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

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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

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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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Watch the video below to see how easy it is to make this recipe!

applebees tomato basil soup

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

Donna Elick
This tomato basil soup recipe makes a filling, comforting, creamy soup from scratch. Make this Applebee’s copycat recipe in only 30 minutes!
5 stars from 3 reviews
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Method Stovetop
Servings 6 – 8


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 56 ounces crushed tomatoes, 2 28-ounce cans
  • 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


  • Croutons
  • Fresh Basil
  • Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese


  • 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.
  • Add chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, and sugar. Bring to a simmer and cook uncovered for 20 minutes.
  • Puree with an immersion blender or transfer to a blender and puree.
  • Stir in heavy cream and herbs. Bring soup back to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes on low heat.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve garnished with croutons, basil, and grated parmesan cheese.



Serving: 1 | Calories: 228cal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 36mg | Sodium: 915mg | Sugar: 16g | Fiber: 5g | Calcium: 124mg | Iron: 4mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
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. This was very delicious, and I’m rather hard to please. I had to use fresh garden tomatoes before they spoiled. I am interested to see if canned give the same fresh tomato flavor. I used Thai Basil cuz I had it. Fresh parsley (same reason). Kraft powder parmesian. 1/2 and 1/2 (just a splash). All in all, a very forgiving recipe, high in flavor, did not puree but that would be preference.

  2. 5 stars
    BETTER THAN APPLEBEES! I love Applebees but man this is so much better than what you can get there AND I made it myself!

  3. This soup is even better than the restaurant! I leave my onion and garlic whole and just throw it out after it’s done to make it easier…I also make my own croutons with cubed bread, butter, garlic and onion powder and Italian seasoning, so good! I will never use any other recipe for the soup or croutons…also I spread Asiago cheese for the top of the soup.

  4. 5 stars
    I made this and tweaked it a little. I put the onion and garlic in whole and discard after soup it’s done to make it easier. I also make my own croutons, so easy and better than store bought with cubed bread, melted butter, onion and garlic powder and Italian seasoning all in a skillet to coat and then i put them on a cookie sheet to brown, spaying the croutons with olive oil to help them get crisp, stirring a couple of times. I also shred Asiago chz on top of the soup, served with grilled ham n chz sandwiches! My Granddaughter says she would request this meal if it was her last meal in jail. We now call this Last Meal supper,

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