This smoky corn chowder is fast, uses basic refrigerator and pantry ingredients, and manages to be lighter than a thick, cream-based soup!

a white bowl of corn chowder with little bits of bacon and a few sliced green onions on top

This corn chowder was most definitely a pleasant surprise. I made it to accommodate a chilly weeknight (one in which time was at a premium) and quite honestly, I didn’t have plans to post about it.

But then the extreme yum-factor overwhelmed me/us and I knew you needed to know about it.

The beauty? It’s fast, it uses basic refrigerator and pantry ingredients, and it manages to be lighter than a thick, cream-based soup (no cream, just a cup of milk) thanks to blending a portion of the prepared soup until smooth.

The sweetness of the corn with the smoky flavors and crisp bacon is absolutely wonderful.

Clearly I’m in love with corn and bacon lately. You should fall in love, too. I’m pretty sure this soup will help you right along in that worthy goal.

top view of white bowl full of corn chowder topped with sliced green onions and chopped bacon

What To ServeCornbread Muffins or Cornbread and Fluffy Honey Butter
Broiled or griddled cheese quesadillas (for a fancier quesadilla these Crispy Cheese Wraps)
Fresh, seasonal fruit

One Year Ago: Whole Wheat Blender Pancakes {My New Favorite Breakfast!}
Two Years Ago: Sesame Chicken Stir-Fry
Three Years Ago: Cheesy Au Gratin Potatoes

Smoky Corn Chowder

Yield: 4-6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 28 minutes
Total Time: 38 minutes


  • 4-5 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 cup diced onion or leeks
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 (10-ounce) packages frozen corn
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 green onions, white parts cut off and discarded and green parts thinly sliced


  1. In a 4 or 5-quart saucepan, cook the chopped bacon over medium heat until golden and crisp. Scoop onto a paper-lined plate and discard all of the bacon grease except a very thin coating (about 1-2 teaspoons).
  2. Add the onion and cook for 5-7 minutes until translucent. Stir in the garlic, paprika and red pepper and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Stir in the corn, broth and milk. Bring the soup to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Transfer half of the soup to a blender (very carefully - don't overfill the blender since hot liquids will expand while blending!) and puree until mostly smooth.
  5. Return the blended soup to the pot and add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Taste and add more if needed.
  6. Serve warm topped with green onions and bacon.


Paprika: you can sub regular paprika for the smoked but you'll lose, well, the smoky flavor (and it's delicious, I'm telling you).

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Recipe Source: adapted from Real Simple February 2008