Summer Corn Chowder


Summer is not my favorite season. But without a second house somewhere in the northern climes, I must endure heat and humidity from May through September.

There are a few good things that I do appreciate – tomatoes, basil, and zinnias. Lots of zinnias to add color to my house. They make me happy.


Although I don’t grow it myself, corn is readily available from local farms, and I’ve really come to appreciate the humble corn on the cob since living in the Midwest.


Which brings me to this simple corn chowder that I made with extra corn I had on hand.

Corn and Chicken Chowder

1 small chicken
4 cobs of corn
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups, approximately, chicken broth
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne

Poach the chicken using basic ingredients, like onion, celery, carrots, and bay leaves. After 1 1/2 hours, remove the chicken from the broth and let cool. If you need a tutorial on poaching chicken, check out Poached Chicken if you’ve never done this before.


Strain the broth and cook the corn in it. Remove the corn and let cool.

If you have lots of broth leftover, let it reduce gently on the stove.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add the onion, red bell pepper and celery, and saute for about 5 minutes.


Stir in the garlic, and after about 30 seconds, add 2 cups of broth, and then the cream. Let the mixture cook over low heat for about 15 minutes.

At that time, remove the meat from the chicken bones, then add it to the soup.


To add the corn, simply hold the corn cobs on the edge of the pot, and using a small knife, cut parallel to the cobs, cutting the kernels loose.


Stir the soup well, and add the seasoning. Taste for salt and pepper.


If you wanted to make a Southwestern soup, you could add cumin, coriander, a little ancho chile paste or green chiles, maybe chorizo, and lots of fresh cilantro. Normally this is what I would have done, since my tastes tend toward a spicier direction.


I use thyme a lot in fall and winter cooking, and I probably decided to use it in this soup because I’m subconsciously wishing it was cooler outside!


Oh well, only one more hot month to go. And I still have my zinnias.

note: You could also add cooked potatoes to this soup, or include white beans, even with the chicken. Heartier and healthier!


55 thoughts on “Summer Corn Chowder

  1. OMG Mimi, this looks absolutely wonderful!! I love soup, no matter what season. Here’s hoping for a cool down for you my friend, and know I will be making this soup ASAP, and probably add some white beans like you suggested!!

    • I think I add white beans out of habit – it’s just a good way to add bulk and fiber to just about anything, even pasta. But they are so good! Thanks for the comment!

  2. Mimi, your soup looks fabulous. I can’t wait to make it when people get home. Hot and humid weather is uncomfortable, I hope it cools down soon. We are in New York and it was ok, I’m glad we missed hurricane Hermine.

  3. My Mom and Sister are always complaining about the weather in OK. Unbearably hot in the summer. The produce looks wonderful as does your soup. Love corn chowder and what I love about yours is that it’s not too thick the broth looks nice and soupy and it’s full of good stuff.

  4. I love corn chowder and this one with chicken stock is fabulous. I was taught to make a vegetarian version by creating a stock from the stripped cobs which still have quite a bit of flavour locked up in them. The raw kernels were added later along with the other veggies later to make the chowder. I miss tender melt-in-the-mouth US corn!

  5. This looks great! I used to get a great corn chowder in downtown Kansas City but I cannot remember the name of the restaurant. It had a nice chipotle pepper kick. I’ll have to give yours a try…thank for sharing!

  6. I was just thinking about making some kind of corn chowder. I have no idea why I haven’t made it down to the farm to pick any up yet but it’s getting late so I’d better get a move on. This looks a lot more exciting than just basic old corn chowder.

  7. Mimi – this looks so appetizing. What a perfect autumn soup. Adding this to my kitchen chalkboard menu. Thank you!
    By the way – I live in the northern climes and it was stinking hot here this summer. At time it was hotter in Ontario than it was in New York City. Still hot. 30 degrees today. though I forget what that is in Fahrenheit. But hot. And humid. And we’re looking forward to the long cool evenings ahead.

  8. Looks like one delicious recipe and perfectly Midwest perfection! I love the corn and its always one of the things I look forward to every year. Pairing it with chicken in this chowder sounds amazing. The zinnias are so pretty too!

  9. Deee-licious, I make corn chowder in almost the exact same way, but like Debi I add the cobs to the stock once I’ve stripped off the kernels. Next time I’ll try adding your SW herbs and spices.

  10. I need to make a corn chowder soon before all the white summer corn runs out and then back to the tasteless yellow corn. I love that you added chicken, all kinds of yummy going on in there! I think I’d add a hatch chile to this, as well as beans when it turns colder, as I do tend to lean towards they spicy too. (Although it was only 64 today, so it’s getting there!) Your plating shot is gorgeous, BTW!

  11. Now, this is one beautiful bowl of chowder! I had better get hopping if I’m going to make it. We’ll be running out of fresh corn sooner than I care to admit. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

    • I don’t usually use canned vegetables, but I have discovered good fresh corn in cans. But it was at Whole Foods – I guess it was worth the hefty price! Now I just need to remember the brand!

  12. I just can’t do a lot of soups in the summer but this sounds amazing and what better way to use fresh corn and herbs. I have to do a soup post this weekend and luckily it is cooler here today!

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