How To Make Tomato Soup from Tomato Paste

Life is full of “Firsts”. Your first day of school.  Your first time driving a car by yourself.  Your first kiss.

As you get older you still have firsts but they don’t have quite the same excitement. Your first pair of bifocals. The first time someone asks you if you want the Senior Discount.

And this week . . .  my first root canal.  *yuck*

The combination of a sore, numb mouth, and having to pay lots of $$$ to the dentist, made it a good week to make a couple frugal batches of soup.  I tried one new soup recipe and made another batch of a familiar recipe.

The new recipe was a method for making tomato soup from tomato paste.  I had tried something like this once before without much success, ending up instead with a kind of pinkish lumpy soup that wasn’t very appetizing.  But this new recipe did things a little differently, heating the tomato paste and the spices in one pan, and the milk in another, and then combining the two into a nice creamy red mixture.

This recipe makes a nice large batch of soup too for a decent price.  It uses two cans of tomato paste and 3 cups of milk, together with a few pantry spices which will give you a whole potful of soup without spending a lot of money.

The recipe I was following for inspiration didn’t give any measurements for the spices so I used my usual plan of attack which is to start with a 1/2 teaspoon and go from there. Our first night eating the soup it seemed a little bland and I thought maybe I was too stingy with the spices.  BUT, we had leftovers and when we got the soup out again (on root canal day), it seemed to have more flavor. Hubby commented a couple times that it sure tasted good now.  Perhaps I should have let everything simmer a little longer initially to let the spices mingle in a little better.

So when making this recipe, feel free to play around with the spices and let everything simmer, and be prepared for the leftovers to taste even better than the first time around!

A Few More Notes About Making Soup from Tomato Paste

This recipe uses the strategy of heating the tomato/water and the milk separately and then combining them at the end to help prevent the curdled look that can sometimes happen when adding the milk.

A bit of baking soda is also stirred in to add a bit of alkalinity to counteract the acidity of the tomato paste, with the acidity being what can cause curdling to begin with. Adding the tomato mixture to the milk slowly also helps to gradually change the ph of the mixture instead of suddenly all at once.

So that was frugal soup #1 for lunch on root canal day.  Frugal soup #2 for supper was this tuna vegetable chowder that we also enjoy!

How To Make Tomato Soup from Tomato Paste

This frugal strategy uses two cans of tomato paste to create a comforting batch of tomato soup. The milk used in this recipe is heated separately and added last to help prevent the curdled look that sometimes happens with homemade tomato soups. I use a 1/2 teaspoon of each of the spices listed, but feel free to experiment with your own spices ideas too!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Soup Mix
Yield: 6 servings
Author: Beverly


  • 2 cans Tomato Paste (6 oz size)
  • cups Water
  • ½ tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 3 cups Milk


  • ½ tsp Garlic Powder
  • ½ tsp Onion Powder
  • ½ tsp Paprika
  • ½ tsp Dried Basil
  • ½ tsp Dried Oregano
  • ½ tsp Dried Parsley
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • ½ tsp White Pepper


  • In a large saucepan combine the tomato paste and water.  Stir in the baking soda, sugar, and spices.
  • Heat the tomato paste mixture over medium heat.  This is a thick mixture and it pops and splatters, so you'll probably want to cover it, stirring occasionally.  Let it simmer for 10minutes.
  • In a separate large saucepan, heat the 3 cups of milk.
  • When both the tomato paste mixture and the milk are about the same temperature (just use your best estimate), combine the two by slowly pouring the warmed milk into the tomato paste mixture, stirring it as you go.
  • Simmer the mixture for a few minutes to let the flavors meld together and then serve.

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  1. OMG! Just tried this recipe for the first time and I will never buy canned tomato soup again. It’s delicious! Thanks for sharing!!!

  2. Really wanted to know how I’d use a couple hundred pounds of tomato paste i won… and I do like soup so thank you. Mushroom soup is a top favorite of mine; but after eating it in russia… I can hardly stomach the U.S. version these days but as an additive; still a thumbs up. One day I’d like to perfect a homemade shroom soup. Best regards to you and yours.

    1. I think I would try coconut milk for a plant-based alternative. Coconut milk has a thicker consistency so it works well in soups.

  3. Tasted better than store bought the first time making, even without paprika, parsley, white pepper. Looking forward to making it again with all the ingredients. Without the milk, it seemed like it’d work well as a paste sauce.

  4. My husband and I are working from home lately, something I think a lot of people are doing right now. This tomato soup added a little something extra to this cloudy day. He makes the best grilled cheese sandwiches and it was awesome to make something equally as great to match. Thank you!

  5. I stumbled upon this recipe on a day when my fridge and pantry were pretty bare. I settled on grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner. But to eat them without tomato soup is somewhat criminal. So, I found this recipe when all I had to work with was tomato paste. I didn’t even have regular milk! I had some leftover evaporated milk and heavy whipping cream in my fridge because I had been baking. I used 1 part evaporated milk, 1 part heavy whipping cream, and 1 part half and half instead of the 3 cups of milk. Oh. My. Good. Gosh. The soup came out so creamy and velvety. It was delicious! Thank you for this inspirational tomato paste- tomato soup recipe!

  6. I cook tomato soup based on rice for energy and a strongly spiced, fatty cervelat sausage. I accept whatever low acidity the dilute tomato juice has and use sour cream to make the taste more mild. It’s already curdled so we don’t need to worry. Salt covers up acidity in tomato juice. I find soda objectionable in food.

    1c rice, 10c water, 1 tsp salt, ½ lb spiced diced sausage, ¾c tomato paste, ¾c sour cream, 2c cold water for diluting the paste and cream so it doesn’t clump.

