This week I made a copycat version of Panera Bread’s creamy tomato soup. If you’ve never had it, it’s wonderful! Now I can tell you that I passionately dislike tomato soup. I particularly think of the yucky Campbell’s can at the mere mention of tomato soup, but trust me, this creamy tomato soup is nothing like that at all. I had the pleasure of tasting Panera Bread's creamy tomato soup when my husband and I stopped by the restaurant, (it was my first time there) and he made me try his. The soup was smooth, creamy, flavorful and much better than I could ever have imagined tomato soup being. When I tasted it, I immediately knew I had to record the flavor of the soup in my taste buds (smile) to try it at home.

My husband (who is a serious soup guy) encouraged me to try to duplicate this soup, and I knew that he was not going to easy on my copy cat rendition of this favorite. So I really felt challenged by this one because I’d only tasted the soup once, whereas it’s something he’s had as often as once weekly! Panera Bread’s creamy tomato soup was going to be quite the challenge, but could I duplicate the taste of this Panera Bread delight? 

The first step was to saute finely chopped onion in some butter. Then I added thickener to the butter and onions, flour in this case, and then some milk. Cream was an option but I felt that milk would do just fine. I added my pureed tomatoes and baking soda, then my spices and simmered until it was thick enough and tweaked the taste until it was nice and flavorful. I had a really close match. Then I just had to add a little something Dawn (to it to make it my own). I have to say that I was pretty pleased with my rendition of Panera Bread's Creamy Tomato Soup recipe, and I found it, overall, a very simple soup to make.

Simmering Pot of Creamy Tomato Soup

Next, it was time for the opinions of the judges. My girls were the first to judge, and it was a hit with them all, including my gal who doesn’t like tomatoes.  Next, it would go to the chief. What was the verdict? He rated it better than Panera! Yay! So I have yet another copycat recipe to share.

You have to know that my husband’s does not critique easily, so don’t think for a minute that he goes easy on me, but don’t take his word for it. Try it for yourself. I’d like to know how you like my (Panera Bread Inspired) Creamy Tomato Soup.
Voila! The Finished Bowl of Soup


As always, this recipe serves 12 so if you’d like to scale it down, please feel free to do so. It also has a little heat, but this can also be adjusted to taste.

½ cup butter
1 cup finely chopped onion
½ cup flour
8 cups milk or heavy cream
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
2 Tablespoons paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (lessen if you like less heat)
2-28 ounce cans pureed tomatoes

Melt the Butter in a soup pot.
Add the onion and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the onion is softened but not browned.
Sprinkle the flour over the butter mixture and continue to stir and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
Slowly add the milk, bay leaf, sugar, garlic, pepper, paprika, cayenne, oregano and salt and continue to cook and stir until slightly thickened.
Stir the baking soda into the tomatoes.
Add the tomatoes to the milk, and bring just to a simmer.     

(All rights reserved. Everything Dawn and Dawn Mayo. This recipe is in no part affiliated with Panera Bread and, is solely a recipe derived by my own attempt to copy. Please feel free to reproduce this recipe for home cooking. Do not sell or reproduce this recipe for profit of any kind.) 


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