Learn how you can make a delicious corn chowder with the perfect creamy texture without needing to add any flour. This is an easy corn chowder recipe that uses a method to thicken that anyone of any skill level can do.
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I think it's very rewarding as a soup maker when you can get your soup thick enough without having to add any flour or a corn starch slurry to thicken it.
Not that adding flour is cheating, but there is really something cool about not having to need it. I have a friend who prides himself on not adding powdered pectin to his jam.
For those that need to avoid wheat flour or those that just want to go without, let me show you how it's done.
🙋 Why Chowder?
What qualifies this recipe to be a chowder instead of just corn soup? The defining feature of a chowder is that it is thicken by starch and cream. You can use milk, half and half, heavy cream, or a non-dairy option. The higher the fat, the thicker the chowder will be.
Here is what you will need to make this recipe:
- 6 ears of fresh corn
- 2 small to medium sized shallots
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 hot pepper your choice
- 1 ½ lbs small or new potatoes cut in half, I normally use red potatoes
- 3 small carrots diced
- 1 cup heavy cream
- kosher salt to taste
- freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh dill optional
- Optional topping - crispy bacon or cubed pancetta
🥔 RELATED - What are New Potatoes?
Corn chowder of course is all about the corn. Sure you could use frozen, but you are never going to beat the freshy picked corn in the summer time. But feel free to use frozen if you are making this in the middle of the winter.
You can use onions instead of shallots. I am big fan of shallots. I like their small size and flavor. Plus when I made this recipe I got some amazingly fresh shallots at a farmers market.
You can use any hot pepper you like for this recipe, but let tell you about the one I used. It's called a Mariachi pepper. It's a little bit larger in size than your average jalapeno. What I loved about this pepper is that adds a calm heat to the soup. It's not too spicy that it overtakes any other flavor. It's a pleasant heat that does linger but never overwhelms.
These peppers are hard to find in the regular grocery store. I got them at a farmers market in Toledo, Ohio. The go to hot pepper - the Jalapeno would be perfectly fine as well. Or if you can get your hands on a Hatch Chile that would be great, especially if you roast it before adding to the soup.
It's your choice whether you just want to add water to make the chowder or you chicken broth or vegetable broth. You can save money and just go with water as the chowder will still be good. Last time I made it I had some homemade chicken stock that I made from the bones of a whole chicken. This added to the flavor.
The first thing you will need to do is remove the corn from the cobs. DO NOT throw out the cobs once the corn is removed. You are going to use them to make a stock for the soup.
Make your life easier and remove the corn right in the pot you will use for the soup. If you try to do this on a cutting board the corn is going to fly everywhere.
Add your corn, peppers, carrots (not pictured below), butter (or olive oil) and shallots to the pot. Cook until the corn is tender.
Remove the corn from the pot. You will have some brown bites sticking to the bottom of the pot. Perfect. This is going to add more flavor as you add in enough water or chicken broth to cover the bottom of the pot and then scrap up all that brown stuff. It will add a lot of flavor and make your pot easier to clean later.
Once you have down that, add in those cobs I told you to save earlier. Cover with just enough water to submerge them. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes. This is your corn stock.
After the 30 minutes. remove the cobs. Now you can throw them out!
Add in your potatoes. Bring back to a boil. Then reduce to a simmer and cook the potatoes until they are tender.
Once that happens add back in the corn, peppers, and carrots. Stir in the heavy cream. Add in the dill if using.
If you wish to thicken it even more what you can do is remove some of the soup form the pot. Run it through blender or use an immersion blender (stick blender) and then add it back into the soup.
You can also use a stick blender right in the pot itself. Go low until it's thick enough without pureeing the whole soup.
If you are in the market for an immersion blender, choose one that has multiple speeds like the KitchenAid Variable Speed Model.
👩🍳 What to Serve with Corn Chowder
Here are some ideas of what to serve with your corn chowder.
- Grilled cheese sandwich - why does tomato soup get all the fun! Or you just add some cheddar cheese on top of the chowder.
- Great bread - I am not talking sliced bread that comes in a bag. I am talking about rustic bread that has crust that you bite into
- BLT - Tomatoes and corn are in season at the exact same time.
- Smoky Bacon or Pancetta on top
- Serve it in a bread bowl. You can get them from some bakeries.
- Salad with a fruity vinaigrette
- A grilled steak
- Add rotisserie chicken to make it chicken corn chowder.
❓ Can You Make This in the Instant Pot?
You certainly could. I would cook the corn cobs in it for 10 minutes. But it will take time for it to come to pressure, so you aren't saving a ton of time. I don't really like cooking the potatoes in the Instant Pot because I want to be able to keep a close eye so not to overcook them.
If you are going to use the Instant Pot that I would recommend after cooking the cobs you remove them from the pot and then do your potatoes in the pot without pressure cooking. Just hit the sauté button and add the potatoes and cook until done.
🌽 Corn Recipes
Here are some other recipes with corn in them.
Corn Chowder Without Flour
- Remove the corn from the cob. DO NOT throw out the cobs. Save them! Dice the shallots, carrots, and pepper.
- Heat up a large pot over medium high heat. Add in the butter.
- Add in corn, carrots, shallots, and peppers. Cook until softened about 10 minutes. Stir frequently.
- Remove the vegetables from the pot.
- Add just enough water to cover the bottom of the pot. With a spatula scrap any brown bites that stuck to the bottom of the pot.
- Add the cobs to the pot. Add enough water to cover the cobs.
- Bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cook for 30 minutes.
- Discard the cobs.
- Add in the potatoes. Bring back to a boil, then simmer until the potatoes are fork tender.
- Add back in the corn, carrots, peppers, and shallots. If using, add in the dill. Add kosher salt to taste. Add heavy cream to taste.
- Use a stick blender in the pot to blend some of the soup until desire consistency.
- Remove some of the soup and blend in a blender, then stir back in.
- Add more cream or sour cream.