Perfectly chunky, this one pot bacon corn chowder is creamy, crunchy, and smokey. Packed with potatoes, corn, bacon, and cheese, it’s comfort food for chilly nights at its best.
Easy Homemade Corn Chowder
Loaded with potato and corn kernels, this one pot bacon corn chowder is addictively chunky. It also has bits of smokey bacon for texture and complexity. Made with half-and-half and chicken broth, this chowder is incredibly rich and wholesome. It’s a hug in a bowl, perfect for chilly fall nights.
For extra flavor, garlic, aromatics, and seasoning are brought together. Thyme adds fresh, minty notes. Cayenne pepper adds heat and earthiness. Meanwhile, garlic adds spiciness and pungency. Topped with lots of shredded cheddar, each spoonful will have a sharp, melty texture and taste. Extra bacon also packs irresistible crunch and smokiness.
On its own or as a side, it’s the perfect creamy, chunky chowder. Ready in less than an hour, you’ll be surprised by how well-developed the flavors are. You can even use leftover mashed potatoes and the Instant Pot to speed things up. For a bit of protein, add rotisserie chicken or shrimp and you’re done. Enjoy!
Why You’ll Love This One Pot Recipe
This bacon corn chowder is a family favorite. Here are more than enough reasons to get cooking:
- Hearty. The combination of potatoes, corn, and heavy cream make this a hearty, filling chowder that can be both a side dish and main.
- Kid-friendly. No matter how picky they are, lots of cheese, heavy cream, and bacon make this a super kid-friendly soup. They’ll love it!
- Easy. With simple ingredients and ready in less than an hour, it’s quite an easy chowder! You can also simplify things even more if you follow some of my tips.
- Uses leftovers. Throw in leftover mashed potatoes, rotisserie chicken, and cheese. It’s the perfect way to avoid waste and make a delicious meal.
Although it’s nothing out of this world, you’ll need quite a bit of ingredients. The good thing is you can use loads of substitutes! Check out the recipe card at the bottom of this post for exact ingredient amounts.
- Bacon – Sliced pancetta works beautifully with the recipe too!
- Yellow onion – This has a mellower, less spicy taste, unlike white and red onion. If you can’t get a hold of it, use white onion but reduce the amount by half.
- Garlic cloves – Fresh garlic is everything, but you can also use 1/4 tsp garlic powder for every clove in the recipe.
- Fresh thyme – This can be swapped for fresh parsley.
- Small red potatoes – Regular baby potatoes are fine as well.
- All-purpose flour – Corn starch, bread flour, whole wheat flour, and even cake flour work too.
- Chicken stock – Low-sodium is best because you can control the amount of salt in the recipe.
- Half and half – Feel free to use heavy cream for an extra rich chowder!
- Sweet corn – Fresh, frozen, or canned will do.
- Seasoned salt – I use Slap Ya Mama seasoning, but use your favorite.
- Cayenne pepper – You can swap it out for red pepper flakes. Cajun and Creole seasoning work too!
- Salt and black pepper
- Cheddar cheese – Muenster cheese has a similarly sharp taste, so feel free to use it. Any melty cheese is okay as well.
- Crispy bacon – For topping! I love cooking my bacon in the oven!
- Chives – Also for topping.
How to Make One Pot Bacon Corn Chowder
It’s quite easy to make, so read on for a couple of extra tips and tricks throughout the process.
- Cook the bacon. Place a large pot over medium heat. Add the bacon and let it cook until crispy. Carefully remove half of the bacon fat from the pot and pour it into a small heat-proof container. Set some of the bacon aside to use as a topping once the soup is ready.
- Cook the onion and garlic. Add the onion into the pot. Let it cook for 4-5 minutes or until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and thyme, letting them cook for another 30 seconds. Stir to combine.
- Add red potatoes. Throw the potatoes into the pot and sprinkle flour on top. Mix well.
- Pour the chicken stock in. Add the chicken stock into the pot and bring the mixture to a boil. Let the potatoes cook for 12 minutes or until fork-tender.
- Add the half-and-half. Pour it in and stir well to combine.
- Mash the potatoes. Use a potato masher to mash some of the potatoes, not all of them. This will help thicken the chowder and add lots of texture. If you don’t like chunky chowder, use an immersion blender to process the soup until it’s completely smooth.
- Simmer the soup. Add the corn into the pot. Also add seasoned salt and cayenne pepper. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix well to combine and then let the soup simmer for 5 more minutes. Add the cheese.
