4bs Cream Tomato Soup Recipe


4bs Cream Tomato Soup Recipe

4bs Cream Tomato Soup Recipe is an old-fashioned cream of tomato soup from the 4b’s restaurant based in Montana. The soup recipe is well-loved around the world, not only is a soup a favorite because of its taste, texture, appearance, and flavor. This recipe is also easy to make. Anyone can give it a try.

4Bs Tomato Soup close up

4b’s Old Fashioned Cream of Tomato Soup

4b’s, old fashioned cream of tomato soup is a well-loved soup throughout the United States. The soup is unique in its taste, flavor, and texture. The restaurant that used to serve the soup was well-loved for this specific soup which they used to serve. We are excited to share with you the recipe that allows you to make this version of 4b’s of old-fashioned cream of tomato soup at home, anytime you wish.


Today we are going to look at the cream of tomato soup by 4b’s restaurant. We are going to take a look at the history of the restaurant, what makes the soup so good, and how you can make this delicious soup in your very own kitchen. Be sure to stay tuned for this amazing soup recipe!

About 4-B’s Restaurant

4b’s restaurant was owned by Bill Hainline. It was located in Missoula, Montana. The restaurant received its name as a tribute to his family, whose self, wife, and two children had first names all beginning with the letter “b”. The family grew their restaurant to have multiple locations in Montana, North Dakota, Colorado, Washington, and New Mexico.

The restaurant is said to have started its chain in 1947, by Bill Hainline, then later closed its doors to all restaurants in 2007. It is said that they have reopened again recently, under new ownership. 

The History of Tomatoes

Throughout the 1700s a lot of the Europeans feared tomatoes. Europeans would not eat tomatoes because they were afraid, they were poisonous. In fact, one of the nicknames for the fruit was “poison apple” because of fear. The first reference of tomatoes in the United States colonies is traced to 1710, somewhere in the Carolinas. With the rise of the popularity of pizza in Europe, tomatoes eventually became less fearful. Over time people in the colonies overcame the fear of tomatoes and learn how to grow and produce them. Eventually, cooking tomatoes became a common practice, even a sought-after fruit. 

What makes 4B’s tomato soup special?

The 4b’s tomato soup is special because of its creamy flavor, combined with its unique chunky texture. The overall flavor is just plain hard to beat.  The finished color of the homemade 4b’s tomato soup is also hard to beat because of its appealing coloring and appearance. 

Montana’s Favorite 4B’s Tomato Soup Recipe

We are now going to turn our attention to how you can make this favorite 4b’s tomato soup recipe that began in Montana and has now greatly expanded its notoriety. Let’s first look at what ingredients you will need to make, what we believe is the original 4b’s tomato soup recipe.

Original 4B’s Tomato Soup

You will need:

Canned diced tomatoes
Chicken broth
Baking soda
Heavy cream

How to Make 4B’s Tomato Soup

To make 4b’s tomato soup at home, you will begin by combining tomatoes, chicken broth, butter, sugar, onions, and baking soda together. Simmer for one hour. Next, in a double boiler heat your heavy cream. Add to your tomato mixture, stir, and serve. Enjoy!

Yes, it really is that simple to make this tasty soup at home! Now that you know the overall process of how to make the soup, let’s take a deep dive into the details of this recipe. 

4Bs Tomato Soup

4 B’s Tomato Soup Recipe


Cook Time: 1 hour 
Yield: ½ gallon


32 oz canned diced tomatoes (4 cups)
9 oz chicken broth, undiluted (1 1/8 cups)
1 oz butter (2 Tbsp)
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp chopped onion
1 pinch of baking soda (about 1/8 tsp)
2 cups cream

Topping (optional)

Mozzarella shredded cheese
Dried parsley


Step 1

In a soup pot, combine canned diced tomatoes, chicken broth, butter, sugar, onions, and baking soda. Simmer over medium-low heat for one hour.

Step 2

Near the end of the hour of simmer time, add your cream to a double boiler and warm it thoroughly. 

Step 3

Add the cream into the tomato mixture, stir to combine, then serve and enjoy!


Recipe from Great Falls Tribune Newspaper

My Version Of The Soup

This soup is delicious, however, there were a couple of things that I tweaked to make the soup even better! When making the soup from the above recipe, I made a few changes to help make this delicious soup taste amazing. 

Seasonings. To the original recipe above, I added salt, garlic powder, garlic salt, and seasoning salt blend. When I made the recipe according to the above, it tasted slightly bland to me. It was good, but just needed a bit more to make it awesome. To fix this, I added 1/8 tsp salt, ¼ tsp garlic powder, a pinch of garlic salt, and 1/8 seasoning salt blend. You might want to play it by ear so that it meets your desired taste, but these are what got my recipe to taste amazing. 

Onions. Before adding my onions to the tomato mixture, I sautéed my onions, in the butter called for above. This allowed my onions to get perfectly tender before mixing in with the tomatoes. 

