By Danielle Centoni
Tomato soup is, perhaps, the most comforting soup on the planet. Vegetarians and meat-eaters adore it. Plus, it makes your grilled cheese taste one thousand times better. But for something so simple, it’s surprising how different all the brands out there can taste. And there are a lot of brands.
So we set out to find the healthiest, tastiest tomato soup at the supermarket. Here’s what we found.
Our Taste Test Methodology
When we did our tomato taste tests, as with our other taste tests, we were looking for two things: the best-tasting tomato soup at the supermarket (not easy when there are more than a dozen options to choose from) and tomato soup made with healthful ingredients.
We started by narrowing our options down to organic soups. Tomatoes are always on the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” list of produce commonly tainted with pesticides. That’s just one reason why it’s so important to choose organic tomatoes whenever possible, and not just when buying them fresh.
If the soup was creamy and bisque-like, we chose those with organic dairy. If it had thickeners we chose those with organic, gluten-free thickeners like tapioca starch, rice flour or cornstarch.
Low Sodium, Low Sugar
With contenders narrowed down to organic only, we then checked the labels for the usual no-thank-yous: gums, preservatives, artificial flavors, scads of sugar and heaps of sodium. Unsurprisingly, most of the soups were high in sodium, a common pitfall of canned goods, but we found a few that had less than 600 mg per serving.
What we couldn’t find were any tomato soups without sugar. They all had it — every single one. So we selected those with 8 grams added sugar or less and in the form of organic cane sugar, not processed corn syrup.
The Healthiest, Tastiest Tomato Soups
With the parameters narrowed, we tasted through the options and found two clear winners.
Best for Classic Tomato Soup Lovers: Amy’s Organic Chunky Tomato Bisque Light in Sodium
Although it’s called “bisque” on the label, this soup is not creamy as much as it is thick, like a puree. It’s best for those who want deep, fresh tomato flavor, without dairy getting in the way. Made with sea salt, it’s far lower in sodium than almost any other brand, yet it doesn’t taste under-seasoned thanks to the bright acidity of the tomatoes. The base of organic tomato puree, organic diced tomatoes, filtered water, organic cream and organic cane sugar is thick and chunky, but easily thinned if that’s what you prefer. Just add a little water or vegetable broth and maybe give it a whiz with an immersion blender.
Best for Creamy Tomato Soup Lovers: Wolfgang Puck Organic Tomato Basil Bisque
If you love tomato soups enriched with cream, reach for this soup. It’s rich without being overly decadent, with plenty of bright tomato flavor and hints of fresh herbs. A few chunks of tomato add texture to the base, which is actually thinner and brothier than the Amy’s soup. Made with water, organic diced tomatoes and tomato puree, plus organic cream, organic cane sugar, and sea salt, it has a touch of tapioca starch and white rice flour for thickening. Of all the soups we tried, this one tastes the closest to homemade.