Cherry Tomato Bisque for Busy People

You’ve made countless salads and salsas, even pickled and frozen them, but if you’re like me out here in zone 10b, you’ve still got those late-season cherry tomatoes coming out your ears. Here’s one last way of using them all up with a minimum amount of effort — a cherry tomato bisque for busy people…

Linda Ly
Cherry tomato bisque

You’ve made countless salads and salsas, even pickled and frozen them, but if you’re like me out here in zone 10b, you’ve still got those late-season cherry tomatoes coming out your ears. Here’s one last way of using them all up with a minimum amount of effort — a cherry tomato bisque for busy people who don’t want to spend hours peeling, slicing and dicing tomatoes.

With autumn officially here, I go into soup mode. I love a hot, hearty soup when it’s cold outside (and by “cold,” I mean under 65°F… what can I say, I’m a SoCal gal!). Soups tend to be fairly time-consuming for what they are, so I like to make a huge bubbling pot to eat all day.

But this cherry tomato bisque is so low-maintenance — so simple that I wouldn’t even call it a recipe — you can start it in the morning with only ten minutes of prep, continue your chores around the house, and come back to a delicious lunch.

This type of “recipe” is also open to all sorts of variations, such as adding diced onions or perhaps a Parmesan rind to the broth — but this is for busy people, after all, so I’ll keep it short and sweet.

Wash, dry, and de-stem cherry tomatoes

Wash, dry, and destem your cherry tomatoes.

Peel and smash garlic cloves

In a big pot over medium to medium-high heat, saute some garlic in olive oil — the more the better, more than you think you actually need. In keeping with the simple theme, I just peel the cloves and smash them with the side of my knife.

Dump cherry tomatoes into a big pot

Dump the tomatoes into the pot and stir them around. Don’t be afraid to put all your tomatoes in there — I fill my pot to the brim. As the tomatoes cook down, their volume will reduce greatly.

Cover with a lid and let the tomatoes simmer in their own juices. To get things kick-started, you can also crush some of the tomatoes with a wooden spoon or potato masher, or just let them burst on their own as they cook.

Stir tomatoes as they simmer in their own juices

Throw in a handful of fresh herbs

After an hour or so, give the tomatoes another stir and throw in a handful of fresh herbs (I used basil, parsley and oregano) and several turns of cracked black pepper. If you want an extra kick, you can add in a spoonful of red pepper flakes too.

Add heavy whipping cream and additional seasonings

Re-cover and let the soup continue simmering for another hour. When most of the tomatoes have broken down and the volume has reduced by almost half, stir in some heavy whipping cream and more seasonings to taste. If you don’t like such a chunky texture, you can puree it with an immersion blender. Usually I find it the perfect consistency, so I serve as-is.

Cherry tomato bisque

With cherry tomatoes, the bisque takes on a bright flavor that I find very fresh and different from traditional tomato soup.

And if you end up with leftovers, it also freezes well, so you can still enjoy a little taste of summer through the winter.


  1. Hi Linda!
    I’ve been clicking around your blog for a while and had to comment on this recipe.

    I make this almost weekly in my crockpot using Cento canned and any ‘too mushy for salad’ tomatoes in the refrig. Cherry tomates taste the best though. The reason I found garden betty is because i finally decided to try gardening this year for the first time after many years of procrastinating. I figured i would start small by growing the tomatoes and herbs in this recipe instead of buying them from the supermarket all the time. I read all your articles on growing tomatoes, herbs and basic gardening tips. Because you make it seem so easy, I actually have seeds in containers for the first time and I’m waiting to see if anything green pops up.

    Anyway, about your tomato bisque recipe….
    The only real thing i do differently is; after 4-5 hours cooking in the crockpot, I add dry pasta! After 10 minutes or so of soaking, I call it ‘pasta and tomato sauce’! It never occurred to me that I could leave the pasta out, simply call it bisque, and eat it as soup! LOL!

    If you do try the ‘Jeff’s pasta and tomato sauce’ version, There’s a couple of things to remember….

    1) no oil or cream in the recipe, it will coat the pasta and not absorb correctly. 2)There’s no need to pre-boil the pasta in a separate pot of water. I think it tastes better absorbing the tomato juice, pulling the flavor into the pasta. 3) Use far less pasta than you think!! The goal is to have plenty of red sauce leftover. I’ve put too much pasta in it many times… had to throw the whole thing out because it sucked up all the water and was to dry to eat.
    4) fresh pasta works fine, too, adjust cook time and volume accordingly.

    I really enjoy your blog! Lots of great information that’s easy to understand. You actually inspired me to start a garden! Thank you for posting all of it Linda, I see why you got all those awards!

    The next time I make this, I’ll spoon out a bowl before I add the pasta and try the ‘Betty’s bisque’ version (smiling of course! 🙂

    Keep posting!!

    1. Thank you so much for this kind comment! I love that you actually make a one-pot pasta dish with a similar recipe! Best of luck with your seed starting and gardening this year, you got this. 🙂

  2. Love this bisque. I changed it up a bit: sautéed diced onions in butter, added all the tomatoes I could find: cherry, beefsteak (chopped up), whatever and let them sit on low for about an hour. I strained the skins out (I am saving them not sure for what but I will think of something) and added a tablespoon of anchovy paste, salt, pepper and waited another hour then added chopped basil. It was wonderful. I am now not afraid to see how many tomatoes have ripened overnight!

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