Corn Chowder

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Chilly days call for warm bowls of sweet, smoky Corn Chowder. This incredible soup can be made any time of year and comes together quickly, thanks to frozen corn.

Corn chowder in a blue bowl.

Chowder may be my favorite way to enjoy sweet corn. As soon as I down one bowl, I’m aching for another. This recipe is made with bacon and diced potatoes, and they add a heartiness that I absolutely love.

To make things even easier, I use frozen sweet corn. It’s easy to find and plentiful year round. But if fresh whole corn is still popping up at the market, fresh corn wins.

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for corn chowder.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient notes

  • Bacon: Chopped bacon adds a smoky counterpart to the sweet corn. Corn chowder with ham is is just as fabulous.
  • Turmeric: This golden-hued spice boosts the yellow color of soup naturally and adds a subtle flavor.
  • Potatoes: Look for the thin-skinned new baby potatoes of any color.
  • Corn: To substitute fresh corn, bring a large pot of water and 1 tablespoon salt to a boil over high heat. Add 12 ears of corn (you may need to work in batches) and boil for 3 to 5 minutes. Submerge ears in a large bowl of ice water. When the corn is cool enough to handle, cut it off the cob and proceed with the recipe.
  • Half and half: Substitute 4 ½ teaspoons melted butter plus enough whole milk to equal 1 cup for the half and half.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. 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.
Cooking onions in bacon fat in a pot.
  1. 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.
Corn chowder ingredients in a pot.
  1. 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 ½ teaspoon pepper). Garnish with chives if desired.
Two bowls of corn chowder on mustard-colored napkins.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This Corn Chowder recipe makes a lot of soup: 16 cups or 4 quarts, enough for 8 generous servings of 2 cups each. For a party or buffet with other main dishes, plan on 1 cup of soup per person.
  • Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • Freezer: Soups with dairy may have a grainy texture and separate when you thaw them out. So, I don’t recommend freezing this soup.
  • Spicy: Dice up some fresh jalapeños or serranos and add with the corn in step 3, and serve with plenty of hot sauce.
  • Seafood: Don’t skip the bacon! Just add some peeled, deveined baby shrimp or lump crabmeat in with the corn and cook until just tender.

Recipe FAQs

What is the difference between corn soup and corn chowder?

Soups can vary in texture and be thin and brothy, while a chowder is thick, hearty, and rich.

What goes well with corn chowder?

Corn chowder is excellent with sandwiches like grilled cheese or BLTs. Or, serve with chunks of bread or rolls for dipping.

Can I make corn chowder with fresh corn?

To substitute fresh corn, bring a large pot of water and 1 tablespoon salt to a boil over high heat. Add 12 ears of corn (you may need to work in batches) and boil for 3 to 5 minutes. Submerge ears in a large bowl of ice water. When the corn is cool enough to handle, cut it off the cob and proceed with the recipe.

More hearty soups

Corn chowder in a dark gray bowl.

Corn Chowder

Chilly days call for warm bowls of sweet, smoky Corn Chowder. This incredible soup can be made any time of year and comes together quickly, thanks to frozen corn.
Author: Meggan Hill
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Servings 8 servings (2 cups each)
Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine American
Calories 541

Ingredients 

  • 12 ounces bacon chopped (see note 1)
  • 2 large onions chopped (about 3 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric (see note 2)
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 pound thin-skinned potatoes unpeeled and diced (see note 3)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds frozen corn (see note 4)
  • 1 cup half-and-half (see note 5)
  • 6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese grated
  • chopped fresh chives for garnish, optional

Instructions 

  • 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 ½ teaspoon pepper). Garnish with chives if desired.

Notes

  1. Bacon: Chopped bacon adds a smoky counterpart to the sweet corn. Corn chowder with ham is is just as fabulous.
  2. Turmeric: This golden-hued spice boosts the yellow color of soup naturally and adds a subtle flavor.
  3. Potatoes: Look for the thin-skinned new baby potatoes of any color.
  4. Corn: To substitute fresh corn, bring a large pot of water and 1 tablespoon salt to a boil over high heat. Add 12 ears of corn (you may need to work in batches) and boil for 3 to 5 minutes. Submerge ears in a large bowl of ice water. When the corn is cool enough to handle, cut it off the cob and proceed with the recipe.
  5. Half and half: Substitute 4 ½ teaspoons melted butter plus enough whole milk to equal 1 cup for the half and half.
  6. Yield: This Corn Chowder recipe makes a lot of soup: 16 cups or 4 quarts, enough for 8 generous servings of 2 cups each. For a party or buffet with other main dishes, plan on 1 cup of soup per person.
  7. Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  8. Freezer: Soups with dairy may have a grainy texture and separate when you thaw them out. So, I don’t recommend freezing this soup.

Nutrition

Serving: 2cupsCalories: 541kcalCarbohydrates: 46gProtein: 27gFat: 30gSaturated Fat: 13gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 85mgSodium: 1566mgPotassium: 953mgFiber: 5gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 436IUVitamin C: 16mgCalcium: 215mgIron: 2mg
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Executive Chef and CEO at | Website | + posts

Meggan Hill is the Executive Chef and CEO of Culinary Hill, a popular digital publication in the food space. She loves to combine her Midwestern food memories with her culinary school education to create her own delicious take on modern family fare. Millions of readers visit Culinary Hill each month for meticulously-tested recipes as well as skills and tricks for ingredient prep, cooking ahead, menu planning, and entertaining. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the iCUE Culinary Arts program at College of the Canyons.

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Comments

  1. This is such a delish soup! I’ve made it 3 times now since discovering your website last year. I do not make any changes to the recipe except to cut all quantities in half for my husband and I. We get 2 meals each with generous portions. Serving it tonight with your apple walnut salad to make a perfect first day of fall dinner. I will say that I prefer it with fresh sweet corn. I have made it with frozen and that is very good too, but for me the fresh snappy corn adds that little sumthin’ sumthin’ that puts it over the top. Thanks for a great recipe!

    1. Hi Nancy, what a lovely first day of Fall dinner! It’s always so lovely to use fresh corn when it is in season. Paired with the apple salad sounds dreamy! You’re so welcome, I’m glad you and your husband loved it. Take care! – Meggan