IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Creamy Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons

Nathan Congleton / TODAY
Cook Time:
30 mins
Prep Time:
20 mins

Chef notes

Grilled cheese and tomato soup are as American as burgers and fries. When enjoyed to the fullest, the two end up joined together with the sweet and acidic tomato soup balancing out the crunchy bread and rich, gooey cheese. Thanks to inspiration from French onion soup, we've eliminated the the otherwise crucial step of dunking your sandwich into the steaming bowl.

Technique tip: When you're done cooking the grilled cheese, rest it on a cooling rack for two minutes. This will allow all the steam to escape instead of getting trapped between the bread and the cutting board, which will turn your delicious crust into soft, soggy bread. For this dish, the crispiness of the grilled cheese is everything.

Swap option: Feel free to use your favorite cheeses in the grilled cheese, but try to avoid aged cheeses that don't melt as well. And if you don't have a blender, just use crushed or puréed tomatoes.

Special equipment: Oven-proof soup bowl and an immersion or regular blender.


  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 medium white onion, diced
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans whole-peeled tomatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Grilled cheese
  • 8 slices Texas toast or thick-cut white bread
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1/4 cup grated pecorino cheese
  • 8 thick-cut slices cheddar cheese, preferably from the deli
  • 8 thick-cut slices American cheese, preferably from the deli
  • 1 bag potato chips, lightly smashed
  • olive oil
  • 1 bunch chives, chopped


For the soup:


Add the butter, onions, shallots, celery, carrots and garlic to a stock pot over medium heat. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Sauté the veggies until they're soft (we aren't looking for color here). Add the flour, stir to incorporate and then cook for a few minutes to eliminate the raw flour taste.


Add the chicken stock, tomatoes and crushed red pepper. Season aggressively with kosher salt and black pepper. Allow the soup to simmer until the tomatoes start to burst. Remove the soup from the heat and blend with an immersion blender (if you use a regular blender, let the soup cool down to avoid a tomato explosion).


Put the soup and pot back on medium heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until it reduces to the proper consistency. You're looking for a slightly thicker-than-typical tomato soup here. Taste your soup and add salt as needed.

For the grilled cheese:


While the soup is simmering, make your grilled cheese. Evenly coat one side of each piece of bread (the outside of the sandwich) with a thin layer of mayo. Then add about a tablespoon of the grated pecorino on top of the mayo. Between the bread, add one slice each of cheddar and American cheese, and 1/4 cup of lightly smashed potato chips.


Heat a large skillet over medium heat and cook the grilled cheese sandwiches as long as possible without burning them. We want them super crispy before they go in the soup.


When they're done, place them on a wire rack to cool for 1 to 2 minutes. Then, cut each sandwich into nine cubes.

To assemble:


Heat an oven to broil on its highest setting with the rack in the middle position.


Fill four bowls two-thirds full with soup. Add in an entire sandwich worth of grilled-cheese cubes. Top with one slice of each cheese. Broil until the top of the cheese is melted, bubbling and starting to brown.


Finish with a drizzle of olive oil, a healthy pinch of chives and a light sprinkle of salt.