This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

This creamy Corn Chowder is loaded with bacon, sweet corn, and tender potatoes. The one thing you won’t find in this recipe is heavy cream—but you’ll never miss it!

corn chowder with potatoes in a bowl

Why You’ll Love This Creamy Corn Chowder with Bacon

  • It’s a Classic, Reinvented. Corn chowder is a classic soup recipe, but the traditional version is super heavy—not exactly a spring or summery fare. This corn chowder recipe is lighter thanks to a few simple tricks that add richness without all the cream and butter.
  • Bacon! It makes everything better.
  • Sweet Corn. If you spend the first half of summer waiting for local corn to arrive at the farmers market, and then spend the rest of the summer finding ways to add corn to every single meal you eat (guilty!), you’ll appreciate this recipe. Corn is the star. (For a go-to corn side, check out Grilled Corn.)
  • Adapted From a Reader Favorite. So you know it’s gonna be good! This corn chowder is a more traditional version of my Shrimp Corn Chowder, made with bacon instead of shrimp. (For another spin on corn chowder, try my Corn Chicken Chowder.)
  • Loaded With Good. If you like your soup with some textural heft to it—as opposed to soups that are pureed velvety smooth like my Roasted Carrot Soup or Crockpot Tomato Soup—then this corn chowder is going to be your jam. It’s a soup that eats like a meal!
easy corn chowder recipe in a bowl with toppings

How to Make Corn Chowder

The Ingredients

  • Thick-Cut Bacon. You can omit this for a vegetarian version and add an extra tablespoon of butter to substitute for the reserved bacon fat.
  • Unsalted Butter. Using unsalted butter gives you better control over the sodium level and flavor of the recipe.
  • Green Onions. Added freshness. Slice the onions and separate the thicker white parts from the thin green tops.
  • Celery. Dice this into uniformly-sized pieces.
  • Garlic. Always essential in a soup!
  • Kosher Salt. If you use table salt instead, you’ll need to add a touch less because kosher salt has larger crystals.
  • Black Pepper. Freshly ground black pepper helps the flavor pop.
  • All-Purpose Flour. One of the little tricks I use to thicken the soup without heavy cream.
  • Low-Sodium Chicken Broth. You can use homemade chicken broth if you’d like, but I often rely on the canned or boxed kind for convenience.
  • Nonfat Milk. Or your milk of choice. 
  • Fresh or Frozen Corn Kernels. Fresh is best when you can get ‘em! When corn isn’t in season, swap in frozen corn.
  • Cream-Style Corn. My second trick for a rich, creamy chowder without heavy cream (and with less work)!
  • Yukon Gold Potatoes. Tender potatoes are always a welcome addition to corn chowder, making it extra satisfying.

Market Swap

Red potatoes and Russet potatoes can be swapped in for Yukon gold. For a twist on classic corn chowder, try using sweet potatoes.

  • Ground Cayenne Pepper. Add as little or as much as you like. 
  • Fresh Thyme. Thyme adds that little je ne sais quoi to this recipe.
  • Half-and-Half. Third trick! Half-and-half adds richness to the broth—it’s a moderate amount and really essential here. Don’t skip it and don’t try to swap in milk!
  • Hot Sauce. If you want your corn chowder extra spicy.

The Directions

bacon in pot for corn chowder
  1. Cook the Bacon. Reserve a tablespoon of the bacon fat.
green onions sauteed for corn chowder
  1. Sweat Onions and Celery. Do this in butter, until they are tender.
  2. Add the Seasonings. Now, it’s smelling extra good.
making corn chowder recipe with green onions in a pot
  1. Make a Roux. Start with the flour, then the broth and milk.
creamy corn chowder simmering in a pot
  1. Simmer. Add the corn, potatoes, and seasoning then boil gently until the potatoes are tender.
  2. Finishing Touches. Stir in the half and half, then add you toppings. ENJOY!
creamy corn chowder recipe in a bowl

