Roasted Poblano Corn Chowder

This chowder comes alive when splashed with lime juice at the end, don't omit that step! But do wait until the end, when you are serving the chowder. You don't want to simmer a cream based soup with something acidic like lime juice, it just might curdle.

The amount of chiles you use depends on how hot they are and your tolerance to heat. Poblanos are considered a mild green chile, like Anaheims or mild Hatch green chiles. But sometimes you get a hot batch. So, make sure to taste the chiles for heat before putting them in the soup! If they are too mild for your taste, include some of the seed pod.

Although I've specified poblanos, any Mexican mild green chile will work with this soup.

  • Prep time: 30 minutes
  • Cook time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 to 8


  • 5 to 6 large poblano green chiles (to yield 1 1/2 cups roasted, peeled, and chopped), (can sub canned chopped green chiles, enough to yield 1 to 1 1/2 cups, the amount depends on how hot the chiles are)
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 2 medium onions, diced (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 2 ribs celery, diced (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (1 teaspoon)
  • 2 medium yukon gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch chunks (10 - 12 ounces)
  • 4 ears of corn (enough to yield 4 cups of corn kernels), or 4 cups of corn
  • 5 cups chicken stock (use vegetable stock for vegetarian option)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry oregano
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 limes, one sliced for garnish, one for juice (can substitute lemon juice)


1 Roast the chiles: There are lots of ways to do this (see How to Roast Green Chiles over an Open Flame), I tend to just put them either directly on the flame, or in one of those grill pans with holes in them, over the gas flame.

You can roast them on a grill or under a broiler. Just make sure they get blackened all over. Then put them in a bowl, cover the bowl and let them steam.

When they've cooled down enough to touch, use your fingers or a dampened paper towel to strip off the charred bits.

Cut them open, remove and discard the stem, seed pod and inside veins. Roughly chop the chiles and set aside.

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2 Soften the onions and celery: Melt butter in a 5 to 6 quart heavy-bottomed pot on medium high heat. Once the butter is melted, add the onions and the celery, stir to coat with the butter. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, lowering the heat to medium, until the onions and celery are softened and are beginning to brown.

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3 Prepare corn: While the onions are cooking, if using fresh corn on the cob, cut the fresh kernels of corn away from the cobs.

4 Add potatoes, stock, spices: Once the onions and celery are beginning to brown, add the garlic and cook for a minute more. Add the potatoes and the stock to the pot. Add the bay leaves, cumin, oregano, and salt. Increase heat and bring to a simmer. Lower heat to maintain a simmer and cook for 8-10 minutes until the potatoes are just cooked through.

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5 Add corn, then poblanos: Add the corn kernels to the pot and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until cooked through. Add the chopped roasted poblanos to the pot.

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6 Add cream: Remove the bay leaves. Stir in the cream. Add black pepper, more or less to taste. At this point, if you want a thicker base for your chowder, you can use an immersion blender or standup blender to purée about a third of the soup.

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To serve, sprinkle with a little fresh lime juice and serve with a slice or two of lime.

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  • Rachel

    Absolutely delicious! I have made this soup many times, it always has great flavor and is quite filling. I can never seem to find poblanos and often substitute pasilla peppers with a serrano or jalepeño for added heat. Though I have typically used frozen corn, this last time I used fresh corn and the flavor and texture were outstanding.


    • Elise Bauer

      I’m so glad you liked the chowder Rachel! BTW depending on where you are, in some markets poblanos are labeled as pasillas. You just want to use large green chiles. Even Anaheims will do.

  • Asha patel

    I made this, but also roasted the corn to intensify the corn flavor. I also used a can of rinsed white beans instead of cream, and made a stock from corn cobs (I had previously frozen to make a stock) instead of chicken stock, totally vegetarian, and absolutely delicious!

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Asha, I love your modifications! White beans are a great alternative to cream in soups, and stock made from corn cobs can wonderfully enhance the corn flavor in this soup. Thanks for sharing!

  • noa

    So good! Easily made vegan as others have stated. I like spicy so I added 1/2 tsp cayenne; served with tortilla chips. Lime juice at the end is so necessary.


  • Mark

    Delicious. Spiciness really depends on the heat of the Poblano (every batch I get seems to be different. I use twice the cream as I like it creamier and it balances the hotter chiles. I also added 2 Tbsp of flour after browning the onions and celery to help thicken.
    My son likes to top it with some shredded pepper jack but it is great just as the recipe states.


  • Kara

    I’m making this again today. It was so good the first time I made it for our vegan family visiter, exactly as the recipe is posted. This time I didn’t add limes to my grocery list. I forgot, but think it will still be very good. I’m making it with BLT’s as my meat eater thinks meat is a necessity at each meal. Thank you Elise for all you do for this site, I appreciate you sharing it with all of us!


