Corn Chowder

Savor the taste of summer sweet corn in this easy corn chowder recipe! Packed with fresh corn and potatoes, it's creamy, comforting, and delicious.

Corn chowder

It’s the perfect time of year to make corn chowder. Summer veggies like sweet corn and peppers still abound at the farmers market and grocery store, but as the sun sets earlier and the temperatures cool, a comforting bowl of soup can really hit the spot.

This corn chowder recipe is everything I’m craving right now. A meal in a bowl, it’s filled with chunky potatoes, corn kernels, red peppers, and a lightly creamy broth that’s bursting with sweet corn flavor. To balance the sweetness, I throw in savory celery and a dash of Old Bay Seasoning, smoked paprika, and cayenne for heat. And of course, I add a squeeze of lemon juice for a bright, tangy finishing touch. All in all, this corn chowder recipe is comforting, satisfying, and intensely flavorful. If you need a great way to enjoy the last of your summer corn, look no further. This is it!

Easy corn chowder recipe ingredients

Easy Corn Chowder Recipe Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make this easy corn chowder recipe:

  • Sweet corn, of course! You’ll need 6 ears of corn on the cob. Tip: Save the husks and silks to add to homemade vegetable broth!
  • Butter – For sautéing the veggies. Feel free to use vegan butter (or even olive oil) if you’d like to make this recipe dairy-free.
  • Onion, celery, garlic, and red bell pepper – They create the savory base of the soup.
  • Yukon Gold potatoes – They add delicious chunks to this corn chowder recipe, and they contribute to its creamy texture.
  • Old Bay Seasoning – It adds more savory flavor and a hint of spice.
  • Smoked paprika – For smokiness.
  • Dried thyme and a bay leaf – For aromatic depth of flavor.
  • Cayenne – For heat. Use as much or as little as you like depending on how spicy you want your corn chowder to be.
  • Raw cashews or heavy cream – They make the soup thick and creamy. Both options are fantastic! Pick whichever you prefer.
  • Fresh lemon juice – For brightness and tang.
  • And salt and pepper – To make all the flavors pop!

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

Corncobs simmering in soup pot with bay leaf

How to Make Corn Chowder

Ok, here’s my favorite thing about this corn chowder recipe: it uses the corncobs in addition to the corn kernels! 

You’ll start by slicing the kernels off the corncobs. Once you do, run the back of your knife down the sides of cobs. They’ll release a milky liquid that makes this chowder extra-creamy and corn-tastic. Set the kernels, the cobs, and the corn liquid aside for now.

Next, sauté the onion, celery, and red bell pepper in the butter, and stir in the garlic, potatoes, spices, bay leaf, and 5 cups of water. Then, add the corncobs to the pot and simmer for 20 minutes.

No broth required! Simmering the corncobs in the soup creates a quick corn stock, which really packs this recipe with sweet corn flavor.

Ladle in pot of soup with corn, red peppers, celery, and potatoes

Remove and discard the corncobs and bay leaf, and add the corn kernels and the milky corn liquid to the pot.

Simmer for another 10 minutes or so, until the potatoes are tender.

Soup and cashews in blender next to soup pot

Then, scoop out 2 cups of the soup and transfer it to a high-speed blender. Add the cashews and blend until smooth.

If you’re using heavy cream instead of the cashews, just puree the soup on its own. You’ll stir the cream straight into the soup pot in the next step.

Pouring creamy corn mixture into pot of corn chowder

Pour the creamy puree back into the pot and stir to combine. If you’re making the cashew variation, just add the lemon juice and season to taste!

If you’re making the cream variation, pour in the cream and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes to mellow its flavor. Add the lemon juice, taste and adjust the seasonings, and enjoy.

Two bowls of corn chowder

Best Corn Chowder Serving Suggestions

Before you dig in to this corn chowder recipe, top your bowl with chopped chives. They add a fresh, oniony note that really completes the soup. I also like to dollop on a little sour cream or vegan sour cream for extra tangy flavor.

Serve with crusty bread for mopping up any soup left at the bottom of your bowl.

Leftover corn chowder will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days. It also freezes well.

Corn chowder recipe

More Favorite Soups for Early Fall

If you love this corn chowder recipe, try one of these early fall soups next:

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Corn Chowder

rate this recipe:
5 from 21 votes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Serves 6
Packed with corn and potatoes, this easy corn chowder recipe is hearty, comforting, and flavorful. I offer two variations below: a dairy-free version with raw cashews or a more traditional one with heavy cream. Both yield a delicious, creamy soup that I think you'll love!

Ingredients

  • 6 ears fresh sweet corn, husks and silks removed
  • 2 tablespoons butter or vegan butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 5 cups water
  • 4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Pinches of cayenne pepper
  • cup raw cashews*
  • tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Chopped chives, for garnish
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Sour cream or vegan sour cream, optional, for serving

Instructions

  • Slice the kernels off the corn cobs, then use the back of a chef’s knife to scrape off the milky liquid that’s left on the cob. Snap the cobs in half and set aside.
  • Heat the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and red pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes, or until softened. Stir in the garlic, then add the water, potatoes, Old Bay, salt, thyme, paprika, bay leaf, cayenne, several grinds of pepper, and the corn cobs. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Remove and discard the corn cobs and bay leaf. Add the corn kernels and milky corn liquid to the pot and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
  • Transfer 2 cups of the soup to a high-speed blender and add the cashews. Blend until creamy, then stir the mixture back into the soup. Stir in the lemon juice and season to taste.
  • Garnish with chives and serve with dollops of sour cream, if desired.

