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Easy Corn Chowder

Easy Corn Chowder with potatoes and bacon is hearty, creamy and perfectly seasoned. This comforting classic is great for summertime, holidays or special meals. It is creamy, well-seasoned, a little bit savory and a little bit sweet. Absolutely loaded with bright, sweet corn kernels, it also has plenty of chunks of potatoes throughout. This corn chowder is seriously satisfying.

Corn chowder is perfect for summertime too, when the corn is erupting all around us, but you can also use frozen corn, so this recipe works all year long. And it just takes some simple ingredients and everything cooks in one pan. Gotta love that!

Pro move: We’re cooking the bacon in the pot first, then using the bacon grease to sauté the onion and build the chowder. Adds so much extra flavor! Plus of course, the salty, crumbled, crunchy bacon served on top of this corn chowder just takes it over the top.

Can’t get enough soups and chowders? Try superfood-packed Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup and Creamy Red Lentil Butternut Squash Soup, or fire up the Crock Pot to make Slow Cooker Creamy Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Soup.

Easy Corn Chowder

Photo of Easy Corn Chowder
  • 5 minutes
  • 35 minutes
  • 40 minutes

Ingredients

5-6 slices of bacon, chopped
1 large onion, diced
3 medium russet potatoes, peeled and dieced in 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup water
3 cups 2% milk or lactose-free milk
2 10-oz packages frozen corn (or 5-6 fresh corn)
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

FOR SERVING (OPTIONAL)

chopped chives
black pepper
hot sauce


Instructions

  1. Heat a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until well cooked on all sides (reduce the heat if yours starts to blacken). Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside on a paper towel.
  2. Add the chopped onion to the bacon grease and sauté over medium heat until tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. And the diced potatoes and water. Cover the pot and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are fork tender.
  4. Add 1 1/2 cups of the milk then carefully use an immersion blender to lightly blend the soup and break down the potatoes. They don’t need to be pureed and it’s okay to have some chunks, but you want them broken down a bit to help with the texture of the chowder. Alternatively, you could transfer the mixture to a regular blender and pulse to break them down. Or use a potato masher and roughly mash the potatoes to break them down).
  5. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of milk, the corn, sugar, butter, salt and pepper. Bring the chowder to a low simmer then reduce the heat and cook over low heat for 5-10 minutes, until warmed through.

NOTES

  • Corn: I find it really easy and convenient to use a couple of bags of frozen corn for this recipe (you don’t even have to thaw them). But you can substitute fresh corn if you’d like. You’ll need about 5-6 cups total.
  • Potatoes: Russet potatoes help give the starchiness and texture to this chowder. You could try it with another type of potato, like Yukons, but I’m not sure how it might change the chowder.
  • Milk: My preference is to use 2% milk for this recipe. I’ve tried it with skim, and it just seemed a bit more watery and less rich.
  • Lactaid: I have also tested this recipe with a 2% Lactaid milk and that worked great. So that’s a good option if you or someone you’re serving has lactose intolerance. (If you need to skip the butter for that reason, you can certainly try it, but I haven’t tested it without butter!)
  • Bacon: We’re using the bacon in two ways. The grease from cooking it is what we sauté the onion in, and then we serve the chowder with the cooked, crumbled bacon pieces. This is a must for me.
  • Vegetarian: If you want to make a vegetarian version of this corn chowder, use oil and butter to sauté the onion and skip the bacon.
  • Spicy: You can add a jalapeño to sauté along with the onion if you want to add some spice to this. You can also serve it with hot sauce (which is what I do to keep it mild for my kids).

Storing and reheating leftovers:

  • Leftover corn chowder, once cooled, can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • Reheat over medium-low heat on the stove until warmed through.
  • I don’t recommend freezing the leftovers. The potatoes and texture don’t stand up well to freezing and thawing.

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