Southwestern Corn Chowder

Tested & Perfected Recipes Cookbook Recipe

This creamy corn chowder is perfect when nights turn cool and for using up the last corn of the season.

Photo by Johnny Miller (Clarkson Potter, 2021)

I think of this corn chowder from my new cookbook as a summer-into-fall soup, perfect for when the nights turn cooler and you’re looking for new and interesting ways to use up the last corn of the season. Blending some of the kernels with the broth gives the soup a sweet corn flavor and lightly creamy texture. It’s filling on its own, but if you’d like to bulk it up, crispy bacon, shredded chicken, grilled shrimp or fresh lump crabmeat would all be delicious additions. And you can never go wrong with chips and guacamole on the side.

What you’ll need to make southwestern corn chowder

corn chowder ingredients

Step-by-Step Instructions

Melt the butter in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.

melting butter in Dutch oven

Add the onions, bell pepper, and jalapeño to the pot.  

onion and peppers in pot

Cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Do not brown.

softened onion and pepper

Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.

adding flour to vegetables

Add the broth, 1 cup of the milk, salt, cumin, coriander, and potatoes; bring to a boil. 

adding broth, milk, potatoes and seasoning to pot

Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer, stirring once halfway through, until the potatoes are tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in a blender, puree the remaining milk with 1 cup of the corn until smooth.

blended milk and corn

Add the milk and corn mixture to the soup along with the remaining corn.

adding corn puree and fresh corn to chowder

Simmer until hot.

simmering corn chowder

Off the heat, stir in the sour cream, scallions, and cilantro. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. 

adding scallions, cilantro, and sour cream to corn chowder

Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with lime wedges.

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Southwestern Corn Chowder

This creamy corn chowder is perfect when nights turn cool and for using up the last corn of the season.

Servings: 4 to 6
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 30 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded, and finely diced (save the seeds and ribs; see note)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 pound yellow, red or purple baby potatoes, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 3 cups fresh corn kernels, scraped from 4 to 5 raw cobs (see note)
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 3 scallions, dark green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges, for serving

Instructions

  1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onions, bell pepper, and jalapeño and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Do not brown. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
  2. Add the broth, 1 cup of the milk, salt, cumin, coriander, and potatoes; bring to a boil. The soup will seem thick; that’s okay. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer, stirring once halfway through so the potatoes don’t stick to the bottom of the pan, until the potatoes are tender, 12 to 15 minutes (if your potatoes are not tender at this point, just continue simmering until they are).
  3. Meanwhile, in a blender, puree the remaining 1 cup of milk with 1 cup of the corn until smooth.
  4. Add the milk and corn mixture to the soup along with the remaining 2 cups of corn; simmer until hot. Off the heat, stir in the sour cream, scallions, and cilantro. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with lime wedges.
  5. Note: I like this soup a little spicy, so I mince about half of the jalapeño’s seeds and ribs and toss them in with the onions and peppers. If you’d like more control over the heat, you can add cayenne pepper at the end, to taste, or offer hot sauce at the table.
  6. Note: To scrape the corn from the cobs, place the corn on a clean dish towel set over a cutting board, then use a serrated knife to cut the kernels of the cobs. (The dish towel prevents the kernels from bouncing all over the place.) Alternatively, you can invert a small bowl inside a larger bowl. Hold the cob upright on top of the inverted small bowl, with the flatter end of the cob down, and use a sharp knife to slice downward as close to the cob as possible.
  7. Make-ahead Instructions: Before adding the sour cream, scallions, and cilantro, the soup can be made up to 2 days ahead of time and refrigerated. Reheat on the stovetop over medium heat, and proceed with the recipe.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (4 servings)
  • Calories: 540
  • Fat: 23 g
  • Saturated fat: 12 g
  • Carbohydrates: 70 g
  • Sugar: 16 g
  • Fiber: 7 g
  • Protein: 15 g
  • Sodium: 1,339 mg
  • Cholesterol: 56 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Reviews & Comments

  • I made this yesterday for dinner for the family, including three teenage boys. It was a smashing success! I was worried that adding the jalapeño might make it too spicy for the children, but it just added an extra touch and raised it to a new level. I also shared with my neighbor a bowl of leftovers and it was lovely. Simple also to make – I wouldn’t change anything.

