Best New England Corn Chowder Recipe

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5 from 6 votes

Soup season is here! My favorite soup to start the season is corn chowder. It’s comforting and hearty, yet packed with veggies and sweet corn that keep the taste of summer alive a little longer. Better yet, this chowder is easy to make!

CHOWDAH, as they say here in New England, is a creamy soup, sometimes loaded with seafood and sometimes loaded with veggies. This corn chowder is packed with…you guessed it…CORN! It’s the perfect soup to make this time of year because fresh corn is still available.

This corn chowder recipe includes smoky bacon (because bacon and corn are like PB&J) and diced potatoes in a creamy but not-to-thick base. Whether you’re from New England or not, this corn chowder is just the thing the doctor ordered for this time of year!

Making a big pot takes an hour and you’ll be able to enjoy it all week long! Add shredded Juicy Baked Chicken Breast to your chowder for extra protein.

Ingredients for the Best Corn Chowder

  • Corn – we’re making corn chowder, people! I always recommend fresh corn, but frozen corn works too.
  • Chicken broth – I use low sodium chicken broth.
  • Applewood smoked bacon – Applewood bacon has that sweet, smoky flavor. But you can use any type of bacon that you’d like.
  • Heavy cream – cream, mixed with the broth, creates the perfect creamy but not-too-creamy base.
  • Butter – all the best chowders I’ve had use butter to add richness and flavor to your chowder. It’s really true that butter makes everything better!
  • Celery – celery in chowder…there’s just something about it.
  • Red bell peppers – peppers add a complimentary sweetness and pop of color.
  • Russet potatoes – I love potatoes in chowder. Cut your potatoes into small cubes so that they don’t overwhelm all of the other ingredients.
  • Yellow onion – yellow onion adds subtle astringency.
  • Garlic – garlic because garlic!
  • Dried thyme – you can use fresh thyme, but I actually like the flavor of dried thyme a bit better in this soup! It’s earthy and minty.
  • Bay leaf – a bay leaf in pretty much any pot of soup makes everything taste better. There’s just something about it!
Ingredients for corn chowder

Variations

Looking for a suitable substitution? Here are some variations on this corn chowder recipe!

  1. Add shredded Baked Chicken Breast.
  2. Remove bacon or use turkey bacon.
  3. Use nondairy milk (like coconut milk/cream) if needed.
  4. Use olive oil instead of butter.
  5. Remove potatoes.
  6. Add a dash of cayenne if you like heat.
  7. Use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.
  8. Use oregano, herbes de Provence or Italian seasoning instead of thyme.

How to Make Corn Chowder

Full instructions in the recipe card; this is just an outline!

  1. Render bacon.

    Add diced bacon to a large pot over medium heat. Sauté until crispy. Set bacon aside, and drain the fat out of the pot, leaving the drippings.

  2. Sauté onions & garlic.

    Add butter to the pot, along with the onion and garlic. Sauté for 2-3 minutes.

  3. Add broth & potatoes.

    Add broth, potatoes, thyme, and bay leaf. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

  4. Add everything else.

    Add the bacon, corn, celery, peppers, cream, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir. Cover and simmer for 20 more minutes.

  5. Serve.

    Remove the bay leaf, and serve with some snipped chives.
    Serve hot, with some snipped chives.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is chowder?

Chowder is a cream or milk based soup with either seafood or veggies or both! It often includes bacon or salt pork and potatoes. This corn chowder uses cream, corn, other veggies, potatoes and bacon!

Can I use frozen corn for corn chowder?

Yes absolutely! Fresh is always better but frozen corn works too.

What do I serve with corn chowder?

Serve with oyster crackers (the classic), Drop Biscuits, Garlic Bread, or Buttery Parker House Rolls.

How do I store corn chowder?

Store in an airtight container, in the fridge, for 4 days.

How do I reheat corn chowder?

Reheat chowder gently on the stove, or in increments of 45 seconds in the microwave.  Good news…this corn chowder is even better the next day!

Can I freeze chowder?

I don’t recommend freezing cream-based soups, including this chowder.

What are some fun garnishes for my chowder?

Fresh chives, scallions, black pepper, shredded cheese like cheddar or Monterey jack, or a pad of butter.

How can I thicken the chowder?

Add in an extra 1/3 cup of cream. If you like it really, really creamy, use less chicken broth.

How creamy is this chowder?

This corn chowder is creamy, but not thick and heavy. Leftovers are always a little creamier because the potatoes start to release their starches into the soup when reheated.
This corn chowder is creamy but not too creamy.

More Soup Recipes You’ll Love!

Best New England Corn Chowder

My favorite soup to start soup season is corn chowder. It’s comforting and hearty, yet packed with veggies and sweet corn that keep the taste of summer alive a little longer. Better yet, this chowder is easy to make!
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Course: Lunch, Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: American, New England
Keyword: fall, summer, winter
Servings: 6 medium bowls
Calories: 765kcal
Author: TastefullyGrace

Ingredients

  • 4 cups corn about 5-6 ears
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 pound Applewood smoked bacon diced
  • 1 ⅓ cups heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 9 celery stalks with leaves finely chopped
  • 2 red bell peppers finely chopped
  • 3 medium russet potatoes peeled and diced in ⅓ inch cubes
  • 1 large yellow onion finely chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Fresh chives to garnish

Instructions

  • Add diced bacon to a large pot over medium heat. Sauté until crispy. Line a bowl with a paper towel. Use a slotted spoon to scoop bacon out of the pot into the lined bowl. Set bacon aside, and drain the fat out of the pot, leaving the drippings.
  • Add butter to the pot, along with the onion and garlic. Sauté over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add broth, potatoes, thyme, and bay leaf. Stir. Cover and let simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Add the bacon, corn, celery, peppers, cream and salt and pepper to taste. Stir. Cover and let simmer for 20 more minutes (or more if you prefer softer veggies).
  • Remove the bay leaf, and serve with snipped chives and more black pepper (and crusty bread, of course!).

Video

YouTube video

Notes

  • You can use frozen corn if corn isn’t in-season!
  • This chowder is creamy but not extra creamy. If you prefer an extra creamy chowder, add in an extra 1/3 cup of heavy cream. If you prefer a loose chowder, use 1 cup of cream (instead of 1 1/3 cups).
  • This chowder is even better the next day! Leftovers keep well for 4 days. Reheat gently on the stove or in the microwave. I don’t recommend freezing.

Nutrition

Serving: 1medium bowl | Calories: 765kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 59g | Saturated Fat: 28g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 21g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 130mg | Sodium: 859mg | Potassium: 1057mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 2366IU | Vitamin C: 61mg | Calcium: 79mg | Iron: 2mg
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