30-Minutes Smoky Corn Chowder Recipe – A Creamy Flavor

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Indulge in the rustic charm of our Smoky Corn Chowder Recipe, a hearty bowl that captures the essence of comfort food. This creamy chowder is laden with golden, juicy corn kernels and tender potatoes, all bathed in a rich, savory broth that’s infused with a hint of smoky goodness. Each spoonful is like a warm embrace, filling you with a sense of homely warmth and satisfaction. The perfect dish to cozy up with on a chilly day, our Smoky Corn Chowder is true comfort in a bowl.

In the world of comfort food, a symphony of flavors exists – the Smoky Corn Chowder Recipe . A decadent blend of sweet corn and smoky undertones, this dish serves up a delightful surprise. 

Each spoonful immerses you in a harmony of textures, from the velvety broth to the satisfying crunch of corn kernels. Its warmth cocooned your senses, evoking images of cozy fireplaces and shared laughter.

Smoky Corn Chowder Recipe

Unveiling its beauty requires no culinary mastery, only an adventurous palate and a penchant for heartwarming goodness. This chowder isn’t just a meal; it’s a gastronomic journey of comforting indulgence.

What Is Smoky Corn Chowder?

Smoky Corn Chowder is a flavorful and hearty soup, traditionally composed of sweet corn and vegetables simmered in a creamy broth.

It gets its unique ‘smoky’ twist from including ingredients such as smoked paprika or smoked ham hock. 

The soup is often garnished with crispy bacon or fresh herbs for an extra layer of complexity. This dish, a comfort food staple, is renowned for its rich, velvety texture and the beautiful contrast between the sweetness of the corn and the smoky undertones.

Smoky Corn Chowder Recipe

Can You Vary The Recipe With Other Ingredients?

The Smoky Corn Chowder recipe can be adapted to accommodate a variety of dietary preferences.

  • Keto: Use heavy cream to replace corn and skim milk with lower-carb vegetables like cauliflower. Use bacon and add more high-fat ingredients, such as avocado or cheese, as a garnish.
  • Paleo: Swap the traditional dairy cream base for full-fat coconut milk. Use fresh sweet corn, which is Paleo-friendly, and replace processed bacon with homemade smoked meat.
  • Gluten-Free: The Smoky Corn Chowder is naturally gluten-free, but ensure all processed ingredients like chicken broth and bacon are certified gluten-free.
  • Whole30: Use homemade chicken broth, fresh corn, and full-fat coconut milk instead of dairy. Be sure to choose Whole30-compliant bacon without added sugars or nitrates.
  • Vegetarian: Skip the bacon and use a drop or two of liquid smoke to provide that smoky flavor. Use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.
  • Vegan: Follow the vegetarian modifications and replace dairy with full-fat coconut milk or cashew cream for a creamy texture. Top it with vegan cheese and fresh herbs.

Recipe Directions

  • In a large pot or Dutch oven, cook the chopped bacon over medium heat until crispy. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and set it aside, leaving the bacon drippings in the pot.
  • In the same pot with the bacon drippings, add the diced onion and minced garlic. Sauté until the onion becomes translucent and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the diced bell peppers to the pot and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes until they start to soften.
  • Stir in the frozen corn kernels, smoked paprika, and ground cumin. Cook for another 2-3 minutes to toast the spices and coat the vegetables.
  • Pour in the chicken or vegetable broth, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together.
  • Using an immersion blender or a regular blender, blend about half of the soup until smooth. This will help thicken the chowder while leaving some texture. Be cautious when blending hot liquids.
  • Return the blended soup to the pot and stir in the milk and heavy cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for an additional 5-10 minutes until the chowder is heated through.
  • Serve the Smoky Corn Chowder hot, garnished with crispy bacon and chopped chives or green onions.
boiled corns

Variations, Add-Ons, And Toppings


  • Seafood Chowder: Incorporate flaked cooked crabmeat, clams, or cooked shrimp to make a luxurious seafood chowder.
  • Spicy Chowder: Add a diced jalapeño or habanero pepper along with the garlic for an extra kick.
  • Vegetable Chowder: Add other veggies like bell peppers, celery, or carrots for additional texture and nutrition.


  • Cheese: Stir in some sharp cheddar or pepper jack cheese for a delightful cheesy twist.
  • Herbs: Fresh herbs like thyme, parsley, or cilantro can add brightness and depth.
  • Protein: Chicken or ham could be a good addition to a meatier version.


  • Bacon: Crispy bacon bits add a savory crunch.
  • Croutons: Garlic croutons can provide a delightful contrast to the creamy soup.
  • Cheese: A sprinkle of grated cheddar or a dollop of sour cream can elevate the richness.
  • Fresh Herbs: Freshly chopped chives, parsley, or even cilantro provide a burst of new flavor and a splash of color.
  • Cracked Pepper: A sprinkle of freshly cracked black pepper adds flavor and gives a gourmet touch.
Smoky Corn Chowder Recipe

Can I Make Smoky Corn Chowder In A Slow Cooker Or Instant Pot?

