Martha Stewart's Tip For Richer Tomato Soup Without Any Added Cream

From incorporating heavy cream in rich scalloped potatoes to using crème fraîche in tasty spinach frittatas, Martha Stewart knows her way around creamy ingredients — but she also knows when they're not needed. Many tomato soup recipes pour in a dose of heavy cream at the end to thicken up what may otherwise be a watery, tomato juice-filled broth. But as Stewart demonstrates, there's no need to involve the ingredient if you'd rather leave it out.

Instead of heavy cream, the celebrity chef uses a roux to add thickness to tomato soup. As she says on her brand's Instagram, "No cream here! A butter-and-flour roux is the secret to this lush, velvety soup." Instead of half a cup of heavy cream, which is typically needed to provide body to this dish, a roux can use as little as two tablespoons of butter. And while refrigerating your leftover soup can cause the solids in the cream to separate out, this won't happen with a roux, so you can preserve the smooth texture of your dish for a longer period of time.

How to add a roux into tomato soup

It takes a little more effort to whip up a roux than it does to pour heavy cream into your tomato soup, but the final result is well worth the effort. A roux is essentially fat mixed with flour — and while you can use vegetable oil, butter is the most common pick here (and Stewart's choice as well). Adding heavy cream is typically one of the last steps in making tomato soup, but with this flour-based option, you can incorporate it at the beginning or end of your recipe. To make the roux, first melt your butter in a pot on the stove, then add in your flour. A light version should only take about four minutes, but you'll want to stir the mixture constantly so it doesn't burn. If you want a darker roux, which will provide more of a deliciously nutty flavor, cook the ingredients for about seven minutes instead.

You can either make your thickener separately or as the first step when cooking your soup. If you go with the former, you'll add it as the final step of your dish; but with the latter, you can toss any chopped onion or garlic in the pot with your flour and butter, and cook everything together before adding in the tomatoes and other ingredients. Either way, you can thicken your soup with ingredients likely already in your pantry, forgoing the need for heavy cream entirely.