Tomato soup is the warm, vibrant red household staple that has comforted us for generations. Whether served piping hot on wintry evenings or as a classic lunch paired with a grilled cheese sandwich, we turn to it repeatedly when we want a classic, tasty meal. It would be nice to make homemade tomato soup whenever we crave it, like a bowl of roasted tomato soup or creamy tomato tortellini soup. But, it's not always possible or convenient to whip these recipes up from scratch.
Luckily, there's no shortage of store-bought tomato soups we can bring home for an easy meal in. Supermarkets have wide selections from different brands, including plain, creamy, herby, cheesy, low-sodium, canned, boxed, refrigerated, and microwavable versions. The choice might seem overwhelming, and tasting them all can be time-consuming and expensive. We did the hard work for you by choosing a varied selection of commonly available tomato soups and personally blind taste-testing each. We considered the flavor first, as well as other factors like texture, complexity, ingredients, nutrition, and special categories like plant-based or organic. Read on to discover which soup you should add to your cart.
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14. Campbell's Tomato Bisque
Campbell's iconic red and white cans were a staple of our childhood. Its tomato bisque is a richer version of its regular tomato soup and contains cream and scattered tomato pieces. While it's marketed as an indulgent and comforting soup, we beg to differ. Unfortunately, our first reaction to the soup was that it tasted like fruit juice. While it smells delectable, it has an artificial-looking color and a weirdly sweet, chemical taste to it that prevented us from enjoying it at all. We're not sure if it's the added natural flavors that are responsible for this or if there is some other ingredient at play. Moreover, each half-cup of soup contains 11 grams of added sugars, but it still didn't take the sweetest spot on our list.
The condensed soup also becomes extremely thin when mixed with a can of water as directed. We almost ranked this soup second to last, but each half-cup of prepared soup contains a whopping 870 milligrams of sodium, which was higher than any contender we reviewed.
13. Pacific Foods Organic Garden Tomato Oat Milk Soup
We are sorry to place this soup so far down the list because we really wanted to like it, considering we've enjoyed some of Pacific Foods' other offerings in the past. It's organic, plant-based, and contains no saturated fat. It also contains less sodium than many of the other soups we tasted. Unfortunately, it just didn't have much flavor, and while some might chalk that up to it being vegan, some of the other vegan products were leaps and bounds above this one.
While we liked the smooth orange appearance, the lack of taste and strange astringent flavor made this one of the few soups we couldn't finish. We're grateful you can use canned tomato soup in cooking since it might be the best thing to do with this odd-tasting product that we couldn't stomach eating in a bowl alone -- no matter how delicious the grilled cheese served with it may be.
12. Campbell's Tomato Soup
Campbell's Tomato Soup fared a little better than its tomato bisque in our ranking, and the nutrition facts gave it some weight. It contains no fat, 90 calories, and 480 milligrams of sodium per half-cup. We ranked this Campbell's soup poorly because of its lack of taste and color. Not only were we not impressed by its weak tomato flavor, but it had an overall cheap taste and suspicious-looking hue. Like the tomato bisque, the condensed soup was too thin when we followed the directions and mixed it with a can of water.
We would definitely vote this soup most nostalgic, though. After all, the Campbell's Soup Company was launched in 1869 and is still available in stores today. Although we suspect its prices are a selling point for customers, the flavor certainly isn't. It wouldn't be a soup that we would grab from the store aisle.
11. Progresso Tomato Basil
Upon first taste, it is evident that this was a tomato basil soup. The dark basil specks added visual contrast and a herby flavor. We liked the departure from a strict tomato taste, which gave this soup an exciting element we didn't find in many other brands. Its punchy undertone was marginally better than other brands that we ranked lower on our list, but this Progresso soup is nowhere near a top contender. While the taste might be average, it still had an artificial profile to it. The soup's base was slightly creamy and had a deep red color, which we liked, but it was a bit sweet and actually tasted more like tomato sauce than soup.
We gave this soup a low ranking because of its lackluster flavor. Regarding the nutritional content, it contains one of the highest potassium levels on the list, with about 10% of the recommended daily intake in a 1-cup serving.
