Corn Chowder

Soup and Stew1-PotGluten-FreeChowder

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

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

  • 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.


  • 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


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, carrot, 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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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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72 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  • Amelia

    WOW! Simply delicious. After reading through various other “quick” corn chowder recipes, I went with this recipe; I am glad I did! The flavor is worth the extra time. I was hesitant to put in the corn cobs. Despite my reservations, I put them in anyway. I am certain that without them the taste wouldn’t have been the same at all. DON’T SKIP THAT STEP! I made 3 minor variations to the recipe: No bacon, doubled the butter, and replaced a 1/2 cup of milk for a 1/2 cup of whipping cream. This will my new go-to chowder recipe. Thanks!


  • Janice

    Delicious on this rainy day in October. This is a very easy recipe to follow and great blend of flavors.


  • Brent

    It’s a hit! And OMG that corn kernel removal tip – Genius!

    I did make some slight variations, due to vegetarians and lactose intolerance in the house.

    As suggested at the beginning, I substituted additional butter for the bacon fat, and then I used soy milk instead of cow milk. The soy milk gave it a little bit of sweetness (the corn probably contributed as well) that made for a really good counterpoint against the ground pepper.

    The other slight variation was the Thyme. I just did about 1/2tsp of dried, instead of the listed amount, and it all just worked. Such a good recipe, I’m definitely keeping this one!


  • Lauren

    Awesome! If you let it sit for 15 minutes after it’s done, it thickens up beautifully!

    The amount of salt really depends on how fresh and sweet your corn is. I found a little over 3 tsp to be about right. I also swapped the bacon fat for a bit of browned butter, though, so that probably dropped my salt content.


  • Jestehr

    Really great recipe. Had corn chowder in the cafeteria at work one day and was inspired to try to make it myself. Fresh ground pepper is a must! I doubled the recipe because we love leftovers, used 2% lactose free milk, and as a last step – blended a few cups in the food processor to make it thicker and creamier. Can’t stop eating it!


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