Homemade Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons

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I love soup.  I’ll eat just about any kind.  But of all soups, tomato soup and grilled cheese has to be the most classic combo.  If you think so too, you’re going to love this version.  The soup is easy to make and tastes much better than the canned version.

And the grilled cheese croutons? Oh. my. goodness!

They are crunchy, melty, amazing.

This recipe is inspired by a recent trip to Panera Bread.  We don’t eat out very often (I am the Eat at Home Lady, after all), but every once in a while we do get out of the kitchen.  So when Panera Bread asked if I was interested in sampling their soups and the creating a recipe, I jumped on the opportunity.  Panera is one of my favorite places to eat.  What’s not to love about bread and soup?

Jim and I went out to eat with our youngest daughter for dinner one night.  Every once in a while, we only have one child at home for an evening and it’s always fun to make it special.

I chose French Onion.  Jim tried Broccoli Cheddar.  And Mia went adventurous and tried Clam Chowder, which she’d never had before.  She loved it!

While we were standing in line to order, the people behind us were having a debate about whether to dip or not dip grilled cheese in tomato soup.  That spurred in my mind a photo I’d seen of grilled cheese croutons.  I’m not sure where the original idea came from, but I decided to try my own version.

The soup recipe is altered from the More with Less Cookbook.  I used more tomato juice, more onion and made more soup than the original recipe.  I don’t think I did less of anything.  And the croutons are not to be missed.  Especially if you’re in the camp of dipping the grilled cheese in the soup.

Here’s what you’ll need:


Homemade Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons

Serves: Soup makes 6-8 servings

  • 4 Tbs. butter
  • ½ small onion, minced
  • 6 Tbs. flour
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • 96 oz can tomato juice
  • 4 cups milk, cold
  • 4 tsp. sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ⅛ tsp. garlic powder
For the Grilled Cheese Croutons
  • 2 slices Italian bread per person
  • 2 slices cheese per person (Cheddar, American, Provolone etc)
  • butter
  1. Melt butter in 5 qt. soup pot.
  2. Add onion and cook over medium heat till soft.
  3. Whisk in flour and baking soda and cook 1 minute.
  4. Gradually add tomato juice, whisking to blend.
  5. Whisk in cold milk in a steady stream, very slowly.
  6. Season with sugar, salt, pepper and garlic powder.
  7. Heat to warm over low heat, but do not let boil.
For the Grilled Cheese Croutons
  1. Make 1 grilled cheese sandwich per person, using 2 slices of cheese. Two different types is really good.
  2. Cut finished sandwiches into cubes.
  3. Separate pieces and place on cookie sheet.
  4. Bake at 275 degrees for about 10 minutes.
  5. Serve with soup.
Grilled cheese croutons are best when fresh. We let each person decide whether to eat the croutons in the soup or along with it.

I can’t wait to try this again.  Those Grilled Cheese Croutons are calling my name!

Disclosure: I was provided with a Panera Bread gift card to sample the soup as well as a stipend for my time in writing the post. All opinions are my own.

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  1. The More-with-Less cookbook is a favourite here too. Tomato soup is always popular – I’m definitely going to suggest the grilled cheese croutons to the Wookie.

  2. That is a fabulous idea. I’m going to try it! And now that you have an in with Panera, can you convince them to open in Hamburg location??!!

  3. Tiffany

    Did you see the Disney Food Blog? It was talking about the grilled cheese in Disney…great minds:)

  4. Don’t have Juice on hand so will use pureed diced canned tomatoes. I will cut the recipe in half as there is just two of us. The diced I think will be better as we like Tom soup a tad chunky.

  5. I only have a 46 oz can of tomato juice, do you think adding a few cans of crushed tomatoes will be okay? Thanks so much, looks great!

  6. What a fantastic idea! Making this soon. Panera is my hub’s favorite spot to catch a bite…good thing it’s an hour away! =) Thanks so much for sharing this.

  7. Rochelle says:

    I know this is an old post but maybe you’ll see this anyway. I just made this soup and when I added the milk it looked “curdled”. I heated the milk but not sure what happened. Was the tomato juice not warm enough? I would appreciate any tips. Thanks!!

    • Rochelle, I’ve had that happen sometimes too. Some people have luck mixing a small amount of tomato juice into the milk and then adding that to the soup. And it also helps to not heat the soup too much. You don’t want to boil it.

  8. Hi I am in the uk so measurements here are different, any idea how much the 96oz would translate to for me please? I have a 1 litre carton of tomato juice and not sure how much to use *blushes* … Thanks

  9. Thank you for the great recipe! I have celiac disease so there are almost no pre-made soups that I can eat, and I have been missing tomato soup like crazy! I just substituted rice flour and it turned out perfectly 🙂 Now to make some grilled cheese!


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