Corn Chowder with Bacon is full of fresh kernels of corn, yellow potatoes, and plenty of bacon. This fill-you-up meal is full of flavor and makes great leftovers too!
What’s better than a classic bowl of corn chowder with bacon? Especially when you’re Iowa bred, where sweet corn is plentiful and the taste is pretty much the BEST. We could also call this a “farmer soup”, similar to my mother’s “farmer breakfast” where bacon and eggs were always the main ingredients. Only instead of eggs, this one has plenty of corn and potatoes.
This stick-to-your-ribs kind of chowder is not only delicious, it’s fairly easy to make. Simple, fresh ingredients, a few kitchen tools, and some desire to put a good, hearty meal on the table.
Ingredients needed for Corn Chowder with Bacon:
- Bacon – You’ll need about 8 slices of bacon. I used a thicker cut.
- Fats – You can either use the bacon fat (after sautéing) or use butter.
- Onion, Jalapeño, and Garlic – You’ll start by sautéing these flavorful veggies.
- Seasonings – I used cumin, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Feel free to try other spices like thyme, paprika, cayenne pepper, etc.
- Flour – A little bit of flour helps to thicken the chowder.
- Broth – I always use lower sodium chicken broth.
- Corn Water – This is an optional ingredient from boiling the corn cobs after removing the corn. It adds more corn flavor, but you could use chicken broth in its place.
- Corn – Fresh sweet corn is best! In a pinch, frozen corn could be replaced.
- Potatoes – 4-5 cups of yellow potatoes make the best chowder. Likewise, you could try another potato.
- Milk – Use 2% milk, or any variety of whole milk, half and half, or heavy cream.
- To serve – Add extra bacon and freshly ground black pepper, to serve.
How to make Corn Chowder with Bacon:
- Cook Bacon. In a medium stock pot over medium high heat, add diced bacon and cook until crispy. Remove from the pan, leaving the grease in the pan. Or remove some of the bacon grease and substitute butter in it’s place.
- Make corn water (OPTIONAL). For additional corn flavoring, you can boil the cobs in water after removing the corn. It will create some additional flavor, but if you’d rather skip it, just add additional broth.
- Sauté Veggies. Add the diced onion and jalapeño, and cook until softened. Add garlic and seasonings (cumin, salt and pepper), and stir for about 30 more seconds. Then add flour and stir to absorb into the veggies, about two minutes. Pour in liquids – chicken broth, milk, and corn water (optional). Bring to a slow boil.
- Cook corn and potatoes. After the mixture is simmering, add corn and potatoes and cook until the potatoes are fork tender, approximately 20-30 minutes.
- Thicken. Use an immersion blender to puree about half of the chowder. You could also use a regular blender, but make sure the mixture isn’t overly hot when doing so.
- Serve. Serve chowder with additional crispy bacon and freshly ground black pepper.
A few tips/variations for this Corn Chowder:
- Use fresh sweet corn for best flavor.
- If you don’t want to use bacon grease for the fats in the chowder, use butter instead. If this is the case, you could also bake or microwave the bacon instead.
- The jalapeño adds just a bit of flavor and a touch of heat. If desired, you could add some of the rind and seeds.
- Boiling the corn cobs is optional. This produces a “corn water” that will add some juices to the chowder, but is not required. Simply add chicken broth in its place.
- Instead of using yellow potatoes, russets work pretty nicely too.
- Be sure to puree about half the chowder. This will help achieve a creamy consistency but will also maintain some of the chunks.
Corn Chowder with Bacon
- 8 slices bacon – diced
- 4 Tablespoons bacon grease – or use butter
- 1 medium onion – chopped
- 1 whole jalapeño – seeds removed and diced
- 3 cloves garlic – diced
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper – to taste
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 4 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup corn water – or use more chicken broth
- 4 cups fresh corn kernels (sliced from cobs) – from approximately 7-8 cobs
- 4 cups yellow potatoes – peeled and chopped
- 1 cup 2% milk
- extra bacon and black pepper – to serve
- Strip corn from cobs, by holding corn vertically on cutting board, and using sharp knife to slice. Rotate corn cob as you slice.
- Make corn water (OPTIONAL). For additional corn flavoring, you can boil the cobs in water after removing the corn. It will create some additional flavor, but if you'd rather skip it, just add additional broth.
- Heat a large sauce pan on stovetop to medium heat. Add diced bacon and cook until crisp. Remove bacon and some of the grease from the pan, leaving about two tablespoons. Add butter, onion, and jalapeños, and sauté until soft (approximately 4-5 minutes). Add garlic and seasonings and stir.
- Add flour to pan, and stir continuously for about 2 minutes. Add chicken broth and stir, scraping the pan to loosen the spices. Turn heat up slightly so that the mixture starts to simmer and thicken.
- Add corn and potatoes to stock pan. Stir and let simmer until the potatoes are fork tender, approximately 20-25 minutes. Use an immersion blender to puree a portion of the soup. Leave some chunks intact.
- Serve chowder with extra bacon, and some freshly ground black pepper.