Copycat Panera Bread Creamy Tomato Soup

Vine-ripened pear tomatoes pureed with fresh cream for a velvety smooth flavor accentuated by hints of red pepper and oregano.  Adding baking soda to the tomatoes keeps the milk from curdling.

5 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
5 tablespoons flour
4 cups milk
1/2 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups crushed tomatoes

Melt the Butter in a soup pot.
Add the onion and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the onion is softened but not browned.
Sprinkle the flour over the butter mixture and continue to stir and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
Slowly add the milk, bay leaf, sugar, and salt and continue to cook and stir until slightly thickened.
Stir the baking soda into the tomatoes.
Add the tomatoes to the milk, and bring just to a simmer.

20 thoughts on “Copycat Panera Bread Creamy Tomato Soup

  1. Steffi says:

    Ooooo I love this soup! I worked at Panera for over a year and it made my world go round…now that I’ve quit and can’t steal their ridiculously over priced food anymore, I’ve been missing it!


  2. Tony says:

    A bit too creamy – not salty or spicy enough. The description says it tastes like it has a bit of red pepper but there are no spices in the recipe.
    Overall, great recipe though! Tweak it just a bit to your liking.

  3. Ian says:

    This recipe is OK.

    The end result tasted more like milk soup with a little tomato in it – My suggestions? Cut the amount of milk to 3 cups, increase the amount of tomatoes to 4 cups and add a can of tomato paste.

    I will say this – I accidentally add 3x the amount of baking soda to the recipe and it definatly effected the final flavor – I essentially Neutered my tomatoes and took away all acidity and tartness. Still – I think it would have needed help anyway.

  4. Patsy says:

    I have been on a mission to recreate the Panera Creamy Tomato Soup recipe and this one is no where close. I’m thinking way more tomatoes and about 1/2 cup of half and half and thicken w/ dry asiago focaccia crumbs. My soup is getting better and better , but I’m still not there yet.

  5. Nancy says:

    Agree that it was way too much milk to tomatoes. I used a 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes, 4 cups milk, and wound up adding an additional 16 oz. can of tomato sauce with an extra 1/4 tsp. baking soda , and adjusted seasonings (added 1/2 tsp. more of sugar). Original Panera recipe doesn’t use oregano, so I left that out. Excellent! I was too lazy to strain, so I just used the hand blender (remember to take out the bay leaf first though).

  6. I absolutely love Panera Bread’s Creamy Tomato Soup and was thrilled to find this recipe but after reading several comments of disappointment, I was skeptical. I followed the recipe, sort of. Here are the changes I made and I found the soup to be pretty darn close to the real thing: I made sure to let the milk get nice and creamy (almost thick). I used 2 cups of fresh chopped roma tomatoes and a full can of diced, canned tomatoes. I also added a 6oz can of Tomato Paste (adding the correct color). I strained the soup, which just left me with what looked like Campbell’s Tomato Soup from a can. I took the tomato mixture and zipped it in my Magic Bullet and added it back to the soup. Perfect. It was delicious. I used Splenda instead of sugar (added an extra 1/2 teaspoon), added extra 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and used lactose free milk (personal choice). The soup was excellent and VERY close to the real thing.

  7. Teresa says:

    I tried this soup following various suggestions above. I changed 2 things: I accidentally used a tomato paste that was tomato pesto paste. Yum! It definitely had basil as well as some other light spices like some garlic. I also substituted whole wheat flour for white because that’s what I had in the house. I too skipped the oregano and used 2 cups of chopped fresh tomatoes. I also added home-made croutons made from Panera’s cheese foccacia bread. I loved it and so did my husband. We both thought this tasted a lot like Panera’s.

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  9. laura says:

    I used fresh chopped tomatos . Needed 4 cups not 3. Also added 3 small cans of tomato paste and it was good. Also added small basil leave.

  10. Jan says:

    Here’s what I did to improve on this recipe…

    5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or butter
    4 1/2 tsp minced jar garlic
    2 medium onions, finely chopped/minced
    4 tablespoons flour
    4 cups chicken stock or chicken broth
    1 28oz can diced tomatoes crushed in food processor
    4 tbsp 6 cheese italian shred cheese or parmesan shred
    1 tsp basil
    1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    1/2 teaspoon oregano
    2 teaspoons sugar
    2 teaspoons salt
    1/3 cup evaporated milk and 1/4 tsp baking soda to prevent curdling
    one can condensed tomato soup
    2 cans tomato paste

    1/4 cup cut up fresh basil leaves (for garnish optional)
    Parmesan cheese shred for garnish
    8 ounces crusty Sourdough croutons

    Heat olive oil or butter in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onions and saute until very tender, about 15 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook 1 minute. Add flour and chicken stock or broth, crushed tomatoes, cheeses and rest of ingrediants except garnishes. Simmer soup uncovered 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. . (For smoother texture, puree in blender or food processor before cooking).
    Ladle soup into Panera Bread Sourdough bread bowls. Add croutons, torn basil, and Shredded Parmesan cheeses just before serving.

    makes 4 servings

  11. Diane says:

    I made the soup and based on the comments made the change in the milk amount. I used the entire can of crushed tomatos which is a little more than 3 cups. I also decreased the milk to 2 cups which gave the soup a more tomato color. Since I was using less liquid I also decreased the flour to 2 tablespoons. After I simmered the soup I let it cool and then ran it through my food processor which made it smooth. I thought the flavor was great. I think next time I will leave out the flour since I like my soup to be soup and not feel like I’m missing the pasta for a delicious sauce. That’s how I feel when I eat Panera’s creamy tomato. I love it and it’s so good but I feel a little like I’m eating pasta sauce without any pasta. The milk will give it a heavier texture on it’s own. I’m going to cut back on the pepper as well. But, I’d give it a 10 anyway!!!

  12. Well, I made this soup for my dinner tonight and it didn’t taste anything like their soup. The onion was way too strong. But it was nice to dip bread in, so kudos.

  13. Cathleen Talian says:

    Creamy and dreamy the entire final loves this recipe. to have more flavor in the soup I added 1 cup parmesean cheese. simply divine!

  14. Roni says:

    I loved it. My husband hasn’t had it yet. I added more crushed tomatoes, but other than that, I left it alone. Of course you have to put the huge croutons in it like they do.

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