Corn Chowder

Corn Chowder is a creamy, comforting soup that’s perfect for any season, showcasing the sweet, natural flavor of corn. This dish is a beloved classic in many households, known for its rich texture and satisfying heartiness. Whether using fresh, frozen, or canned corn, this chowder can be a delicious way to enjoy one of nature’s simplest pleasures.

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Corn Chowder

  • Author: recipstep
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4-6
  • Diet: Vegetarian


Corn Chowder is a creamy, hearty soup that perfectly blends the sweetness of corn with the richness of a savory broth and cream base. This comforting dish is a favorite for its simplicity and depth of flavor, making it ideal for both chilly winter meals and as a light summer fare using fresh corn.


▢4 slices bacon chopped
▢1 tablespoon unsalted butter
▢1 yellow onion diced
▢2 stalks celery diced
▢1 large carrot diced
▢3 garlic cloves minced
▢3 cups corn kernels (cobs reserved if using fresh) (482g)
▢2 medium Yukon gold potatoes peeled and diced (369g)
▢3 cups chicken broth (720mL)
▢2 cups whole milk (480mL)
▢2 teaspoons salt
▢1½ teaspoons chopped thyme
▢½ teaspoon ground black pepper
▢Chopped chives for garnish


In a large pot or Dutch oven, add the bacon and cook over medium-high heat until crisp, about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the bacon pieces with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels, reserving the dripping in the pot.
Add the butter to the pot and heat until melted. Add the onion, celery, and carrot and cook until tender, about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Add the corn kernels, corn cobs (if using fresh corn), potatoes, broth, milk, salt, thyme, and pepper. (For an extra creamy chowder, replace ½ cup of the milk with heavy cream.) Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat. Remove and discard the corn cobs.
Place 2 cups of the soup mixture in a blender and blend until smooth. Return to pot and stir in the cooked bacon. Serve hot, garnishing each bowl with chopped chives and black pepper.


  • For a lighter version, substitute heavy cream with half-and-half or whole milk.
  • The soup can be made vegetarian by using vegetable broth and omitting optional bacon garnish.
  • Blending part of the soup is optional but adds creaminess and thickness.
  • Can be adapted for vegetarian diets.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American


  • Calories: 250
  • Sugar: 8g
  • Sodium: 300mg
  • Fat: 12g
  • Saturated Fat: 7g
  • Carbohydrates: 35g
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Protein: 5g
  • Cholesterol: 40mg

Corn Chowder


Can I freeze Corn Chowder?

Yes, you can freeze Corn Chowder, although the texture of the potatoes and dairy might change slightly upon thawing. For best results, omit dairy when freezing and add fresh when reheating.

Is Corn Chowder gluten-free?

Corn Chowder can be made gluten-free by ensuring that all ingredients, including stock, are gluten-free and by using a gluten-free thickener instead of traditional flour.

How can I make my Corn Chowder more flavorful?

To make your Corn Chowder more flavorful, consider roasting the corn first to enhance its sweetness, using homemade stock for the base, and incorporating fresh herbs and a dash of smoked paprika for depth.

Can I use canned corn instead of fresh?

Yes, canned corn can be used in Corn Chowder, though you might lose some of the sweetness and crunch of fresh corn. Drain and rinse the canned corn before adding it to the chowder.

What’s the best way to reheat Corn Chowder?

Reheat Corn Chowder over low heat on the stove, stirring occasionally. If it’s too thick, you can thin it with a bit of stock or milk until you reach the desired consistency.

Choosing Your Corn

The type of corn you use can significantly impact the flavor of your chowder. Fresh corn on the cob is ideal for its sweetness and crisp texture, especially when in season. However, frozen corn can be a convenient and tasty alternative, offering the essence of summer year-round. Canned corn, while not as preferable, can still be used in a pinch and offers a quick, ready-to-use option.

