The Best Canned Tomato Soup, According to Our Test Kitchen
Our Test Kitchen sampled 10 brands (including Campbell's) to find the best canned tomato soup to pair with a grilled cheese sandwich.
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Why Having the Best Canned Tomato Soup Is a Must
We all have heard that Oreo is milk’s favorite cookie. Our Test Kitchen pros have a similar saying: Tomato is grilled cheese’s favorite soup.
These two are the perfect combo for a cozy, fuss-free lunch. The trick, though, is to make sure that your easy lunch starts with the best canned tomato soup. This way you can enjoy every last drop—whether sopped up with an ooey-gooey grilled cheese sandwich or slurped right out of the bowl.
How We Tested Canned Tomato Soups
For this taste test, our Test Kitchen staff made a soup-specific grocery run. While perusing the aisles, our pros snagged 10 different types of tomato soup. Most of these were canned options but they snagged a few in jars and one from the refrigerated section. As long as these soups are convenient to zap in the microwave or heat on the stove, they hopped into the cart.
Once at Taste of Home HQ, the rest of our culinary staff sampled the soups. Of course, the true identities of each were kept secret to avoid biases. Each soup was sipped and judged in these categories:
- Appearance: Canned tomato soups vary widely in color. Ideally, these soups should be a vibrant red.
- Texture: Our team knows that tomato soups vary in texture from super-smooth to creamy to chunky. All are welcome at our tasting table as long as the texture is pleasant (and not too runny!).
- Flavor: What’s most important, though, is flavor. These soups have to be tomato-forward. The taste should be bright but not overly acidic. Extras like cream, basil and onion are welcome as long as they don’t upstage the star of the show.
So who makes the best canned tomato soup? Check out our Test Kitchen’s favorite brands below.
Best Canned Tomato Soup for Grilled Cheese
Amy’s Chunky Tomato Bisque
Our Test Kitchen doesn’t have the data, but they’re willing to guess that 90 percent of tomato soup is enjoyed alongside a grilled cheese sandwich. And if it can’t be homemade tomato soup, our pros recommend Amy’s Chunky Tomato Bisque.
“This soup has a very warm, comforting flavor,” explains Mark Neufang in the Test Kitchen. Amy’s tomato bisque is bright and tomato-forward with just a hint of onion, pepper and cream. Overall, the soup is smooth and velvety with a handful of chopped tomatoes to make it interesting.
“Plain and simple: This would be delicious with a grilled cheese sandwich,” says Mark.
Best Italian-Style Tomato Soup
Rao’s Tomato Basil Soup
There’s nothing wrong with a straightforward tomato soup, however, our Test Kitchen encourages you to try your next bowlful with some Italian flair: Rao’s Tomato Basil Soup.
Rao’s—the same brand that makes one of our Test Kitchen’s favorite marinara sauces—infuses its tomato soup with plenty of Italian ingredients: olive oil, basil, thyme and garlic. These flavors, along with sun-ripened tomatoes, beg to be paired with a mozzarella-filled grilled cheese sandwich.
Best Smooth Tomato Soup
Progresso Tomato Basil Soup
Do you prefer your tomato soup to be silky smooth without any diced tomato to slow you down as you dunk or sip? Our Test Kitchen pros suggest Progresso Tomato Basil Soup.
“I like the drinkable consistency of this brand,” says the Test Kitchen’s Shannon Norris. “It’s neither too thick nor too thin.”
Beyond its spot-on texture, this soup gets high marks for the balance of flavor. “The flavor is tomato-forward with nice notes of basil and parsely,” says Shannon. “It’s also not overly acidic the way some canned tomato soups can be.”
Creamiest Tomato Soup
Panera Bread Creamy Tomato Soup
We all love a good Panera copycat recipe, but sometimes you just want the real deal. With Panera Bread Creamy Tomato Soup, you can get the bakery’s famous soup right in the refrigerated section at the grocery store.
Our taste testers really enjoyed the hearty nature of this soup. “This is a meal in itself,” explains Mark. “All I want is a good, crusty baguette—no grilled cheese needed for this one!”
As for the flavor, Panera’s store-bought soup was in a league of its own. Thanks to a splash of cream and a bit of butter, this option is sumptuous and rich—something you don’t see in most packaged soups!
Check Out More Test Kitchen-Preferred Products
Our Test Kitchen is constantly testing food, kitchen gadgets and cleaning gear looking for brands that deserve the right to be called Test Kitchen-Preferred.
If you want to fill your pantry and fridge with the best products, check out these tests:
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