Summer Corn Chowder
Cozy up to a big bowl of this homemade corn chowder! This Fresh Corn Chowder is loaded with summer corn at its peak of freshness. It’s made with fresh-off-the-cob corn, fresh zucchini, bacon, potatoes and a base of carrots, celery, onions, thyme and garlic. Truly this soup is too hard to resist and can be enjoyed all summer long!
Right now is the best time to find sweet corn at your local farmer’s market or produce stand. If you’re like us you’re probably eating it a few times a week in salads, off the grill or even boiled and looking for more ways to use it - this corn chowder is one of the best ways to put it to good use along with the plethora of zucchini we have this time of year too.
This zucchini and corn chowder Is full of flavour and loaded with veggies. I partnered up with Saputo featuring Neilson TruTaste Lactose Free milk to showcase a recipe that we love, using their milk. I chose their lactose free milk because it’s easier to digest for those of you who suffer from lactose intolerance and using milk really lightens up this corn chowder which is usually made with heavy cream and thickened with lots of flour or corn starch. Instead this soup has a touch of all purpose flour which can be swapped for a gf one to help build the base and then at the end 1-2 cups of the soup are puréed and place back into the soup to add a bit more thickness to it. For more ideas on how to thicken this tasty soup check recipe notes below.
Corn Chowder Ingredients
- Fresh Corn –you can use any variety of fresh corn you like
- Butter – this is used for sautéing and of course it’s a staple duo with fresh corn it really brings out the flavour of it so well.
- Bacon – old adage is true - bacon makes everything better - no really it does even this soup. It adds so much flavour. If you want it vegetarian it’s totally ok to leave it out though.
- Carrots, Celery, Onion & garlic – these aromatics add dimension to the soup and help build flavor and add extra veggies to it
- Flour – this is added to thicken up the soup. Feel free to add up to ¼ cup for a thicker soup.
- Potatoes and zucchini – I like to use Yukon gold or any waxy potato. This adds to the veggie count as does the zucchini plus it will help thicken the soup too
- Water or broth – either works I like to use veggie broth or chicken broth
- Thyme, bay leaf and chives – these add great herbiness that pairs nicely with the corn.
- Milk – this makes the chowder deliciously creamy. Feel free to sub with heavy cream for extra richness or no dairy milk according to your preference.
- Wine - I like to deglaze the pan with wine - almost always. White wine for this soup works well but please feel free to leave it out and sub in more water or broth
Can you add chicken or cheese to this corn chowder?
Definitely - you can either add cheese right into the soup towards the end or serve it with a sprinkling of it on top. Chicken is also a fabulous addition! For this, I like to use shredded chicken, from leftovers or a rotisserie chicken. Shrimp would also be great in this recipe too - like in my Creamy Corn and Shrimp Chowder. Or you can add in some chorizo for a chowder with a little kick like in my Chorizo Corn and Kale Soup. You can also add extra veggies to this soup if you like, like sweet peppers,mushrooms and even throw in some greens too.
Can I Use Frozen Corn?
I think the key to a really nice tasting corn chowder is to use the best corn on the cob you can find. It is the star of this soup after all. If your only option is frozen corn then yes it will work and it will make it easy, but when you have access to fresh corn use that for best results. You can also use canned if that is your only option too.
How to Make Corn Chowder
- Sauté the corn in butter: this is an optional step but I recommend it - it cooks the corn and even gives it a bit of colour right from the start amping up the flavour of the corn and then the flavours leftover in the pot from it really add to the overall flavour of the soup. Once it’s cooked remove from the pot and set aside. If you skip this step then add the corn in to the soup sooner when you add the zucchini.
- Saute bacon: melt remaining butter in pot and cook until browns. Then add in the onions, celery, carrots, garlic, and thyme; cook until vegetables begin to softened.
- Make roux: add in the flour and cook 1 minute. While stirring slowly pour in the wine to deglaze. Then stir in potatoes and the rest of the liquids and bay leaf. Bring mixture to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer and cook until potatoes are halfway done.
- Stir in the zucchini: season with salt and pepper, to taste, and simmer for another 8-10 minutes or until the vegetables are completely tender. Then stir in the corn.
- Puree some of the chowder: remove bay leave then transfer some of the chowder to a blender and blend until smooth.
- Add final liquid ingredients: stir the mixture back into the pot then serve garnished with chives.
This soup is warm, satisfying, savoury with a hint of sweetness, Loaded with Summer produce and so quick & easy. You can make it as creamy or brothy as you like. Blending or pureeing the soup is critical to the thick, hearty, creamy texture of this corn chowder. It’s a game changer when it comes to chowders or hearty soups! This is the perfect summer soup and once you try a bowlful you’ll want to head back for another serving and then you’ll want to continue to make it all summer long!
If you like this recipe you will love these other Corn recipes:
- 3 Tbsp. butter divided
- 4 ears of sweet fresh corn, husk + silk removed and kernels cut from cob (2¾ cup corn if using canned or frozen)
- 4 strips bacon, chopped
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 celery ribs, chopped
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon Fresh thyme, plus more according to taste
- 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
- ¼ cup white wine
- 2 medium (1 lb.) russet potatoes, peeled, diced
- 4 cups stock (chicken or veggie stock)
- 1 cup Neilson TruTaste Lactose Free milk
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 medium zucchini, ends trimmed and diced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chopped fresh chives, to garnish
- Heat 2 tablespoon of the butter in a large heavy pot over medium-high. Add corn kernels, season generously with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until corn is tender and juices have evaporated and browned on the bottom of the pot, 5-7 minutes. Reserve ½ cup corn for topping soup when serving; transfer remaining corn to a medium bowl and set aside.
- Add remaining 1 tablespoon butter to pot and add bacon. Cook until it renders its fat and begins to brown, about 5-7minutes.
- Add onion, celery, carrots, garlic, and thyme; cook until vegetables begin to soften, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.
- Sprinkle in the flour. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute
- Stir in wine to deglaze the pan scraping any brown bits from the bottom of pot then add the potatoes, stock, milk and bay leaf. Raise the heat to medium high and bring to a boil, then lower the heat back to medium and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until the potatoes are halfway cooked.
- Stir in the zucchini; season with salt and pepper, to taste, and simmer for another 8-10 minutes or until the vegetables are completely tender.
- Stir in corn. Discard the bay leaf and then transfer approx 2 cups of chowder to a food processor or blender; puree until smooth. Stir the mixture back into the pot. Cook just until heated through. Test and adjust for seasoning.
- Then serve garnished with fresh chopped chives, top with the reserved corn, and enjoy with crusty bread or crackers.
- If you find your bacon has rendered and excessive amount of fat - Use a clean paper towel to absorb some of the bacon grease, reserving about 1 Tbsp of grease in the pot.
How can you make corn chowder thicker?
This chowder is about a medium thickness, because I prefer a little bit of creamy broth in mine - but if you’d like it thicker, there are a few options.
- The recipe calls for only 1 tablespoon of flour you can increase it to ¼ cup if you want to create a thicker roux or base for the soup.
- Puree more of the soup in the blender, or alternatively, mash some with a potato masher.
- Before adding in the milk, whisk a tablespoon or so of cornstarch into the half and half, then add to the soup as directed.
- Buerre Manie method: Add equal parts softened butter and flour and knead together with your fingers or a wooden spoon until a thick paste has formed. Add to the finished soup and stir until the heat has melted the butter.