So good, you never want it to end, a bowl of homemade Corn Chowder is a welcome treat any time of the year. Every sweet, smoky spoonful is incredible—thank heavens it’s so easy to make.
This recipe uses frozen sweet corn, which is easy to find and plentiful year round. But if fresh whole corn can still be found, by all means, use fresh. Check out How to Cut Corn for all the best tips and tricks.
Making Corn Chowder for a crowd, or Corn Chowder for two? All you have to do is click and slide the number next to “servings” on the recipe card below to adjust the ingredients to match how many you’re feeding—the recipe does the math for you, it’s that easy.
What makes soup a chowder?
Historically, a chowder was a thick, rich, chunky seafood stew made by fishermen from their daily catches.
Today, it refers to a thick soup made with a cream or milk sauce base, often involving potatoes or corn. Although, not to confuse you, Manhattan chowders are made with a tomato base.
Corn Chowder Ingredients:
What’s in a basic Corn Chowder recipe that makes it so chowdery?
(By the way, this recipe uses bacon, but it’s not a deal breaker. Tons of variations down below!)
- Bacon. Chopped bacon adds a smoky counterpart to the sweet, sweet corn. Corn chowder with ham or crumbled sausage is just as fabulous.
- Butter. Makes everything better.
- Flour. A little flour goes a long way in making a thick, rich chowder.
- Turmeric. This golden-hued spice adds a subtle depth of flavor, and boosts the chowder’s color, naturally.
- Chicken broth. Vegetarian corn chowder can use veggie broth.
- Potatoes. Look for the thin-skinned new baby potatoes of any color.
- Corn. Fresh or frozen works.
- Half and half. Whole milk and a splash of heavy cream work just as well.
- Sharp cheddar cheese. You will love corn chowder with cheddar cheese.
- Chives. Fresh thyme or basil is delicious, too!
- Salt and freshly cracked pepper.
How to make Corn Chowder:
This is a fast and easy chowder recipe that works for weeknights and last minute meals. Here’s some pictures and a quick run down of how to make it. (For a detailed recipe, scroll down to the recipe card.)
- First, find a big stock pot or a good-sized Dutch oven. Cook the chopped bacon on medium-high heat until crisp, then remove it and set aside for later. To the bacon grease, add the butter and onions and cook until soft and translucent.
- Then stir in the flour and turmeric and cook for about one minute, so the flour loses its raw taste.
- Pour in the chicken broth, potatoes, and some salt. Bring the broth to a boil, reduce the heat, and let the soup simmer until the potatoes are tender.
- Then stir in the corn kernels, the crisp bacon, the half-and-half, and the shredded cheese. Cook until the soup is hot and the cheese is melted, then season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Garnish with fresh chives.
Can you freeze Corn Chowder?
Because this soup has cooked potatoes and dairy, unfortunately it isn’t the best candidate for storing in the freezer. The texture never comes out the way it’s supposed to once the chowder thaws.
However, if you absolutely must freeze corn chowder, don’t add the cheese or half-and-half. Then store it in a freezer-safe container.
When you reheat the soup, go ahead and add the cream and cheese.
How to make Corn Chowder in the slow cooker:
Making Corn Chowder in a crockpot is a great way to have dinner on the table in a hurry after a long, crazy day.
- Cook the chopped bacon in skillet.
- Then add all ingredients, except half-and-half and chives, to a 6-quart or larger slow cooker.
- Give everything a good stir, then cover and cook on LOW for 7 to 8 hours.
- Pour in the half-and-half and chives then cook for another 10 to 15 minutes to heat the chowder through.
Stunning Corn Chowder variations:
- Corn chowder with ham. Cubed ham or even crumbled sausage are great stand-ins for bacon--just saying!
- Vegetarian corn chowder. Sauté sliced shiitake mushrooms instead of bacon, then switch out the chicken stock for vegetable broth.
- Corn chowder with chicken. Shred up last night’s rotisserie chicken to boost the protein in this delicious, hearty soup.
- Vegan corn chowder. You can easily make the chowder dairy-free! Use sautéed shiitake mushrooms instead of bacon, and add creaminess by making the chowder with coconut milk and veggie stock. Use olive oil instead of butter.
- Corn chowder no potatoes. No problem! For a healthy corn chowder recipe that's low in carbs, boost up the veggies by adding diced zucchini, quinoa, or yellow lentils in place of the spuds.
- Spicy corn chowder. Dice up some pickled jalapeño and mix it in, or add a few splashes of your favorite hot sauce.
- Corn chowder with shrimp. Don’t skip the bacon! Just add some peeled, deveined baby shrimp in with the corn and cook until just tender.
- Corn chowder with crab. Luxurious lump crabmeat turns corn chowder into Corn Chowder with a capital C.
Corn Chowder Recipe
- 12 ounces bacon chopped
- 2 large onions chopped (about 3 cups)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 1 pound thin-skinned potatoes unpeeled and diced (red or white)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 pounds frozen corn (see notes for substituting fresh corn)
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese grated
- chopped fresh chives for garnish, optional
- In a large stock pot or Dutch oven or medium-high heat, cook bacon until crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove from pot and reserve. Add onions and butter and cook until softened, about 10 minutes.
- Stir in flour and turmeric and cook 1 minute. Stir in chicken broth, potatoes, and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer uncovered until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
- Stir in corn, half-n-half, cheese, and bacon. Cook until corn is heated through and cheese is melted, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper (I like 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper). Garnish with chives if desired.