve with sour cream, extra heavy cream, pesto, fresh basil, croutons, bread, or cheese.
Crock Pot or Slow Cooker
- Follow all the above instructions for Instant Pot Tomato soup but in a regular stovetop pot. Transfer the sauteed vegetable and tomato mix to a Crock Pot. Cook on low for 8 hours, or high for 4-6 hours. Then, blend as directed and add heavy cream.