Healthy Corn Chowder

At this point in the year, I need Healthy Corn Chowder. Without it, I would curl into a ball with two dozen snowball cookies, then wake up four hours later in a cloud of powdered sugar, sticky tear marks, and shame. ‘Tis the season for Ben’s final exams.

Healthy Corn Chowder

Finals season begins to drizzle in early November, then escalates to a full-scale monsoon by Thanksgiving. On the weekends leading up to exams, I drop Ben (my law school hubby) off at the library at 9 a.m., then pick him up at 10:30 p.m. In law school, a single exam defines your semester grade, and your grades define your job prospects. Studying matters. This simple (if deranged) reality should be enough to prevent me from depleting our robust supply of chocolate, cheese, and wine in sub-45 minutes.

It is. Most days. For the other days, there is Healthy Corn Chowder.

Healthy Corn Chowder is a creamy, comforting soup that soothes my heart on cold winter days when the wind blows too harshly, the sun goes down too early, and Ben arrives home too late. Despite this blog’s title, I don’t write much about Ben’s long study hours because, while it’s fun to share the silly stories with you (Ben and my reoccurring fights about glitter; his take on my blog props), admitting that I struggle with how much we are apart this time of year is challenging. To Ben’s credit, the spare time he does have, he spends with me—there simply isn’t much spare time to, well, spare.

Ben’s long hours in the library over the past six weeks have brought a few positives. Because our time together is limited, we are more intentional. We turn off the TV during dinner and focus our attention on each other. I’ve spent more time with new friends I’ve made in Madison, taken trips to visit old friends in the Twin Cities, and used Ben’s absence as permission to treat myself to ridiculous spreads like this for breakfast.

Plus, Ben and I now have a phenomenal excuse to reward ourselves with two plates of a local Madison hotspot’s Thursday night special: perfectly pillowly gnocchi in sage brown butter. That’s right, Ben finishes his last exam of the semester today! P-A-R-T-Y. Watch out library: I’m taking back my man.

The next time you are feeling low, please make yourself a big, warm bowl of this Healthy Corn Chowder; it will patch you right back up and soothe your aching heart. Healthy Corn Chowder comes together in 20 minutes, tastes creamy and rich (a necessity for pick-me-up food), and is good for you too.

Healthy Corn Chicken Chowder. EASY recipe loaded with flavor!

The inspiration for this Healthy Corn Chowder is an old recipe belonging to a dear friend’s mom. I’ve kept my favorite parts of it (the red peppers, sweet corn, and rosemary), but added an extra kick of cayenne, chicken to make it heartier (vegetarians, feel free to omit), and Greek yogurt to make it lusciously creamy. Frozen corn in place of fresh keeps this recipe budget-friendly, accessible in non-summer months, and freaky-fast to prepare. No matter how bad a day I am having, Healthy Corn Chowder improves my attitude about life.

Keep the snowball cookies for dessert and reach for a bowl of Healthy Corn Chowder instead. Waking up in a cloud of powdered sugar isn’t nearly as alluring as it seems. Trust me.

Healthy Corn Chowder

A thick, comforting, and healthy corn chowder with shredded chicken, red bell pepper, rosemary, and a kick of cayenne. Greek yogurt makes this corn chowder taste rich, while keeping it healthy. The entire pot comes together in 20 minutes, makes fabulous leftovers, and is guaranteed to cheer you up on a chilly day.

Yield: Serves 4

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes


  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked and shredded (approximately 8 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion (about 1/2 large onion)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 32 ounces frozen corn, thawed
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock, divided.
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored and chopped (about 1 and 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt (non-fat, 2% or whole, depending upon your preference)


  1. Cook and shred chicken breast, if not already complete. (My preferred method is oven roasting: Place the chicken breast on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, rub with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, then roast in a 350 degree oven for 18-20 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.) When cool enough to handle, shred and set aside.
  2. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium. Sauté onion until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, salt, and pepper and cook 1 minute more. Add corn and cook 3 minutes, until lightly sautéed. Add 2 cups chicken stock, stir to incorporate, then transfer half of the mixture to a blender or food processor. Puree, leaving the chowder fairly chunky. Repeat with second half.
  3. Stir in the remaining 1 cup chicken stock, bell pepper, rosemary, cayenne, Greek yogurt, and chicken. Heat through. Serve warm with additional Greek yogurt, as desired.

63 Responses to “Healthy Corn Chowder”

  1. Aimee @ ShugarySweets — December 19, 2013 @ 6:20 am (#)

    Oh yeah, I could totally dig into this!!!

