This corn chowder recipe is the best recipe for highlighting fresh sweet corn: it’s savory, salty, a little sweet—and seriously creamy.

Corn chowder

When sweet corn starts to appear at farmers markets, Alex and I crave corn chowder—no matter how hot it is outside! There’s something about potato corn chowder that makes it work both in the heat of summer and on cozy fall days, too. This one if our best ever corn chowder recipe, if we must say ourselves. It’s based on a vegan corn chowder recipe from our cookbook, Pretty Simple Cooking. But for this one we wanted to try a classic corn chowder: with milk and butter! It turned out seriously creamy, with a savory, salty, and sweet flavor from simmering the corn cobs directly in the pot. (And it’s seriously satisfying paired with a side of Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits.)

Want a vegan variation? Try our Ultimate Vegan Corn Chowder!

Best corn chowder recipe

How to make corn chowder

Corn chowder is a simple concept: chop veggies, then simmer in milk and broth to perfection. This recipe takes a bit of prep time because of all the chopping. Depending on your prowess with knife skills, it can take a range of time to prepare. Even better: grab your wife, husband, girlfriend, boyfriend or kids (if they’re old enough), to help with all the prep! Here are all the vegetables you’ll have to chop:

Another way to eat corn as a soup? Try light and healthy Fresh Corn Soup!

Corn chowder | Vegetarian corn chowder

Secrets to the creamiest corn chowder (with a healthy spin)

After the vegetable chopping, the remainder of making this potato corn chowder recipe is a breeze! You’ll saute the veggies, then add milk and veggie broth and simmer. Here are a few tricks we’ve used in this recipe to make it ultra creamy and flavorful, yet still have a little bit of a healthy spin:

  • Simmer in milk and vegetable broth (not cream). Many corn chowder recipes use whole milk or cream. For our healthy-ish spin, we’ve used 2% milk and a bit of veggie broth .
  • Skip the bacon. To keep it on the healthy side, this is a vegetarian potato corn chowder with no bacon. (And if you want one without dairy, try our vegan corn chowder.)
  • Simmer with the corn cobs. To get major flavor into this corn chowder, the corn cobs are simmered in the broth. This infuses a sweet corn flavor throughout the entire soup.
  • Puree some of the soup itself. Here we wanted the creamiest soup possible but didn’t want to use cream or flour to make a roux. So we decided, why not puree some of the soup? Blending a few cups of the soup together results in a beautifully creamy soup body without adding calories.
Corn on the cob

How to cut corn off of the cob without making a mess

Alex and I love sweet corn recipes. However, every time I see a recipe that calls for cutting corn off the cob, I wince a little imagining the spray of flying yellow specks all over our kitchen. Cutting corn off of the cob can be a little messy, and this potato corn chowder calls for 6 ears of corn! Here are a few ways we like to cut corn without making a mess:

  • Bundt pan method. Place the corn cob right on top of the raised center part of a bundt pan. When you slice downward, the Bundt pan catches all the corn kernels. Genius! Here’s How to Cut Corn Off the Cob.
  • Inverted small bowl instead larger bowl. Same method as above, but if you don’t have a Bundt pan, you can use an inverted small bowl inside a larger bowl. (Here’s a video.)
  • Mandoline. If you have a mandoline, you can use it to cut corn off the cob. It slides right off without making a mess.

Another great way to cook corn? If you’re planning to make it on the cob, try our Oven Roasted Corn on the Cob. It’s the easiest way to cook it! Or try some of our Best Corn Recipes or How to Cook Corn.

Corn chowder recipe

This corn chowder recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free.

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Corn chowder recipe

Classic Corn Chowder

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x


This corn chowder recipe is the best recipe for highlighting fresh sweet corn: it’s savory, salty, a little sweet—and seriously creamy.


  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 3 ribs celery
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 medium garlic cloves
  • 2 pounds (6 medium) russet potatoes
  • 6 ears corn, enough for 3 cups corn kernels*
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cups 2% milk
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • Chopped chives, for garnish (optional)


  1. Dice the onion and celery. Peel and dice the carrots. Place the onion, celery and carrots together in a bowl.
  2. Mince the garlic. Peel and dice the potatoes. Place them in a separate bowl. Cut the corn kernels from the cob, saving the cobs to simmer in the soup.
  3. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the butter over medium high heat. Sauté the onion, carrots, and celery for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and potatoes and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the corn cobs (broken into a few pieces, if necessary to fit in the pot), vegetable broth, milk, soy sauce, smoked paprika, thyme, onion powder, garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt, and black pepper. Bring to simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Remove the cobs from the soup. Using a 2-cup glass measuring cup with spout, carefully scoop out about 4 cups of the hot soup and place it in a blender. Blend on high for about 1 minute until smooth and creamy. Return to the soup pot, then stir in the reserved corn kernels. Cook for 5 minutes until the corn is tender. Taste and the additional ¼ teaspoon salt (or more if desired). Serve warm.


*If desired, you can use 3 cups frozen corn kernels in the corn off-season.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Corn Chowder, Potato Corn Chowder

Looking for more soup recipes?

This classic corn chowder is one of our favorite soups; here are a few more we love:

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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  1. I am making this & in the directions it says to add water? Do you mean the milk? that’s what I did…it smells amazing….

  2. Making this right now and am confused. You say to add the water. Do you mean the milk?? There’s no water in the ingredient list, and I can’t find anywhere in the recipe where the milk is added.

  3. I made this on a cold snowy Sunday afternoon and it turned out amazing!! So delicious! Thanks for the recipe and the hard work you put into your site creating delicious creations!

  4. Hi,
    I really like the ingredients in this recipe, but I am a little confused about when to add the corn? Does it all go in at the end? You mentioned reserved kernels-when did the rest go into the pot, maybe I am reading this too literally! I would think it would be yummy if some of the corn was “creamed”? Thanks!

    1. Hi there! The corn cobs go into the pot in Step 3! This helps add a creamy sweetness to the broth. The reserved corn kernels go in in Step 4!