Make Instant Pot Corn Chowder with fresh corn cobs to make an easy corn broth for maximum flavor. This is a creamy corn, potato and bacon chowder that won’t heat up your kitchen this summer.

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A white bowl of corn chowder with bacon and an ear of corn in the background.

Tips and Tricks

Is an Instant Pot a pressure cooker? Yes! Instant Pot is a brand of electric pressure cooker. You can definitely use your Instant Pot or other electric pressure cooker to make this recipe. 

How do you store leftovers? Store leftover corn chowder in the fridge in airtight containers for up to four days in the fridge. 

Can you freeze corn chowder? I wouldn’t recommend freezing already made corn chowder. The potatoes in the recipe don’t defrost well and become mushy. I also don’t love the texture of a cream based soup from the freezer. However, you can absolutely freeze your corn broth and then make the soup at a later date. I do this a lot for when I’m missing summer flavors in the cold weather. 

How do you get corn kernels off the cob? Getting the kernels off is always a little messy. I’ve found the best way for me to do it is using a sheet tray with a lip and a sharp paring knife. The sheet tray will give you a wide surface area but also contain the corn. A paring knife is easier to handle than a large chef’s knife in this case. First husk the corn and discard. Next, put the corn at a 45 degree angle to the sheet tray, resting the end on the sheet tray and using the paring knife, cut the corn off the cob, letting it fall to the sheet tray. Try not to cut too deep or it’ll be too starchy. I’ve also seen people use a bundt pan, but we don’t have one!

How do you make chowder thicker? If your chowder isn’t thick enough you can either reduce the liquid a bit by simmering or add a cornstarch slurry to the soup. Allow to come to a simmer and it should thicken a bit more. 

What do you serve with corn chowder? I love to eat corn chowder as a main course on a summer night or for lunch the next day. I usually eat it by itself but you can definitely have antipasto salad as an appetizer and soup for dinner. Another option is to serve this as an appetizer to any of your favorite summer recipes from the grill or even Brown Butter Lobster Rolls if you’re really embracing the summer theme!

Ingredients

Raw ingredients laid out and labeled. Corn kernels, heavy cream, corn broth, garlic, onion, red potatoes, bacon, fresh thyme and flour.

Can you use store bought vegetable stock? I’m sure the recipe will still be tasty with store bought vegetable stock, however, I wouldn’t recommend it. The recipe will physically work the same but the flavor won’t be the same. You get a lot of flavor from the corn broth made with fresh corn cobs. I recommend saving corn cobs in your freezer for the fall and winter. 

Can you use frozen corn for this recipe? Yes, you can use frozen corn or canned corn for this recipe. The corn chowder will still taste good but it will taste the best with peak season summer time local corn. Corn is one of those vegetables that you can really notice the difference between peak summertime corn and another option. I make it with leftover corn cob broth from the freezer in the fall and winter when I’m missing those flavors. 

Can you use dried thyme? Yes! I usually have fresh thyme from making the stock but if you don’t, you can use dried thyme. I use about 2 teaspoons of dried thyme and add it at the same spot in the recipe. 

Can you make this vegetarian? If you really don’t want to use bacon, you can try to saute either a vegetarian bacon (you’ll probably need some extra fat!) or mushrooms. Mushrooms have a lot of flavor and can be chopped up and cooked until crispy just like bacon. 

Method

How do you make corn broth? You can  make corn broth with leftover corn cobs, aromatics and your pressure cooker. You can find the instructions for pressure cooker corn broth and all the details. There are also slow cooker and stove top instructions on that page. 

Corn broth in a large glass mason jar surrounded by fresh corn, carrots, celery,thyme and garlic

How do you make pressure cooker corn chowder? Chop bacon up into one inch pieces and saute in a pressure cooker until just turning crisp. Once crisp, remove bacon and drain on a paper towel lined plate. Leave fat in the cooking vessel and add in chopped onions and garlic. Stir and cook for two to three minutes until fragrant.

2x2 process photo collage.

Add in corn kernels, stir and cook for one to two minutes until brighter yellow. Next, add  baby red potatoes, thyme sprigs, corn broth and one teaspoon salt to the pressure cooker and seal. Cook on high for six minutes and then do a quick release after two minutes. Open carefully and check potatoes, they should be fork tender. Remove thyme sprigs and discard. If desired, remove ⅓ of the soup and blend or use an immersion blender until slightly chunky and add back to soup.