  2. Taylor @ FoodFaithFitness — December 19, 2013 @ 7:06 am (#)

    I would have never thought of using Greek yogurt for a soup…but I LOVE this! I am all over corn chowder and I am loving this healtified version!

  3. Angie@Angie's Recipes — December 19, 2013 @ 7:15 am (#)

    I need it too, Erin. … I seriously need a little break from all the cookies I have been baking and eating…your chowder looks wonderfully comforting and tasty.

  4. shashi @ — December 19, 2013 @ 7:57 am (#)

    Yay so glad for you that Ben will be done with Finals today!
    This chowder looks so good, Erin! So good! Love the extra boost of cayenne! You are the greek yogurt substituting Queen!

  5. jessica | Portuguese Girl Cooks — December 19, 2013 @ 8:02 am (#)

    This looks fab Erin! I definitely need a break from sugar, butter, and flour.

  6. Trisha — December 19, 2013 @ 8:18 am (#)

    This looks hearty and healthy! Enjoy some time with your man this weekend! Yay for finals being over!

    • Erin Clarke — December 19th, 2013 @ 2:31 pm

      Thanks so much Trisha! I can’t wait!!!!

  7. Dixya @ Food, Pleasure, and Health — December 19, 2013 @ 8:23 am (#)

    im so glad you will have your man back..although you might miss spreads on breakfast..corn chowder is something I need to fuel more on too.

  8. Lily @ Life, Love, and Cupcakes — December 19, 2013 @ 8:33 am (#)

    I was just saying the other day that I could go for some corn chowder! I’ve never actually made it before, but I love that you’ve lightened it up..I’ll have to try this!

    • Erin Clarke — December 19th, 2013 @ 2:55 pm

      Lily, if you’ve never made corn chowder, this recipe is a great place to start. It’s so easy, it should be criminal!

  9. Heather Disarro (@heathersdish) — December 19, 2013 @ 8:44 am (#)

    I love ALL THE CORN! Looks so delicious!

    • Erin Clarke — December 19th, 2013 @ 2:55 pm

      High fives for corn Heather!!!! This chowder is certainly not shy about it :) Thanks so much.

  10. DessertForTwo — December 19, 2013 @ 8:49 am (#)

    yay! I’m so glad Ben is done! You guys have a blast and enjoy yourselves :) :)

  11. Natalie @ Tastes Lovely — December 19, 2013 @ 9:54 am (#)

    These looks delicious Erin! I can use all the healthy recipes I can get with all the holiday treats I’ve been scarfing down. And hurray for Ben being done with finals. That is a LONG time to be studying in the library! Hope he did well on his exams : )

    • Erin Clarke — December 19th, 2013 @ 2:52 pm

      Thank you so so much Natalie! We won’t know how the grades came out for a few weeks, but at least the finals are over. And I totally agree with you on the need for healthy recipes at the moment. Since this soup is good for me, a bowl of it for dinner means I can have at least 3 extra cookies, right?

  12. Kelli @ The Corner Kitchen — December 19, 2013 @ 10:27 am (#)

    Yay for the end of finals!!! And a big heck yea for this soup!

  13. Nicole @ Young, Broke and Hungry — December 19, 2013 @ 10:54 am (#)

    I am so glad you get your hubby back and are able to cuddle up together in this cold weather! This soup is like a huge hug.

  14. Georgia | The Comfort of Cooking — December 19, 2013 @ 11:07 am (#)

    What a yummy, easy corn chowder! This looks so warm and comforting, Erin! Totally my kind of winter meal.

  15. Carling — December 19, 2013 @ 12:30 pm (#)

    Erin: Regular reader, first-time commenter here. This post struck me because I may potentially be in the unique position of seeing both perspectives here. I graduated from law school two and a half years ago, and my fiance is in the process of applying to med school (so I could potentially end up being the med student’s wife). I’m sure you miss Ben when he’s holed up in the library for days at a time, but it sounds like you’re so supportive and he’s lucky to have you! That being said, your feelings are completely natural; keep doing what you’re doing and making the most of the rare free time you two have together. Just wanted to share a little extra support for those inevitably tough days! :)

    • Erin Clarke — December 19th, 2013 @ 2:47 pm

      First of all, hi!!! I’m so glad you commented. It’s great to hear from you! Also, I can’t thank you enough for your kind, encouraging words. I’m going to go back and read this comment next time I’m feeling down :) Best wishes to your fiance as he applies to different programs. I think it’s really neat that (as a former graduate student in a very demanding program yourself) you’ll be able to understand his perspective much more clearly. I hope everything goes well for you both and wishing you a very happy holiday! Thanks again.

