Thursday, October 8, 2020

Tomato Basil Soup Recipe (Applebee's Copycat) + Video

This tomato basil soup recipe makes a filling, comforting, creamy soup from scratch. Make this Applebee’s copycat recipe in only 30 minutes!

titled photo (and shown in white bowl): Applebee's Copycat Tomato Basil Soup
This homemade soup tastes even better than the restaurant version, and is the perfect comfort food for cold winter months.

Full of fresh basil, herbs, and a hint of garlic, it’s sure to be devoured by kids and adults alike.

Pair it with a serving of Olive Garden Copycat Salad to make a delicious lunch combo.

Or make Panera Copycat Broccoli Cheddar Soup for a hearty alternative that’s loaded with veggies.

For another delicious Applebee’s copycat recipe, try my Spicy Queso Blanco. It combines two different kinds of cheese with fresh herbs and just enough heat to make your tongue tingle.

Oil and onions in the instant pot

Tomato basil soup recipe notes

  • Seasoning is important
Because ingredients range in flavor, always taste and adjust seasonings before serving.
You may find that the soup needs more sweetness or acidity for balance, or maybe the flavor from the herbs isn’t strong enough.
  • Adjusting the texture 
Pureeing the soup makes for a smooth, creamy finish. But, if you don’t mind little pieces of onion in the soup, you can skip this step entirely.

pouring crushed tomatoes into pot

Ingredient notes and substitutions 
  • Chicken broth - If you use low-sodium or unsalted chicken broth, you may need to add more salt at the end. You can also substitute vegetable broth to make this recipe vegetarian.
  • Heavy cream - Replace with half-and-half if needed.
  • Sugar - Adjust the amount of sugar based on how sweet you like your soup. Some brands of canned tomatoes have higher acidity than others, so you may need a little more sugar to balance the flavor as well.
  • Basil - While using fresh basil will give you the best flavor, you can also use the kind that comes in a squeeze tube from the produce section. Or use dried basil, but reduce the amount by at least half.
  • Parmesan - Buy a fresh wedge and grate it yourself. The texture found in packaged shreds is much different, and it won’t melt into the soup the same way that fresh will.

pouring chicken stock into tomatoes

Kitchen tools needed for this recipe 
  • Immersion Blender - This is the perfect tool to blend soups and sauces right in the pot, which makes cooking so much easier! If you don’t have one, work in batches to blend the soup in a food processor or high-speed blender.
  • Chef’s Knife - Quality knives make prep time much quicker and are important for safety as well. If you make one kitchen investment, I believe it should be in a good quality chef's knife.
  • Cutting Boards - I love these cutting boards because they’re easy to clean, keep your knives in great shape, and are gorgeous to look at too.
Add spices and cream to tomato soup

Serving suggestions
Garnish your homemade tomato basil soup with croutons, fresh basil, and grated Parmesan cheese. Serve it with a grilled cheese sandwich, some mac and cheese bombs, or slices of thick, crusty bread.

It would also be delicious with a side of Texas Roadhouse rolls!

Ladling tomato basil soup into a white bowl

FAQ: Recipe Questions

Can I use fresh tomatoes instead of canned?

You can use fresh Roma tomatoes if you prefer them. However, it will require a bit of prep work first.

One 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes equals 8 to 10 Roma tomatoes, or about 2 pounds. For this tomato basil soup recipe, you will need twice that amount.
  1. First, blanch the tomatoes - find instructions on how to do that here.
  2. Peel, core, and dice the tomatoes. Then, use a potato masher to crush them. 
Alternatively, you can pulse them in a food processor or high speed blender, just until they are chunky.

Can the soup be frozen?  
Freezing soups that have milk or cream in them isn't a good idea. Thawing and reheating the soup changes the consistency, causing the cream to separate from of the soup.

Although it's possible to recombine them as they warm up, the texture of the soup changes and is usually unpleasant.

However, if you want to make the tomato basil soup recipe ahead and freeze it to serve later, you can simply leave out the heavy cream. Then, stir it in after reheating the soup.

Before freezing the soup, allow it to cool before transferring it to jars or airtight containers. It may be kept in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Reheating leftover tomato soup: 
When you are ready to enjoy it, transfer the container of soup to the refrigerator so that it can thaw overnight.

Reheat it in a pan over medium heat on the stove. After it warms up, stir in the heavy cream and continue to cook on medium heat for another 5 minutes.


With love from our simple kitchen to yours. 

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Video: Applebee's copycat soup recipe

Check out our recipe video for step by step instructions to making a homemade version of Applebee's tomato basil soup!

Yield: 6-8 servings
Author: Julia Foerster


This tomato basil soup recipe makes a filling, comforting, creamy soup from scratch. Make this Applebee’s copycat recipe in only 30 minutes!
Prep time: 5 MinCook time: 25 MinTotal time: 30 Min


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 (28 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon fresh or dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Garnish
  • Croutons
  • Fresh Basil
  • Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese


  1. In a large saucepan heat olive oil over medium heat, then add chopped onion and saute until translucent, for about 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and saute for one more minute while stirring constantly.
  2. Add chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, and sugar. Bring to a simmer and cook uncovered for 20 minutes.
  3. Puree with an immersion blender or transfer to a blender and puree.
  4. Stir in heavy cream and herbs. Bring soup back to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes on low heat.
  5. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve garnished with croutons, basil, and grated parmesan cheese.

titled photo collage shows Applebee's copycat version of tomato basil soup recipe in bowls

Originally published March 2019, updated and republished October 2020

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  1. Can I use fresh Roma tomatoes instead of canned? Is the amount still the same?

  2. if you are using canned crushed tomatoes, why do you need to puree?

  3. I made exactly as printed. It was excellent!

  4. Can I substitute something else for heavy cream?


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