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.

More from Elise


Roasted Corn Chowder with Cilantro from Karina.

60 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  • Aspanne

    Caution: Go easy on the salt. 3 tsp was way too much the first time I made this, especially if you’re using salted butter or bacon. I start now with 1 tsp and gradually added a bit until it tastes right. Otherwise, great recipe!

  • Kathy K.

    This chowder is delicious. My only addition was minced garlic. Will definitely make it again. Forgot to get fresh thyme. Used dry and it worked great. Corn was so sweet, did not need to add salt. Do believe the corn cobs added great flavor. Thank you for this wonderful recipe.


  • Katie O.

    I love this recipe so much and have made it a couple different ways between the 6 or so times I’ve made it. Once I doubled the recipe and I thought that was the least yummy batch. I always make this dairy-free substituting the milk for coconut milk and using smart balance soy- + dairy-free “butter.” Recently I haven’t had fresh thyme so I’ve used italian herbs. The first few batches I doubled the “butter” and left out the bacon but the last two batches I’ve used bacon. I also now see that I used 2 strips of bacon per batch rather than the recommended 1. So I’ll vouch for doubling up the bacon. For anyone looking for a positively scrumptious soup that is dairy-free, this one is two thumps up!


  • ap duffy

    ha ha ha…4 degree day in MA so we needed a chowda…. I had no corn but made this lovely concoction with all the other veggies left in my fridge. started it with a veg broth made from the trimmings from the soups veggies (broccoli, zucs, carrots, onions, shrooms, peppers, garlic and of course lots of small fingerling potatoes). It was amazing! Thanks Elise and friends!!

  • 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.

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