Corn Chowder


With sweet, fresh corn, still available at the local farmers market, we just couldn’t resist trying our hands at some fresh corn chowder. The recipe is adapted from one by Mitchell Davis in Kitchen Sense and is full of flavor. The original recipe calls for a strip of bacon, but you can add a little bacon fat instead, if you have some on hand, or just add a little more butter.

Corn Chowder Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6-8

For vegetarian option, omit the bacon and use 2 Tbsps of butter instead.


  • 2 ounces of bacon (1 thick strip), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cup small diced red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup small diced celery
  • 4-5 ears of sweet corn, kernels removed from the cobs (about 3 cups), cobs reserved (see steps for taking corn off the cob)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 1/2 cups milk, whole or low fat
  • 2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and large (1-inch) diced (about 3 cups)
  • 3 teaspoons of Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves


1 Place chopped bacon into a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot. Heat on medium heat until the bacon slightly browns and renders its fat, 3-4 minutes. Add the chopped onions, red bell pepper, and celery, lower the heat to medium low and cook until vegetables soften.

2 Break the corn cobs in half (after you've stripped off the corn) and add the cobs to the pot. Add the milk and the bay leaf. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a bare simmer. Cover the pot and cook for 20 minutes. Make sure the heat is as low as can be and still maintain a gentle simmer (on our stove we had to use the "warm" setting) to prevent scalding the milk on the bottom of the pan.

3 After 20 minutes, add the potatoes, salt, and thyme to the pot. Increase the heat to return the soup to a simmer, then lower the heat to maintain the simmer and cook for another 10 minutes.

4 Discard the cobs and the bay leaf. Add the corn kernels and black pepper. Again raise the heat to bring the soup to a simmer, then lower the heat and cook for another 5 minutes, until the potatoes are fork tender.

Add more salt and pepper to taste.

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Roasted Corn Chowder with Cilantro from Karina.

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Showing 4 of 45 Comments

  • Kate

    I didn’t see an answer about freezing this recipe, but I have one! (I apologize if I missed it.) The soup is delicious 6 months later (maybe better?), but the texture is slightly different — not quite as creamy, a bit broken. If a broken soup bothers you (or if you want to serve it to guests), then blend it into a bisque-type soup after defrosting — it’s wonderful.

  • Jennifer

    Thank you to Laurie for posting the dairy-free option for this recipe. Corn chowder is a fav from my childhood, but being lactose-intolerant made me discard it from my recipes. So thrilled to be adding it to the menu for next week!

  • Anne

    Made this for the first time tonight. Wanted something truely American after visiting there earlier this year. The soup was fabulous. Didn’t use new pototo but used a small baker instead and it thickened it very well. A small touch of the USA in sleepy Lincolnshire UK.

  • Sara

    Elise, you almost lost me when it said to discard the bacon. What?!? Well you haven’t steered me wrong yet so I gave it a try. I did add cheddar cheese, you took my bacon after all, and it was great. Added bonus, zack the wonder dog loved the bacon treat!

  • Amanda

    Even though this is my website of choice for recipes, I don’t believe I have ever commented. Thank you for all the wonderful recipes!
    My question is– why leave the corn cobbs in while cooking the soup? Does it thicken things, or add more flavor? Just wondering.

    Lots of flavor in the corn cobs. ~Elise

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