  16. Mom — December 19, 2013 @ 12:35 pm (#)

    Congratulations to Ben, and I’m happy for you to be together! If distance (in this case, absence) makes the heart grow fonder, then you two should be crazy in love! :)

    • Erin Clarke — December 19th, 2013 @ 2:51 pm

      YOU SAID IT! hahaha. Thanks so much! These next few weeks are going to be a welcome break (and I hope Ben is prepared for a slew of date nights ;-) )

  17. Jessica @ A Kitchen Addiction — December 19, 2013 @ 1:14 pm (#)

    Yay for final exams being over!! Have fun celebrating! :)
    This chowder sounds perfect!

  18. Ashley — December 19, 2013 @ 3:56 pm (#)

    Yay! I’m glad Ben is done today! I hope you have something fun planned! And this chowder sounds awesome – my husband is a HUGE chowder fan (well, and so am I) – we need to give this a try!

  19. Carling — December 19, 2013 @ 5:20 pm (#)

    Thanks! Hopefully I’ll be reading your blog in the future with an eye out for tips on handling a spouse who lives at the library (as opposed to just for recipes). Keep up the great work and happy holidays to y’all too!

    PS: Love that you regularly interact with your readers. :)

    • Erin Clarke — December 20th, 2013 @ 1:50 pm

      Thanks Carling!!!

  20. Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl — December 19, 2013 @ 6:13 pm (#)

    Corn chowder is one of my favorite dinner soups, so I am all over this! Looks amazing! Enjoy your holiday, be sure to relax!

  21. Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough — December 19, 2013 @ 10:01 pm (#)

    Oh man, my all-cookie diet lately could really use an infusion of this healthy chowder. Looks yummy! (PS Congrats on getting your man back from all the studying! I’ve been there and I know it’s no picnic — but it makes the time you have together afterward so much more special :))

    • Erin Clarke — December 20th, 2013 @ 1:49 pm

      Steph, you said it perfectly. We’re going to enjoy every minute of this break! Thanks so much. I hope you, the hubs, and baby girl to be have a warm happy holiday! xo

  22. Kelly — December 20, 2013 @ 6:40 am (#)

    This corn chowder sounds awesome and so comforting. Love the cayenne and greek yogurt in here too. Yay, so glad to hear Ben is done his finals, hope you guys enjoy the weekend and the holidays together :)

    • Erin Clarke — December 20th, 2013 @ 1:46 pm

      Kelly, cayenne and greek yogurt are two of my pantry staples. Thanks so much and I hope you have very happy holidays too!

  23. Mary Frances — December 20, 2013 @ 8:49 am (#)

    You are such a good wife! Thank goodness for finals, being , well, finally done! :) This chowder looks amazing and so creamy. You can get greek yogurt in everything. I’m impressed- and hungry!

    • Erin Clarke — December 20th, 2013 @ 1:45 pm

      You are too good to me Mary Frances! You haven’t seen me on the days when I make Ben clean the bathroom ;-) Have a very happy holiday with family and friends!

  24. Megan {Country Cleaver} — December 20, 2013 @ 9:38 am (#)

    Oh my gosh – we can commiserate over our mutual BENS’ and their finals. I am so glad he’s done and I hope your Ben’s finals went well, too! I was stress eating everything in the house – now I’m finally in a OMG give me all the REAL healthy food I can find, mode. Whew! This is right up my alley.
    Hang in there love! Happy Christmas!

    • Erin Clarke — December 20th, 2013 @ 1:37 pm

      Thanks so much Megan! I hope you and your Ben get to enjoy some well-earned time together soon. Have a wonderful Christmas, and we can recover from our stress eating in Jan ;-)

  25. BrunchTimeBaker — December 20, 2013 @ 2:02 pm (#)

    This is such a great recipe for the cold winter nights! I can’t wait to try this out for my hubby :)

  26. consuelohoneyandfigs — December 20, 2013 @ 5:16 pm (#)

    Yay, I’ve finished my final exams today too! Let’s celebrate it with some of this lovely chowder! (and some of those snowballs cookies too ahem). I hope that his exams went fantastic!
    You both have a wonderful Christmas! :–D

    • Erin Clarke — December 20th, 2013 @ 5:40 pm

      Snowball cookies are a MUST Consuelo. Congrats on being done with your finals too! CHEERS :-)

  27. Ashley — December 20, 2013 @ 5:30 pm (#)

    This looks absolutely delicious. I love that you’ve lightened it up by eliminating the cream!

