Corn Chowder

Simple corn chowder made with sweet, fresh corn, onion, carrot, celery, potatoes, red bell pepper, milk, and bacon.

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Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

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

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  • 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.

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 strip bacon, or 1 teaspoon bacon fat
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1/3 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup small diced carrot
  • 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

Method

1 Cook the bacon: Place butter and bacon into a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot. Heat on medium heat until the bacon renders its fat, 3-4 minutes.

2 Add the onions, bell pepper, carrot, celery: Add the chopped onions, red bell pepper, and celery, lower the heat to medium low and cook until vegetables soften, about 5 minutes.

3 Add corn cobs (stripped of corn), milk, bay leaf to pot, simmer: 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.

4 Add potatoes, salt, thyme: 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.

5 Discard cobs, bacon, bay leaf, then add corn, black pepper: Discard the cobs, the bacon strip, 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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Links:

Roasted Corn Chowder with Cilantro from Karina.

Showing 4 of 56 Comments

  • Elizabeth Masching

    Good flavor but I had to add way more liquid (more milk plus I added broth) because it was super salty with all 3t salt that the recipe said. I would definitely start with a lot less salt then add more to taste. Other than that it’s great! I cut up the bacon and used it to top at the end, and the grease to cook the veggies. Potatoes also took a lot longer to cook than what it said.

  • Katelynn

    This is the best corn chowder! I made it without bacon and it was still rich and flavorful. Follow the method exactly and you won’t have an issue with the milk scalding your soup pot. I’m throwing out my old recipe and using this one from now on.

  • Megan Fisher

    I didn’t use bacon and subbed 2 cups of milk for 2 cups chicken stock. I also added in 1/2 a jalapeño pepper with the red peppers. Came out delicious!!

  • Karen Paulson

    This is a great recipe and easily adaptable. The first thing that happened was that I only had cooked corn. It was fine. Not as full bodied as if I’d had fresh, but it was good. Also, the recipe says to add CHOPPED BACON and then later says to discard it. I left it in, for obvious reasons (I should have read ahead.)
    I had 1 leek in the bottom of the fridge so cut the onion to 1/4 cup and threw in the leek.
    Another great recipe, Elise!

  • Amber

    I made this with one can full-fat coconut milk plus 2 cans vegetable broth due to a milk allergy. Used ham instead of bacon because that’s what I had to use, and I probably doubled the onion, celery, and carrots. I also added in a couple cloves garlic at the same time I sautéed the onion. Came out great, although next time I will add in another potato. I like my soup just a little thicker. I added a 1/4 cup flour as well to thicken it up.

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