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Corn Chowder and Summer Flavors

Corn Chowder

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Corn chowder is a hearty soup. It’s a perfect match for the late summer corn harvest—a whiff of autumn in the air and sometimes a hint of chill.

Chowder is an American term with French origins—chaudière is a sort of iron cooking pot.

As for corn, the shorter the time from garden to table, the better the corn eating.

The corn harvest and the summer tomato and sweet pepper harvest are synonymous so tomatoes and bell peppers are natural garnishes for a corn chowder supper. Or you can simply make a plain corn chowder lunch.

To cut kernels from fresh picked corn: hold the husked ear upright with the stem end down in a deep, wide bowl. With a sharp paring knife, cut down the length of the cob in a strip, cutting just deep enough to slice kernels away from the cob. Rotate the ear to shear off all the kernels.

Corn Chowder

Yield 6 servings


  • 2 slices bacon, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, chopped or 3 scallions white bulb and 3 inches of green cut into ¼ inch slices
  • 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 pound baking potatoes such as Yukon Gold (3 medium potatoes), peeled and cut into ¼-inch dice
  • 6 cups chicken stock or canned broth
  • 3 cups fresh corn kernels (about 4 ears)
  • 1 cup half-and-half or ¼ to ⅓ cup heavy whipping cream
  • Meaty option: 4 cups shredded cooked chicken (from 2½ pound roasted hen)
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Add-ons for summer flavor

  • 2 ripe medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cut into ¼-inch dice
  • 1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and chopped
  • 1 cup loosely packed cilantro, chopped
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges


  1. Wilt bacon in a large, heavy pot over medium heat until fat renders and meat starts to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the butter and allow it to melt
  2. Add onion or scallions, reduce heat to low and cook until soft about 8 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with flour and cook, stirring, another 3 to 5 minutes or so until the flour begins to smell cooked –a whiff of baked pie crust–but hasn’t started to brown.
  3. Add chicken stock and potatoes. Cook over medium-low heat, simmering until the potatoes are just tender, about 12 minutes.
  4. Add the half-and-half, corn, pepper, salt and cook 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. (If you are adding roasted chicken to the soup, do so now so that it can heat through.)
  5. Serve immediately in soup bowls.
  6. For fresh summer flavor, garnish with your choice of bell peppers, tomatoes, green onions, avocado, cilantro, and a squirt or two of lime juice and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Corn articles at Harvest to Table:

How to Plant and Grow Sweet Corn

Sweet Corn Seed Starting Tips

How to Harvest and Store Sweet Corn

Seven Ways to Cook and Serve Sweet Corn

Fresh Corn Salad Recipe

How to Make Sweet Corn Soup

Corn Chowder and Summer Flavors

Grilled Corn with Seasoned Butter

Corn, Herb, and Tomato Relish

Baby Corn Cooking and Serving Tips

Sauteed Corn

Corn, Beans, Squash: The Three Sisters

Corn Growing Problems Troubleshooting

Corn Earworm Organic Pest Control

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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