Corn chowder is the ultimate summer food. Soup? In summer? Absolutely. Corn chowder is a celebration of summer using peak-season corn, my favorite summer food and one of my top WW zero point foods.
This corn chowder has a subtle, smoky undertone that pairs perfectly with sweet summer corn to make one of my favorite comfort foods. For only 280 calories, you better look up your local farmers’ market and get some corn while it’s in its prime.
The Best Summer Soup
Nothing beats fresh summer corn and this recipe really highlights just how delicious summer corn can be. Now, you may not think soup and summer, but this is a light and refreshing soup that pairs well with warm weather nights eating on the patio. July is peak corn season and the farmers’ markets are overflowing with fresh corn begging to be made into corn chowder. Sweet, fresh corn is the star in this luscious, creamy chowder that demands that corn isn’t just a side you serve with butter.
While corn to plentiful in the summer, the best corn is the corn picked within 48 hours of eating (preferably within 24 hours). If you grew up seeing your grandmother add a big handful of sugar to boiling water for corn, it was to make up for less than sweet corn. Fresh corn doesn’t need that. While I do buy my corn from supermarkets at times, nothing beats fresh corn from farmers’ markets.
Can I use a regular blender for soup?
I use an immersion blender for this soup (Here’s one I recommend!), but you can use your regular blender IF your blender can accommodate hot food. If you are unsure or if your blender cannot handle hot food, you can blender in the blender after you've allowed the soup to cool.
Layering the smokiness
The first step to this chowder is crisping bacon. I slice 8 slices of center cut bacon into little strips, throw it all in the dutch oven, and cook until crisp. This renders that fat leaving a nice smoky base and it cooks the bacon which is a great garnish for this.
You need to remove the bacon instead of just mixing it in so it doesn’t burn or worse… get soggy. After the bacon is removed, you’re going to cook the onions until translucent and add garlic.
Once that’s done cooking, you’ll add the next layer of smokiness--smoked paprika and chili powder. (You’ll also add thyme, but that’s not smoky just delicious)
The smoked paprika and chili powder add a depth to this dish without being overpowering. It helps the bacon achieve the reason it’s there in the first place. Don’t panic when you add the chicken broth and your soup looks like it’ll be red. I panicked. It’s fine. The corn chowder definitely stays yellow. Bring that pot to a boil and add the corn.
How long does corn need to cook?
Corn only takes 5 minutes to cook. That’s it. If you’ve been cooking it longer than that, you’ve been doing it wrong--not sorry. Add all the corn, boil for five minutes, then remove the corn. This is why I remove the corn after 5 minutes, bring the pot to a boil again, and add the potatoes.
While you are waiting for the potatoes to cook, remove the corn kernels from the cobs. Here’s a tip for removing corn kernels without making a giant mess.
Something I do that might seem strange is that I add the corn cobs back to the corn after I remove the kernels. Why? Corn cobs have so much flavor and add extra corny goodness to the corn chowder. Once the potatoes are fork-tender (think slightly under mashed potato-ready), remove the cobs.
Should corn chowder be chunky or smooth?
This is totally a personal preference. I prefer my chowder a little chunky. Once the potatoes are done, I add the corn and mix it all up. I then remove half the corn and potatoes and set it aside. Add the cream cheese and Greek yogurt and blend it all with your handy dandy immersion blender.
Watch that chicken stock become smooth and creamy. Add the reserved corn and potatoes and serve.
Weight Watchers Corn Chowder Recipe
This recipe makes about 16 cups of corn chowder and I serve this as a two cup serving. This easy and healthy corn chowder is only 4 Weight Watchers smart points for two cups on Blue and Purple. On Green, a 2 cup serving is 8 WW SP with both corn and Greek yogurt adding to the points.
If you are making this a complete meal, I highly recommend adding 2 lb. of shredded chicken breast for a hearty summer dinner. If you are on WW Purple or Blue, this recipe is only 4 WW SP with thew additional chicken of pure summer gold. You can make this even lighter by substituting the potatoes for cauliflower. Cauliflower blends really creamy like these potatoes.
Gluten Free Corn Chowder
While many corn chowder recipes are thickened with butter and flour, this easy and healthy corn chowder is gluten free because it is thickened by the potatoes, corn, and Greek Yogurt. You just need to use a trusted Chicken Broth, Cream Cheese, and Greek Yogurt however most popular brands are gluten free.
- 8 ears corn
- 8 slices center cut bacon sliced into small pieces
- 2 lbs yellow potatoes cubed into bite size pieces
- 1 large onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 10 cups fat free chicken broth
- 1 cup greek yogurt
- 2 oz Neufchatel (1/3 reduced fat cream cheese)
- 2 tbsp fresh thyme (use 1 tbsp if dried(
- kosher salt and pepper
- Add sliced bacon into the pot and cook until crispy. Remove bacon, but leave the bacon fat.
- Cook diced onions on medium heat in bacon fat until translucent.
- Once cooked, add garlic, paprika, and chili powder. Cook for about 30 seconds.
- Add chicken broth and bring to a boil.
- Add corn into the boiling pot. Break the corn in half is needed to make it all fit. Boil for five minutes and remove corn.
- Add cubed potatoes and boil until fork tender.
- While the potatoes cook, remove corn kernels from the cobs and place corn in a bowl. Add the cobs back into the pot until potatoes are done.
- Remove corn cobs from the pot when potatoes are fork tender.
- If you are keeping the chowder chunky, remove half of the potatoes. If you like it smooth, keep it all in.
- Add 3/4 of the reserved corn kernels into the pot and blend with an immersion blender.
- Once smooth, add Greek yogurt and cream cheese into the pot and blend until smooth again. Taste and add salt and pepper to personal preference. I used no salt chicken broth and added about 2-3 tablespoons of kosher salt + 1 tbsp of pepper.
- Stir in any reserved potatoes, corn kernels, bacon, and fresh thyme.
- Serve and enjoy.
Serving Size:2 cups
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 280Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 866mgCarbohydrates: 50gNet Carbohydrates: 44gFiber: 6gSugar: 7gProtein: 15g