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Thick and creamy, this hearty corn chowder soup is loaded with chunks of potato, ham, and tons of flavor! This soup is easy enough to make as a weeknight meal and, best of all, can be made with fresh, frozen, or even canned corn, making it perfect all year round!
why I love this recipe
This creamy sweet corn chowder is smooth, thick, and loaded with chunks of potato, corn kernels, ham, and bacon!
- Filling: This hearty chowder is perfect for serving as a main dish but can also be served as a side with a sandwich or salad if needed.
- Comforting: The warmth of the dish and the hearty bites of potato, corn, bacon, and ham put this recipe high on the list of comfort foods.
- Easy to make: This easy soup can come together on the stovetop in about 30 minutes, making it a perfect weeknight dinner meal idea.
- Corn: Make this soup with fresh corn cobs, frozen, or canned sweet corn. We’ve included instructions for each in the recipe card below. If using fresh, here’s how to cut corn off the cob.
- Potatoes: yellow or gold potatoes are a great option. They are less starchy and hold their shape well when boiled. Plus, they blend up nicely and are smooth and creamy.
- Flour: Use this to thicken the chowder. You can omit if needed and use a slurry of cornstarch or arrowroot powder at the end of cooking if necessary to make this dairy-free. Add the slurry to the soup and let it simmer to thicken before adding the half and half. This will prevent the dairy from separating in high heat.
How to Make Corn Chowder
- Cook bacon to desired crispness and remove from the pot. Drain excess grease while keeping two tablespoons to cook onion and garlic. Stir in the flour and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
- Pour in the spices, chicken broth, and potatoes, and stir together. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until potatoes are slightly softened (larger chunks require longer cooking).
- Add in the corn and cook an additional 10 minutes until the corn is heated and the potatoes are fork-tender.
- Blend a portion of the soup to get the desired thickness.
- Add the ham and bacon back into the soup, let the meat warm up in the chowder, then remove from heat and pour in half and half to make the soup nice and creamy.
- Cheese: Add a handful or two of your favorite cheese, a sharp cheddar, or pepper jack for a kick of spice. Add it as the last step and stir to allow it to melt completely into the soup.
- Fresh herbs: Garnish with fresh herbs for color and a burst of flavor. Fresh chives, parsley, or cilantro would complement this corn chowder nicely.
- Spice it up: Add some diced green chiles or jalapeño for a bit of spice that would take this corn chowder to the southwestern Tex-Mex side.
- Storage: store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
- Freezer: allow to cool to room temperature, then pour into a freezer safe container. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Remove to the refrigerator to thaw overnight.
- Reheating: pour into a pot and heat over medium heat on the stovetop for 10-15 minutes until warmed through.
While this corn and potato chowder is hearty enough on it’s own, here’s some ideas to serve as a side.
- 4 strips bacon
- 1/2 cup onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tbsp all purpose flour
- 32 ounces corn frozen or canned (approx 9 ears of corn)
- 1 lb gold potatoes diced 1/2 inch cubes
- 2 tsp salt
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- ¼ tsp paprika
- 4 cups chicken broth unsalted
- 1 cup half and half (or milk of preference)
- 1 lb ham diced into 1/2 inch cubes
- In a large dutch oven or pot, cook the bacon until desired crispness, remove the bacon from the pot and set aside, keep 2 tbsp of grease, drain any excess.
- Add the diced onion and cook until softened and translucent. Add the garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds.
- Stir in the flour, allow this to cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Stir in the salt, pepper, and paprika. Pour in the chicken broth. Stir to combine.
- Add in the diced potatoes. Bring to a low simmer. Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes over medium heat.
- Remove the lid, add in the corn and continue to cook for an additional 10 minutes until the corn is heated through and the potatoes are fork tender.
- Turn off the heat and using an immersion blender blend up the soup to desired consistency. Be sure to leave some chunks of potato and corn in the soup. The more you blend the thicker the soup will be. IF you don't have an immersion blender, remove a portion of the soup carefully and blend in a blender or food processor. Then return to the pot.
- Optional: sear the ham in a skillet over medium high heat for 5 minutes, turning to ensure all sides are seared.
- Add the ham to the pot and the cooked diced bacon, setting some aside for garnishing. Stir to combine. If you skipped searing the ham, you will need to turn the heat back on under the soup pot to give the ham time to warm in the soup before moving on.
- With the heat still off the pot, stir in the half and half.
- Serve soup warm with a garnish of fresh chives or parsley, fresh ground pepper, and cooked bacon.
- Fresh corn: Simply cut the corn off the cobs and use it fresh. No need to precook the corn before adding to the soup.
- Frozen corn: Set the corn out to defrost when you start making the soup. It will be plenty of time. Add the corn to the soup according to the recipe and it will cook through and be warmed perfectly.
- Canned corn: Open and drain the corn before adding to the soup. If you want to make the corn a bit thicker and sweeter, you can add a can of creamed corn as well!
- Instant Pot: Sauté the bacon using the sauté setting on your instant pot, remove the bacon, continue sautéing the onion and garlic. Add in the chicken broth, seasonings, potatoes and corn. Cook on High Pressure for 15 minutes and do a quick release. Blend a portion of the soup. Whisk together flour and a small amount of the hot liquid of the soup, then add this to the chowder and stir to combine. Sauté for a few minutes if needed to thicken soup. Then add in the meats.
- Slow Cooker: To make this soup in the slow cooker: add all ingredients to a slow cooker, MINUS the bacon, ham, flour and half and half. Cook on low for 6 hours. Blend the soup. If you still want thickness to the soup mix together equal parts flour and water (1 tablespoon each) and whisk into the soup. Cook on low an additional 30 minutes. Stir in the ham, bacon and half and half.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Recipe first published December 18, 2018. Updated September 16, 2022 with new images and information. Recipe has been slightly modified with the addition of bacon.
Photography by the talented @KJandCompany.co