Corn Chowder

07.22.2019

This summer Corn Chowder is creamy, comforting and full of flavor! Made with an abundance of fresh sweet corn, tender potatoes, flavorful hearty bacon, and finished with chives and cheese. Truly this soup is too hard to resist and can be enjoyed all summer long!

Corn Chowder in two serving bowls. Chowder has fresh pieces of corn, chunks of ham and is garnished with chives.

Corn Chowder Recipe

Don’t we all crave this time of year? Not only do we get those relaxing beach days, backyard cookouts, and weekend hikes to soak up that summer sun but it also means getting some of the best food of the year while all the fresh produce is in season.

It’s that time of year where you’ll find fresh corn on the cob galore, especially if you’re in the U.S. near the plethora of local growers. If you’re like us you’re likely eating it multiple times throughout the week and looking for more ways to use it and this corn chowder is one of the best ways to put it to good use!

It has everything you’d want in a corn chowder and then some. Nothing fancy, just tasty homestyle comfort food at its best!

You’ll love the rich and creamy texture paired with the tender crispness of corn in every bite.

Bowl full of fresh corn kernels.

Corn Chowder Ingredients

  • Fresh Corn – I like to use yellow corn because it gives the chowder a nice color but white corn will work fine too.
  • Butter – this use used for sautéing and of course it’s a staple duo with fresh corn.
  • Bacon – doesn’t bacon make everything better? Here it adds an extra little oomph of flavor.
  • Onion & garlic – these aromatics add dimension to the soup and help build of flavors.
  • Flour – this is added to thicken up the soup.
  • Yukon gold potatoes – another waxy potato can be substituted here like red potatoes.
  • Thyme, bay leaf and chives – these add a hint of herbiness which pairs nicely with the corn.
  • Half & Half – this makes the chowder deliciously rich and creamy.
  • Honey – just a hint will help highlight the sweetness of the corn. If you already are using super sweet corn then you may not even need it.
  • Cheddar cheese – this is optional for one more last layer of something totally crave-able.

Can I Use Frozen Corn?

Key to the best corn chowder is to use the best corn on the cob you can find. It is the prominent flavor here after all and most important part of this soup. If your only option is frozen corn then yes it will work and it will make it easy, but when you have access to fresh corn use that for best results.

White enamel pot full of corn chowder soup with a ladle in it.

How to Make Corn Chowder

  • Saute onion and bacon: melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and bacon and cook, stirring frequently, until onion has softened and just starting to brown around edges, about 8 – 10 minutes.
  • Make roux: add in the flour and garlic and cook 1 1/2 minutes. While whisking, slowly pour in 5 cups water.
  • Add remaining veggies and season: bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly, then stir in corn kernels and potatoes. Add in thyme and bay leaf and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Boil and simmer soup: bring to a light boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
  • Puree some of the chowder: remove bay leave then transfer 2 1/2 cups of the chowder to a blender and blend until smooth.
  • Add final liquid ingredients: stir the mixture back into the pot then stir in half and half and honey.
  • Garnish: sprinkle each serving with chives and optional cheddar.

Close up image of corn chowder with potatoes in a ladle.

My Changes to the Original Recipe

I adapted this recipe with slight changes from Cook’s Illustrated. In their recipe they call for shaving off the remaining corn bits with a vegetable peeler after cutting the kernels from the cobs.

Then from there you have to wrap it in a cloth and squeeze out the juice.

First of all I found it a huge pain and a big mess and if I would have finished I wouldn’t have only ended up with half the amount of juice called for.

Secondly, I found an alternate method that was much easier, just cut the kernels from two extra cobs of corn, add to a food processor and pulse until pureed then force through a fine strainer and you should get about 1/2 cup juice.

But last of all, after finishing the soup I found it had plenty of corn flavor and everything seemed perfectly balanced so I didn’t even end up adding in that corn juice I’d extracted, so I figured it’s not worth the extra effort.

Who knows maybe that’s just personal opinion, but I thought the honey I added to the recipe (in place of the sugar they had listed) gave it the perfect touch of sweetness so the sweetness from the added juice wasn’t even needed.

I love how the bacon in this soup perfectly compliments the light natural sweetness of the corn, while the potatoes give it some body and extra creaminess. Then the final garnish of chives gives this soup the perfect little bite they need, so don’t omit them.

This is the perfect summer soup and once you try a bowlful you’ll want to head back for another serving and then you’ll want to continue to make it all summer long!

Two serving of corn chowder in brown serving bowls set on plates.

What to Serve with Corn Chowder?

Since this is a super hearty soup you don’t really need much with it. I like to serve with:

  • Fresh crusty bread (for dipping of course)
  • Side salad
  • Roasted vegetables like zucchini
  • Or pair smaller servings of this soup with a main dish like baked chicken or grilled salmon

More Corn Chowder Variations to Try!

