An easy homemade, creamy tomato soup recipe to warm you up

I’m sort of late to the tomato soup and grilled cheese party. I know it’s been a staple kind of meal for generations, but I never got on board. The closest I got was Spaghetti-Os and grilled cheese. Canned tomato soup just never did that much for me. Then I tried making a creamy tomato soup recipe and not only loved the flavor but also loved how easy it is to make!

Creamy tomato soup with ciabatta grilled cheese

The same recipe I started with and have modified also recommended making grilled cheese on ciabatta rolls instead of with bread. I figured it couldn’t hurt to try. And I’m glad I did. Seriously. Pair this creamy tomato soup with ciabatta grilled cheese and you have a dinner hit on your hands. Even my particular eaters get down with this meal!

Making the creamy tomato soup

What sets apart this tomato soup from others is the garlic base. We love garlic in my family, so I use 4 cloves of fresh garlic. If you’re not as big on garlic, use 2 cloves. After you peel the garlic, use a grater to grate it finely. The first time I made this recipe, I didn’t have a grater and just chopped my garlic as finely as possible, so you can do that, too.

4 cloves of grated garlic for the creamy tomato soup

In a medium sized pot over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and 2 tablespoons of butter. Once the butter has melted, add in the garlic. Cook the garlic for about 30 seconds until it’s fragrant.

Garlic, butter and vegetable oil in the pot for the creamy tomato soup recipe

Then add 4 tablespoons of flour and whisk constantly for another 30 seconds until a paste forms.

Garlic paste in the pot for the creamy tomato soup recipe

Next, add a 29-ounce can of tomato sauce, 3 cups of water and 3 teaspoons of sugar to the pot. Add a good dash of salt and pepper as well. Bring the soup to a boil over high , then reduce the heat back down to medium-low and simmer until the soup thickens a bit, about 5 minutes.

The creamy tomato soup cooking on the stovetop

Soften the cream cheese and stir it into the soup. Once the cream cheese is melted, turn the heat off the creamy tomato soup, but leave it on the stovetop or cover it to keep it warm.

Cream cheese being added to the creamy tomato soup

Making the ciabatta grilled cheese

While the creamy tomato soup simmers, prepare your ciabatta rolls. Slice them completely apart and top the bottom of each roll with about 1/4-cup of shredded cheddar-jack cheese.

Ciabatta grilled cheese sandwiches ready to cook to go along with the creamy tomato soup

Add the tops onto the sandwiches.

A ciabatta grilled cheese sandwich ready to cook to go along with the creamy tomato soup

In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, melt 1/2 tablespoon of vegetable oil and 1 tablespoon of butter. Place two of the ciabatta sandwiches into the skillet.

Two ciabatta grilled cheese sandwiches in a skillet with melted butter and oil

Use a second skillet to press down onto the tops of the bread and cook for three minutes; flip the sandwiches and cook three more minutes until the outside is golden and crispy and the cheese is melted. I don’t hold the skillet down the entire time the sandwiches were cooking, but I press down every minute or so.

Cooking the ciabatta grilled cheese by pressing down with a second skillet over the top

The sandwich will get a nice crisp on the outside but still have a gooey cheese center. So yummy!

Ciabatta grilled cheese with a crispy outside and gooey, cheesy center pairs nicely with the creamy tomato soup!

Serve the creamy tomato soup in bowls along with the ciabatta grilled cheese. You don’t have to dip the grilled cheese into the soup, but that’s our favorite way to eat it!

A bowl of creamy tomato soup with half a ciabatta grilled cheese sandwich garnishing it
I didn’t soften my cream cheese before I made the soup this time around and it resulted in a few cream cheese “chunks” floating around in the soup. Those are the white specks you see in this photo.

Creamy tomato soup and ciabatta grilled cheese

A creamy tomato soup and ciabatta grilled cheese recipe that is hearty enough for a family dinner. Even your picky eaters will like this one!
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine American
Servings 6 people


  • 2-4 cloves garlic grated
  • 1 29-ounce can of tomato sauce
  • 4 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil divided
  • 4 tablespoons butter divided
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar jack cheese divided
  • 6 ciabatta rolls
  • salt
  • pepper


  • Finely grate 2 to 4 cloves of garlic, depending on how much your family likes garlic. (We use 4.)
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of oil and 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and stir occasionally for about 30 seconds until the garlic is fragrant.
  • Add 4 tablespoons of flour to the garlic and cook, whisking constantly, for 30 seconds until a paste consistency is formed.
  • Add into the pot the can of tomato sauce, 3 cups of water, 3 teaspoons of sugar, a dash of salt and a dash of pepper. Stir together and cook over medium-high heat until it boils.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the soup thickens slightly.
  • While the soup is boiling and simmering, cut apart the ciabatta rolls. Divide the 1-1/2 cups of shredded cheese among the bottoms of each roll (about 1/4 cup of cheese for each). Place the top bun on the sandwiches.
  • In a large skillet over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of oil and 1 tablespoon of butter per two sandwiches. (My skillet fits two sandwiches at a time.)
  • Add the sandwiches to the skillet. Place a small skillet on top and press down on the sandwiches to flatten them. Cook for three minutes; flip the sandwiches and cook for three more minutes.
  • While the ciabatta grilled cheese is cooking, add the softened cream cheese to the soup. Stir and let it combine.
  • Serve the hot creamy tomato soup along with the ciabatta grilled cheese immediately.
Keyword autumn dinner recipe, ciabatta grilled cheese, creamy tomato soup, fall dinner recipe, family dinner, grilled cheese, hearty soup, tomato soup, winter dinner recipe

Looking for more soup recipes? Don’t miss these!

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Slow cooker potato chili

About the Author: Stacey A. Shannon

Stacey A. Shannon is a freelance journalist and blogger who has been published internationally. She's also a Christian, a wife and a mom of two school-aged children. She started Families with Grace in 2019 to encourage Christian moms as they create homes filled with grace, love and faith.

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Creamy tomato soup and ciabatta grilled cheeseCreamy tomato soup and ciabatta grilled cheeseCreamy tomato soup and ciabatta grilled cheese