  28. Beth @ bethcakes — December 20, 2013 @ 9:57 pm (#)

    I had some corn chowder last week and realized that I don’t have it often enough! Love this healthy recipe in the midst of all the sugar! And all the healthy changes you made. Looks delicious!

  29. Teffy — December 21, 2013 @ 1:36 pm (#)

    Loving this idea of a healthy corn chowder!!
    Especially since it’s now holidays.. officially known as the time to eat everything in my fridge!

    {Teffy’s Perks} X

    • Erin Clarke — December 23rd, 2013 @ 12:11 am

      Story of my life right now Teffy! Sincerely, Erin “I just ate six cookies and finished the last of the milk” C.

  30. laurasmess — December 23, 2013 @ 9:44 am (#)

    Yay yay yay! So glad that you and Ben get a break together! Study and work definitely get in the way of the important things in life, methinks (*sigh* if we could only make millions from blogging!). Liking the look of this chowder. Hearty healthy goodness! x

  31. Luv What You Do — December 23, 2013 @ 8:35 pm (#)

    This looks amazing!!!

  32. Sheila — January 2, 2014 @ 7:25 am (#)

    Love your blog! Hope you have both enjoyed Ben’s break. Couple of questions for you…not a rosemary fan here…would the soup suffer horribly if I left it out? Also-I need to bring soup to an event this weekend and this looks really good (minus rosemary that is:-)…need to keep it warm in a crockpot…will that work for this type of soup? I realize it might not but wanted your thoughts. Thanks!

    • Erin Clarke — January 2nd, 2014 @ 11:01 am

      Thanks so much Sheila!! You can ABSOLUTELY make this without the rosemary. Either omit it or feel free to swap in an herb you enjoy (if you like basil or oregano, either would be great.) In terms of making this in the crockpot, I’m not sure of cooking the entire soup in it (I’ve never tried so I can’t advise specific directions), but you can absolutely make it on the stove ahead of time, then transfer it to the crockpot to keep it warm or reheat it. I hope that helps! Enjoy, and if you do try it, I’d love to hear what you think.

  33. Sheila — January 2, 2014 @ 11:23 am (#)

    Thanks Erin! My plan was simply to reheat in crockpot. I f I have time, I am going to do a test run with basil…and if I don’t have time for a test run, will still be trying it just for me!

    • Erin Clarke — January 2nd, 2014 @ 3:21 pm

      You bet!! I hope it works out for you Sheila. Thanks for giving the recipe a try!

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  36. Kaylen — January 7, 2014 @ 4:45 pm (#)

    When do you add the chicken?

    • Erin Clarke — January 7th, 2014 @ 5:58 pm

      Hi Kaylen! Right at the end–stir it in along with the rosemary, final cup of chicken stock, bell pepper, cayenne, and Greek yogurt.

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  39. Katie — February 4, 2014 @ 10:55 am (#)

    I made this recipe for Super Bowl Sunday and it was a huge hit! It has been delicious as leftovers too. It was very filling and satisfying, yet felt healthy and didn’t just sit in your stomach like many chowders do. Plus, it was easy to make, and with a 9 month old crawling around, quick and easy is critical! I highly recommend this one; great job, Erin!

    • Erin Clarke — February 4th, 2014 @ 6:49 pm

      KATIE YES! I’m so so excited you guys enjoyed this chowder, and I’m honored that it made the cut for your Super Bowl spread. I think you described it perfectly :) Thanks so much for trying this recipe and sharing your review too!

  40. Cindy Clogston — February 5, 2014 @ 7:10 pm (#)

    This came out so yummy! The only thing I omitted the red bell pepper as I didn’t have one and the cayenne. Instead, I threw in some chopped pickled jalapeños. It was delicious and spicy. This recipe is definitely a keeper. I really do appreciate your healthy alternatives to some of my guilty pleasures.

    • Erin Clarke — February 5th, 2014 @ 7:39 pm

      Cindy, I’m so excited that you tried this recipe, and I think the adaptations that you made sound super tasty! Thank you for giving it a try and for taking time to leave your review here. I’m honored to be a tiny part of your kitchen :)

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  44. Meghan — January 26, 2015 @ 6:33 pm (#)

    Great recipe for a creamy chowder. The second time I made it,  I added chili powder to enhance the flavor. It really made the taste a little more complicated. Great website :) 

    • Erin | Well Plated — January 27th, 2015 @ 4:51 pm

      Meghan, I’m so happy to hear that you have been enjoying the chowder, and the chili powders sounds like a great addition. Thanks so much for your kind words about my website too! It truly means a lot.

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