Notes

*For a more traditional corn chowder, skip the cashews. After you puree 2 cups of the soup, add it back to the pot along with ½ cup heavy cream. Stir in the lemon juice and simmer gently over very low heat, stirring often, for 5 minutes, or until the chowder thickens slightly and the raw cream flavor mellows. Season to taste and serve.

33 comments

5 from 21 votes (14 ratings without comment)

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Rate this recipe (after making it)




  1. Maria C
    03.19.2024

    5 stars
    Followed the recipe exactly. Made it night before serving (big plus). Heated and it was delicious. Everyone loved it. It did take me longer to prep than noted but I find that’s often true with recipes. Well worth it and I’ll make it again. I wish I could post a photo, looks like the photo – great recipe.

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      03.21.2024

      Hi Maria, I’m so glad you loved the corn chowder!

  2. TJ Bethlehem
    11.09.2023

    What an awesome recipe,I fire roasted the corn, onions,peppers and garlic on my Weber kettle grill,used a 1/4 cup of heavy cream and added the juice of half a lime as well. Absolutely incredible!!!!

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      11.10.2023

      Hi TJ, I’m so glad you loved it!

  3. Robin R
    10.06.2023

    5 stars
    Great recipe! I actually bought fresh corn just to make it after I saw it on Instagram. Made it with half and half. I will definitely make it again. Out of season I think I’d try frozen corn but the fresh had a really great flavor and texture. It is a bit more work.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.09.2023

      Hi Robin, I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  4. Julia
    09.27.2023

    This was SO delicious! I loved using the corn cobs as well. I didn’t have any Old Bay, but made my own version. I used a coconut alternative of creme fraiche. Can’t wait to have it for lunch tomorrow!

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      09.29.2023

      Hi Julia, I’m so glad you loved the chowder!

  5. Jane
    09.26.2023

    Wow this was a project! Took some time and my kitchen was covered in corn kernels , but it was worth it! Great summer into fall meal. Can this be frozen?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      09.27.2023

      I’m glad you loved it! Yes, it freezes well.

  6. Jenny
    11.20.2022

    I’ve made this many times as I do love it, but this time it seems the recipe is different? I don’t recall bay leaves or cashews (as well as some other things) previously!

  7. Christina Gibson
    10.29.2022

    5 stars
    Wonderful! I used 4 cups frozen street corn, heavy cream and added 6 pieces chopped bacon. I love the flexibility of your recipes depending on my mood. Super flavorful and filling.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      11.01.2022

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the soup!

  8. Christina Gibson
    10.29.2022

    Just finished making this this morning. It is so delicious. I had corn chowder at a resort recently and vowed I would try to make it myself. Thanks for this post. I used about 4 cups frozen street corn. I used a little bit of chicken broth in the water, also used heavy cream and added 6 pieces of bacon chopped. I really enjoy the flexibility your recipes offer. I don’t feel the flavor was compromised by NOT using cob corn but maybe will try that next time.. Thank you.

  9. CJurado
    10.22.2022

    5 stars
    Delicious and comforting, the perfect soup to kick off that time of the year where the salads you were so recently enjoying just aren’t going to cut it!!!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.23.2022

      I’m so glad you loved the soup!

  10. Lyanne
    10.17.2022

    5 stars
    So good! Thank you. So creamy.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.21.2022

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  11. Kristen
    10.09.2022

    5 stars
    This was very tasty! My mom was craving corn chowder and I don’t cook with animal so we both won – she loved it. Very sweet if you use the sweetest corn. Thank you for the recipe.

  12. Marie
    09.24.2022

    This looks delicious! I’m wondering what you’d advise as a vegan cashew substitute for someone with nut allergies. Would coconut milk drastically affect the taste/texture of the dish? Thank you for sharing.

  13. Carrie
    09.24.2022

    Made this soup and it was awesome – everyone loved it including my 5 year old. I sub’ed 1 cup of 2% milk and shorted water by 1/2 c (didn’t have heavy cream) and it was fine. Used emersion blender to make it creamy.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      09.25.2022

      Hi Carrie, I’m so glad it was a hit with everyone!

  14. Jill
    09.15.2022

    5 stars
    I made this recipe and it was delicious. Instead of cashews I used white beans.
    Thank you for an incredible recipe!

    • JC from pintrest
      09.20.2022

      good idea – using white beans instead of cashews. thanks for the tip !

  15. Lanelle
    09.15.2022

    I’m so excited to make this!! What can I use besides the cashews or heavy cream? I’m dairy free and have nut allergy. Thanks!

  16. Nic
    09.14.2022

    Did this recipe change? I thought it had coconut milk in it?

  17. Sabrina from newkitchenlife.com
    09.13.2022

    yum, a very nice alternative chowder, love it ,and thank you

  18. Lauren
    09.13.2022

    Hi! Do you have the previous version of this recipe made with coconut milk? I went to make it today and the recipe changed! Thanks!

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Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.