Chicken Corn Chowder
on Aug 05, 2022, Updated Feb 02, 2024
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This hearty summer soup is thick, fresh, and chunky and deserves main course status.
This is a wonderfully robust bowl of chowder, chunky with chicken and corn, with a nice little twist from the cumin and smoky bacon. I love the little technique of pureeing some of the corn chowder base to create a thick creaminess and leaving some of the corn chowder as is, which provides that great corn kernel texture. This chowder is thick but naturally gluten-free, thanks to the pureed corn.
You might be surprised to see how quickly this chowder recipe comes together. Think of it the instant corn comes into season. It can be made with frozen corn as well, but with fresh, it’s something else altogether! Also check out this recipe for salmon corn chowder, another beautiful main dish summer chowder.
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At the risk of sounding like a princess, it doesn’t feel like summer without at least one lobster (or lobster roll — preferably both), a few perfect tomatoes (hopefully in a Caprese salad!), and a bowl of corn chowder. And, of course, a few s’mores!
(Yes, yes, of course, swimming and picnic-ing and grilling and all of that. I do occasionally do things besides cook and eat. Although I’m sure, it’s quite clear that the leading thoughts on my end do circle around food. I tend to greet my kids whenever they return from a big event of some sort with “How was the food?” before I get around to other questions like, “So, who did you see at the Met Gala?”)
Chicken, Bacon and Corn Chowder: This hearty summer soup is thick, fresh and chunky and deserves main course status.Tweet This
Chicken, Bacon, and Corn Chowder Ingredients
Chicken corn chowder is made of a short list of readily available ingredients.
- Olive oil – The vegetables get sautéed in oil to make a flavorful base.
- Carrots – Add sweetness and color, becoming nice and soft in the soup.
- Red pepper – Or sub in another color if that’s what you have. I prefer red, yellow, or orange for their sweeter flavor.
- Shallots – You can sub in onions if that’s what you have.
- Ground cumin – Adds warmth.
- Cayenne pepper – A little bit of spice is welcome in this rich, creamy soup.
- Corn – Part of the corn gets blended up to thicken the soup, and the rest gets stirred in whole for little bites of corn.
- Heavy cream – Makes this soup super rich and luxurious.
- Chicken broth – A good chicken broth gives this soup such depth of flavor. Use less sodium if you’re using purchased broth or stock so you can keep an eye on the sodium content of the soup (the bacon also adds salt).
- Shredded cooked chicken – If you have leftover simply cooked chicken in the fridge, this is a perfect use for it. A rotisserie chicken is also perfect. If not, make a batch of slow cooker shredded chicken.
- Fresh thyme leaves – Adds an herby freshness to this soup.
- Cooked bacon – Make sure it’s crispy! And have you figured out how to Bake Your Bacon yet? Game changer.
- Scallions or fresh herbs to garnish – Optional, but add a perfect finishing touch!
How to Top Corn Chowder
Like many soups, this chicken and corn chowder offers up some good alternatives for topping each bowl as the person wishes. Crispy bits of bacon, sliced scallions, cilantro, parsley…all of the above, none of the above, some of the above, your choice. Put out little bowls of everything and let each diner make their own decisions.
How to Make Chicken and Corn Chowder
- Sauté the vegetables: Cook the carrots, pepper, celery, and shallots in a little bit of olive oil with some salt and pepper. Sauté them until they are starting to get soft.
- Purée the corn: Blend 1 1/2 cups of corn in a food processor with the cream until smooth and thick.
- Simmer: Add the broth to the vegetables in the pot. Stir in the corn kernels, puréed corn, shredded chicken, and thyme. Bring the mixture to a simmer for a few minutes to cook the corn.
- Serve: Ladle your soup into bowls and garnish with bacon and herbs.
Some people thicken their chowder with flour or cornstarch, but it doesn’t need starch to become nice and thick. I like to blend up corn kernels and stir the purée into the soup. It gives it a naturally thick texture, which has much more flavor than adding flour or cornstarch.
Chicken chowder is a soup with vegetables like onion, celery, and red pepper, as well as broth mixed with rich, heavy cream. Chicken chowders like this one contain a lot of sweet summer corn. And, of course, there is the chicken!
The most likely reason is just the need for a bit more salt and pepper. Fresh herbs also help boost the flavor of chowder. I also love adding a bit of heat in the form of cayenne pepper or hot sauce. Here, cumin adds earthiness, and bacon adds a smokey note.
Most people agree that a chowder needs to have potatoes, some kind of onions, bacon, or other salty pork (unless you are making a vegetarian chowder). There is often some protein added, most often fish or seafood, but in this case, chicken is the star. This is a corn chowder, and doesn’t have potatoes, but it’s still thick and chunky..
You don’t need to add flour or any other thickener to this soup, thanks to the technique of pureeing some of the corn, which thickens the chowder. Many people who are gluten-free or celiac don’t get to eat chowder all that often, as they often have a thickener containing gluten. So they will be excited if you make this for them!
What to Serve With Chicken, Bacon, and Corn Chowder
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Chicken Corn Chowder
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 carrots (peeled and finely diced)
- 1 red pepper (cored, seeded, and finely diced)
- 2 stalks celery (thinly sliced)
- 2 shallots (minced)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 8 ears corn
- ⅔ cup heavy cream
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 2 to 2 ½ cups shredded cooked chicken
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme leaves
- ¼ cup crumbled cooked bacon
- Minced scallions or cilantro or parsley (to serve; optional)
- In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, pepper, celery, and shallots, season with salt and pepper, and sauté for about 5 minutes until everything is fairly tender.
- Meanwhile, remove the kernels from the corn and puree about 1 1/2 cups of the kernels in a food processor or blender with the cream. Add the chicken broth to the pot and bring to a simmer. Stir in the remaining corn kernels, the pureed corn and cream mixture, shredded chicken, and thyme. Return the mixture to a simmer, adjust the heat, and simmer for a few minutes until the corn is crisp-tender and just cooked. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
- Ladle the soup into bowls and top with the bacon, scallion, cilantro, and/or parsley as desired.