10. Pacific Foods Organic Creamy Tomato Soup Light In Sodium
This organic boxed soup from Pacific Foods has a smooth, creamy texture and a vivid orange color. As expected, it's light in the sodium department, with only 340 milligrams per cup serving. That is the highest amount of sodium among the low-sodium varieties we tested, but it's still a lot lower than the regular soups we tried.
The reason we gave this soup a low ranking is because as soon as we tried it, we were hit with a very strong taste of milk or cream. When we were finished with the blind taste testing, we checked the label and saw that the first ingredient was reduced-fat milk, so now we understand why it has those strong flavor notes. It doesn't have to be a bad thing, but in this case, the milk flavor was so overwhelming it overshadowed the tomato part of the soup -- which was the reason why we were tasting it in the first place.
9. Pacific Foods Organic Tomato Bisque
This is the first soup with a medium ranking on this list, and we think it's generally a good can to have in your pantry. It's organic and gluten-free, which may be attractive for some consumers. From a nutritional standpoint, a 1-cup serving clocks in at 170 calories with 8 grams of fat and 5 grams of saturated fat, which is more than other brands on our list.
The biggest deciding factor for this soup's ranking was taste. This soup has a basic tomato soup flavor, and there's nothing particularly bad about it. In other words, it's good but not great. The soup is creamy and has an excellent visual appeal with a red-orange color and hearty tomato chunks. Unfortunately, these chunks are the most exciting thing about the soup. We would classify this soup as average, at best, which means that it doesn't come close to some of our preferred brands.
8. Rao's Tomato Basil Soup
We gave this soup a middle-of-the-pack ranking because there's nothing glaringly wrong with the taste. It has a pretty robust tomato flavor and a strong herby hit from the basil. The chunky texture is nice too, but it's still a bit thinner than we would have wanted. We also like the glass jar it's sold in, which eliminates concerns about BPA or other toxins found in the lining of some canned foods. This soup also contains no saturated fats, but it does contain comparatively high levels of sodium at 600 milligrams per cup.
We ranked Rao's soup in the middle of our lineup because we couldn't shake the feeling that we were eating tomato sauce. The thin, chunky consistency and strong basil flavor feel too much like sauce to make it enjoyable as a soup. This profile means that we can see ourselves eating this product with pasta, especially pastina: tiny pasta shapes that add a unique texture to soups and dishes.
7. Amy's Organic Soups Light Sodium Chunky Tomato Bisque
We love that Amy's soups contain only organic ingredients. This soup has a chunky texture that provides a more interesting bite than the other ones we sampled, and we think the flavor is significantly better than some of our lower-ranked brands. We ranked this product in the middle of the group because even though it has a robust flavor, it's reminiscent of the tomato purée used to make pasta sauce. Despite this saucy undertone, we ranked it higher than Rao's because of its more soup-like thickness, creaminess, and moderate basil flavor.
This is the low-sodium version of Amy's regular chunky tomato bisque soup. It is ranked lower than the normal-sodium product because of its comparatively lacking flavor, but it still has a better overall taste than the other products we reviewed. This soup's sodium content (280 milligrams per cup) is in the middle of the three low-sodium soups we tried.
6. Amy's Organic Soups Chunky Tomato Bisque
This soup offers a similar ingredient list to the low-sodium variety, which means we see some of the same issues across the two products. We get a tomato purée texture like we got with its low-sodium counterpart, but this time, the taste is more complex -- likely because of the higher sodium levels. One cup of this soup contains 680 grams of sodium, which is more than two times higher than the low-sodium version. However, unlike other lower-ranked products, it is creamy enough to differentiate itself from a regular tomato sauce.
We also like the visual appeal of the beautiful, vibrant red color. At first, we were a bit mystified about where to place it on our list until we noticed that we had eaten nearly the entire bowl, which was not the case with our lower-ranked soup options. Overall, this is a solid product for a consumer seeking an organic, well-rounded soup.
5. Trader Joe's Low Sodium Organic Tomato & Roasted Red Pepper Soup
This organic boxed soup is the first one to occupy a higher position in our ranking. With a silky smooth texture and vivid orange color, it's pleasant to look at -- and even more enjoyable to eat. The creamy mouthfeel is sublime. Plus, we liked that it has just over 3 grams of fat per cup, which is on par with the other soups we reviewed. The sugar content is also slightly lower than the other two light-sodium soups with 8 grams of added sugar.
