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Easy Southwestern Corn Chowder

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Spice up soup season with this Southwestern Corn Chowder! Bursting with bold flavors, hearty corn and potatoes, and a touch of Tex-Mex smoky flavors, it’s an easy-to-make, creamy soup you’ll love!

Top view of easy Southwestern Corn Chowder in two white bowls on a wood cutting board

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It’s soup season, and this easy Corn Chowder recipe gets its delicious creaminess from pureed corn, and its flavor is inspired by the cuisine of the American Southwest.

Made in one pot, it’s a soup that’s incredibly delicious. Using fresh corn during corn season is incomparable, but you will often find me making this soup all year using frozen corn.

Southwestern Corn Chowder

This soup tastes almost like taking a vacation to the Southwest. The zesty spices, hearty corn, and tender potatoes, with a dash of heat, are like an adventure all on its own.

Made with a medley of vibrant vegetables, like corn, peppers, potatoes, and celery, and a hint of smokiness and heat, it’s a filling soup with bold Southwestern flavors!

Closeup view of a bowl of corn chowder with chopped cilantro in the background and topped with crumbled bacon

What to Love About Corn Chowder

I can’t think of many reasons not to love this easy-to-make chowder, but here are some of my favorite reasons to love it!

  • Made in one pot in about 45 minutes using fresh or frozen corn
  • Bursting with Southwestern flavors.
  • Hearty and utterly delicious!

Southwestern Corn Chowder Ingredients

This corn chowder requires only a few ingredients, plus spices and vegetables. Its broth is made from a combination of chicken or vegetable broth and water. While ingredient measurements are located in the recipe card at the bottom of this post, here is a list of what you’ll need:

  • Corn: Fresh corn kernels cut from a cob are the absolute best. But you can also use frozen as well.
  • Bacon: Use your favorite variety of bacon. To make it vegetarian, omit this ingredient and add cooking oil to saute the vegetables.
  • Onion and Garlic: I love a sweet yellow onion in this soup, but a red or white onion is delicious too.
  • Peppers: Here you can make this soup spicier or milder according to your preference. I’m using a red bell pepper for color, but add a jalapeno or spicy pepper to the mix for additional heat if desired.
  • Potatoes: I love red potatoes but Yukon gold potatoes are delicious too.
  • Celery: I can’t imagine most soup recipes without celery!
  • Butter: Adds a creaminess to the finished soup.

    Corn Chowder FAQs

    Is this Southwestern Corn Chowder recipe spicy?

    The chowder has a bit of a kick, but you can adjust the level of spiciness to your taste. Feel free to add more or less chili powder and spicier or milder peppers according to your preference.

    Can I make this chowder vegetarian?

    Absolutely! Simply omit the bacon, add cooking oil of choice to saute the vegetables, and use vegetable broth to make a delicious vegetarian version without compromising flavor.

    Can I use frozen corn instead of fresh corn?

    Yes, frozen corn works well in this recipe. It’s convenient and still provides that delightful corn sweetness to the chowder.

    What’s the best way to store leftovers?

    Allow the chowder to cool, then transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate. It’s best consumed within 3-4 days but can be stored for up to 5 days. Reheat gently on the stove, adding a splash of broth or water if needed.

    Does this chowder contain dairy?

    This Southwestern Corn Chowder does not contain any dairy. Its creaminess is achieved by pureeing part of the soup in a blender until smooth.

Top view of Southwestern Corn Chowder bowls with Greek yogurt, chopped cilantro and crumbled bacon

More Recipes You May Also Enjoy

Side view of Southwestern Corn Chowder in a white bowl with chopped cilantro, bacon, and Greek yogurt

Easy Southwestern Corn Chowder

Spice up soup season with this Southwestern Corn Chowder! Bursting with bold flavors, hearty corn and potatoes, and a touch of Tex-Mex smoky flavors, it's an easy-to-make, creamy soup you'll love!
4.8 from 4 votes
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 8 cups

Ingredients

  • 4 bacon slices chopped
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped
  • 3 celery ribs chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (*see notes)
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 pound red potatoes cubed small, about 3 cups
  • 4 cups corn frozen or fresh from 4-5 ears
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Instructions

  • If using fresh corn (which is THE best), cut the kernels from the cobs and aside.
  • In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add chopped bacon and cook, stirring occassionally, until browned. With a slotted spoon, remove bacon from the pot, drain, and set aside.
  • In the same pot, add the onions, peppers, and celery, cook uncovered until the onions is softened; About 7-8 minutes. Stir in the chili powder and garlic, cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds while stirring constantly.
  • Add the broth, water, potatoes, corn kernels, bay leaf, salt, and black pepper, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then simmer the chowder for 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Remove the bay leaf from the pot and carefully transfer about 2 cups of the soup (half liquid, half solids) to a blender. Securely fasten the lid, avoid the hot steam, and blend until completely smooth. Add the butter, and blend one more time.
  • Stir the puree back into the soup. To serve, divide the chowder into bowls and top with garnishes of choice.

Notes

Seasoning: If you love a spicer chowder, stir in additional chili powder to taste, or add a jalapeno pepper along with the bell pepper.
Serving Ideas: Serve topped with crumbled bacon, creme fraiche, sour cream, Greek yogurt, and freshly chopped herbs like cilantro.
Storing the Chowder: Leftover soup will keep in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 5 days or several months when frozen.
Pairing: I love this hearty soup with cornbread. This Skillet Cornbread is a delicious pairing with this soup.

Nutrition

Calories: 205kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 405mg | Potassium: 517mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 809IU | Vitamin C: 30mg | Calcium: 19mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Corn Chowder

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