Condensed soup doesn’t have to be boring! Easily dress up a can of tomato soup (like Campbell’s) with ingredients you have in your pantry.
Today, I’m presenting you with a recipe that was truly born out of my college-student status (looking for more of these? Make sure to check out my Healthified Boxed Mac and Cheese recipe!). As with many American children, I have been eating grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup since I could handle solid food. It’s convenient, easy, filling, and delicious.
But sometimes, it can be a bit boring. Let’s face it, it’s simply a can of tomato puree and milk or water, depending on your preference. After a year of to-go Campbell’s cups of soup, I decided that I could no longer consume this boring tomato stuff as is, so I gave it a serious makeover.
Start by combining one can of tomato soup with a can full of milk, as you usually would. We’re not using water here. I usually use 1% milk, but if you aren’t calorie conscious and have it on hand, of course it would be even better with half and half or heavy cream.
Now here’s the fun part: add garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Taste and adjust. Let simmer for 10 minutes or so to release all that flavor.
Pour into bowls and top with a little bit of parmesan cheese and some fresh basil. Ta da! You are no longer eating boring old tomato soup.
If you’re really feeling adventurous, make some homemade sandwich bread for your grilled cheeses. I used such bread for the sandwiches in these pictures.
If you make this, it would mean the world to me if you’d rate and review! It helps other people find this recipe.
Get the Recipe:
How to Dress Up a Can of Tomato Soup
- 1 10 3/4 oz can tomato soup
- 10 3/4 oz milk or heavy cream
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- Parmesan cheese
- Fresh basil
- 1. In a saucepan, combine tomato soup and 1 can full of milk of choice or heavy cream.
- 2. Add garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper and let sit on medium-low heat for about 10 minutes.
- 3. Pour into bowls and top with parmesan cheese and fresh basil.
This worked so well… I love the more mature Campbells soup! Everyone loved it!
I’m so glad to hear that!!!
Thank you very much. This improved my soups so much.
This gave me a huge insight to tomato soup. Only problem is, there is a bit too much sodium in it.
I made this minus the milk, fresh basil, and onion powder. I used dried basil and some oregano. Instead of cayenne I used a bit of habanero hot sauce. I hadn’t looked up this recipe yet I just went with gut instinct…it was very good, would be better with milk or cream.
I honestly think this is my first time every reviewing a recipe… this tomato soup is a HIT. I never cared much for tomato soup but it’s essential with grilled cheese and I could eat this recipe plain all day. (I used all heavy cream, no milk)
This was amazing and a great, inexpensive way to dress up a childhood classic. I also added some herbed croutons to mine just to enhance those Italian seasonings even more and it was perfection. Extremely pleased with this. Thank you!
So glad you enjoyed it! The crouton addition sounds delicious!
This tasted somewhat like pizza sauce, but I still loved it. And it’s a great starter into experimenting with tomato soup. I just recently acquired a taste for it, but it was acquired at a nice restaurant, so I knew a plain old can of soup wasn’t going to do it. This is a perfect solution and even my kids liked it.
Good. I only used half the amount of spices and it was perfect. Yum.
I added a half can of diced tomatoes.. also used half milk and half cream. Delicious!!
I have always used mill instead of water, but the addition of slices and parmesan add so much flavor. Thank you.
So glad you enjoyed!
I had already added water, but next time I will use half and half. I just eyeballed the spices and probably used less. I used seasoning salt and subbed paprika for the cayenne. I also added some parm to the soup as it was heating. This was a great way to make canned soup taste so much better. I had it with a bacon grilled cheese sandwich – yum.
This sounds so yummy, JoBeth!!!
Would full fat coconut milk work with this?
That should be fine! Flavor might be a little different, but that’s it.
maybe a little curry powder instead of the Italian herbs?
Toasted pita dippers?
Loved this upgrade to canned soup! Totally made it taste like homemade, and it was incredibly quick and easy! Glad to have this recipe in my back pocket for this winter!
Definitely enjoyed this ‘adult’ version of tomato soup. It looked pretty with the fresh shaved parmesan and basil leaves. It’s a winner.
I’m so glad, Sharon!
I am not a big fan of tomato soup but my son loves it. He suggested looking up a recipe to dress it up a bit so I would enjoy it more. I used heavy cream and this was absolutely delicious. I like the crouton idea and may have to try that the next time. Thanks for a great recipe!
I’m so glad you and your son enjoyed it, Barb!
I just made this with grilled cheese, ham , n tomato sandwiches. The soup was great! Followed the recipe but did add a teaspoon of sour cream to it also. Wonderful!!
`I’ve always used milk instead of water. And I add just half a can because I really like a nice thick creamy soup. This combination of spices was great, except that I hesitate to add salt, as soups in a can tend to have a lot of salt already. Another little dress-up is to stir in just some ground basil by itself. For some reason, the combo of the basil and tomato soup is really great. When I want to be more of an adult, I have used seasoned croutons in it. If I want to go back to when I was not nearly as mature as I am now ;-), I add Cheese-Its. And of course, you must have a grilled cheese sandwich with it!
