Corn Chowder

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Corn Chowder

star rating (5) rate this recipe »
Published prior to 2008

This rich chowder is loaded with corn, potatoes and onions. Bacon lends a smoky flavor; leave it out if you’re a purist. Also, use more or less milk, depending on how substantial you like your chowder; using 4 cups of milk or cream will yield something that’s more soup than chowder; using less than 3 cups will tip the mixture from chowder to stew.

6 to 8 slices bacon
1 medium-to-large yellow onion (about 8 ounces), diced (about 1 1/3 to 1 1/2 cups)
2 medium boiling potatoes (about 14 to 16 ounces total), peeled and cut into 3/4-inch dice
16 ounces corn kernels (fresh or frozen preferred)
water or broth
3 cups (24 ounces) half and half, milk, or evaporated milk*
3/4 to 1 1/2 teaspoon salt (to taste)
1/4 teaspoon thyme (optional)
ground black pepper to taste

*I always use evaporated milk; it’s handy to keep on hand, and makes a wonderful, creamy chowder.

In a large, thick-bottomed saucepan, cook the bacon till it’s crisp. Remove the bacon from the fat and set it aside to cool; reserve 1/4 cup of the fat (returning it to the pan), and discard the rest.

Saute the diced onion in the reserved bacon fat, cooking till it’s beginning to soften and brown, about 5 minutes. Spread the diced potatoes atop the onion in the pan; add water or broth just to barely cover the potatoes. (When I made this chowder last week, using an 8-inch diameter saucepan, I needed 1 3/4 cups of water to cover the potatoes.) Spread the fresh or frozen corn kernels evenly atop the potatoes; the water doesn’t need to cover the corn.

Heat the mixture to a gentle boil, cover the pan partially, and cook till the potatoes are tender, 12 to 18 minutes (depending on the size of the potato chunks). At this point, the corn will be thawed/cooked, too. Stir in the cream, milk, or evaporated milk, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and the thyme (if you’re using it). Stir to blend, and taste for seasoning, adding additional salt, if necessary, and/or ground black pepper to taste. Heat the chowder to a very bare simmer, then turn the heat off, and let it rest, covered, for 10 minutes before serving. Serve hot, with crumbled bacon (or a pat of butter) atop each serving (see “Notes” below). Yield: 8 cups, about 6 servings.

If you don’t like bacon, or just prefer not to use it, sauté the onion in a mixture of butter and vegetable oil.

If you include the bacon, you have the option of serving it as a garnish, as directed; or crumbling it and stirring it into the soup just prior to its 10-minute rest period. As a garnish, the bacon will remain quite crisp; if you stir it in, it’ll soften and become part of the mélange of vegetables.

Keep in mind that the amount of salt in the chowder will change depending on whether or not you use bacon. If you do use bacon, be sure to taste the chowder with a bit of bacon while taste-testing for salt.


  • star rating 02/23/2012
  • seagypsy from KAF Community
  • According to the list of ingredients, this is a very basic recipe that really doesn't have a sensational flavor. I have been making Corn Chowder for years. Using a left-over ham bone with a goodly amount of ham still on it in a large soup pot, cover with water and cook until the ham is easily removed from the bone. Pour the broth through a strainer to ensure small bones don't remain. Pick all the meat off the bone. Return the broth and meat to the soup pot. Chop one large onion; add to the pot. Simmer on medium-low heat. Add 3 to 4 medium potatoes (I like the Yukon Gold), diced. Simmer until the potatoes are just about fork tender. Add cut kernels off 4 ears of corn, and 1 can creamed corn to the pot. Continue simmering for about 3 to 5 minutes and then add 1 can evaporated milk, 1 pint heavy cream. Take 3 tablespoons of flour, mix with 3 tablespoons butter until fully mixed into the butter. Add to the simmering soup, stirring until dissolved and thickened. If you wish this soup/chowder to be thin, add some half and half. If you wish it to be thicker, add additional flour/butter mixture. Now this is some DELICIOUS Corn Chowder!!
  • star rating 08/11/2010
  • Cupcake Princess from KAF Community
  • This was a very good recipe for corn chowder. I used 2 cups of mik and added a little cayenne to give it a kick. Thanks for the great recipe!
  • star rating 05/11/2010
  • Jerry from New York via Connecticut
  • this is similar to my family recipe. We,however ,double the amount of corn. Half the corn is ground in a foley food mill(in the past),or now in the food processor into "Smoosh",and added to the chowder. It adds richness and thickness to the chowder
  • star rating 10/19/2009
  • Kelly from Xenia, OH
  • I LOVE this soup. I always use the "heavy" ingredients: the bacon and grease, the half and half (I might have actually used cream, don't remember), plenty of salt. It was creamy, chunky and full of flavor. And there is plenty of room to play with different seasonings. My husband doesn't like soup but loved this recipe! So did my kids. Yum!
  • star rating 08/04/2009
  • HMB from California
  • Very good, basic chowder. We had fresh corn from our farm share this week, so I was looking for a good recipe. I know King Arthur recipes are reliable, so I came here and wasn't disappointed. Do use the tyme, which the recipe said is optional. This is a pretty plain soup, so the thyme really adds something.