  • Sheryl


  • Elli

    Loved this recipe so much – eating a bowl of it right now! I didn’t have cream so I used 3/4 cup whole milk and a couple extra tbsp butter at the end <3 I also used canned green chillis (one hot, one mild) in place of charring peppers to save some time. Also added a bit more cumin than the recipe calls for because I love that flavor :) Also used veggie stock in place of chicken. SO GOOD!!! Thank you!


  • Margie

    Delicious, didn’t char the peppers enough. Loved it, can this be frozen?


    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Margie! You might get some separation of the cream once you thaw it. If you want to freeze, I’d suggest scooping out the portion you want to freeze before adding cream. Then add the cream in when you thaw and reheat. Hope that helps!

  • Gina

    This dish has so much flavor! Will be on my winter menu forever.


  • Stormye

    Is it possible to make this in an instant pot?

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Stormye! We haven’t tested it in the instant pot, so I don’t have exact directions. But yes, I think it would work well in the instant pot!

  • Marian

    This chowder was killer! I made it vegan with veggie stock and coconut milk. I doubled the spices and used 1 full can of coconut milk and only 4 cups stock to make it creamier! The hubster loved it!


  • Emily

    This recipe was great! I used fresh corn and hatch chiles since they’re in season and it was fantastic. I will definitely be making this again!


  • Lisa

    Saved this one because we liked it so much last time. Making it again tomorrow night. I’m going to try evaporated milk for the cream to cut some calories.


  • donna

    Could this be frozen?

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Donna! You might get a little separation of the cream when you thaw and reheat, but I think it would be fine if you just stirred it up. It’s definitely worth a try!

  • Kristen

    This was so yummy! Instead of cream, I blended up a can of white beans until smooth and added it in for creaminess (sounds weird but it doesn’t change the taste and adds some more protein!). We served it topped with cotija cheese and sour cream.

    • Elise Bauer

      Brilliant idea Kristen, thanks for sharing!

    • Jeanette

      Love that idea especially being vegan! I’m adding soy milk as I don’t have white beans but it’s one other option.

  • Brian C

    This was good, but it lacked depth. I followed the recipe to a tea but it was a little bland.
    I added some extra cumin and some cayenne and a little more salt which helped.

    • BRI

      I Used a coconut milk instead and it was perfect, hope that helps

  • Tisha

    Absolutely delicious! You could even leave out the heavy cream and it would be delicious.


  • Kristy W.

    This soup is fabulous…’s my one of my top 2 favorite soups to make. Everyone raved over it!!!! Can’t thank you enough for posting the recipe!!!!

  • Brittany

    This was delicious!!! Tried this tonight. We added diced avocado on top, because avocado makes everything better. Not too spicy. Being from Minnesota, we can’t handle much heat. lol

    • Elise Bauer

      Love the idea of topping with avocado Brittany. And I agree, avocado makes everything better.

  • Karen

    I made this for dinner tonight. I loved it. I expected it to be thicker. I did try the Emersion blender. Wish I would have taken some out and blended it separately then added it back in. In the end I mad a slurry of flour and milk and thickened it more. It was delicious. My husband liked it also.

  • Jackie

    You can take the peppers outside and use your grill or use a torch if you don’t have a grill. I don’t like doing them in my kitchen due to the fumes they put off.

  • Alicia

    This has become a staple recipe in our house! Five stars! I like to make changes to recipes as it suits my tastes, but this one has stayed undoctored. It’s perfect as is!

    If I’m wanting something heartier, the only addition I make is to pan sear butterflied chicken breasts with salt, pepper, and lime zest in olive oil while the potatoes are cooking through, chop it up and add it last. Then, we serve it over rice. Perfect recipe!

  • Colleen

    I made this for dinner last week; it was delicious! I even substituted fat free half and half for the heavy cream. Thank you for sharing.

  • Jen

    For a meal, I think I would add pieces of boneless chicken thighs (sauteed first) and sharp cheddar cheese. Garnish with the lime and fresh cut cilantro and maybe green onion too. I love soup!

  • Gloria

    Loved poblano soup when we lived in Puebla, it also had squash blossoms.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Gloria, oh I love the idea of adding squash blossoms to this soup. That would be wonderful!

  • Preeti S

    Made this for dinner tonight along with some garlic cheese crostini to sop it all up.. Yumm! Thanks Elise.

  • Lupe

    Another great receipe to use your poblanos is what we call Mexican spaghetti, sauté roasted poblanos in butter with onions and mushrooms layer with chichuahua cheese on spaghetti and season with salt and pepper.