Is there a dairy free alternative?
Coconut milk is dairy free.
We had a tomato soup taste test tonight with our grilled cheese. I made this recipe and bought Panara’s tomato soup. My husband loves this one the best!!
This is the best compliment I’ve ever gotten!!!!!!!
That would make the soup creamier and dairy free. I ordered from a restaurant yesterday a coconut curry tomato soup. It was bomb.
I just made this right now. I didn’t have any onion powder but I used the rest of the spices listed and the soup is AMAZING
I’m so glad you enjoyed it!!!
Great recipe! I cut down the cayenne pepper by about half, it’s a bit too spicy for my kids. But this is my go-to recipe and we’ve been having a lot more grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup for lunches!
Thank you so much Cass!!!!
I LOVE tomato soup. I was excited to dress up my can of soup for lunch today. I was disappointed. I felt like after adding all of this, I couldn’t even taste the soup! I even halved the amount of spices it called for thinking it just seemed like a lot. The Italian seasoning overpowered everything and after that shock came the cayenne at the back of my throat. In my opinion, the combination of spices didn’t work well together here.
The creamer to soup ratio was too much and really more white than red. I want to be adding more tomato soup to make it look like tomato soup.
I added some chorizo diced up too and it was soo yummy.
Was really good tonight after a very cold day here in Indiana along with our Grilled cheese tonight, chips and salsa. 😋
Not fancied up but more interesting for kids. Cook alphabet noodle in salted water, drain, and add to soup while it’s warming. If you want regular size alphabets serve right away. If you want large soft alphabets let stand and they will absorb liquid. Kids love them! If you care to add other pasta you can do the same. I would add tiny little meat balls too if serving to adults with a splash of red wine. Fresh parm shaved on top! I like tomato taste too much to add spices. Each to his own taste though.
Will this work with soy milk?
I haven’t tried that, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t! If you try, please report back!
This is an outstanding dress up to an old favorite, what a great find.
Very tasty, next time going to cut the cayenne in half. Little too spicy, but really really good. Recipe is a keeper
I think the spice in this recipe is really overpowering. I halfed the amount of spice and still found it overpowering (and this is coming from someone that likes strong flavours). Anyone into more mild flavours I would recommend quartering the seasoning if not decreasing it even more. This wasn’t just my opinion but shared with a few other people as well.
I liked the recipe! Added a bay leaf, ditalini noodles and carrots.
Such an easy way to make a can of soup a bit better! Perfect with a grilled cheese!
Love the dress-up! My kiddo enjoyed it! W
absolutely fabulous, loved the mix of spices, works really well, definitely jazzed up the dish 😁
This was so good! I did not like the tomato soup smell before, but after adding all the spices it smelled AMAZING. Also, I’m a teen so the fact that this was super easy made it very enjoyable. And, it tasted spectacular with grilled cheese!
I’m so glad to hear this Abiola! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a review after making it.
Hey Chelsea, this is exactly what I was looking for! My family actually loved it. (No peanut butter or any other strange ingredients… lol.
Oh that’s so great!!!
thank you for recipe! University of Oregon?
Yep! I wrote this while I was a student, way back in 2010 🙂 Go Ducks!
This was amazing…. I added some cheddar cheese (shredded) and it’s the best tomato soup I ever had. Definitely go with heavy cream or whole milk.. it makes a difference too!
Enjoy you won’t regret it
Oh my gosh, so glad Brandon!
I’m a college student and this was so easy and fun to make! I had it with grilled cheese and it was so delicious!
Aw yay! I wrote this recipe as a college student 🙂 I’m so glad you enjoyed it Catherine, and thank you so much for taking the time to leave a rating and review.
Honestly this is so good
I had never really tasted tomato soup. However, I bought a can of tomato soup just to try this recipe. Well…. I took the recipe and added some other things. Onion, pepper, garlic, 2 stalk of celery, and a small zucchini. Wasn’t sure what to expect but, I did like it. It was a bit sweet and with a grilled cheese sandwich (made it using a waffle iron and it came out good) side the sweet and saltiness was ok. One can and one can of water gave me the serving for 3 people $1.98 well spent 😀
My 5 year old and I thoroughly enjoyed this recipe!!
I literally looked up something just like the title of this recipe and boom. Perfection. Can’t get much better than this.
This recipe is so easy and truly elevates regular tomato soup! Thanks for the quick fix to an everyday staple.
made boring tomato soup worth buying again, thank you for sharing.
So delicious. Game changer!! Thank you!!
