Tomato and Bread Soup (Pappa al Pomodoro)

Savory and comforting, this Italian tomato bread soup recipe (pappa al pomodoro) is made with crusty bread, tomatoes, garlic, onions, stock, and olive oil.

Tomato and Bread Soup recipe

Simply Recipes / Elise Bauer

It's drizzly and cool outside my window. Not unusual for Northern California in April, and welcome, given the severe drought we've been having this year.

Even though spring is officially here, I'm enjoying the last legs of wintery weather, and any excuse to make something hearty and warm such as this Italian tomato and bread soup.

Pappa al Pomodoro is this soup's official name. (Bless the Italians, they make everything sound so much fun.) It's a rustic soup made with tomatoes, garlic, onions, stock, and of course, bread—preferably a good Italian loaf.

Tomato and Bread Soup recipe

Simply Recipes / Elise Bauer

Even though it's a tomato soup, you don't have to wait until August or September to enjoy it! Canned tomatoes, harvested at peak season, work beautifully in this soup.

If it is summertime, toss in a handful of fresh basil leaves. If not, fresh parsley is lovely as a garnish, along with some grated Parmesan cheese.

Tomato and Bread Soup (Pappa al Pomodoro)

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 60 mins
Total Time 75 mins
Servings 6 servings

Given that the primary ingredient in this soup is tomato, the quality of tomatoes you use is vital to the taste of the soup. Use a good quality canned tomato such as a San Marzano or Muir Glen. If using fresh tomatoes, use very ripe, in-season tomatoes.

*To prepare fresh tomatoes for this recipe, cut out the stem end, score the bottoms with a sharp knife. Put into boiling water and boil for 1 minute. Place in ice water to quickly cool. Peel back the tomato peels and discard. Chop the tomatoes, saving as much of the juice as you can. Add the chopped tomatoes and the juice in place of the canned tomatoes in step 2.


  • 2 cups diced yellow onion

  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided (2 tablespoons and 2 tablespoons)

  • 5 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes (or about 4 pounds of fresh, ripe tomatoes blanched, peeled, and chopped*)

  • 3 bay leaves

  • 2 cups chicken stock

  • 1 1/2 cups cubed rustic bread, 1 1/2-inch cubes (about 2 to 3 thick slices Italian loaf), day old is best

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, less or more to taste

  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese and chopped fresh basil or parsley, for garnish


  1. Sauté the onions and garlic:

    Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil on medium heat in a 5 to 6-quart thick-bottomed pot. Add the diced onions and cook slowly until softened and beginning to color, about 10-12 minutes.

    Add minced garlic and cook a minute more.

    onions cooking in a pot

    Simply Recipes / Elise Bauer

    sautéed onions for tomato bread soup

    Simply Recipes / Elise Bauer

  2. Add the tomatoes, stock, bay leaves, and oregano, then simmer:

    Add tomatoes to the pot with the onions, crushing them by hand as you put them in the pot. Discard any hard stem ends or stray tomato skins. Add chicken stock, bay leaves, and dried oregano.

    Tomato soup cooking on the stove

    Simply Recipes / Elise Bauer

    Heat to a simmer and reduce heat to maintain a low simmer. Cook for 20 minutes.

    As you are cooking the tomato soup base, prepare the bread croutons in the next step.

  3. Toast the croutons on the stovetop:

    Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a sauté pan on medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the cubed bread to the pan. Toss to coat with the oil and spread the cubes out in a single layer.

    Croutons toasting in a skillet

    Simply Recipes / Elise Bauer

    toasted croutons for tomato soup

    Simply Recipes / Elise Bauer

    Let sit in pan without moving until one side is golden browned, then use tongs to turn over to another side. Once at least two sides have browned, remove from heat.

  4. Add the croutons to the soup:

    Once the tomatoes have cooked for 20 minutes, add the lightly browned croutons to the soup. Cook for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and cover the pan. Let sit for 10-15 minutes.

    tomato bread soup with croutons

    Simply Recipes / Elise Bauer

  5. Purée:

    Remove the bay leaves. Use an immersion blender or upright blender to roughly purée the soup (about half of the soup, leave some chunky bits).

    Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan and chopped fresh basil or parsley.

    tomato bread soup on the stove

    Simply Recipes / Elise Bauer

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
159 Calories
7g Fat
22g Carbs
6g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 159
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 8%
Saturated Fat 1g 6%
Cholesterol 3mg 1%
Sodium 627mg 27%
Total Carbohydrate 22g 8%
Dietary Fiber 6g 23%
Total Sugars 12g
Protein 6g
Vitamin C 38mg 191%
Calcium 125mg 10%
Iron 2mg 12%
Potassium 732mg 16%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.