  • Garrett McCord

    Just made this for dinner. Absolutely fantastic!

  • Mary

    I sometimes rub olive oil, salt and pepper on chiles and just roast them in the oven. They don’t char, but they do get nicely toasted. Would that method be OK for this recipe, or am I missing something?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Mary,
      The goals in charring are to 1) get the roasted flavor into the chiles and 2) make it easy to peel off the skin.

  • Christian

    Ancho chilies might work in the winter ….

  • Debra

    This is absolutely the best corn chowder recipe I’ve come across and it’s now the ONLY one I will make! I’ve been looking for this for a long time, so thank you. And, it’s even better the next day. Just had my leftovers for lunch!

  • Christian

    Black pepper will probably work against the creaminess of the potato and the creamy chowder base in ways that any capsicum would not. Might be better to sprinkle on a bit of Hungarian paprika – hot or mild – or to use a jolt of Tabasco or other capsicum-based hot sauce.

    • Elise Bauer

      I think you’ll find there’s enough capsicum in this soup with all the poblanos. If it isn’t hot enough you can always include some of the seeds. I like the black pepper in the chowder, but if you don’t you can always leave it out.


    This was amazing! Made with 6 poblanos and a pile of corn from the market – I left some seeds, and it was the perfect blend of spicy and flavorful. I left out the bay leaves as I didn’t have them on hand – and I agree with the lime-makes-the-dish. Delicious! Thank you!

  • Judy C

    I didn’t have poblanos but had some Hatch chiles from last year that I had frozen after roasting. This was fabulous!

  • Mary H

    Delicious!!! I made this last weekend with Hatch Peppers since they are plentiful right now . Great recipe.


  • Marguerite

    With cream and potatoes, can this soup be frozen?

    • Elise Bauer

      Good question! I haven’t tried freezing it. If anyone else does, please let know.

      • Vanessa

        Hi Marguerite and Elise. Yes, it freezes very well. Just don’t defrost it in the microwave. If possible, set it out a few hours before, then heat in a pan and it warms and thickens very nicely. I had no issues with taste or texture.

  • Charlene

    I knew this would be delicious and I was right! So glad to have another way to use my wonderful poblanos. I only used 2 cans of chicken broth, so it was a bit less than 4 cups and it was plenty. Next time, I will add more potatoes and I will use a potato masher to mash up enough to thicken the base before adding the poblanos. I am roasting and freezing my extra poblanos and expect this will be a great winter soup as well using frozen corn. Thanks for another great recipe, Elise!


  • Jasmine

    You could also use roasted corn kernels (Trader Joe’s sells them in the frozen section) or grill the corn first before slicing off the kernels, to add another layer of smoky goodness to the soup!

  • Vanessa

    Thanks for this amazing recipe, Elise. I made it today, and added pieces of roasted chicken. I used canned jalapeno and red pepper corn, which cut down on the cooking time. It came out absolutely delicious and I got raves. Thank you for the inspiration! I am thinking of doing it with shrimp and perhaps fresh cilantro next time, and I’ll report back.

    • Vanessa

      To clarify, the canned corn I used had roasted jalapeno and red peppers in it. I oven-roasted the poblanos 15 minutes per side on the hottest broiler setting and steamed them in a plastic bag for about 20 minutes afterward, but kept some of the blackened skin for flavor.

  • Bethany

    Found some local poblanos at the market and so had to try this! We actually didn’t add any cream (all I had was half and half anyway so I didn’t really want to water it down). Partially blended it, added a teaspoon of smoked paprika, and called it good. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Megan

    This reminds me of a similar corn chowder I make with chipotle peppers and sweet potatoes. I love the combination of the sweet corn and spicy chilis — so good! I will have to try this one next time around. Thanks for all the great recipes — you are the authority in my house on cooking everything.

  • Rose

    I was born and raised in New Mexico and Hatch chilies are only mild if you select mild. Each crop harvested is rated for its spiciness. The hottest is known as dynamite. Love your recipes and just bought 25 lbs of hot Hatch chilies. I can’t wait to try them all out!

  • Julie

    I’m trying to eat a bit healthier. Do you think I could sub fat free/lower fat evaporated milk?

  • Michael Stone

    I used new season roasted Hatch chiles, and Salvadoran style sour cream.

  • Jane H. in MA

    OH my goodness, this looks and sounds so good! I love the idea of using an immersion blender for part of it.

    Just today I went to a farmstand where I bought a few Anaheims, poblanos, and a mildly hot pepper called Astry in order to make chile relleno casserole. I will be returning, for sure, to get more chiles for this recipe. I can’t imagine, though, using canned chiles. The flavor of a fresh roasted chile is incomparable. Thanks for the recipe!

    Yay, chile season!