- Serve. Stir until the cheese has melted into the chowder. Top with chives, more cheese, and crispy bacon. Serve and enjoy!
Tips for Success
These are my biggest kitchen hacks yet for this soup, so make sure to follow them for an extra creamy bacon corn chowder.
- Use heavy cream. This makes for a much richer, creamier chowder. If you don’t have any, whole milk is fine but you will have to add a cornstarch slurry. Make it by whisking 1 tbsp cornstarch with 3 tbsp water.
- Use leeks. Swapping the yellow onion for the white part of leeks in this chowder is a delicious twist on the original recipe!
- Add leftover rotisserie chicken. This is a great way to use up leftover chicken and add some protein to your meal.
- Add mashed potatoes. Not only will it naturally thicken the chowder, but it’s a good way to use up annoying little leftovers.
- Use the Instant Pot. You can speed things up even more by using the Instant Pot to boil the potatoes. Add half of the chicken stock into the pot and use water for the rest of the liquid needed, then follow the manufacturers’ instructions. Once ready, carefully remove the potatoes from the Instant Pot and transfer them to a regular stockpot. Pour the remaining chicken stock in and add more water as needed. Continue with the recipe as usual.
What to Serve With Chowder
This bacon corn chowder is pretty hearty on its own, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make it better. Top it with some rotisserie chicken or cooked shrimp for an extra filling meal. You can also add fried leek on top for a bit of crunch. If you’d like something spicy, add some chopped jalapeños. For an even more indulgent chowder, add an extra spoonful of heavy cream and swirl it in.
If you’re thinking about serving it as a side, I recommend going easy on the carbs since the chowder is already loaded with potato and corn. My Juicy Grilled Chicken Kabobs, Creamy Chicken Florentine, and Baked Honey Mustard Chicken are great, protein-packed options.
If you are looking for some bread to serve alongside your chowder, I highly recommend my favorite Beer Bread, Sweet Corn Bread, Homemade Crescent Rolls, or these amazing Texas Roadhouse Rolls with cinnamon honey butter!
How to Store & Reheat Leftovers
When the soup has come down to room temperature, transfer it to an airtight container. Refrigerate it for up to 5 days. To reheat, simply pop it into the microwave for 1-2 minutes or until warm. If it thickens up, add a little milk and stir until you reach the desired consistency again.
Can I Freeze Corn Chowder?
Yes! Pour the soup into a freezer-friendly bag or container and freeze for up to 2 months. To thaw, transfer it to the fridge the night before you’re ready to eat it. Then set it on the counter the next day until it reaches room temperature. Heat it in the microwave for 1-2 minutes and enjoy.
If it splits, blend it for 20-30 seconds and then heat it again. It should be good as new.
More Cozy Soup & Chowder Recipes:
- Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Soup
- Easy Beer Cheese Soup
- Roasted Tomato Soup
- Homemade Chicken and Dumplings
- Tuscan Style Chicken Soup
- Pork Pozole Verde
- Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup
- Spicy Black Bean Soup
- Roasted Poblano Chicken Cauliflower Soup
- Instant Pot Chicken and Dumplings
One Pot Bacon Corn Chowder
- 16 oz bacon, chopped
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 4 large garlic cloves, minced
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only, minced
- 2 lbs small red potatoes, diced
- ¼ cup all purpose flour
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 2 cups half and half
- 3 cups fresh or frozen sweet corn
- 1 teaspoon seasoned salt, I use Slap Ya Mama seasoning
- Cayenne pepper, to taste
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
- Chopped crispy bacon, for topping
- Chives, for topping
- Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until crispy, stirring often. Remove half of the bacon grease from pan. Optional: Set aside a little cooked bacon for topping the soup once finished.
- Add onion and cook for 5 minutes. Add garlic and thyme and cook for 30 seconds.
- Add red potatoes and sprinkle flour on top of potatoes. Stir to coat everything well.
- Pour in the chicken stock and bring to a boil and boil about 12 minutes, until the potatoes are soft.
- Use a potato masher to roughly mash potatoes once cooked – this makes a thicker chowder. You want to leave some small chunks of potatoes when you are done roughly mashing.
- Add the half and half and corn to soup. Season with seasoned salt, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 more minutes.
- Add cheese and stir to combine. Serve topped with chives, more cheese and crispy bacon!
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