Building the Base

The base of Corn Chowder starts with sautéing onions and garlic in butter, creating a flavor foundation that’s both aromatic and deeply savory. To this, diced potatoes are often added, lending the chowder its characteristic heartiness and thickness. The choice of potatoes varies, but Yukon gold or red potatoes are popular for their creamy texture and ability to hold their shape.

Creating Creaminess

Achieving the perfect creamy consistency in Corn Chowder can be done through various methods. Traditional recipes often use heavy cream for richness, while others might incorporate milk or half-and-half for a lighter version. For those seeking a non-dairy alternative, coconut milk can provide a delightful creaminess without compromising the soup’s comforting quality.

Adding Depth of Flavor

Corn Chowder isn’t just about sweetness; it’s also about depth. Incorporating smoked paprika, fresh thyme, or bay leaves can add layers of flavor that complement the corn’s natural sweetness. Some variations include crispy bacon or smoked ham for a smoky, savory element that contrasts beautifully with the sweetness of the corn.

Corn Chowder

Thickening Techniques

To achieve Corn Chowder’s signature thick texture, some cooks use a roux made from flour and butter, while others might puree a portion of the soup and mix it back in. Another method involves mashing some of the potatoes directly in the pot. Each technique helps thicken the chowder, ensuring that every spoonful is as satisfying as it is delicious.

Serving Suggestions

Corn Chowder is wonderfully versatile when it comes to serving. It can be garnished with fresh herbs, extra corn kernels, a dollop of sour cream, or even shredded cheese. Serving this chowder with a side of crusty bread makes for a complete, comforting meal that’s hard to beat.

Corn Chowder stands as a testament to the power of simple ingredients coming together to create something truly special. Its rich, creamy base paired with the sweetness of corn and the complexity of added spices and ingredients makes it a favorite among soup enthusiasts. Whether enjoyed on a chilly winter day or as a reminder of summer’s bounty, Corn Chowder offers a delicious, comforting experience that satisfies the soul.

Enhancing with Fresh Herbs

Incorporating fresh herbs into Corn Chowder can elevate the dish from comforting to gourmet. Chopped chives, parsley, or cilantro added just before serving not only introduce a burst of color but also add fresh, aromatic flavors that complement the sweetness of the corn and the richness of the creamy base. This simple addition can transform the overall taste profile, adding layers of complexity and freshness.

Experimenting with Spice Levels

For those who enjoy a bit of heat, experimenting with spice levels can add an exciting twist to the traditional Corn Chowder. A dash of cayenne pepper, diced jalapeños, or a sprinkle of chili flakes can introduce a warm, spicy element that balances the chowder’s creaminess. Adjusting the spice to suit personal preferences allows for a customizable soup experience that caters to various palates.

The Role of Corn in Texture and Flavor

Corn plays a dual role in Corn Chowder, contributing both to the soup’s texture and its flavor profile. While whole kernels add pops of sweetness and a satisfying bite, blending a portion of the corn creates a smooth, thick backdrop that enhances the chowder’s body. This technique ensures that the corn’s natural flavors are deeply integrated into every aspect of the dish.

Innovative Garnishes for a Final Touch

Beyond traditional garnishes, there are numerous innovative toppings that can provide a final touch to Corn Chowder. Crumbled feta or goat cheese can add a tangy contrast, while avocado slices offer a creamy, rich finish. For a crunch, toasted pumpkin seeds or cornbread croutons can add texture and an extra layer of flavor, making each spoonful exciting and varied.

Pairing Corn Chowder with Side Dishes

Corn Chowder pairs beautifully with a range of side dishes. A crisp, green salad dressed in a light vinaigrette can offer a refreshing balance to the chowder’s richness. For heartier appetites, grilled cheese sandwiches or savory scones serve as perfect complements, turning the soup into a filling meal. These pairings allow for a balanced dining experience, where the chowder remains the star of the show.