    • — Cavelle on September 23, 2021
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  • This soup was hearty, bursting with flavor, and a great way to use the corn, potatoes, and scallions I got in my farm box. A perfect late summer meal!

    • — Stacy C on September 23, 2021
    • Reply
  • Made this last weekend, weather was still a little warm, but had a special guest over who loves all things corn. Was just delicious, thank you for another amazing and RELIABLY amazing recipe!!

    • — Melissa Catron on September 23, 2021
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  • This was really great, thanks Jenn! It tasted surprisingly light for a chowder and we loved the corn flavor.

    • — Erin on September 21, 2021
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  • another amazing recipe! so creamy and bursting with flavor! so glad i doubled this recipe!! 😋

    • — Stef on September 18, 2021
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  • This recipe was yet another outstanding soup recipe. Very flavorful and easy to make. Highly recommend it. Topped my soup with some sliced grilled chicken, a dollop of sour cream, and some fresh cilantro.

    • — Mike on September 17, 2021
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  • Jenn… I just got your new cookbook this week, and I had to make something from it immediately! I chose this corn chowder because corn is still in season, and it was SO delicious. My husband kept complimenting me the whole meal.

    FYI – For others out there who love heat, I doubled the jalapeno AND added a pinch of cayenne at the end. Not for everyone, but my husband says my taste buds don’t recognize heat like those of normal people.

    Can’t wait to try more recipes from your cookbook! Almost everything I make now is inspired by your site or cookbooks. If it’s not, I’m skeptical it will even taste good, lol. Thanks, Jenn!!! I hope your new book is a great success. I know what all my friends are getting for Christmas.

    • — Karen on September 17, 2021
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  • Wonderful! I kept about half of the jalapeno seeds/ribs and it had just the right amount of heat. All the guests loved it as well. Once again….I’ve yet to try any of Jenn’s recipes that weren’t excellent.

    • — Steve T. on September 17, 2021
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  • Can I sub frozen for fresh corn?

    • — Valerie on September 16, 2021
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    • Sure – enjoy!

      • — Jenn on September 16, 2021
      • Reply
  • AMAZING!!!

    • — Jana on September 15, 2021
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  • Maybe in the south we just aren’t chowder people. I just expected more out of this soup. It seemed bland and overall underwhelming.

    • — Sharon on September 15, 2021
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    • I made this tonight, my first recipe from the new cookbook, which I’m obsessed with. No fresh corn that I could find, so I used frozen white corn, and 2% milk and 5% Greek yogurt based on Jenn’s recommendation to another post. It was so rich and delicious, with the bite of the pepper and sweetness of the corn to keep it from getting bogged down. I’ll definitely make it again.

      • — Alysonne Hatfield on September 21, 2021
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  • Absolutely amazing! I ended up adding shrimp and making it a shrimp and corn chowder, WOW. We did not have leftovers!

    • — Samantha on September 14, 2021
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  • Okay, bear with me – I made a LOT of modifications because I wanted to use what I had on hand. And it STILL turned out delicious!

    I used sweet potatoes instead of white; half coconut milk and half cashew milk instead of regular milk; Greek yogurt instead of sour cream; pre-cooked corn; omitted red pepper and coriander because I was out.

    I know it sounds like a different recipe, but even with all those modifications we loved it and scarfed it down! So yummy!

    • — Jenny on September 13, 2021
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    • Thanks for sharing! Have 6 ears worth of corn we cooked and could’nt eat last night so I wanted to use it up…making this 🙂

      • — Kim Botelho on September 14, 2021
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  • Followed the directions and had the most amazing corn chowder!! I love Jenn’s recipes….always know they will taste good and turn out. Recommend her site to all my friends.

    • — Susan Campbell on September 13, 2021
    • Reply
  • Delicious soup! I made it as directed using frozen sweet corn. Also added 1/2 lb. cooked shrimp. Our dinner guest immediately asked for the recipe! Today we will have some leftover with cooked chopped bacon. Fun recipe!!

