This creamy corn chowder recipe is loaded with sweet corn, crispy bacon, and hearty potatoes. It's a really satisfying one pot meal that's simple to make, and everyone will ask for seconds!
Why you'll love it
This comforting and filling corn chowder recipe has it all. There's bright sweetness from the corn, savory goodness from the bacon, melt-in-your-mouth potatoes, and of course a flavorful and thick, robust broth you'd expect in any good chowder to make it totally irresistible. There's also nothing fancy here, just a few wholesome ingredients.
You can use either fresh or frozen corn to enjoy this easy corn chowder year-round. It's great as a summer soup when corn is in season, but there's no reason why you can't make it as a cozy meal when it's chilly out! I know I do. I based this one off my popular Easy Chicken and Corn Chowder, another family favorite you may enjoy.
What you'll need
- Bacon - I find it easiest to cut it up with a pair of kitchen shears
- Onion, celery, and carrots - a classic base to start off many soups and stews right. I like sweet (Vidalia) onions best.
- Flour - it's a thickening agent for the broth
- Garlic - this garlic press makes it easy to mince the cloves. You don't even need to peel them first.
- Chicken broth - it adds more depth of flavor to this chowder. Just use an entire 32 oz container to make up the 4 cups. Easy peasy.
- Heavy cream - it's what makes the broth so luxurious
- Corn - fresh is ideal, but frozen works too
- Potatoes - I prefer using Russets for chowder. They're nice and starchy and thicken it up even more.
- Italian seasoning - if you're a regular reader, you know this tasty dried herb blend is my go-to for so many recipes. It comes all in one single, convenient jar.
- Cayenne pepper - it's optional, but the slightest amount gives a gentle warmth and zip. It doesn't make it spicy.
Do I use fresh or frozen corn for chowder?
- Frozen corn is great, but if you've got fresh corn, then by all means use it! Just cut it off the cob and add it to the soup. You could even use grilled corn and then add it for extra flavor. I'd buy 4-5 cobs of corn to make what's needed for this soup.
- I don't recommend canned corn unless you're really in a pinch. I find the flavor and texture of frozen or fresh to be a lot better. Canned corn lacks that crisp quality.
- I usually like to prep the the ingredients as I go along to save time, but feel free to chop and measure everything ahead before starting the recipe if that's more comfortable for you, especially when making this chowder for the first time.
What is chowder vs soup?
- There's no true consensus as far as I know, but chowder is generally a rustic soup made thicker with flour, and they're always creamy and normally have chunks of potatoes. Chowder has seafood if it's made on either coast, but it isn't a requirement in something like a southwestern chowder or this one with corn. However you define it, I've never found one I didn't like!
How to make corn chowder
This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
Prep the bacon, and cook until crispy in a soup pot or Dutch oven. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel lined plate leaving a couple of tablespoons of the fat in the pot, and sauté the onion, celery, and carrots until softened.
Still in the garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds. Add in the flour, and stir it constantly for about a minute. Pour in the chicken broth and stir until the flour has totally dissolved. Scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pot.
Add in the cream, corn, potatoes, Italian seasoning, and cayenne along with most of the bacon. Bring to a boil, and then simmer until the potatoes are tender and it thickens up. Season with salt & pepper, and garnish with the rest of the bacon and fresh parsley if desired.
Substitutions and variations
- I don't recommend subbing the cream for milk or half-and-half because there's a good chance the soup will curdle. It happened in another of my chowder recipes and I wouldn't want that happening to you, so use your best judgment if trying that.
- You can sub the Russet potatoes for another kind if you wish, but they're ideal since the starch released helps thicken the broth even more.
- Some readers have added in shrimp near the end of the cooking time with fantastic results.
- I get asked fairly often if you can make this in a Crockpot. We haven't tested it, and you'd have to do the sautéing steps in a skillet anyway, so it's much easier as a one pot stovetop recipe!
What to serve with it
- This corn chowder is a meal in itself, so it doesn't need much else to go with it. I do like a dinner roll or a big slice of bread to dip into it. A French baguette or sourdough is my favorite.
- If you'd like to pair it with a salad, try some mixed greens with my Homemade Ranch Dressing. It's super quick and easy. I also am fond of throwing together this Super Simple Parmesan Arugula Salad.
Leftovers and storage
- Corn chowder is one of those better-the-next-day kinda soups, in my opinion. The flavors meld even more. It'll keep for 3-4 days in the fridge in an airtight container.
- Reheat in a saucepan over a low heat, stirring every so often, until it's warmed through. It's quite thick to begin with, and it thickens up more the longer you leave it. Feel free to add a little more chicken broth to leftovers if you need to thin it out a touch.
- I wouldn't recommend freezing it since the texture of the potatoes could change and dairy doesn't do so well in the freezer. If you plan on having lots of leftovers, though, you could leave out the cream, freeze, and add when warming it up.
I hope you agree that this is the best corn chowder recipe you've tried! Leave me a review if you made it or have any questions. I'd be happy to answer them in the comments below. You can also find me on Instagram.
Creamy Corn Chowder
- 4 strips bacon cut into small pieces
- 1/2 medium onion chopped small
- 3 sticks celery chopped small
- 2 medium carrots peeled & chopped small
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 4 cups chicken broth or stock
- 1 cup heavy/whipping cream
- 4 cups frozen or fresh corn
- 2 large Russet potatoes peeled & diced
- 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper optional
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Prep your bacon (I use kitchen shears to make cutting it up easy) and add it to a large pot over medium-high heat. Cook until crispy (about 10 minutes).
- Meanwhile, prep your onion, celery, and potatoes.
- Once the bacon is crispy, take it out of the pot and remove to a paper towel lined plate. Leave about 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat in the pot.
- Add the onion, celery, and carrots to the pot and sauté for 5 minutes.
- Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
- Stir in the flour and cook for about a minute, stirring nearly constantly.
- Add in the chicken broth and give it a good stir to ensure the flour has dissolved and the brown bits are scraped up from the bottom of the pot.
- Add in the cream, corn, potatoes, Italian seasoning, cayenne pepper, and most of the bacon (I save the rest for garnishing the bowls later on). Increase the heat to high and bring the soup to a boil. Once it's boiling, reduce the heat to a rapid simmer so it's gently boiling. Cover the pot so the lid is slightly ajar.
- Cook until the potatoes are tender (about 15-20 minutes). Stir every so often. The soup will thicken up more the longer you cook it.
- Season the soup with salt & pepper as needed. Garnish bowls with the rest of the bacon.
- Serves 4-6 depending on portion size.
- You may need to add more broth to leftovers as the soup thickens the longer you leave it.
- Since the cream is boiled, I would NOT recommend subbing it for milk or half-and-half because there's a good chance it'll curdle from the high heat.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information