Adapting Corn Chowder for Dietary Restrictions

Adapting Corn Chowder to meet various dietary restrictions is straightforward and doesn’t require sacrificing flavor. For a vegetarian version, vegetable broth can replace beef or chicken broth. Dairy-free and vegan adaptations might include unsweetened almond or soy milk in place of cream, and nutritional yeast or vegan cheese for garnish. These substitutions ensure that Corn Chowder can be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of dietary needs.

Corn Chowder’s enduring popularity lies in its comforting simplicity, versatility, and the depth of flavor achievable with just a few key ingredients. Whether served as a humble midweek meal or dressed up with gourmet garnishes for special occasions, Corn Chowder offers a warm embrace in a bowl, promising satisfaction and comfort to all who partake.

Utilizing Seasonal Corn Varieties

Exploring seasonal corn varieties can significantly enhance the flavor profile of Corn Chowder. Summer offers sweet corn at its peak, which brings unmatched natural sweetness and crisp texture. In off-season months, consider heirloom varieties that can be found frozen but still retain much of their original flavor. Utilizing different types of corn throughout the year not only maximizes taste but also introduces subtle variations that can make each batch of chowder unique.

Corn Chowder

Incorporating Seafood for a Coastal Twist

For those looking to add a coastal twist to the traditional Corn Chowder, incorporating seafood such as shrimp, crab, or clams can transform it into a rich, seaside delight. The sweetness of the corn complements the brininess of the seafood, creating a chowder that’s both luxurious and hearty. This variation is perfect for summer evenings or as a special treat that brings the flavors of the coast to your table.

Mastering the Art of Slow Cooking

While Corn Chowder can be made relatively quickly, mastering the art of slow cooking can elevate the dish to new heights. Allowing the chowder to simmer gently on the stove for an extended period not only melds the flavors more deeply but also ensures that every ingredient is perfectly tender. Slow cooking is particularly beneficial when using tougher cuts of meat or aiming to deepen the chowder’s complex flavor profile.

Creative Uses for Leftover Chowder

Leftover Corn Chowder can serve as a versatile base for other dishes. Thickened further, it can become a filling for savory pies or casseroles. Alternatively, adding cooked rice or quinoa can transform it into a hearty stew. These creative uses not only ensure that no food goes to waste but also provide delightful meals that are as satisfying as the original chowder.

The Importance of Quality Stock

The foundation of any good chowder, including Corn Chowder, is its stock. Using a high-quality, homemade, or artisanal stock can bring a depth of flavor that enhances the overall dish. Whether it’s vegetable, chicken, or seafood stock, choosing a base that’s rich and flavorful is crucial to achieving a chowder that’s both aromatic and delicious.

Hosting a Chowder Night

Hosting a chowder night can be a wonderful way to share the comforting warmth of Corn Chowder with friends and family. Offering a variety of toppings and sides allows guests to customize their bowls, turning the meal into an interactive experience. Accompanied by a selection of bread, salads, and a cozy setting, a chowder night is sure to be an event that guests remember fondly.

Corn Chowder’s versatility and comforting nature make it a beloved dish across many households. Whether enriched with seasonal produce, enhanced by slow cooking, or transformed into new creations with leftovers, this chowder remains a testament to the simplicity and satisfaction of home-cooked meals. Its ability to adapt to various tastes and occasions further cements its status as a culinary staple, cherished for both its flavor and the warmth it brings to the table.


Corn Chowder stands as a celebration of corn’s natural sweetness, wrapped in a creamy, comforting embrace. This dish, with its rich history and versatile nature, continues to be a favorite across many kitchens for its ability to bring warmth and satisfaction to any meal. Whether enjoying a bowl on a cold winter’s night or serving it as part of a summer feast, Corn Chowder offers a delicious way to celebrate the seasons and the simple joys of cooking. With the opportunity to customize it to individual tastes and dietary needs, Corn Chowder remains a timeless classic that promises to keep hearts and bellies full for years to come.

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