    • — MaggieV on September 13, 2021
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  • Excellent, filling soup! Made it as directed except didn’t add any of the jalapeno seeds or white part because I have a little one who doesn’t do spice. Instead, I quick-pickled some jalapenos and served them on the side. I made some sheet-pan chicken quesadillas to go along with it. So good! My only complaint is that this recipe was posted JUST as all the fresh sweet corn disappeared from the farm stands around here. I used frozen sweet corn and it was still great.

    • — Erika W. on September 12, 2021
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  • This is an easy and perfectly delicious recipe. I used 1/2 & 1/2 instead of milk and 2 jalapeños. The soup had a sweet after taste which surprised me. As with most soups, the day-after I made the soup, it was even more flavorful. A real fall family dinner soup.

    • — Doreen Zepeda on September 12, 2021
    • Reply
  • The soup sounds great but I’m not a fan of chunks of potato in soup. Do you think the recipe would work if I used the immersion blender to smooth out the soup?

    • — Leslie on September 12, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Leslie, It might be a bit thick if you purée the soup, but you can omit the potatoes and add more corn or another vegetable.

      • — Jenn on September 13, 2021
      • Reply
    • Update: I made the recipe as is but I took out the onion/red pepper mix before cooking the potatoes. I cooked the potatoes as the recipe stated and used the immersion blender on the potatoes. Then, I added the onion/red pepper mix and followed the remainder of the recipe. It was delicious! I would rate it but seeing as I altered the recipe I don’t feel that’s fair.

      • — Leslie on September 13, 2021
      • Reply
  • I’ve made this twice. Once as directed and the second time I had grocery store roasted chicken so I cut that up and added it at the end. Both times this was delicious!

    I can’t wait for the new cook book it should be here this week! Thank you for another great recipe!

    • — Joan Silverthorne on September 12, 2021
    • Reply
  • One of the best soups I have ever made. Took it to my neighbors for dinner with some cornbread and they all raved about it. Now I am home making another batch for me.

    • — Melanie H on September 12, 2021
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  • We loved the spice and flavor of this chowder plus it was super creamy without using cream or half-n-half. I did use 1/2 of a poblano pepper and 1/2 a red bell pepper since that was what I had in the frig. I kept some of the seed of my jalapeño pepper since we like spicy. Will definitely make this again. Sweet corn is in season right now and inexpensive so this is fairly inexpensive meal.

    • — Danita on September 12, 2021
    • Reply
  • Jenn, I’ve said it before and I will say it again, you are the queen of soups…another jewel in your crown. Used parsley instead of cilantro due to friend’s allergies…just delicious. It was nice and thick. A good hearty bread, a glass of white wine and I was a happy camper. The lime juice is a must. Could I just add it to the pot? If so, how much? Will it get thicker overnight? Hope not or I will have to add some chicken broth. Can’t wait for next week and your new book.

    • — Carol Winkelman on September 12, 2021
    • Reply
    • So glad you enjoyed, Carol! Yes, it’s fine to just add the lime juice to the pot. I’d start with the juice of half a lime (about 1 tablespoon) and add more to taste. It does thicken up in the fridge overnight, but it’s fine to thin it with a little broth.

      • — Jenn on September 13, 2021
      • Reply
  • Is there a way to lighten this up? Sounds so good but we are watching our weight. Thanks!
    Judy

    • — Judy on September 12, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Judy, You can use low-fat milk and low-fat sour cream (or just omit the sour cream). Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on September 13, 2021
      • Reply
  • It was a rainy day when I opened my weekly email from Once Upon A Chef and this recipe caught my eye. I live in Florida so I don’t usually make soup, but I’m sure glad I did. The only change I made was to the milk — I used 1 3/4 cups of whole milk and 1/4 cup of skim milk only because that’s what I had on hand. My soup may not have thickened up as much as it should have perhaps because of the skim milk. Still, we loved the taste and will definitely make it again.

    • — Patrice on September 11, 2021
    • Reply
  • Wow! I just made this ahead of time for tomorrow night. Can’t wait to taste it with the sour cream, cilantro, scallions and lime. So easy to make!! I think I’ll add a few thin slices of avocado on top too. Can’t wait for the new cookbook to arrive. Thanks Jenn for another great recipe!!!!