Smoky Corn Chowder can be adapted to be made in both a slow cooker and an Instant Pot.

Slow Cooker

  • In a skillet, cook the bacon until crisp, then transfer to a paper towel. Reserve some of the drippings to sauté the leek until soft.
  • Transfer the bacon and leek to the slow cooker. Add the garlic, smoked paprika, cayenne, corn, broth, half-and-half, and milk.
  • Set the slow cooker to low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours. If you prefer a thicker chowder, blend a portion of the soup using an immersion blender or carefully transfer it to a regular blender.
  • Before serving, season with salt and pepper and garnish as desired.

Instant Pot

  • Using the sauté function, cook the bacon until crisp, then remove and reserve drippings. Sauté the leek in the drippings until soft.
  • Add the garlic, smoked paprika, and cayenne, sautéing for another minute. Add the corn, broth, half-and-half, and milk. Secure the lid and set to pressure cook on high for 10 minutes.
  • Allow the pressure to release for 10 minutes naturally, then manually release any remaining pressure.
  • If desired, blend a portion of the soup for a thicker consistency. Season with salt and pepper, and garnish before serving.
healthy Chowder

Can I Use Store Broth, Or Should I Make My Own?

You can certainly use store-bought broth for convenience and ease. However, if you have the time and ingredients, making your own broth can be a great way to maximize flavor and control the ingredients in your dishes.

  • Store-Bought Broth: This is a quick and easy option, especially if you’re short on time. However, selecting a high-quality brand for the best flavor is essential. Look for low-sodium versions so you have more control over the saltiness of your soup.
  • Homemade Broth: Making your own chicken, vegetable, or seafood broth allows for the customization of flavor and the ability to control sodium levels. It can be more time-consuming but offers a depth of flavor that’s hard to match with store-bought versions.
vegetarian chowder

How To Serve?

Smoky Corn Chowder is a versatile dish that can be served in various ways, and each can add a delightful dimension to your meal. Here are a few suggestions on how to serve it best:

  • As a Starter: Serve it in smaller bowls as a flavorful introduction to a main course. Pair with a light, crisp white wine if desired.
  • Main Course: Serve larger portions with a side of crusty bread, a salad, or a grilled cheese sandwich for a heartier meal.
  • Toppings: Toppings can add an exciting texture contrast and boost the flavors. Consider options like crumbled bacon, chopped fresh herbs (like parsley or cilantro), a sprinkle of smoked paprika, grated cheese, or a dollop of sour cream.
  • In a Bread Bowl: Consider serving your chowder in a bread bowl for a rustic presentation. Choose a sturdy variety like a sourdough round, hollow out the center, and ladle the chowder directly inside.
  • Outdoor Gatherings: Chowder makes a great warming dish if you’re hosting an outdoor gathering in the cooler months. Serve in mugs for easy handling.
Smoky Corn Chowder Recipe

Perfect Side Dishes

Smoky Corn Chowder is a hearty and flavorful dish that can stand on its own, but a variety of side dishes can also complement it. Here are a few ideas:

  • Crusty Bread: A slice of crusty bread or a warm baguette is perfect for dipping into the chowder and soaking up its creamy, flavorful broth.
  • Green Salad: A light, fresh salad with a vinaigrette dressing can provide a nice contrast to the rich, smoky flavors of the chowder.
  • Grilled Cheese Sandwich: This classic pairing offers a comforting, satisfying meal. You can add a gourmet twist with different cheese varieties or additions like avocado or tomato.
  • Roasted Veggies: Simple, seasoned roasted vegetables like asparagus, Brussels sprouts, or bell peppers can complement the chowder without overpowering it.
  • Cornbread: Given the corn in the chowder, cornbread can be a thematic and tasty side dish.
  • Coleslaw: A tangy, crunchy coleslaw can contrast refreshingly to the creamy chowder.
  • Sautéed Greens: For a healthier option, consider a side of sautéed greens like spinach or Swiss chard.
garnished chowder

Storage And Make Ahead

  • Store: Once cooled, transfer the chowder into airtight containers. Refrigerate for up to 3 days.
  • Freeze: For longer storage, freeze the chowder in freezer-safe containers for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
  • Reheat: Gently warm the chowder on the stovetop over low heat, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking or burning.
  • Make Ahead: Prepare the chowder up to 2 days in advance, excluding garnishes. Store it in the refrigerator and reheat when ready to serve. This allows flavors to meld, enhancing the taste.
chowder served in bowl

What Can We Do With Leftovers? 

