Cheesy Ham Chowder Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep: 30 min. Cook: 30 min.
This ham chowder recipe is chock-full of ham, bacon, potatoes and cheese—all ingredients we love on their own, but even more so together. A warm bowl will warm you up from the inside, out!

Updated: Apr. 24, 2024

Ah, soup season. There’s something so comforting about a steaming bowl that never fails to warm you up on a cold and blustery day. While there are dozens of types of soups we love, if you ask me, you can’t go wrong with a creamy bowl full of cheese, potatoes and hearty mix-ins. This ham chowder recipe checks all those boxes, and it has two kinds of meats to make it even more filling.

Here’s everything you need to know to make a flavorful chowder that everyone will ask for on chilly nights.


  • Ham: This is a great leftover ham recipe since it calls for cubed cooked ham.
  • Bacon: Our ham chowder recipe makes use of bacon in two ways: first, by using the drippings to saute the carrots and onions; and second, by mixing the chopped bacon strips into the soup.
  • Roux: Adding some flour to the bacon fat creates a roux to help thicken the chowder.
  • Veggies: Chopped onion, carrots and potatoes give the soup some heft and flavor, plus, of course, color and nutritional value.
  • Cheese: Even though other ham chowder recipes don’t call for cheese, we add a very hearty handful of shredded cheddar before serving for good measure. (You can skip it if you want. Check out the Variations section below to learn more.)


Step 1: Cook the bacon

Cooking Bacon in large potTMB Studio

In a Dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon strips to paper towels to drain.

Step 2: Saute the onion and carrots

Cooking diced onions, carrots and other ingredientsTMB Studio

In the bacon drippings, saute the chopped onion and diced carrots until tender.

Step 3: Create the roux

Ham Chowder TMB Studio

Stir the flour into the bacon drippings until blended. Gradually add milk and water. Bring to a boil, cooking and stirring for two minutes or until thickened.

Step 4: Add the potatoes and corn

Add the potatoes, corn, bouillon and pepper. Reduce the heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

Step 5: Stir in the ham, cheese and bacon

Cheddar cheese melting TMB Studio

Add the cheese and cubed ham, and heat until the cheese is melted.

Ham ChowderTMB Studio

Before serving, stir in the bacon bits. If desired, garnish with parsley and additional bacon.

Ham Chowder Variations

  • Skip the cheese: If you can’t have or don’t want cheese, feel free to omit it from the chowder entirely.
  • Add more veggies: Try adding some chopped celery in at the same time as the carrots and onions.
  • Replace the bouillon powder: If you don’t have chicken bouillon powder on hand (I know that I don’t), use a combination of herbs and spices to make up for it. Oregano, thyme, garlic powder, dried basil and little turmeric will go a long way in a pinch.

How to Store Ham Chowder

Divide the cooled ham chowder among airtight containers, then store in the fridge for three or four days. Reheat leftovers gently on the stovetop or in the microwave.

Can you freeze ham chowder?

We generally shy away from freezing soups with dairy, like this ham chowder recipe. The dairy typically separates from the rest of the soup in the freezer and creates an unpleasant texture when thawed and reheated.

Ham Chowder Tips

Ham Chowder served in small bowlsTMB Studio

What kind of ham can you use to make ham chowder?

Leftover ham is the perfect ham for chowder! Try to use meat from a recipe that doesn’t have an overly sweet glaze, because that will come through in the chowder. Stay away from recipes such as orange-glazed ham and baked ham with pineapple, and go for recipes like slow-cooker ham and baked spiral ham instead. This chowder recipe would be great to turn to after holidays like Christmas and Easter since leftover ham is almost guaranteed.

If you don’t have any leftover ham, pick up some ham steaks. Just no lunch meat, please!

What kind of potatoes can you use to make chowder?

We used peeled and chopped russet potatoes to make ham chowder, but red potatoes are another type of potato that would work just as well. You could even leave the skins on for a little extra flavor and texture.

What do you serve with ham chowder?

Chowder recipes like this one don’t need a hearty side, since the soup itself is already pretty filling. We’d never say no to crusty baguette or fresh homemade rolls as a side—but a side salad would do the trick if you’d like to add some greens.

Watch how to Make Cheesy Ham Chowder

Ham Chowder

Prep Time 30 min
Cook Time 30 min
Yield 10 servings (2-1/2 quarts).


  • 10 bacon strips, diced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 2-1/2 cups cubed potatoes
  • 1 can (15-1/4 ounces) whole kernel corn, drained
  • 2 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules
  • Pepper to taste
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups cubed fully cooked ham
  • Minced fresh parsley, optional


  1. In a Dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove to paper towels to drain. In the drippings, saute onion and carrots until tender. Stir in flour until blended. Gradually add milk and water. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
  2. Add the potatoes, corn, bouillon and pepper. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Add cheese and ham; heat until cheese is melted. Stir in bacon. If desired, garnish with parsley and additional bacon.

Nutrition Facts

1 cup: 404 calories, 26g fat (12g saturated fat), 76mg cholesterol, 1081mg sodium, 20g carbohydrate (8g sugars, 3g fiber), 22g protein.

My five children all agree that this soothing recipe is wonderful. The soup is full of potatoes, carrots and ham. The best part is that I can get it on the table in only a half hour of hands-on time. —Jennifer Trenhaile, Emerson, Nebraska