This Southwest Corn Chowder recipe is SO tasty and easy to make in less than 30 minutes. Potatoes, corn, garlic, onion, and green chilis in a rich and creamy base. This is the soup you’ll crave all year long!
I make corn dishes all the time in the summer, because that’s when it’s front-and-center on my mind. From farmers market stands to taking up the prime spot in the grocery store, good old fashioned corn on the cob is a can’t-miss.
That’s a long winded way of saying, I forget about corn in the winter. However, when I was thinking about a new soup to make, corn just popped into my head. I haven’t had a good corn chowder in a long time and felt it was time to remedy that! I added a Southwest flair to it because, well, I guess it was just speaking to me. Turns out this corn chowder recipe is everything I love about summer in a warm, comforting bowl of soup.
Why This Recipe Works
Green chilis — I add these little gems to lots of my chilis but adding them to this Southwest corn chowder recipe just makes sense. A little color, texture, and whole lot of flavor in just one little 8-ounce can.
Potatoes — Corn chowder is great on its own, but needs the starchiness of potatoes to thicken the soup and give it a better texture. Plus, I like to have a little something to chew in my soup.
Half and half — Believe me, this corn chowder needs the creaminess of the half and half to really make all the ingredients come together, otherwise, it’s just too thin.
Grilled corn — Whether you use corn on the cob or canned corn, don’t skip the step of grilling or charring the corn first before adding it to the soup. The depth of flavor you get from doing this is really important to making the BEST Southwest corn chowder ever.
Here’s How You Make It
Ready to make the BEST corn chowder recipe ever? It’ll take you less than 30 minutes – let’s get started!
- If you’re using fresh corn on the cob, grill it for 8-10 minutes, turning occasionally until it’s slightly charred on the edges and the corn is tender. (If you are using canned corn, you can get that char taste by sauteeing it in a skillet with 1 teaspoon of oil in a pan over medium-high heat till slightly charred.)
- Cut corn off the cob and set aside. Or set the sauteed corn aside.
- Next, melt the butter in a large stock pot over medium high heat. Add in the potatoes, garlic, and onions and saute for 3-4 minutes or until the onions are translucent and tender.
- Now stir in the chicken broth and bring it all to a boil for 5-10 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork-tender.
- Then stir in the corn, half and half, salt, pepper, chili powder, and green chiles (including juices from the can). Let the soup simmer while you prepare the roux.
- To prepare the roux, melt butter in a medium saucepan. Then, stir in the flour for 1 minute, then gradually whisk in the heavy cream.
- Gradually stir the roux you just made into the simmering soup.
- Finally, taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Serve with fresh cilantro if desired.
Is It Better to Grill Corn in The Husk?
This is complete personal preference. Personally, I prefer to remove the husks prior to grilling because I like to get a decent amount of char on the kernels, BUT some people would argue that keeping the husk on prevents char (which some do not like) and keeps the corn moist. Either way, you can’t go wrong in my opinion. Simply keep an eye on the corn and turn it regularly to keep it from getting burned or dried out.
If you want your corn grilled but not charred, you can soak your corn, in the husk, in a pot of water first for about an hour before grilling. By the time the husks and silks dry out from the grill, the corn will be nice and steamed without getting charred.
What Makes a Chowder a Chowder?
A chowder is a type of soup that’s very filling and rich. It usually starts by sautéing a mixture of vegetables, onions, and/or garlic. It also often includes seafood or chicken in it but can also be vegetarian like this corn chowder.
Most corn chowder recipes also have a creaminess to them, but there is a tomato base in Manhattan clam chowder.
- Toppings that go great on this soup include: tortilla strips, cilantro, sour cream, hot sauce, sliced jalapeños, bacon, and queso fresco.
- Make it spicy by stirring in 1/2-1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes.
- Make it cheesy by stirring in 1/2-1 cup shredded cheddar or pepper jack cheese (or another cheese you love).
- Don’t skip the roux in this corn chowder recipe. It is essential to thickening the soup and gives it a creamy texture and rich flavor!
More Tasty Soup Recipes
- Chicken and Rice Soup
- Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana
- Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup
- Instant Pot White Chicken Chili
Did you make this Southwest Corn Chowder recipe? EXCELLENT! Please rate the recipe below!
Southwest Corn Chowder
- 4 ears corn on the cob - or 1 15-ounce can yellow corn, drained
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 pound baby gold potatoes - quartered
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- ½ yellow onion - diced
- 2 cups chicken broth - I used low sodium
- 4 cups half and half - I used Fat Free
- 1-2 teaspoons salt - to taste
- ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper - or to taste
- ½ teaspoon chili powder - chipotle chili powder if you have it!
- 1 8-ounce cans diced green chiles - including liquid
for the roux
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Grill corn for 8-10 minutes, turning throughout until slightly charred on edges and corn is tender. (If using canned corn, saute in a skillet with 1 teaspoon oil in a pan over medium-high heat til slightly charred) Cut corn off the corn and set aside.
- In a large stock pot over medium high heat, melt butter. Add potatoes, garlic, and onions and saute for 3-4 minutes until onions are translucent and tender.
- Stir in chicken broth, bring to a boil for 5-10 minutes until potatoes are fork-tender.
- Stir in corn, half and half, salt, pepper, chili powder, and green chiles (including juices from the can). Simmer while you prepare the roux.
- To prepare the roux, in a medium sauce pan melt butter. Stir in flour for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in heavy cream.
- Gradually stir roux into simmering soup.
- Taste, add salt and pepper as needed. Serve with fresh cilantro if desired.