    Adjust salt depending how how salted the sausage is. Try drinking tomato paste 1:4 with and without salt. No acid.

  7. I am so thankful that I found this recipe we live a little distance the nearest store I had my heart set on tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches come to find out no tomato soup had to tomato paste some diced tomatoes and tomato juice everything worked out great thank you so much

  8. TY for the recipe. Costco hasn’t carried tomato bisque in awhile, I’ve been longing for some -tomato soup! Here’s what happened on the way to the kitchen… VERY EXCITED! Had almost ALL the ingredients! (a rarity) but for white pepper, fresh milk, onion powder; substituted black pepper, fresh diced onion and 1 can evaporated milk.

    Got everything out all spices measured in bowl, can opener on 2nd can paste and **BOOM** exploded onto ceiling. *Expired three years ago* :-0
    Plan B… Pulled out two 15-oz cans of tomato SAUCE and modified as follows:
    Sauteed in large saucepan:
    2 T butter and all the spices as indicated in the recipe above
    1T sugar, 1/2t baking soda, 1/2 t of the following: garlic powder, diced onion, oregano, basil, parsley, smoked paprika, salt, black pepper… till nice and toasty (5-7 min?)
    2 15oz cans of Tomato Sauce; Pour over simmering spices and continue to simmer (10 min)
    Heat in separate small saucepan:
    -1 can Evap milk (undiluted) Whisked into Simmering sauce and voila Tomato Bisque. Whisked heated milk into simmering sauce and VOILA! Tomato Bisque. Pretty Good. If anyone makes my ‘mistake’/ version, pls drop a reply let me know how it differed & if you liked it as much as we did.

  9. This was surprisingly amazing! I just used one can so halved the ingredients, and it was enough for a light accompaniment to my family of 3’s grilled cheeses. My husband and I are cutting carbs so replaced the milk with 3parts chicken broth, 1 part cream, and a bit of stevia instead of sugar. I also added more basil and onion powder and salt to our taste, but none of us could believe such a rich and creamy and flavorful tomato soup could come from a can of tomato paste!!! Thank you for the delicious recipe!

  10. My daughter has been home sick and wanted tomato soup, instead of running to the store I Googled it, found your recipe and luckily had all the ingredients. She stated it was really good and asked for 2 more bowls. I might try to do this at the Firehouse and see how they like it.

    1. I love this story Larry! That’s why I like having recipes like this around too. They can certainly help you be resourceful when you need to just use what’s in the pantry.

  11. We have a milk allergy in our family. Wondering if I can use chicken broth instead of milk…I know it will change the flavor but thinking it might still be yummy?

    1. Absolutely! on the chicken broth! Can’t do anything more than add flavor!!! I use water so I can’t see why it wouldn’t work! Might even try it next time with mine! Thanks for the idea! Let us know how it turns out!!

  12. This was fantastic! My daughter (6) was craving tomato soup and we didn’t have any in the house. The three bigger kids (out of four) got to help (ages 6, 3.5, 3.5) and all four chomped! This is a keeper!

  13. Wow, this was so much better than I thought it would be. I am on a diet that requires drinking/eating liquids in place of some meals and I forgot to pick up tomato soup while I was out. So I found this recipe and was skeptical because I tried a pumpkin soup recently made from canned pumpkin puree and I didn’t really like it. But this tomato soup is so good. Thank you!

  14. I just tried making this, since I have been recuperating from being sick all week, I started craving tomato soup. This was not bad at all!! In fact, Campbell’s has changed their recipe so much over the years, that this tasted more like what I remember from the original Campbells condensed soup of the 60’s. I did not use baking soda, just tomato paste, a little water, spices, a little sugar, and milk. Then I like to add some grated Parmesan to it. It was very good, and I will def make this again!!

  15. Delicious! Yesterday I had a major craving for some tomato soup and grilled cheese only to find that I didn’t have any in my cabinet and grocery shopping isn’t for another week.

    Today, the craving was still standing so I googled the only thing I had in my cabinet, tomato paste, and found your recipe! I’m picky about my tomato soup and don’t really like anything “fancy”, just that classic flavor. This totally hit the spot and I had everything I needed already in my cabinet! Thanks for sharing!

  16. I tried your recipe with everything at once in pot. Here is my modifications:
    1.5 cups tomato paste
    2 cups water
    1.5 cups almond milk
    1 tsp baking soda
    1 tsp basil leaves
    1/2 tsp seasoned salt
    1/2 tsp pepper mix
    1/2 tsp garlic powder
    1/2 tsp onion powder
    1/2 tsp Hungarian paprika

    Stir for five minutes over low heat
    Let simmer for 25 minutes over low heat (let all the baking soda react)

    Tastes much better than the canned soup.

      1. I have been making soup from tomato sauce or paste for a while and like it better than canned…MUCH better! I admit, I don’t measure, but if you want to try some ‘new’ herbs and spices in your recipe, I also/only use: basil, cilantro, onion powder, sugar to taste (and to cut the acidity), pinch of nutmeg, cardamom, salt to taste, pepper to taste, and last, but not least, about 2 tablespoons of butter whisked in just before serving!! I don’t use milk, just water. Hope you try it!!

        1. Nutmeg and cardamom sound like interesting spices add to the mixture and I think I’ll have to give it a try!

  17. Terrific inexpensive tom soup recipe. Tweeked with additional spices of one flake of red pepper, dashes of blk pepper, basil, parsley, and Mckormics no salt steak seasoning mix. We added left over mac and cheese with a bit of sour cream before serving: warming creamy filling goodness on a cold autumn New England night. Perfect bistro in front of a warm fireplace.