    • — Lori on September 11, 2021
    • Reply
    • Follow up. Couldn’t wait until tomorrow so I made a small bowl with all the fixings. This is amazing!!! The squeeze of lime is a must. Amazing Jenn!!!

      • — Lori on September 11, 2021
      • Reply
  • We loved this, as always with your dishes! Thanks.

    • — Gay on September 10, 2021
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  • This is a great recipe…so fresh and some of the best tastes of summer! I was blessed to be able to test this recipe for the new cookbook (so fun!). I have made this since with frozen corn (works, but better with fresh) and with 2% milk with good results. This also reheats well for lunches, just be sure to add a squeeze of lime after reheating!

    • — Christine H. on September 10, 2021
    • Reply
  • Once fresh corn is out of season would you recommend making this with frozen corn?

    • — Nanci on September 9, 2021
    • Reply
    • Yep 🙂

      • — Jenn on September 9, 2021
      • Reply
  • Jenn, Really looking forward to your new cookbook coming out! For the corn chowder, I know it will loose some of the rich creamy texture and taste, but what do you think about my using 1% milk in this? Any suggestions? Trying to cut calories a bit…

    • — Carin on September 9, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Carin, It should work. Please LMK how it turns out! 🙂

      • — Jenn on September 9, 2021
      • Reply
  • The corn chowder is delicious! I made it this morning and we enjoyed it for lunch. The lime and scallions are essential❤️ I substituted one hydrated ancho chili with the water I used to hydrate it instead of jalapeño since, it’s less hot but smoky. Thanks

    • — Carla on September 9, 2021
    • Reply
  • I also tested this recipe for your new cookbook ( lucky me!) and it was a huge hit. I’ll be making this again soon before fresh corn season is over. Can’t wait till the cookbook comes out next week!

    • — Barbara R. on September 9, 2021
    • Reply
  • I too tested this recipe for your new cookbook and we all loved it! Great recipe!
    Can’t wait to receive the new book!
    Thanks Jen for sharing your talent and love of cooking! ❤️

    • — Lisa on September 9, 2021
    • Reply
  • This looks wonderful. Can I use Lactose free milk?

    • — Susan Fine on September 9, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Susan, I think that should work. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on September 9, 2021
      • Reply
  • I too tested this recipe and have made a few times since. Changed nothing. We absolutely love it. We try not to eat meat a lot so this is perfect. It makes a lot too. Thank you Jenn, another winner.

    • — Alicia F on September 9, 2021
    • Reply
  • I tested this recipe for your new cookbook (lucky me). My husband is not the soup fan that I am but he thoroughly enjoyed this dish! I froze a portion for another meal and added shredded rotisserie chicken the second time. That got rave reviews from both of us. Wonderful recipe! Looking forward to your second cookbook arriving on my porch!

    • — PattiR on September 9, 2021
    • Reply
    • I never freeze anything with potatoes. Jenn, what do you think about freezing this?

      • — Carol Winkelman on September 9, 2021
      • Reply
      • Hi Carol, Because of the potatoes and dairy, I don’t recommend freezing this one. You can make it a few days ahead though.

        • — Jenn on September 9, 2021
        • Reply
  • As a recipe tester for the cookbook, I received this recipe early and knew immediately it was one I had to try. Sure enough, it has become a family favorite! My grandaughter just ask for it last week, so when I saw this come up in my inbox I had to review! The flavors are amazing and even with several ingredients it comes together really fast. Love Jenn’s recipes!

    • — Belinda Hunter on September 9, 2021
    • Reply
  • I love corn chowder and this is a great variation. My question is about the corn. Is the corn raw or cooked before removing the kernels.

    Thanks!

    • — sandra on September 9, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Sandra, It’s raw. Enjoy! 🙂

      • — Jenn on September 9, 2021
      • Reply
  • Should the corn be cooked prior to scraping it off the cob?

    • — Gretchen on September 9, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Gretchen, No the corn is raw. I will clarify in the ingredient list. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on September 9, 2021
      • Reply
  • Do you think this would freeze well?

    • — Karen on September 9, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Karen, Because of the potatoes and dairy, I wouldn’t recommend freezing this soup. Sorry!

      • — Jenn on September 9, 2021
      • Reply

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