This spicy tomato soup is a smooth, pureed soup made with super flavorful ingredients and topped with crispy homemade croutons! It's like a classic creamy roasted red pepper and tomato soup, but with some added heat from the Calabrian chilies!
Why You'll Love This Spicy Tomato Soup
Tomato soup and grilled cheese has always been one of my favorite comfort meals! The only thing that can make it more delicious is adding a little heat!
- A fun, spicy twist on the comfort food classic!
- Full of flavor from the Calabrian chilies, roasted red peppers, San Marzano tomatoes, and fresh basil!
- This tomato soup is naturally gluten-free and vegetarian (and with one easy swap can be vegan)!
- Topped with crispy homemade sourdough croutons for texture and crunch!
What are Calabrian chilies?
Calabrian chilies are a spicy chili from the Calabria region of Italy. They have a delicious flavor that is spicy, smoky, fruity, and a bit tangy. You can buy whole preserved Calabrian chilies, or crushed Calabrian chilies in oil (my personal favorite).
Calabrian chilies pretty spicy and can pack a punch! For reference, they're about 10 times hotter than jalapenos and most similar in heat to arbol chilies.
If you can't find Calabrian chilies, you can substitute crushed red pepper flakes or harissa paste!
You just need a few simple ingredients to make this spicy roasted red pepper and tomato soup!
San Marzano Tomatoes - I always use whole San Marzano tomatoes which can be a bit pricier than other canned tomatoes. Pro tip: they are always cheaper at Trader Joe’s! Cento is a fantastic brand that I always use but you can substitute with whatever you prefer. However, using high quality tomatoes is what gives you that amazing flavor that needs very little added to it.
Tomato Paste - The tomato paste is optional but adds an extra depth of flavor beyond the canned tomatoes.
Shallot & Garlic - Shallot and garlic are my favorite aromatics but you can also substitute yellow onion.
Roasted Red Bell Peppers - I love the subtle sweetness that roasted red peppers add to tomato soup! I'm lazy and typically just buy a jar of roasted red peppers, but you can also easily make your own! Just roughly chop them before adding to the soup.
Calabrian Chilies - These spicy Italian chilies are my favorite way to add some heat to this tomato soup! I like using the crushed Calabrian chilies in oil, but you can also use the whole chilies and chop them up yourself. You can find Calabrian chilies at Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, World Market, and online!
Vegetable Stock - I always use homemade vegetable stock because that's what I have on hand. But you can also use store-bought vegetable stock or chicken stock! Just note, if using store-bought stock you may need to reduce the salt content of the soup.
Heavy Cream - You can substitute half & half or whole milk for a lighter soup if you prefer.
Fresh Basil - You can't have creamy tomato basil soup without a ton of fresh basil!
The complete list of ingredients and amounts is located in the recipe card below.
Keep it chunky! If you don't want to blend up the tomato soup, just serve it chunky! Up to you!
Make it vegan! This creamy tomato soup is already vegetarian, but with just a single swap it can be vegan! Just substitute the heavy cream with a can of coconut cream!
How to Make Creamy Tomato Soup
In a large stockpot over medium heat, sauté the shallot and garlic in the olive oil for about 5 minutes or until translucent and aromatic.
Then add in the tomato paste and crushed Calabrian chilies (with the oil) and continue to sauté for another 2-3 minutes.
Then add in the tomatoes (I like to just gently crush them with my hands first), and the chopped roasted red peppers. Pour in the vegetable stock, salt, and pepper and stir to combine.
Bring to boil, then cover and reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Add in the heavy cream and fresh basil and cook for 5-10 more minutes or until heated through.
Then puree the soup! You can use either an immersion blender or a standard blender to get the soup nice and smooth! If using a standard blender, you'll need to blend in 2-3 small batches. Only fill the blender about halfway and leave the hole in the lid open to allow steam to escape.
Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. This is optional, but if you find the soup to be too acidic, you can add in 1-2 teaspoons of honey or sugar to help cut the acidity.
Spoon the spicy tomato soup into bowls and garnish with homemade sourdough croutons, a drizzle of Calabrian chilies, and fresh basil.
These are optional, but I love topping this spicy Calabrian chili tomato soup with homemade sourdough croutons!
I like to use leftover sourdough bread (2-3 days old is best), lots of butter, garlic powder, and parmesan cheese! But you can also use olive oil and herbs, or even some red pepper flakes. It's up to you!
Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cut the bread into 1 inch cubes and add to the bowl. Then drizzle with the melted butter and toss until all the pieces are coated.
Sprinkle with garlic powder, salt, pepper, and parmesan and toss to combine.
Spread into an even layer on the baking sheet.
Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy.
Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Store in an air tight container for up to 2 weeks!
Too thin or too thick? The consistency will vary based on how saucy your canned tomatoes are. So if the soup is too thick, blend in more vegetable stock, ½ cup at a time, to reach your desired texture. Conversely, if you want to thicken the soup a bit you can make a simple cornstarch slurry (1 tablespoon of cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons of cold water, then stirred into simmering soup).
Milder Soup: This soup is about a medium spicy, so if you want a milder soup just do 1 tablespoon of Calabrian chilies (or even less)! If the soup is still too spicy, add a little more heavy cream.
Spicier Soup: Add up to 3-4 tablespoons of Calabrian chilies for a super spicy soup! I also like to drizzle some extra chilies over top before serving for people who love extra heat.
Use a non-reactive pot! Since this soup is tomato based, it's very acidic. This means that reactive metals (like aluminum, cast iron, or copper) can react with the tomatoes and make the soup taste metallic. Non-reactive materials you should use are stainless steel, enamel coated cast iron (like my favorite Dutch oven), or ceramic.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days!
Yes! Store the tomato bisque in a freezer safe container for up to 3 months! Let defrost in the fridge overnight before serving. I personally love souper cubes because they come in different sizes so they're perfect for freezing different amounts of soup!
This soup is great on it's own as a light lunch, but I recommend serving with a classic grilled cheese sandwich or my sourdough garlic knots for a more substantial meal!
This soup itself is naturally gluten-free, so just leave off the croutons for a fully gluten-free meal or use your favorite gluten free bread instead!
Tips for Success!
For best results I always recommend using weight measurements (especially when baking) because it's the most accurate. Kitchen scales are super affordable and also reduce the number of dishes you have to do! However, all my recipes also include US customary measurements for convince. Use this chart to convert measurements for common ingredients!
Substitutions: In all my recipes, I've included substitutions that I know will work, but I cannot guarantee results if you substitute ingredients that I have not recommended. [For example, granulated sugar and honey are indeed both sweeteners but they have very different properties so they can not always be swapped 1:1. Using honey in a cookie recipe that calls for granulated sugar will yield a giant mess.] In the recipe card you'll find links to the specific ingredients/brands that I use.
A note on salt: I almost exclusively use Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt because it's the best all-purpose salt for cooking and baking. If you're not using kosher salt, consult this handy guide for a conversion chart! When in doubt, if you're using table salt just reduce the amount by half for baked goods. When cooking, I prefer to under-salt because you can always add more! If you've over-salted, adding a little bit of acid (like lemon juice) can help.
More Recipes You Might Like!
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Spicy Tomato Soup with Calabrian Chilies
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small shallot, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- 2 tablespoons crushed Calabrian chilies, more or less to taste*
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup roasted red peppers, roughly chopped
- 1 (28 ounce can) San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes
- 1 cup vegetable stock, substitute chicken stock or water
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, to taste
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup fresh basil
- In a large stockpot over medium heat, sauté the shallot and garlic in the olive oil for about 5 minutes or until translucent and aromatic.
- Then add in the tomato paste and crushed Calabrian chilies (with the oil) and continue to sauté for another 2-3 minutes.
- Then add in the tomatoes (I like to just gently crush them with my hands first), and the chopped roasted red peppers. Pour in the vegetable stock, salt, and pepper and stir to combine.
- Bring to boil, then cover and reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- Add in the heavy cream and fresh basil and cook for 5-10 more minutes or until heated through.
- Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. This is optional, but if you find the soup to be too acidic, you can add in 1-2 teaspoons of honey or sugar to help cut the acidity.
- Spoon the spicy tomato soup into bowls and garnish with homemade sourdough croutons, a drizzle of Calabrian chilies, and fresh basil.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cut the bread into 1 inch cubes and add to the bowl. Then drizzle with the melted butter and toss until all the pieces are coated.
- Sprinkle with garlic powder, salt, pepper, and parmesan and toss to combine.
- Spread into an even layer on the baking sheet.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy.
- Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Store in an air tight container for up to 2 weeks!
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.