Recipe Variations

  • Vegetarian Corn Chowder. In addition to simply skipping the bacon, as discussed above, you can serve your corn chowder with plant-based bacon. Note that you’ll still need to add an extra tablespoon of butter to the recipe, and you’ll likely also need to use some extra oil for cooking the veggie bacon. Swap the chicken broth for vegetable broth too. For a vegan version, use coconut milk.
  • Smoky Corn Poblano Chowder. Add a diced roasted poblano pepper (or two if you want it extra spicy!) to the soup when you add the corn to the pot.
  • Lobster Corn Chowder. Stir cooked lobster meat into the pot of corn chowder just before serving.
  • Corn Chowder With Sausage. Cook up your favorite chicken sausage and crumble it into the soup instead of garnishing with bacon.
  • Corn Chowder with Ham. Add your leftover diced, cubed ham. You can also add a ham bone when cooking (wait to salt the chowder, however, since ham bone is salty).

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
  • To Reheat. Transfer leftover corn chowder to an airtight container or freezer bag and store it in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
  • To Freeze. Warm gently on the stove over medium heat or reheat in the microwave.

What to Serve with Corn Chowder

corn chowder with bacon and potatoes in a bowl
  • Dutch Oven. A good Dutch oven is worth its weight in gold!
  • Immersion Blender. If you want to thicken your soup by pureeing some of it, an immersion blender makes it easy.
  • Corn Zipper. Yes, you can totally use a knife, but this little tool is designed to get maximum kernel with each swipe, without grabbing the tough cob in the process.
the best corn chowder recipe in a bowl with toppings

Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • Pick the Best Fresh Corn for the Best Corn Chowder. The husks should be bright green (not yellow or brown!) and feel damp (not dry or wet!). The tassel of silk should also be neither wet nor dry. If you’re at the farmers’ market and feel shy about peeling down a bit of the husk to peek at the kernels, you can use your hands to feel the kernels around the top; they should feel big and juicy.
  • Consider Making Corn Stock. If you have time, you can make corn stock for a stronger corn flavor. After removing the corn kernels, place the cobs in a Dutch oven with a quartered onion. Add a quart of water, bring the mixture to a boil, then simmer for an hour; strain the broth and use 14 ounces of it to make your corn chowder instead of using chicken broth.
  • Don’t Forget to Stir. You’ll need to do this occasionally to keep the potatoes from sticking to the edges and bottom of the Dutch oven. Run a wooden spoon along the bottom and sides as you stir to dislodge anything that’s sticking.
  • Make It Thicker. You can puree a portion of the soup in a blender and then stir it back in, or simply use an immersion blender to blend the soup until it reaches your desired consistency. The starch in the corn and potatoes means you don’t have to puree very much to add more thickness!

Corn Chowder with Bacon

4.86 from 7 votes
The best creamy corn chowder loaded with bacon, tender potatoes, and sweet corn. Easy and hearty, it's a perfect meal.

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 40 minutes

Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 6 slices thick-cut bacon cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 6 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 6 small green onions thinly sliced with white and green parts divided
  • 2 stalks celery diced about 1/2 cup
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 14-ounce can low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup nonfat milk or milk of choice
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels about 3 ears if using fresh or 12 ounces frozen
  • 1 can cream-style corn 15 ounces
  • 1 pound Yukon gold potatoes peeled and 1/4-inch diced (about 3 small/medium)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper plus additional to taste
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • Hot sauce optional for serving