  • Transform leftovers into a creamy pasta dish by mixing the chowder with cooked pasta. The smoky flavors will infuse the pasta, creating a delicious and comforting meal.
  • Use the chowder as a filling for stuffed bell peppers. Simply hollow out the peppers, fill them with the chowder, top with cheese, and bake until the peppers are tender and the filling is heated through.
  • Create a hearty breakfast hash by sautéing diced potatoes and onions until golden brown, then adding in chopped leftover chowder. Serve topped with a fried egg for a satisfying morning meal.
  • Make savory cornbread muffins by mixing the chowder into your favorite cornbread batter before baking. The result is a moist and flavorful twist on traditional cornbread.


  • For an extra kick, add a pinch of chipotle powder or diced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce to the chowder.
  • Incorporate smoked bacon or ham for an additional layer of smoky flavor and a hint of saltiness.
  • Garnish each bowl with a drizzle of smoked olive oil for a finishing touch that enhances the smoky aroma.
  • Consider using smoked Gouda or cheddar cheese instead of traditional cheeses for a richer, smokier taste.
  • Toast some smoky cornbread croutons to sprinkle on top for added texture and flavor contrast.
  • For a vegetarian option, substitute smoked tofu or tempeh for the meat ingredients while still providing that smoky essence.
30-Minutes Smoky Corn Chowder Recipe - A Creamy Flavor

30-Minutes Smoky Corn Chowder Recipe – A Creamy Flavor

5 from 10 votes
Recipe by Lana Rivera Course: Chowder Recipe


Prep time


Cooking time





Smoky Corn Chowder is a comforting and flavorful soup combining the smokiness of bacon, corn’s sweetness, and species richness. With its creamy texture and aromatic flavors, this chowder is a satisfying and nourishing dish that will warm you up on any occasion.


  • 8 oz 8 Sliced bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

  • 1 1 Large leek, chopped

  • 2 2 Cloves garlic, chopped

  • 1/2 tsp 1/2 Smoked paprika (sweet or hot)

  • 1/2 tsp 1/2 Cayenne pepper

  • 15 oz 15 Frozen corn

  • 3 cups 3 Low-sodium homemade or store-bought chicken broth

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 Half-and-half

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 Skim (nonfat) milk

  • Kosher salt (To taste)

  • Fresh black pepper (To taste)

  • 4 4 Scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal, for garnish

Step-By-Step Directions

  • Preparation Steps
    Gather all your ingredients: bacon, leek, garlic, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, corn, chicken broth, half-and-half, milk, salt, pepper, and scallions for garnish.
  • Cooking
    In a Dutch oven or large saucepan, render the bacon over low heat until crisp, ensuring it doesn’t burn. Once cooked, transfer it to a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil.
    Leave two tablespoons of bacon drippings in the pan. Add the chopped leek, stirring frequently until softened but not browned.
  • Blending
    Stir in the garlic, smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper, letting it cook for 2 minutes to let the flavors meld.
    Incorporate the corn, chicken broth, half-and-half, and milk. Increase the heat to medium and stir occasionally until the soup begins to bubble at the edges.
    Use an immersion blender to puree half of the soup directly in the pot for a thicker consistency.
  • Final Touches
    Season the chowder with salt and black pepper according to your taste preference.
  • Serving
    Serve the chowder hot, garnishing each bowl with crispy bacon pieces and sliced scallions for a vibrant, tasty touch.
  • Additional Options
    For a vegetarian version, replace bacon with smoked paprika or liquid smoke and use vegetable broth. To make it vegan, substitute dairy with coconut milk or other plant-based alternatives. Adjust ingredients as needed for dietary restrictions.
  • Dutch Oven Or Large Saucepan
  • Knife And Cutting Board
  • Measuring Cups And Spoons
  • Stirring Spoon
  • Blender Or Immersion Blender
  • Ladle


  • Bacon Variation: Experiment with different types of bacon, such as maple or applewood smoked, for added flavor.
  • Leek Preparation: Clean leeks thoroughly, as they can accumulate dirt between their layers. Slice lengthwise and rinse well under cold water to remove any grit.
  • Adjusting Spiciness: Adjust the amount of cayenne pepper based on your preference for heat. Add more or less according to your taste.
  • Thawing Frozen Corn: Thaw frozen corn by running it under cold water in a colander until fully thawed. Drain well before using in the recipe.
  • Seasoning: Taste the chowder as you go and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper to suit your preference. Remember that the bacon can add saltiness to the dish.
  • Creaminess Level: Adjust the ratio of half-and-half to skim milk based on your desired level of creaminess. For a richer chowder, increase the amount of half-and-half.
  • Garnish: The thinly sliced scallions add a fresh and colorful touch to the chowder. Sprinkle them on top just before serving.
  • Leftovers: Smoky Corn Chowder can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Reheat gently on the stovetop, adding a little extra broth if needed.

Nutrition Table 

Nutrition table

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