Corn Chowder

4.84 from 55 votes
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Easy corn chowder recipe with a classic combination of aromatic vegetables, sweet corn, chunks of tender potatoes, and smokey bacon. Pureeing some of the kernels creates a creamy texture without having to add any flour for thickening.

Corn Chowder with bacon bits on top

Dishing out big scoops of hot corn chowder will bring instant comfort to all those lucky enough to get a bowl of it. Chowders are typically a rich and chunky soup featuring a roux and cream base. For this recipe, I wanted to create a version that has a creamy texture that doesn’t rely on flour and butter as a thickening agent.

Blending a portion of the corn kernels breaks them down into tiny pieces, adding body to the soup. This also releases the natural corn starch for extra thickening and sweetness. Adding in some milk and cream right before serving creates a luscious texture all will enjoy.

removing corn kernels off a cob

corn kernels in a blender

Removing the corn kernels

When working with fresh corn, you want to remove the kernels from the cob and also scrape off the pulp. Simply place the bottom of the corn on a cutting board and securely hold the pointy end upright.

Use a chef’s knife to carefully cut down the ear of corn, removing most of the kernels. Then use a large spoon to scoop out the little pulpy bits remaining. My culinary school instructor said that there are starch and sugars in the pulp that will enhance the flavor of the chowder. Don’t let it go to waste!

How do you thicken corn chowder?

Traditionally, corn chowder is thickened with flour and butter, but I took a different approach to make the recipe gluten-free. A little more than half of the raw corn kernels are blended into a smooth puree with the chicken broth (or chicken stock).

This process adds extra thickening to the soup. A food processor can be used, however, I find that a countertop blender creates a finer texture.

chunks of potatoes and corn in a dutch oven

How to make corn chowder

  • Remove corn kernels from the cob.
  • Use a spoon to extract the extra pulp remaining on the cob.
  • Blend 4 cups of kernels and chicken broth until smooth.
  • Saute the bacon pieces in a large pan over medium-high heat until crispy, remove and drain.
  • Saute onions, carrots, and celery until tender.
  • Add garlic and thyme, and cook until fragrant.
  • Add remaining corn kernels, saute for 1 minute.
  • Add potatoes, corn puree, milk, bay leaf, salt, and pepper.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Turn off the heat, and stir in the half-and-half and parsley.
  • Season with salt and pepper to your liking.

Potato selection

There are many different types of potatoes that you can use for this corn chowder recipe. I recommend using a combination of mealy and waxy, that way you have intact chunks to grab with your spoon, and smaller pieces that easily crush and add extra body to the soup.

I use equal parts russet and red potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Yukon gold potatoes are also an excellent choice as they have a buttery and creamy texture.

pouring corn puree into a dutch oven

Bring on the flavor

To heighten the savory flavor and add depth to the dish, pieces of bacon are cooked first in the pan until crispy and then placed on a paper towel to drain the excess grease. I like to save a few bacon bits to add on top before serving. To elevate the aromatics in each bite, I add a classic mirepoix consisting of diced onions, carrots, and celery are sauteed in the pan, followed by garlic and thyme.

Can you use canned or frozen corn?

Yes, for convenience, canned or frozen corn will work for this recipe. Make sure to defrost any icy kernels before use. This can be done by adding the corn to a strainer with lukewarm water running over it until defrosted. You will need 7 cups of kernels.

corn chowder in a large dutch oven

What to serve this with

Why puree the kernels?

Pureeing the corn kernels does two things. It creates corn particles that suspend in the soup which elevates the creamy texture by physical means. It also releases more of the trapped cornstarch inside each kernel helps with thickening the soup.

Corn Chowder

Easy corn chowder recipe with a classic combination of aromatic vegetables, sweet corn, chunks of tender potatoes, and smokey bacon.

4.84 from 55 votes
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Total Time1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Course Soup
Cuisine American

Ingredients 
 

  • 6 cups corn kernels, about 7 cobbs, divided
  • 3 cups chicken broth, or chicken stock, divided
  • 4 slices bacon, ½-inch pieces
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion, ¼-inch dice
  • ¼ cup diced carrots, ¼-inch dice
  • ¼ cup diced celery, ¼-inch dice
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon chopped thyme
  • ½ pound russet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch dice
  • ½ pound red potatoes, cut into ½-inch dice
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper, as needed for seasoning
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ cup half-and-half
  • 1 tablespoon minced parsley

Instructions 

  • Cut the kernels off the cob and then use a spoon to scrape the excess pulp. Transfer to a medium bowl.
  • Add 4 cups of corn kernels and 2 cups chicken broth to a blender. Process until smooth, 1 minute on medium speed.
  • Add bacon to a large dutch oven or pot. Heat the pot over medium heat, cook and stir bacon until crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
  • Add onions, carrots, and celery. Cook until onions are translucent and vegetables are tender, 5 to 6 minutes.
  • Add garlic and thyme, cook until fragrant, 30 seconds.
  • Add the remaining 2 cups of corn kernels and saute for 1 minute.
  • Add potatoes, corn puree, 1 cup of chicken broth, milk, salt, pepper, and bay leaf.
  • Bring soup to boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Stir every few minutes and cook until potatoes are fork-tender, about 20 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat and discard bay leaf. Stir in the half-and-half and parsley.
  • Taste and season with more salt and pepper as desired.
  • Divide the soup into serving bowls. Top with crispy bacon and parsley.

Notes

  • Serving: 1 cup

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 8 servings
Calories 237kcal (12%)Carbohydrates 36g (12%)Protein 8g (16%)Fat 9g (14%)Saturated Fat 3g (15%)Cholesterol 16mg (5%)Sodium 874mg (36%)Potassium 610mg (17%)Fiber 4g (16%)Sugar 7g (8%)Vitamin A 841IU (17%)Vitamin C 14mg (17%)Calcium 74mg (7%)Iron 1mg (6%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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27 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Guy St Hilaire says

    Love your recipes .Must try this one and might I suggest adding 1/4 teaspoon of dry sage and same for cumin to give that chowder taste ,that I personally love .

  2. Stephen J Goldberg says

    The corn chowder is on the menu tonight with fillet mignon salads and a little dressing and that stuff has a high fat content. I went to went to culinary school after getting an MSEE and serving six tours in combat most of the time. Culinary school helped heal the brain damage so I could compartmentalize all the killing.

    Now I can make many dishes and often use chemistry skills to make flavors marry,

    Your corn chowder recipe version seems grand. All of your recipes seem grand!

    You are a master even though I graduated and did internships. It is rare to find anyone that cooks. Everyone in my neighborhood is Chinese American. They text me want to eat. Nai-nai won’t be there for them in University. I teach them life skills including cooking, and grilling under my supervision

  3. Kimberly says

    Such a delicious & comforting soup! I made this for company & everyone raved about it! Definitely making again!!
    Thank you for sharing your recipe!! : )

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Half-and-half is a premade mixture of half whole milk and half heavy cream. You can find it near the whipping cream in the refrigerated section. If they don’t have it, then just add 1/4 cup whole milk, and 1/2 cup heavy cream.

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