Instructions
 

  • In a Dutch oven or similar large, deep pot, saute the bacon over medium low heat until crisp, about 6 to 8 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the bacon from the pan and transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate. Lightly pat dry and set aside for serving. Discard all but 1 tablespoon bacon fat.
  • Add the butter to the pot and let it melt. Set aside 1/4 cup of the sliced green onion tops for serving, then add the rest of the green onions to the pot. Add the celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 3 minutes.
  • Stir in the garlic, salt, and black pepper. Cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  • Sprinkle the flour over the top of the onion mixture, then cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Slowly pour in the broth, a few splashes at a time at first, stirring out any lumps. Slowly pour in in the rest of the broth and the milk, then add the corn kernels, cream-style corn, potatoes, and cayenne.
  • Stir and bring to a gentle boil. Let bubble, stirring occasionally and running a wooden spoon along the bottom of the pot to make sure nothing is sticking, until the potatoes are tender, about 10 to 13 minutes. Remove from the heat, then stir in the thyme and half-and-half.
  • If desired, to thicken the chowder further, puree it briefly with an immersion blender or transfer a few ladlefuls to a blender, puree, then stir back into the pot. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired (I usually add a pinch or two of salt).
  • Serve hot, sprinkled with reserved bacon, green onion tops, and a dash or two of hot sauce as desired.

Video

Notes

  • TO STORE: Refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
  • TO REHEAT: Transfer leftover corn chowder to an airtight container or freezer bag and store it in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
  • TO FREEZE: Warm gently on the stove over medium fheat or reheat in the microwave.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 (of 6)Calories: 383kcalCarbohydrates: 42gProtein: 13gFat: 20gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 37mgPotassium: 804mgFiber: 4gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 612IUVitamin C: 24mgCalcium: 113mgIron: 2mg

Join today and start saving your favorite recipes

Create an account to easily save your favorite recipes and access FREE meal plans.

Sign Me Up

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Difference Between Corn Chowder and Corn Soup?

Corn chowder is a thick, creamy soup made with corn and other vegetables—it’s a little more like a stew than your typical soup. Although corn soup can take many forms, it’s generally thinner than corn chowder, and it’s more likely to be pureed smooth or only have small bits of corn kernels in it.

How Do I Make My Corn Chowder Thicker?

The best way to thicken corn chowder is to puree some of the vegetables in the soup and add them back in to give it more body. You can do this with a regular blender or an immersion blender.

Why Did My Corn Chowder Curdle?

Corn chowder can curdle if the temperature is too high (which is why you don’t want chowders to come to a rolling boil) or if the heat is raised too quickly.

Related Recipes

Want more soup and stew recipes? I have so many ideas for you! Here are some of my latest:

Did you try this recipe?

I want to see!

Follow @wellplated on Instagram, snap a photo, and tag it #wellplated. I love to know what you are making!

You May Also Like

Free Email Series
Sign Up for FREE Weekly Meal Plans
Each includes a grocery list, budget, and 5 healthy dinners, helping you save time, save money, and live better!

Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

Learn more about Erin

Leave a Comment

Did you make this recipe?

Don't forget to leave a review!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




12 Comments

Leave a comment

  1. I would definitely give it a 5! It looks scrumptious. However, there’s just too many ingredients for this 85-years young lady!

  2. YUM!!! Skipped the bacon. and left the peels on the potatoes. Didn’t have any non-fat milk, so used 2%. The fresh corn stayed crispy! Will definitely make this again! (P.S. I bought a copy of your book, and gifted one to a foodie cousin. Mmmmm!)5 stars

    1. Hi Karen! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review! Thanks for your support!

  3. This was so good! I wasn’t sure about the amount of cayenne (typically, I would add more but did not) but it was seasoned perfectly for our tastes. I also didn’t peel the baby yukon gold potatoes and it was fine. I love a soup that’s sort of thick but because my husband doesn’t, I added a tiny bit more broth. Guess I was going “all autumn” here because we had some pumpkin muffins with it – was a very nice combination we thought. Thanks for sharing the recipe.5 stars

  4. Hi! I’m definitely making this. I like that you add the nutritional information. Would this be about 1 cup per serving? Thanks!5 stars

    1. Hi Karen! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review! I’m sorry, I didn’t measure the servings. It is 1/6 of the recipe. Hope this helps!

  5. Very good chowder. Will definitely make again!
    The recipe is a little wordy so I made bullet points. Intimidation erased.5 stars

  6. Have made this several times during this year & loved it. Made it today for ladies luncheon & got rave reviews. They want the recipe ! Easy to put together & great flavor. It’s a keeper for sure!5 stars