Minced Garlic. I was not a huge garlic fan until I got married. Then my husband introduced me to the delights of adding garlic to a dish. To this recipe, I like to add about 2 tsp minced garlic to my onions and butter when they are being sautéed. This will really help to enhance your overall flavor! 

Fresh Tomatoes. Instead of using canned tomatoes, sometimes it is nice to use fresh tomatoes. I enjoy making 4b’s cream of tomato soup recipe using fresh tomatoes. If you want to try this out, I recommend using 1 Tbsp less sugar, because your fresh tomatoes are naturally sweeter, therefore they will not need as much added sugar. 

4B’s Tomato Soup: Cream Of Fresh Tomato Soup

When making 4b’s tomato soup with fresh tomatoes, here is my favorite way to do it. 

4 cups fresh diced tomatoes 
1 oz butter (2 Tbsp)
1 Tbsp sugar
9 oz chicken broth, undiluted (1 1/8 cups)
1 Tbsp chopped onion
1 pinch of baking soda (about 1/8 tsp)
2 cups cream
6 oz tomato paste
1/8 tsp salt (optional)
¼ tsp garlic powder (optional)
Pinch garlic salt (optional)
1/8 seasoning salt blend (optional)

How To Make It

Start off by cooking your tomatoes down. Add 3 cups of your tomatoes into a soup pot and allow it to cook over a low temperature. Let them cook until they become mushy and watery. 

Remove the cook tomatoes and place them in a blender, with tomato paste, and blend until smooth. Pour back into your soup pot, then add 1 cup of fresh, diced tomatoes. Then add your chicken broth, butter, sugar, chopped onions, and baking soda. Simmer over low heat for 1 hour. 

In a double boiler, warm your cream. Pour the warmed cream into your tomato mixture, and mix. Add in your salt, garlic powder, garlic salt, and seasoning salt if desired. Dish into serving bowls, top with shredded mozzarella cheese, croutons, and dried parsley if desired. Serve and enjoy! 

4Bs Tomato Soup fresh tomatoes 1
4Bs Tomato Soup fresh tomatoes 2
4Bs Tomato Soup fresh tomatoes 3
4Bs Tomato Soup fresh tomatoes 4
4Bs Tomato Soup fresh tomatoes 5
4Bs Tomato Soup cover photo


We are now going to look at the nutritional facts for this recipe for 4b’s cream tomato soup. Please note that our nutritional facts below are based on one serving. We estimate that this recipe above contains four servings, so one serving is equal to 1/4 of the original 4b’s cream tomato soup recipe.

Nutritional Facts

We have estimated that one serving contains 202 calories per serving. We have also estimated that one serving contains 13.2 g total fat, 38 mg cholesterol, 332 mg sodium, 19g total carbohydrates, and 4.3 g protein.

Calories in 4B’s Tomato Soup

Based on the original 4b’s cream of tomato soup recipe above, we estimated that one serving size, or ¼ of the above recipe, contains 202 calories. Below are calories detailed by ingredient.

Calories Per Ingredient

Canned diced tomatoes | 41 calories per serving
Chicken broth | 10 calories per serving
Butter | 51 calories per serving
Sugar | 23 calories per serving
Onion | 1 calories per serving
Baking soda | 0 calories per serving
Heavy Cream | 76 calories per serving

4Bs Tomato Soup side view

Recipe Variations

Even More Authentic 4B’s Cream of Tomato Soup Recipe

If you are looking for an even more authentic recipe, or just a way to easily make your soup ahead of time, you can complete the first step. The first step includes combining your diced tomatoes, chicken broth, butter, sugar, onion, and baking soda in a pan and simmering it for one hour. Then transfer this mixture to a plastic container, and freeze. When you remove this frozen mixture, add it to a double boiler until it is thawed. Then add your cream, and warm until it is your desired temperature. Serve and enjoy.

How To Make Tomato Bisque

Tomato bisque is very much like tomato soup, the main difference is that tomato bisque is completely smooth. To adapt the above recipe into a tomato bisque, prepare it as stated above, however before adding your cream to the tomato mixture, pour the entire tomato mixture into a blender. Blend until smooth, then transfer back into your soup pot, add cream, and desired seasonings before serving.

Instant Pot Creamy Tomato Soup

You may be wondering, can 4b’s cream of tomato soup recipe be prepared in an instant pot? The answer to this question is yes! The original 4b’s cream of tomato soup recipe may be made in an instant pot. To do this you will need to follow the instructions below.

Turn your instant pot on the sauté function. Add butter and melt, then add onions and cook until softened. Add tomatoes, sugar, chicken broth, and baking soda. Combine. Cover your instant pot and cook on high pressure for 5 to 7 minutes. Quick or natural release the pressure as desired. Either way will work and will not affect the end results. However, you choose to do it be careful of the hot steam. Stir in your cream, serve right away. If desired, add your toppings before serving. Serve and enjoy!