This soup has a solid, creamy tomato soup taste. The roasted red pepper provides more complexity, and even though the regular version has a more robust flavor, the low-sodium version doesn't bother us. We gave this the highest ranking for a low-sodium soup because it doesn't taste too much like milk or tomato sauce like the others did. A 1-cup serving has 140 milligrams of sodium, which is the lowest of the entire list. We gave it a high ranking overall because we find it's complex enough and not too bland to be generally enjoyable.
4. Annie's Organic Creamy Tomato & Bunny Pasta Soup
First, we'd like to point out that we were unable to do a blind taste test for this soup because it's impossible to miss the bunnies. The fun pasta shape makes this soup a lot more fun to eat, so this wins our vote for best soup for young eaters -- or at least the young at heart. Besides the fun factor, we like the fact that the brand is made with organic ingredients. The biggest drawback, though, is the high sodium content at 660 milligrams per cup.
We found this to be a pleasing tomato soup that gave us and had no trouble in finishing the whole can. It has a smooth, slightly oily mouthfeel which we connect to its fat content. Although whimsical, this pasta dish had some elements of canned pasta that weren't entirely pleasing to the palate. Still, we'd come back just for the bunnies.
3. Maya Kaimal Tomato & Warm Spices Inspired Soup
We weren't sure how we were going to like this soup since it was very different from all the others. We couldn't perform a blind taste since the spices created noticeable red swirls and darker specks on the surface -- which made for a beautiful presentation. While basil was the strongest spice used in the other soups, this one included a mix of cumin, Serrano pepper, coriander, black pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves. This soup was sublime, and the spices gave it a complexity of flavor beyond just tomato. We also enjoyed the added texture of the tomato chunks.
We were surprised by how creamy this vegan soup was -- which likely stemmed from its use of coconut cream and starches. The coconut cream increased the calories and fat in this soup significantly; one serving contained 300 calories and 18 grams of fat, which is on the higher end of the products we reviewed.
2. Trader Joe's Organic Tomato & Roasted Red Pepper Soup
We admit that we love Trader Joe's soups -- including this one. The brand's organic tomato and roasted red pepper soup has a perfect medley of what we like in tomato soup: vivid color, creaminess, and a strong tomato flavor. It's slightly sweet, and despite the creamy texture, the fat content is limited to 2.5 grams per cup.
We gave it a high ranking because the roasted red pepper adds a smoky dimension that gives the soup a leg up. We also ranked it high because we couldn't find any faults with the taste. There was no unpleasant aftertaste and it tasted like what it is -- a milky, creamy tomato soup. The only thing we're not a fan of is the high sodium content at 710 milligrams per serving. After all, we've tasted other soups with a punchy flavor and significantly less sodium.
1. Imagine Organic Tomato Creamy Soup
With all the specialty varieties of tomato soup out there, we were slightly surprised to see this one topping the ranking, but it impressed us on several levels. The classic taste of this soup hits home. It's a delicious, rich tomato soup flavor with no aftertaste.
This soup doesn't make it obvious that it's plant-based outside of the vegan label. The creaminess likely comes from potatoes and tapioca starch instead of milk or cream, so a pleasant creamy texture -- without a heavy feeling -- can be enjoyed by anyone, especially those limiting or avoiding dairy. It also has only 90 calories per cup and a single gram of fat, a drastic difference from many of the soups on our list. This soup's smooth red color and comforting, nostalgic flavor gave us a warm and fuzzy feeling. We'll be sure to turn to it again.
We focused this ranking on widely available tomato soups that could be found in grocery stores across the country. For better reach, we included classics and a few fun variations on the traditional recipe. Our rankings were centered primarily around the soup's flavor, but we also considered the texture, nutritional content, and any additional specifications, such as vegan or plant-based.
We didn't consider price in our ratings because while we love to save money, we were primarily focused on the rating based on flavor. To add to our credibility, we consulted a fellow trusty tomato soup lover to blind taste-tested all of these soups to the best of our capacity. After all, there were a couple that were obvious (bunny pasta, we're looking at you!)
Read the original article on Tasting Table.