Corn chowder is the ultimate summer soup! It's light and creamy, and loaded with corn, red potatoes, bacon and fresh thyme. A great way to use up all that summer corn! Includes directions for making in an Instant Pot as well as on your stove top. Try my carrot ginger or butternut squash soups next.
Corn is my favorite vegetable. Period. I can eat it with every meal, in any form, forever. If someone handed me a menu of my day's meals and it looked like this, I'd be in heaven:
- Breakfast: Corn bread with eggs and bacon
- Lunch: Mexican street corn with tacos
- Snack: Popcorn
- Appetizer: Corn chowder
- Dinner: A big salad filled with fresh veggies and chicken, a side of corn on the cob
- Dessert: Sweet corn ice cream (YES IT'S A THING)
Sure, it might be because I'm originally from Illinois and it's in basically our blood. The Children of the Corn jokes practically write themselves.
So if you're like me and you buy an unreasonable amount of corn every time you go to the store at the beginning of the season because oh my god I love corn I'm so excited, or near the end of harvest season in your area because oh my god what if this is the last pick of the season… then this corn chowder is the perfect way to use up some of those sweet yellow logs.
Yes, I called them sweet yellow logs, don't at me.
Ingredients for corn chowder
Let's start with the meat and veggies. There are the ones I like to use in my corn chowder, but you can also tweak the amounts to your liking. For example, if you're vegetarian you can just leave out the bacon and use vegetable stock.
- Yellow onion
- Vegetable or chicken stock
- Red potatoes
I don't use celery in mine, but I know a lot of people enjoy that, so feel free to add it if you'd like!
Now let's talk spices.
- Thyme – I love to use a lot of fresh thyme because I really love the flavor is lends to the soup to complement the corn.
- Ground white pepper – I personally like to use white pepper in lieu of ground pepper just so I can get the flavor without the black flecks. Totally a matter of personal preference.
- Cayenne pepper – Gives it a little bit of heat and flavor.
- Turmeric – I primarily add this to enhance the yellow color of the soup!
Making corn chowder in the Instant Pot
The beauty of making this corn chowder in an Instant Pot is that you can do it all in the Instant Pot. You don't need to saute anything in a different pan, there's no heating anything up on the stove – it's all in the IP.
The only things you'll do outside the Instant Pot itself is move the bacon to a paper towel lined plate, and mix cream and flour together in a measuring cup before adding it to the pot. I get the feeling you can handle it.
Use the IP to keep leftovers warm
Another great thing about making this in an IP is that once you've doled out everyone's servings, you can just plop the lid back on and hit the “Keep Warm” button – it will stay at the perfect temperature until people are ready for seconds.
One of the cats is always trolling the counters as soon as we sit down for dinner, so we always have to make sure we've got everything completely cleaned and put away before we can even enjoy our dinner – so being able to just hit a button and worry about it when we're done is simply magical for us.
However, if you'd prefer to transfer it to a pretty soup tureen and have it on your table for people to help themselves without having to make another trip, you certainly can.
You'll just want to give it a quick stir before ladling it out as it may develop a slight film on top as it cools.
One of my favorite things about this corn chowder is that it's so loaded with veggies, but isn't heavy. Every bite is filled with tender potatoes, sweet corn, and mouth watering flavor, but you don't feel like you need a nap when you're done.
That makes it the perfect light dinner for a summer evening when you don't want to slave over the stove, but don't want to sacrifice quality for that emergency pizza in the freezer.
I know you know what I'm talking about. That frozen pizza that you keep for the day you run out of food in the house and you've already had a few questionable meals with what you have lying around.
Can I use frozen corn?
Speaking of frozen things, you can absolutely use frozen corn if you don't have fresh corn around. You could make this in the dead of winter if you wanted to, and it will still be delicious.
The only thing I'd really recommend not swapping out is fresh thyme for bottled dried thyme – it's just not the same flavor, and I want you to get the full flavored experience.
How to store corn chowder
Store the leftovers of this goodness in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week, and reheat it in small batches throughout the week for:
- the soup half of a soup and sandwich combo
- quick and easy dinners (serve it with some focaccia bread on the side for a little extra sustenance)
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Easy Instant Pot Corn Chowder
- 3 slices bacon, diced
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 32 ounces vegetable or chicken stock
- 20 ounces corn kernels, fresh or frozen
- 4 medium red potatoes, cleaned and chopped
- 2 teaspoon dried thyme
- ⅛ teaspoon ground white pepper
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- Pinch ground turmeric
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour or corn starch
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped, for garnish
Instant Pot instructions:
- Turn on your Instant Pot and and press the “Sauté” button.
- Once warmed up, add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally until browned and crispy. Carefully remove from pot and transfer to a paper towel lined plate – but leave the bacon grease in the pot!3 slices bacon
- Add onion and garlic and stir frequently for 3-4 minutes, or until onions have softened and garlic is fragrant (but not burned).1 yellow onion3 cloves garlic
- Add the bacon back into the pot along with the stock, corn, potatoes, thyme, white pepper, cayenne and turmeric. Stir to combine, make sure the valve is sealed, and then change the setting to “Pressure Cook” and set the timer for 10 minutes.32 ounces (907 ⅕ g) vegetable or chicken stock20 ounces (567 g) corn kernels4 medium red potatoes2 teaspoon dried thyme1/8 teaspoon (⅛ teaspoon) ground white pepperPinch of cayenne pepperPinch ground turmeric
- When it's done cooking, use an oven mitt or towel to carefully move the valve to the “Vent” setting and let it release all the pressure that’s built up. It will be a loud whistling sound, and may take a few minutes before it stops.
- While it's venting, combine heavy cream and flour in a measuring cup or small bowl and whisk to combine.Note: You want to add the flour (or corn starch) in the cold cream before adding to the pot because if you add it to the hot soup, it will just clump.1 cup (238 g) heavy cream2 tablespoons all-purpose flour or corn starch
- Change the setting back to “Sauté” and bring to a boil. Pour the heavy cream mixture in the pot and stir to combine. Let cook for 5 minutes to thicken a little, stirring occasionally. Salt and pepper to taste.Kosher salt and ground black pepper
- Serve immediately, and garnish with fresh chives. Enjoy!2 tablespoons fresh chives
Stove Top instructions:
- In a large pot over medium heat, cook bacon until browned and crispy. Carefully remove and transfer to a paper towel lined plate – but leave the bacon grease in the pan!
- Add onion and garlic and stir frequently for 3-4 minutes, or until onions have softened and garlic is fragrant (but not burned).
- Add the bacon back into the pot along with the stock, corn, potatoes, thyme, white pepper, cayenne and turmeric and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
- In a measuring cup or small bowl, combine heavy cream and flour and whisk to combine.Note: You want to add the flour (or corn starch) in the cold cream before adding to the pot because if you add it to the hot soup, it may just clump.
- Pour the heavy cream mixture in the pot and stir to combine. Let cook for 5-10 minutes to thicken a little, stirring occasionally. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve immediately, and garnish with fresh chives. Enjoy!
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