This was terrific! I was at my mother’s, and my brother wasn’t feeling very well. My mom had her hands tied with work, so I decided to whip us up some grilled cheese and tomato soup- classic. Normally, I make my own tomato basil, but my mom only had a can of Campbell’s. So, I looked up online how I could make it taste a little more homemade, and this post popped up! Thanks for the tip, Chelsea! 🙂
This is the best tomato soup recipe I’ve ever had. I’m not a big fan of it to start with but I will be making this again real soon.
Thank you for sharing.
Oh I’m so glad to hear it Mark!!
This was super easy and delicious! I added a bit of curry and cumin to it and omitted the basil and Parmesan.
That sounds delish!
I wanted the creaminess of half and half so I bought some fat-free. Simply delicious!
By the way, aweet Lou’s in Ponderay ID has a grown up grilled cheese to pair with this:
Grilled Cheese For Grown Ups
Melted havarti and cheddar cheeses along with tomatoes, bacon, basil spread and mayo sandwiched between toasted sourdough bread
That sounds so yummy!!!
Excellent! I used scant measurements of souces and left out the cay. Pepper. It was rich and tadty.
Taste awesome!! Simple and delicious.
It calls for 1/4 tsp of cayenne. That’s a lot of heat for 2 bowls of soup! Recommend 1/8 or 1/16. Otherwise, delicious.
I have always loved Campbell’s tomato soup and grill cheese. I’m definitely going to try adding a little flavor to taste! Thank you 🙂
Absolutely love this soup recipe! My family has this several times a month and the printout of your recipe has become a permanent fixture on my refrigerator 😂
I use 2% milk and omit the salt (with regular Campbell’s tomato soup it is salty enough). I’ve also found that the longer it sits and simmers, the more the spice flavors come out.
Thanks for the great recipe!
Simple is best! This simple idea was delicious. It’s a keeper! Especially with a grilled cheese.
This recipe was delish! I added a 14oz can of crushed tomatoes to mine as well as half of a 6oz can of tomato paste and about 2.5-3 tsp of Italian seasoning and a bit more pepper than what the recipe called for. I then topped it off with some cheese & garlic croutons & some freshly grated parmesan cheese on top. I paired this with a grilled cheese and let me tell you my family loved it!!! I will for sure be making this again!!!
So yummy! Will make again. Love this recipe, good mixture of the seasonings !
Thank you, I love it. My kids do as well.
Haven’t made it yet. I’m still going to say this recipe has to be good. I love the ingredients mentioned. I like tomato soup. A twist is always a great out come. Either you like it or you don’t but still yet you try to make it better
I’m an old gall. Been eating tomato soup for years. Loved this version!! Thanks.
This was GREAT!! (I Added 1/2 can of diced tomatoes and some diced sauteed onions.)
I made my kids some fun chicken noodle soup and a grilled cheese for lunch today. It looked so good I had to make a mom version!! This was delicious and I’m so glad I found it so quickly!!
I just made this using fresh onion, garlic, Basil and heavy cream. I omitted the Italian seasoning and cayenne pepper. This was delicious and will be making this a lot this winter here in Minnesota. Thank you for the idea.
This really made my tomato soup taste like a full meal! Loved it. Thanks so much for the tips!
A few simple seasonings turns an ordinary can of soup to a bowl of love!! Great recipe!!
Thinking about the good ol days, I made a grilled cheese and can of tomato soup. The old can isn’t as good as I remember. A quick Google brought me here and I dressed up my soup, even though it is already out of the pot and into the serving bowl. Way to save the lunch!
My husband followed this recipe to make me soup while I’m absurdly sick and praise be it is the stuff of magic and miracles. My husband hates soup and after raving about how well it tasted I made him try it and even he paused to make a ‘wow’ face before slurping up a good bit!
Your advice is fantastic, I add a half small diced fresh tomato.
I’m looking to do the same.but want a tomato dill soup
This was a great idea. Onion Garlic powder was a great addition and the basil and cheese topper was great.
It was great! Thanks for the seasoning help
Delish! I added one clove garlic and sauteed onions!
Delicious! Totally elevated the canned soup. Thank you.
Way too salty and way too spicy. It was inedible for me.
So good!! New go to recipe!
I grew up (way back in the 50s) having tomato soup made with milk. I always thought that this was the proper way to make it. When I saw your recipe I was shocked that people would need a recipe for creamy tomato soup. Your recipe made me look at the can to see how tomato soup is made from a can. I was surprised to see that water is added to the soup. As you can tell, I never read the soup label before.
Back to your recipe, I have never added spices to the soup so adding the spices you suggested made the soup more yummy.
Thank you for this easy recipe and thank you for my trip down memory lane.
The soup was way better without. I didn’t even add all the spices and still it made my throat burn from how many spices there was. I even another time tried just adding the garlic powder, and it was all I could taste. I really don’t recommend this recipe.
Very good recipe.
I added a bit of red chili flakes for a little more heat.
Like you, I love grilled cheese. We made grilled cheese croutons to serve on top with the basil and parm.
Can you make pizza soup with canned soup ? If so plz tell me how