This easy slow cooker version of the ultimate comfort food – tomato bisque – has an irresistible cheesy, bacony twist that you’re sure to love!
September is the start of soup season in my house!
It’s also the time of year when my crock pot comes out of storage and makes its home on the counter. Lots of people make use of their crock pots in the summer, but mine works overtime in the cooler months.
You can usually find a chili, sauce, or stew simmering in there at least once a week, but from time to time, the craving for hearty tomato soup and a gooey grilled cheese from my childhood hits.
I was in Atlanta this past weekend, and they had the most beautiful cold snap come through – and I wanted nothing more than a big bowl of this tomato bisque that I made last week to keep me warm!
I was never big on soup as a kid, and to be honest, as an adult, I have to be “in the mood” for it.
I guess I never mastered the liquid to veggie/meat/noodle ratio on the spoon, and I usually get frustrated when I eat it.
Plus, soup from a can is usually terrible, IMO, and I’m not just talking about flavor. I’m much more health-conscious now, and canned soup has a ridiculous amount of sodium that I’d just rather not eat.
Nana made some of the best vegetable beef soup in the world, and nothing from a can compares. Luckily, crock pot soup is just about the easiest meal in the world to throw together, because that’s literally what you do. You can feed your family a good meal with full knowledge of what you’re putting inside it.
I love soup from scratch, but on those hurry-up-and-go days when I don’t have time to steep homemade broth and chop a bunch of tomatoes, I turn to the canned stuff.
It’s quick, it’s easy, it’s convenient. The trifecta, if you will, of lazy cooking.
Nana was a religious tomato paste user – everything from her chili to her gołąbki (cabbage rolls) had at least some of it in there. It makes a great base for this bisque, and I chose to use fire roasted diced tomatoes to lend a bit of a different flavor to the finished product.
And there’s bacon in it! I cooked some chopped up uncured bacon strips, and simmered them in the soup with a bunch of other veggies, more garlic, and some fresh basil. To be fair, this is not only a tomato soup – it’s full of other nutrients that your family might not otherwise eat if they’re of the picky sort.
What they don’t know won’t hurt them, right? In fact, it will do the opposite!
Ingredients for Roasted Tomato Bisque
- Bacon – the thicker, the better; this is optional if you’d rather leave this soup vegetarian
- Fire roasted tomato cans – the fire roasted adds such great flavor to this!
- Tomato paste
- Garlic – fresh or pre-minced is fine, I’ve used both
- Yellow onion
- Low sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
- Fresh basil
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- Unsalted butter
- All-purpose flour or 1:1 gluten free flour
- Heavy cream (double cream) or milk
- Grated Parmesan cheese
How to make tomato bisque in a slow cooker
- Cook the bacon. In a frying pan set over medium heat (or in an air fryer or oven!), fry bacon pieces until fully cooked. Allow the bacon to cool until it’s touchable, then chop it into smaller pieces.
- Crock it up. Add the cooked bacon to the crock of a 6-quart slow cooker with the canned tomatoes, tomato paste, vegetables, broth, basil, and seasonings.
- Slow cook. Cook the bisque on low for 6-8 hours, or high for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally if possible.
- Puree the soup. Carefully transfer the soup to a blender and puree it until it’s smooth to your liking (you may need to work in batches), then return to crock pot. You can also use an immersion blender to do the job right in the crock, just be careful with the hot soup.
- Make a roux. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan set over medium heat, then whisk in the flour to create a paste. Slowly whisk in the milk or cream until it’s thick and smooth.
- Finish it up. Whisk the roux and Parmesan cheese into the contents of the crock, then continue to cook for another 30-40 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Stir before serving.
- Serve and enjoy! Garnish the bowls of soup with more shredded cheese and basil if desired, and serve with cheese toasts or grilled cheese sandwiches.
Tomato Bisque FAQ
What’s the difference between tomato bisque and tomato soup?
Tomato soup is a simple soup, often made with tomato paste, water or broth, and some seasonings. A traditional bisque is a creamy French soup that is made from strained shellfish (lobster, crab, shimp) broth. While there is no shellfish in tomato bisque, the term has evolved to include pureed, cream-based soups that are packed with flavor.
How do you store leftover bisque?
Transfer any leftover soup to a glass or plastic airtight container and refrigerate it. Eat it within 2-3 days for best flavor!
Can you freeze it?
Soups containing dairy generally do not hold up well in the freezer, so I would not recommend freezing this recipe.
If you’ve got a little extra time, pair this bisque with toasty grilled cheese sandwiches, or my favorite easy cheese toasts! This wonderfully creamy, cheesy, tomato-y soup just begs to be dipped in!
I don’t know about you guys, but cooler weather can’t get here soon enough for me. I’m really looking forward to slow-cooking some more soup recipes, and get in the spirit of the new season.
Maybe I’ll become a soup lover after all.
Even more cozy soup recipes!
If you love this recipe, please consider leaving a 5 STAR RATING! If you really love it, leave us a comment and let us know – we appreciate all forms of feedback!
Join in on the fun in our Facebook group! Feel free to share YOUR favorite recipes, ask questions, help out your fellow home cooks, and see what’s new with The Crumby Kitchen (so that you never miss a new recipe)! If you’d like to check it out, you can request to join HERE.
Also, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram and tag #crumbykitchen so we can see all the wonderful recipes YOU recreate from this site!
You can also enjoy exclusive content before anyone else by subscribing to our weekly newsletter – and you’ll never miss a delicious recipe again!
Slow Cooker Roasted Tomato Bisque with Bacon
- 6 slices bacon chopped
- 2 15-ounce cans fire roasted tomatoes
- 1 4-ounce can tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons garlic diced
- 1 yellow onion chopped
- 2 carrots chopped
- 3 celery ribs chopped
- 4 cups chicken broth lower sodium
- ¼ cup basil chopped
- Kosher salt to taste
- Black pepper to taste
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup heavy cream or milk
- 6 ounces Parmesan cheese
- In a frying pan, fry bacon pieces until fully cooked. Add cooked bacon to crock pot with canned tomatoes, vegetables, broth, basil, and seasonings.
- Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or high for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally if possible.
- In two batches, place soup in blender and puree until smooth, then return to crock pot. OR use an immersion blender to do the job right in the crock. (Be careful with the hot soup!)
- Make a roux – melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat, then whisk in flour to create a paste. Slowly whisk in milk or cream until smooth.
- Stir roux and cheese into soup, and continue to cook for another 30-40 minutes, until cheese is melted. Stir before serving. Garnish with more shredded cheese and basil if desired, and serve with cheese toasts. Enjoy!