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Print

Summer Corn Chowder

4.87 from 30 votes

This Summer Corn Chowder is creamy, comforting and full of flavor. Made with bacon, garlic and cheese it's pretty hard to resist and can be enjoyed all summer long! Serve in big bowls with a side of crusty bread.

Servings: 6 servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 8 ears fresh sweet yellow corn, husked and silks removed and kernels cut from cob
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 5 slices bacon, cut into 1/4 to 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 medium yellow onion chopped (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 lb Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 2 - 3 Tbsp chopped fresh chives
  • Shredded cheddar cheese, for serving (optional)

Instructions

  1. Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and bacon and cook, stirring frequently, until onion has softened and just starting to brown around edges, about 8 - 10 minutes. Add in the flour and garlic and cook 1 1/2 minutes. While whisking, slowly pour in 5 cups water.

  2. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly, then stir in corn kernels and potatoes. Add in thyme and bay leaf and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a light boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

  3. Remove bay leave then transfer 2 1/2 cups of the chowder to a blender and blend until smooth. Stir the mixture back into the pot then stir in half and half and honey. Sprinkle each serving with chives and optional cheddar.

Recipe Notes

  • Recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated
Nutrition Facts
Summer Corn Chowder
Amount Per Serving
Calories 364 Calories from Fat 171
% Daily Value*
Fat 19g29%
Saturated Fat 9g56%
Cholesterol 42mg14%
Sodium 225mg10%
Potassium 751mg21%
Carbohydrates 42g14%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 11g12%
Protein 10g20%
Vitamin A 545IU11%
Vitamin C 18.6mg23%
Calcium 80mg8%
Iron 3.5mg19%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Chowder, corn chowder
Calories: 364 kcal
Author: Jaclyn
Recipe originally published June, 2015.

222 comments

  • Judy Hazel: I’ve been making corn chowder for years and my Mom before me. It is such an easily adaptable recipe, using what you have on hand as far a corn (frozen or fresh (preferred)), milk in place of cream, cheese or no cheese or trying different cheeses, ham or bacon. Great recipe!! We enjoy this soup year around but love making it with fresh corn! July 23, 2019 at 6:45am Reply

  • Amy: Sounds wonderful…
    Can you freeze this? July 22, 2019 at 4:14pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I don’t think it will freeze well because of the dairy in it. July 22, 2019 at 11:03pm Reply

  • Donna Howard: I want to make this but would it be possible to use can corn?? I know, I’m lame, but could I?? July 22, 2019 at 11:48am Reply

    • Jaclyn: You could but of course it won’t be as good, instead I’d recommend even frozen if possible :). July 22, 2019 at 11:52am Reply

      • Donna Howard: Frozen! What a good idea. Thanks I’ll try it!! July 22, 2019 at 12:24pm Reply

      • Donna Howard: Jaclyn, so I’m going to make this!! One more stupid question – on the corn, do you cook it before you cut it off the cob?? July 23, 2019 at 7:54am Reply

        • Jaclyn: No you don’t need to cook it first :). July 23, 2019 at 9:11am Reply

  • Jessica Moquin: This recipe is SO deliciously! My husband said it’s his favorite soup I’ve ever made. I used fresh corn, cut off the cob. Instead of adding 5c of water, I boiled the corn core (after cutting all of the corn off of course), just letting them sit for at least 20 minutes simmering, and then used the liquid in replacement of the water. I had red potatoes instead of Yukon’s, which I actually think made it even better personally because reds hold their shape a bit better (total personal preference and I’m sure any kind would be delish). I only had milk so replaced the half n half with that, and the fresh summer corn is so much sweeter than canned or frozen, so I skipped the honey. I don’t eat cheese so I also skipped that. This soup is crazy good – and a day later, it’s even better! Next time I’ll add more bacon. I know I modified it a bit, but thank you so much Jaclyn, for an amazing recipe that is easily modified to suit taste (or on-hand ingredients)! July 14, 2019 at 6:37pm Reply

  • Elizabeth Weber: I love corn chowder and this rfecipe is great. I couldnt bear to toss the corn cobs without using them so I boiled them for 15 minutes and used the corn water in place of the 5 cups of water. Oh my! I didnt dare to use the honey because the chowder was already so sweet..A keeper for sure. July 9, 2019 at 8:50am Reply

  • Gloria: Great ! Going to make it ! July 4, 2019 at 10:55am Reply

  • Larry Durham: Made the vegetable beef recipe first. It was terrific. Saw this recipe and had to try it. Wonderful summer soup even with new season corn. Thank you. June 25, 2019 at 6:44pm Reply

  • Kaylee: Hi, I just wanted to share what I did differently, just in case someone is in the same boat as I was.
    I don’t have a blender, so I used only 5 ears and mashed up the corn. Came out pretty good! Every one loved it. February 18, 2019 at 11:56am Reply

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