Tomato and Saffron Bisque

Tomato and Saffron Bisque by

Tomato and Saffron Bisque is a creamy tomato soup with a flavorful broth made with onions, leeks, shallots, Italian peeled tomatoes, and saffron.  Then it’s simmered with cream to create a thick, creamy, and delicious tomato bisque that’s perfect for a chilly night.  


I was in the mood for a hearty vegetable bisque when I saw a recipe in a magazine similar to this tomato and saffron bisque. 

The combination of flavors in this tomato bisque is sweet and spicy.  The leeks, shallots, and onions along with the saffron, give subtly sweet and complex flavors to the tomatoes.   

It’s delicious and easy to make.  It will take approximately 15 to 20 minutes to put it all together, and simmer for about 25 to 30 minutes until the soup is ready. 


Tomato and Saffron Bisque by


Pair this soup with your favorite sandwich or salad as a side. 

Try it with our delicious…

Any one of these will go perfectly with my tomato and saffron bisque. 


What Is Bisque?

A bisque is a French-style soup made with cream.  It’s most commonly made with seafood such as lobster, crab, shrimp, and crayfish.  My bisque is made without seafood and with only vegetables.    


What is Saffron? 

Saffron is a natural spice from a flower whose flavor cannot be duplicated.  It happens to be a spice that comes from a plant, called Crocus Sativus.  It’s sold in a small plastic or glass container with an appearance of thin threads in a deep reddish color.

Photo of saffron by

Saffron originated in Greece over 3000 years ago.  It is commonly used to flavor many European dishes in France, Italy, and Spain and even across the middle eastern countries.  The most popular dishes today are French Bouillabaisse, Spanish Paella, and Italian Milanese Risotto, just to name a few.  




Tomato and Saffron Bisque by


Three Simple Steps to make this Tomato and Saffron Bisque!

Step 1:  Saute all the vegetables in a Dutch oven for a few minutes. 

Step 2:  Stir in the saffron and red pepper flakes, allowing them to infuse their flavors into the mixture.  Then pour in the cream, Italian peeled tomatoes, milk, and season with salt.  Simmer the soup, covered, and on low heat for about 30 to 35 minutes, until the soup has thickened. 

Step 3:  Use an immersion hand-held blender, and blend the mixture as little or as much as you prefer.  Then serve. 

Super easy!

Photos of steps for the tomato and saffron bisque by


Tips and Notes for Success!

  • I used Imported Italian peeled tomatoes and pureed them in a blender before adding them to the soup.  If you use crushed tomatoes, you will need to puree them before they go in. 

  • For this recipe, you will only need about 1/2 teaspoon of saffron (a generous pinch).

  • Make-Ahead:  Prepare the soup completely and refrigerate up to two days.  Then reheat over low heat, adding milk or water as needed for desired consistency. 

  • When the soup is fully cooked and before serving, I pureed 50% of the mixture, using my hand-held immersion blender, to keep some texture in the soup.  And I did it right in the Dutch oven pot, making it easier for clean-up.   If you wish, you can puree the entire mixture. 

  • Don’t have the hand-held blender – No Worries!  You can use a blender and blend in small batches.  Be sure to put a kitchen towel over the cover and hold it down before you press the lowest speed on your blender. 

  • I recommend serving with either grated Parmesan cheese or with pecorino cheese at the table.  

Try this tasty Tomato and Saffron Bisque.

..and ENJOY!! 


Finally, more hearty soup recipes… 



Yield: 6 cups

Tomato and Saffron Bisque

Tomato and Saffron Bisque by

Tomato and Saffron Bisque is a creamy tomato soup loaded with onions, leeks, shallots, and Italian peeled tomatoes. Then it's simmered with some cream, saffron, and red pepper flakes to create a thick, creamy, and most delicious tomato bisque.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes


  • 2 Tbps. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 + 1/2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 cups of chopped onions (1 large onion)
  • 3/4 cup chopped shallots (1 large shallot)
  • 2 garlic cloves - sliced
  • 1 cup chopped leeks (1 small leek, only white part)
  • 1/2 tsp. (packed) of saffron threads
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 (28-ounce) can of Italian peeled or crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup 2% low-fat milk
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • fresh cracked black pepper, to taste


  1. In a Dutch oven or large pot heat over moderate heat. Add in the olive oil and butter until butter is melted.
  2. Next, add the chopped onions, shallots, garlic, and leeks and cook for 10 minutes, until they are all softened and tender.
  3. Stir in the saffron threads, red pepper flakes, and simmer for 1 minute.
  4. Then add in the heavy cream, Italian tomatoes, milk, and salt. Cover with a lid and bring to a low boil, then lower the heat to simmer. Simmer the soup for 30 to 35 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Finally, before you serve, use an immersion hand-held blender to puree about 50% of the mixture. If you prefer, you can puree the entire mixture. Take the final taste, and season with salt and fresh cracked pepper to your preference.
  6. Then serve.
  7. Yields: 4 to 5 servings

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Tomato and Saffron Bisque by

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Thanks for stopping by!  

xo  Anna and Liz

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  1. What great photos! They are making me hungry πŸ™‚ Love the saffron addition in this recipes plus onion, shallots and leek, Oh My! πŸ™‚ Can’t wait to try it.

    1. Thank you! This bisque turned out so good, and better than I had expected. Let me know when you do try it! I’d love to hear back from you. πŸ˜‰

  2. I can’t wait to try this soup. It looks absolutely delicious and I love the way you explained it step by step. I know saffron is a little pricy, but I’ll give it a try.

    1. Thank you so much, Judee! I’m so thrilled you will try my soup. Welcome to our little cooking blog, it’s so nice to meet you. Have a great week.

    1. Thanks, Karen, …this was a first for me to make a tomato bisque and I was very pleased with the outcome. Hope you will try it! ENJOY!!