The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Tomatoes for Tomato Soup

Best Tomatoes for Tomato Soup – A Complete Guide

Tomato soup is a delicious and satisfying dish that can be enjoyed as a meal in itself or as an appetizer. When making tomato soup at home, choosing the right tomatoes is crucial to achieving the desired flavor and texture. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the best tomatoes to use for tomato soup, discussing their characteristics and how they contribute to the flavor profile of the soup.

Plum Tomatoes

Plum tomatoes, such as San Marzano or Roma tomatoes, are an excellent choice for making tomato soup. These tomatoes have dense and flavorful flesh with a low water content, which ensures that the soup retains its rich and concentrated flavor. Plum tomatoes are often used to make paste or sauce because of their robust flavor.
One of the advantages of using plum tomatoes is that their thin skin can be added to the soup without affecting the texture. In addition, they have minimal seeds and liquid, eliminating the need for time-consuming deseeding or skinning. If you have access to plum tomatoes, they are highly recommended for making a flavorful tomato soup.

San Marzano Tomatoes

San Marzano tomatoes, a special type of plum tomato, are an excellent option if you want an Italian-style tomato soup. These tomatoes are characterized by their elongated shape and rich flavor profile. They have a lower acidity level than other tomato varieties, resulting in a well-balanced and less acidic soup.
Authentic San Marzano tomatoes are grown near Naples, Italy, and offer the best flavor. They also have a relatively low seed content, making them easy to de-seed if desired. By combining San Marzano tomatoes with the right Italian herbs and spices, you can create a delicious and authentic Italian tomato soup.

Roma Tomatoes

Roma tomatoes, another variety of plum tomato, are great for making tomato soup. These oblong tomatoes have a meaty texture, minimal liquid and seeds. They have a tangy and intense flavor that adds depth to the soup without making it watery.
Because of their low water content, Roma tomatoes are popular for cooking and canning. The concentrated flavor of their meaty flesh enhances the flavor of the foods they are cooked with. You can easily find Roma tomatoes at your local grocery store or farmers’ market, making them a convenient choice for making tomato soup.

Cherry Tomatoes

Although larger tomatoes are often associated with tomato soup, cherry tomatoes should not be overlooked. These small and sweet tomatoes can contribute to a sweeter, lower-acid tomato soup. Choose cherry tomatoes that are still on the vine, as they tend to be firm and deep in color.
One of the advantages of using cherry tomatoes is that their low seed content and thin skin make them suitable for cooking without deseeding or skinning. Keep in mind that because of their smaller size, you may need a larger quantity of cherry tomatoes than other varieties. However, they add a delightful sweetness to soup, making them an excellent choice for those who prefer a sweeter flavor profile.

Beefsteak Tomatoes

Beefsteak tomatoes are large and fleshy tomatoes that can be used for a variety of cooking purposes, including tomato soup. Despite their thick texture, the flesh of beefsteak tomatoes breaks down easily when cooked, resulting in a smooth sauce or soup.
Although tomato soup made with beefsteak tomatoes has a slightly lighter flavor than plum tomatoes, it has a pleasant sweetness. To balance the sweetness, additional salt and spices can be added to create a well-balanced and flavorful soup. Because beefsteak tomatoes are large, only a few are needed to make a substantial amount of tomato soup.

Heirloom Tomatoes

Heirloom tomatoes, while not as commonly used as other varieties, can also be used to make tomato soup. These tomatoes have a thin skin and soft flesh, which allows them to cook well in soup. Unlike other tomatoes, it is not necessary to remove the skin before cooking.
Heirloom tomatoes offer a sweet flavor profile with a hint of tart acidity. To balance the flavors, you may need to add a touch of sweetness, salt, and other seasonings. It is worth noting that heirloom tomatoes can be lighter in color, ranging from orange to yellow, which can affect the final color of the soup.

Canned Tomatoes

While fresh tomatoes are preferable, canned tomatoes can be a convenient alternative when time is limited. Canned tomatoes, which are already broken down and soft, can be used to make tomato soup without much preparation.
Ideally, a combination of canned tomatoes, such as whole peeled plum tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, and chopped tomatoes, can be used to enhance the flavor. However, if you only have one type of canned tomato, you will still get satisfactory results. By adding the canned tomatoes along with other ingredients such as onions, garlic, and herbs, you can create a flavorful tomato soup that is ready in no time.


Choosing the right tomatoes is essential to making a delicious tomato soup. Plum tomatoes, such as San Marzano or Roma, provide a robust and concentrated flavor, while cherry tomatoes contribute a sweet, low-acid profile. Beefsteak tomatoes offer a meaty texture and pleasant sweetness, and heirloom tomatoes add a unique flavor to the soup. In situations where fresh tomatoes are not available, canned tomatoes can be used as a convenient substitute.
Experimenting with different tomato varieties can add a new dimension to your tomato soup and allow you to explore different flavor profiles. Whether you prefer a tangy and intense flavor or a sweeter and milder taste, there is a tomato variety that will suit your preferences. So the next time you make tomato soup, consider using one of the best tomatoes mentioned in this guide to enhance the flavor and quality of your homemade tomato soup.


What are the best tomatoes for tomato soup?

The best tomatoes for tomato soup include plum tomatoes (such as San Marzano or Roma tomatoes), cherry tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, and canned tomatoes.

Why are plum tomatoes recommended for tomato soup?

Plum tomatoes are ideal for tomato soup because of their dense flesh, low water content, and robust flavor. Their thin skin and minimal seeds make them easy to prepare and contribute to a concentrated and flavorful soup.

Are San Marzano tomatoes necessary for an Italian-style tomato soup?

While San Marzano tomatoes are commonly used in Italian dishes, they are not the only option for an Italian-style tomato soup. However, if you want an authentic Italian flavor, look for authentic San Marzano tomatoes grown near Naples, as they have a distinctive flavor and lower acidity.

Can I use cherry tomatoes in tomato soup?

Yes, cherry tomatoes can be used in tomato soup. They provide a sweeter flavor profile and lower acidity. Keep in mind that you may need a larger amount of cherry tomatoes than other varieties due to their smaller size.

Can I use canned tomatoes in place of fresh tomatoes?

Yes, canned tomatoes are a convenient alternative when fresh tomatoes are not available. Choose whole peeled plum tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, or chopped tomatoes to enhance the flavor. However, using fresh tomatoes generally results in a fresher taste in tomato soup.

Do heirloom tomatoes work well in tomato soup?

Yes, heirloom tomatoes can be used in tomato soup. They have a thin skin and soft flesh that cooks well in soup. Heirloom tomatoes offer a unique flavor profile with a hint of acidity. Balancing the flavors with sweetness, salt, and spices can create a delicious soup with heirloom tomatoes.