Corn Chowder with Bacon Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Corn Chowder with Bacon

Total Time
Prep/Total Time: 30 min.
Warm up on a cold winter day with corn chowder with bacon and potatoes. Our recipe is loaded with buttery Yukon Gold potatoes, smoky bacon and sweet corn in a rich and creamy broth. We also use a smart ingredient swap so the soup can thicken naturally without cornstarch or flour.

Updated: Apr. 29, 2024

Some days I have the will and desire to make a multi-step, from-scratch recipe. Other days, I need a recipe that’s quick and easy—and preferably ready to eat in 30 minutes. Corn chowder with bacon and potatoes is a perfect fit.

This rich, creamy chowder features five naturally flavorful ingredients, so it doesn’t need to simmer long to taste amazing. Canned cream-style corn is sweet, Yukon Gold potatoes are buttery, and bacon is robust and savory. Cooking an onion in the bacon drippings is the most complex thing we’ll do in this recipe.

Then, there’s the evaporated milk. It’s a smart ingredient swap for the heavy cream or half-and-half cream used in most chowder recipes. For starters, it’s a shelf-stable product, and the cans last for months in the pantry. More importantly, evaporated milk is thicker than regular milk. With the milk’s creamy consistency, there’s no need to thicken this bacon corn chowder with flour or cornstarch. One less thing to worry about!

Corn Chowder with Bacon Ingredients

  • Bacon: The better the bacon, the better the bacon corn chowder. Opt for the best quality bacon you can afford. (Here are our Test Kitchen’s choices for the best bacon on the market.)
  • Onion: The onion becomes soft and sweet as it cooks in the bacon drippings, adding depth to the chowder.
  • Potatoes: We like Yukon Gold potatoes for this recipe. They have a naturally buttery flavor, and they hold their form well as the chowder simmers.
  • Cream-style corn: Cream-style corn isn’t the same as creamed corn. Canned cream-style corn features whole corn kernels combined with split kernels that release corn “milk” to add creaminess without adding dairy. Cream-style corn has a rich texture and flavor that’s perfect for corn chowder.
  • Evaporated milk: Evaporated milk is thicker than regular milk because it’s been cooked to remove over half its water content. It still tastes like milk, but it has a more concentrated, nuttier character.

Directions

Step 1: Cook the bacon

In a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp, stirring occasionally. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon, and drain it on paper towels. Reserve 1-1/2 teaspoons drippings in the pan and discard the rest.

Editor’s Tip: You don’t have to throw the bacon drippings away! Here’s what to do with bacon grease.

Step 2: Cook the onion

Add the onion to the skillet with the bacon drippings. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until tender.

Step 3: Cook the potatoes

While the bacon and onion are cooking, place the potatoes in a large saucepan, and add enough water to cover them. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Then, reduce the heat to medium. Cook, uncovered, for 10 to 15 minutes or until tender. Drain, reserving 1 cup potato water.

Step 4: Simmer the chowder

Two bowls of corn chowder with bacon soup next to a cutting boardTMB Studio

Add the corn, milk, salt, pepper, potatoes and reserved potato water to the saucepan. Heat through. Stir in the bacon and onion.

Recipe Variations

  • Use fresh or frozen corn: Boost the corn flavor and give the chowder added texture with fresh or frozen corn kernels.
  • Substitute stock or broth: Cook the potatoes in chicken broth, or add a chicken bouillon cube to the water. If you decide to make this chowder with fresh corn, you could use homemade corn stock made from the corn cobs.
  • Add a protein: Add smoked salmon, crab, shrimp or clams to make a corn seafood chowder. Or, stir in cooked or rotisserie chicken to make chicken corn chowder.
  • Make it cheesy: Just before adding the bacon and onion, stir shredded cheese or Velveeta into the warm chowder to make a cheesy corn chowder.
  • Include herbs and spices: Customize this bacon corn chowder with herbs and spices. Cook the onion with herbs like thyme or sage, add onion powder or garlic powder alongside the corn, simmer the chowder with bay leaves, or add a little kick with crushed red pepper flakes or smoked paprika.

How to Store Corn Chowder with Bacon

Store leftover bacon corn chowder in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. Gently reheat the chowder in a saucepan until warmed through.

Can you freeze corn chowder with bacon?

We don’t recommend freezing dairy-based soups like corn chowder. The chowder will become gritty and grainy when thawed, so enjoy it fresh to showcase the velvety, smooth texture.

Corn Chowder with Bacon Tips

A close-up of two green bowls filled with corn chowder with bacon soupTMB Studio

How do you thicken bacon corn chowder?

We make this corn chowder with bacon and potatoes, so you can use the potatoes as a natural thickener. Puree some of the potatoes with the potato water in a blender, or mash the potatoes with a potato masher to release the starches into the chowder. If you don’t want to give up any chunky potatoes, whisk a little cornstarch into cold water until smooth. Then, add the cornstarch mixture to the chowder and simmer it for a few minutes until thickened.

What do you serve with corn chowder with bacon?

Bacon corn chowder is rich, so we like to serve it with light vegetable side dishes like salad, sauteed spinach or roasted carrots. It’s never a bad idea to serve chowder with crackers, homemade rolls or biscuits. To make a soup and sandwich combo, whip up the ultimate grilled cheese.

Watch how to Make Corn Chowder with Bacon

Creamy Corn Chowder with Bacon

Prep Time 30 min
Yield 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound bacon strips, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1-1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes (about 5 medium), peeled and cubed
  • 1 can (14-3/4 ounces) cream-style corn
  • 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions

  1. In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp, stirring occasionally. Remove with a slotted spoon; drain on paper towels. Discard drippings, reserving 1-1/2 teaspoons in pan. Add onion to drippings; cook and stir over medium-high heat until tender.
  2. Meanwhile, place potatoes in a large saucepan; add water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium; cook, uncovered, 10-15 minutes or until tender. Drain, reserving 1 cup potato water.
  3. Add corn, milk, salt, pepper, potatoes and reserved potato water to saucepan; heat through. Stir in bacon and onion.

Nutrition Facts

1 cup: 335 calories, 13g fat (6g saturated fat), 37mg cholesterol, 592mg sodium, 44g carbohydrate (10g sugars, 3g fiber), 12g protein.

I was raised on a farm, so a warm soup with homey ingredients, like this corn chowder with bacon, was always a treat after a chilly day outside. My hearty chowder nourishes the family. —Katie Lillo, Big Lake, Minnesota
Recipe Creator