Crockpot 4B’s Tomato Soup

You can also prepare the 4b’s tomato soup recipe in a crockpot if you wish. To do this, you will want to add your diced tomatoes, chicken broth, butter, sugar, chopped onions, and baking soda to the crockpot. Cook covered. You can allow it to cook on high for about four hours, or low for 6 to 8 hours. After it has finished cooking, pour in your cream. Stir well. Allow to warm for 10 to 20 minutes, then serve and enjoy. 

Popular Soup Recipes


How do you make cream of tomato soup?

The process of making cream of tomato soup is quite simple. Mix, canned diced tomatoes, chicken broth, butter, sugar, onion, and baking soda. Simmer over low heat for 1 hour, then add the cream. 

What’s the original recipe for 4B’s tomato soup?

After researching, it appears that the original recipe for 4b’s tomato soup is what is included in this post. 

How to make tomato soup at B’s Cafe?

4b’s Café makes tomato soup by simmering, diced tomatoes, chicken broth, butter, sugar, chopped onion, and baking soda. Then warm cream in a double boiler. Add cream to tomato mixture, serve and enjoy. 

How long does it take to make tomato soup?

The entire process of making tomato soup takes about 1 hour 15 minutes from start to finish. 

What do you have with tomato soup?

There are many things you can serve alongside tomato soup. The most popular options include grilled cheese, baguette, French bread, or garlic bread. 

World Famous Tomato Soup

The 4B’s Café is well known and loved for their “world famous tomato soup”. Perhaps you are not from the western part of the United States and have never heard of it. However, as one who recently discovered this amazing soup recipe, rest assured that it is truly delicious. This world famous tomato soup can only be obtained by enjoying it in the 4b’s restaurant or making your own at home. This is not a soup that can be purchased in a can. Canned tomato soup does not come anywhere close to being this delicious.

4B’s Style Cream Of Tomato Soup

I was never a lover of tomato soup, until recently. A few years ago I discovered a different recipe that made me really start to love homemade tomato soup. Then I tried out this recipe for 4b’s cream of tomato soup, and it does not disappoint. Speaking as someone who is not thrilled about tomato soup in general, I will testify that this tomato soup is quite tasty.

4Bs Tomato Soup top view

Old Fashioned Cream of Tomato Soup 

Old fashioned cream of tomato soup brings back warm memories of hearth and home. This old fashioned cream of tomato soup recipe by 4b’s is surprisingly easy to make. Not only is it easy to make, but it also tastes very good! The great thing about making old-fashioned cream of tomato soup at home is that you can “doctor it up” as my grandma would say, just the way you like it.

Cream of Tomato Soup (4b’s Recipe)

I was so excited to try this original recipe that I came across in an old Montana newspaper from 1999, that featured a story about the 4b’s restaurant and their well-loved cream of tomato soup. The soup is very easy to prepare, and any aspiring home cook can do it. When I make this recipe for my family, I doctor it up slightly, by adding a few additional seasonings. However, you have the enjoyment of preparing it any way you wish.

Original 4B’s Homemade Tomato Soup

This recipe for homemade tomato soup is very difficult to beat. This tomato soup is unique because of its taste, texture, and flavor. Not only does it taste great, but it is also easy to make. Very few ingredients are required to make this tasty soup. It is perfect for those chilly days when you don’t know what to make! 

4B’s And Their Wonderful Tomato Soup

4B’s wonderful tomato soup really is wonderful. The soup is easy to make, requiring only a few ingredients. This soup is also very delicious. It is known as a world-famous recipe for a reason because the soup is just that good. Don’t take our word for how great the soup is though, give this recipe a try for yourself and see what you think about it!

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More You Will Love

4b's Newspaper clipping
Original recipe as published in the Great Falls Tribune in 1999
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Faith Has been cooking and baking for many years! she loves to share her recipes with the world, and hopes you will enjoy them too!

2 thoughts on “4bs Cream Tomato Soup Recipe”

  1. The original soup called for canned crushed tomatoes and canned diced tomatoes. It also called for 1 cup heavy cream and believe it or not, a cup of liquid coffee creamer. I have the postcard recipe that they used to give away back in the 60’s. While it’s tempting to add this and that, it isn’t like the original when you do.. if you want tomato soup with garlic, find a different recipe. The beauty of this soup was its simplicity, although, I would be tempted to sub the liquid coffee creamer. Lol

    • Hi Susan,
      Thank you for your comment. As stated in the article, we have provided the original recipe as it was printed in the Great Falls Tribune. We have also added our notations for how we would add additional optional seasonings to the soup, including garlic. However, our recipe is based on what was originally published in the Montana paper in 1999 as noted in our article. Thank you for your interest in our post. 🙂


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