2x2 process photo collage.

Combine heavy cream and all purpose flour in a small mixing bowl and mix well.  Add cream slurry to  soup and bring to a simmer and stir until flour is dissolved. Allow the soup to cook for a few minutes until thickened.Season liberally with salt and pepper until soup tastes good but is not salty. Serve and top with crispy bacon. 

1x3 process photo collage.

Can you make this on the stove top? If you don’t have a pressure cooker, you can absolutely make this on the stove top. It will come out just as well but it will heat up your kitchen a bit more so I don’t recommend it if it’s absurdly hot out. 

Stove Top Instructions
Chop bacon up into one inch pieces and saute in a dutch oven or soup pot on medium heat until just turning crisp. Remove bacon and drain on a paper towel lined plate, leave fat in the pot.  Add in chopped onion and garlic and stir for two to three minutes until fragrant. Add in corn, stir and cook for one to two minutes until brighter yellow. Next, add in halved baby red potatoes, thyme, corn stock and one teaspoon of kosher salt to dutch oven. Bring soup to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook until potatoes are fork tender (about 8-10 minutes). After the potatoes are cooked, remove thyme sprigs. If desired, remove about one third of the soup and blend or use an immersion blender until slightly chunky. Add back to soup. Combine heavy cream and all purpose flour and mix until combined. Add to soup and bring to a simmer, allow to cook for a few minutes until thickened. Season liberally with salt and pepper until soup tastes good but is not salty. Serve and top with crispy bacon. 

A white bowl filled with chowder, with bacon as a garnish and a spoon.

Do you have to use an immersion blender? If you don’t have an immersion blender or hand blender, you can carefully pour some of the soup into a blender. Pulse it a few times and return it to the pot. If you don’t have either, your soup just may not be as thick, but it will still taste wonderful.

Corn chowder in the pressure cooker being ladled out with a ladle.

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Instant Pot Corn Chowder

Make Instant Pot Corn Chowder with fresh corn cobs to make an easy corn broth for maximum flavor. This is a creamy corn, potato and bacon chowder that won’t heat up your kitchen this summer.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr
Servings: 4 Servings
Author: Samantha

Ingredients

  • 4-6 pieces of bacon
  • ½ large onion chopped
  • 4-6 cloves garlic diced
  • Corn kernels from 4 cobs about 2 cups
  • 1 ½ pounds baby red potatoes cut into halves
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4-4 ½ cups corn stock
  • 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt plus more to taste
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • Fresh ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Chop bacon up into 1 inch pieces and saute in a pressure cooker until just turning crisp. Remove bacon and drain on a paper towel lined plate, leave fat in the cooking vessel.
  • Add in chopped onion and garlic. Stir and cook for 2-3 minutes until fragrant.
  • Add in corn kernels, stir and cook for 1-2 minutes until brighter yellow.
  • Add in halved baby red potatoes, thyme sprigs, corn stock and 1 teaspoon salt to the pressure cooker and seal. Cook on high for 6 minutes and then do a quick release after 2 minutes. Open carefully and check potatoes, should be fork tender.
  • Remove thyme sprigs and discard.
  • If desired, remove ⅓ of the soup and blend or use an immersion blender until slightly chunky. Add back to soup.
  • Combine heavy cream and all purpose flour in a small mixing bowl and mix until combined. There may be some lumps and that’s okay, the flour will dissolve. Add to soup and bring to a simmer and stir. Stirring helps dissolve the flour. Allow the soup to cook for a few minutes until thickened.
  • Season liberally with salt and pepper until soup tastes good but is not salty.
  • Serve and top with crispy bacon.

Notes

  • You can  use frozen or canned corn for this recipe but it won’t be as good as fresh summer corn.
  • Use 2 teaspoons of dried thyme if you don’t have any fresh.
  • Make corn broth from corn cobs! Store bought vegetable stock won’t be the same.
  • Store leftovers in the fridge in airtight containers for up to 4 days. Do not store in the freezer.
  • Use of immersion blender is optional, but your chowder may not be as thick.
  • To make chowder vegetarian substitute out chopped up mushrooms for bacon.
  • This recipe was tested with Diamond Crystal Kosher salt, if you’re using a different brand, start with half the volume called for and season to taste.

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