Rich, creamy and comforting, homemade corn chowder is a family favorite! This easy-to-make soup is packed with smoky bacon, tender potatoes, and sweet corn, all simmered in a creamy, flavorful broth. This recipe can be made with fresh, frozen, or canned corn, so it’s great for any season!
best corn chowder
Have you ever tried Panera summer corn chowder? I tried it for the first time, recently, and oh my goodness, it is incredible! So delicious that it had me craving my own homemade corn chowder. Each summer I love to make it at least once with seasonal sweet corn. It’s cozy, satisfying and so super tasty! My kids have already requested that I make it again soon. And that won’t be a problem! 😉
I know there are tons of corn chowder recipes out there, but this one is just simply over-the-top delicious. Give it a try – I know you’ll agree!
what is corn chowder?
Umm… just the most delicious soup ever. Ha! No, really, a chowder is a type of soup that typically has a creamy base and a chunky texture. There are several different types of chowder: clam chowder, seafood chowder and of course, this corn chowder!
Corn chowder is a complete meal on its own! It’s packed with bacon, potatoes (and other veggies) and corn. We love to serve this bowl of deliciousness with some thick crusty bread to sop up all that creamy goodness at the bottom of the bowl!
ingredients needed for this corn chowder recipe
This wonderfully creamy corn soup is made with nourishing, simple ingredients and packs plenty of flavor. To make this corn chowder you’ll need:
- Butter. For cooking the vegetables and also adding flavor to this creamy soup.
- Bacon. Adds a nice smoky flavor and a must for any delicious chowder recipe!
- Onion, red bell pepper, celery, and garlic. The combination of veggies give this corn chowder amazing flavor and makes it super satisfying. Feel free to leave out the bell pepper or celery, if you’d like.
- Broth. This chowder works great with either chicken or vegetable broth. I like to use a low sodium variety, so that I can control the salt in the recipe.
- Potatoes. We like Yukon Gold potatoes best for this chowder because they are tender and give this soup a nice creaminess.
- Corn. The star of the show! Fresh sweet corn is so tasty and wonderful in corn chowder, but frozen or canned work just fine too.
- Heavy cream. Makes the chowder deliciously rich and creamy. Feel free to sub with half & half.
- Salt, pepper and thyme. A few simple seasonings is all you need to brighten the flavor of this corn chowder.
how to make easy corn chowder
It’s a good idea to start this recipe by preparing all of the ingredients first. Get all of the veggies and bacon chopped up and measure everything out. If you’re using fresh corn on the cob, you’ll need to shuck it and then remove the silk threads by brushing the corn with a firm bristled brush or even a clean toothbrush. Here’s a quick rundown of how to make corn chowder, but for full instructions, reference the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
- Sauté bacon + veggies. While you’re finishing up all of the prep work, melt butter in a large pot and once heated, sauté bacon, onion, bell pepper and celery until veggies are soft. Stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
- Cook the soup base. Now, add salt, pepper and broth. Bring to a boil, then stir in potatoes, corn and thyme. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cream.
- Garnish + serve. Ladle chowder into soup bowls and garnish with chives, bacon bits and cheese. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper as needed. Enjoy hot — maybe with some crusty bread? Yum!
variations of corn chowder
We love this corn chowder as written, but feel free to experiment and switch up some of the ingredients depending on what you have on hand.
- Make Mexican corn chowder by adding in a can of drained black beans and a can of green chilies when you stir in the corn. Season with 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon paprika and 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin. Omit the thyme and garnish with fresh cilantro and other favorite Mexican toppings.
- Slow cooker corn chowder is a set it and forget get it kind of meal! Cook bacon in skillet. Then, add all ingredients (except heavy cream and bacon) to a 6 quart (or larger) slow cooker. Stir ingredients well, cover and cook on LOW for 7-8 hours. Stir in heavy cream, cover and cook another 10 minutes to heat through. When serving stir in bacon and garnish with cheese and any other toppings you’d like.
- In the last 3 minutes of cooking, you can stir in one pound of fresh shrimp or cooked, shredded chicken or rotisserie chicken for added protein.
- This corn chowder recipe calls for heavy cream, but if you want to keep things dairy-free, use almond or coconut milk. You can also use whole milk or half & half to lower the calories a bit. It won’t be as creamy, but it will still be tasty.
- For vegetarian corn chowder, simply omit the bacon. And for vegan corn chowder, omit the bacon and use a plant based milk.
what to serve with potato and corn chowder
When I serve this easy corn chowder recipe, I like to keep the sides simple because corn chowder is plenty filling and pretty much a complete meal.
Our favorite way to eat potato and corn chowder is with some good crusty sourdough bread or chewy French bread for dunking into the soup, or with a few crackers crushed on top. You could also pair it with a fresh green salad on the side. For the salad, simply toss mixed greens with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Feel free to add toppings to your salad such as red onion, cherry tomatoes, and/or croutons.
Add bacon bits, cheese and chives over the top of the chowder for extra deliciousness. It’s going to be fantastic however you enjoy it!
storing & freezing tips
Corn chowder is a great make-ahead meal! Leftovers keep well in the fridge and you can enjoy piping hot bowls of corn soup for lunch for the next several days without having to do any additional cooking!
Storing leftovers. Let the corn chowder cool completely and place it in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to about 4 days. Simply rewarm in the microwave or on the stovetop until heated through.
Freezing. Soups that contain milk or cream, like chowders and bisques, don’t usually hold up well in the freezer — they tend to take on a grainy texture and separate when defrosted and rewarmed. While non-dairy milks like coconut milk hold up a little better, soups that are frozen with it still won’t be the same when defrosted either.
Follow this tip. Hold back any dairy or non-dairy milk or cream if freezing a soup that calls for it. Then simply add it in when you’ve reheated the soup.
more comforting soups you’ll love
tools for making this chowder recipe
Le Creuset Signature Dutch Oven – If you’re open to spending a bit of money on a piece that you’ll own forever, Le Creuset is my favorite brand for heavy pots and cookware.
Lodge Dutch Oven – Lodge is a great brand as well. I own several of their cast iron skillets and have been very happy with them. This one is more budget-friendly, but still great quality!
Wüsthof Two Piece Prep Set (Knives) – This is the knife set that I use most often and I can’t say enough great things about these high-quality knives.
If you try this creamy corn chowder, let me know! Leave a comment and if your family loves it as much as mine does, be sure to give it a five star ⭐️ rating! Also, tag @kimscravings on Instagram with a picture of your creation. It’s so fun to see what you’re cooking! Be sure to subscribe to our mailing list to receive more healthy delicious recipes straight to your inbox.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 4 slices bacon, chopped into 1/4 to 1/2-inch pieces*
- 3/4 cup chopped yellow or white onion
- 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped celery
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 4 cups low sodium organic vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, diced into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
- 3 cups corn kernels, thawed if using frozen (or drained from a can works)
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Optional garnish: finely diced chives, bacon bits and shredded cheddar cheese
- Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the bacon, onion, bell pepper and celery and cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables have softened, about 8 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook 1 minute more.
- Add salt, pepper and broth. Bring mixture to a boil, then stir in potatoes, corn and thyme. Lower heat to simmer, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
- Stir in cream. Serve with a garnish of chives, bacon bits and cheese, if desired. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper as needed.