Recipes

corn chowder with chile, lime and cotija

I evicted a longtime resident of my To Cook list this week with this corn chowder. I have no argument with traditional corn chowder — it has cream, bacon, and potatoes and thus would be impossible not to love as soup or salad — but I adore to the point of boring everyone around me with my gushing, Mexican-style corn either elote-style (on the the cob rolled in butter, mayo, lime juice and coated with salty crumbled cotija cheese and chile powder or a chile-lime seasoning blend) or esquites-style (all of the above, but in a cup). This corn chowder attempts to celebrate the best of both.


making a mess of the kitchencutting kernels from the cornassistantblended and whole corn kernels

I started with a classic corn chowder using whole and blended fresh kernels, onion, garlic, milk, and cream but added some jalapeño and chili powder for flavor and used cooked black and small red beans instead of potatoes for bulk. Then, right before you eat it, because I am fully of the conviction that finishes are what make a soup, you make a rich street corn-like dressing with mayo, sour cream, cheese, and lime and dollop it right into the center of the soup. Squeeze more lime all over, shake on some chili powder and finish it with fresh cilantro and, if you’re not sure you’ve gilded the lily enough (or, perhaps, have children still viewing this meal skeptically), bake some corn tortilla wedges into chips.

with some chili powdercorn chowdersimmeringcrumbled cotija

Repeat as long as the corn as corn is in season, or if you’re us, exactly one more evening because tomorrow (!) we are heading to Spain (!) for vacation and no, we haven’t packed or even taken our suitcases out of the closet, I’m sorry if you previously mistook us for high-functioning adults. More soon from the other side, including some Spanish favorites, a new favorite cocktail, two new Food Network episodes, and then when we return, more news about this new little cookbook coming out this fall and some book tour dates.

corn chowder with chile, lime and cotijacorn chowder with chile, lime and cotija

Corn Chowder with Chile, Lime and Cotija

  • Servings: 6 to 8
  • Print

The finishing mixture is mostly from Serious Eat’s Elotes recipe, although I nixed the garlic and keep the cilantro and chili powder separate. If you use only 1 tablespoon of it per serving, you will probably have extra but I wanted to give you the option to use more if you wish.

    Soup
  • 8 medium/large ears corn, husks and silks removed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 large onion, preferably Spanish, chopped fine
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 to 2 jalapeño peppers, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon mild chili powder or 1 teaspoon of a hotter one
  • 3 tablespoons (25 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups (945 ml) vegetable or chicken stock or broth
  • 2 15-ounce cans small red or black beans, drained and rinsed (or one of each) (3 1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup (235 ml) whole milk
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper or cayenne to taste
  • 1/2 to 1 cup (120 to 235 ml) heavy cream
  • Finish
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup (60 grams) sour cream or Mexican crema
  • 1/2 cup (110 grams) finely crumbled Cotija, feta or ricotta salata cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1 lime, divided
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • Chili powder or a chili-lime seasoning such as Tajín
  • Baked tortilla chips (optional)

Make the soup: With a sharp knife, cut kernels from 8 ears corn (you should have about 6 cups); transfer half to a bowl. Chop the other half into pulpy bits on a cutting board or blend them in a food processor until half-pureed. Add to bowl. Firmly scrape any pulp remaining on cobs with back of knife into bowl with corn, unless you’re me and had weirdly dry stalks, yielding no corn “milk.” Set corn aside.

In a large (5 quarts is ideal) heavy pot, heat olive oil and butter over medium. Add onion and cook until tender and beginning to brown at the edges, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic, jalapeño and chili powder and cook together for 2 minutes more. Add flour and stir into onion-garlic mixture until it disappears. Stirring constantly, gradually add stock. Add beans, corn, and 1 cup milk and bring to a simmer. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 13 minutes, until corn is tender. Add salt (I used about 1 tablespoon Diamond kosher salt total here) and freshly ground black pepper or cayenne to taste. Add cream to taste (we found 1/2 cup sufficient, but it will be less creamy than traditional) and cook for 3 minutes more.

To finish: Combine mayonnaise, sour cream or crema, cheese, and juice of half a lime in a bowl; stir to combine. Cut second half of lime into wedges.

Ladle soup into bowls and dollop in center with 1 tablespoon (or more to taste) of mayo-cheese mixture. Squeeze lime juice over to taste, sprinkle with chili powder and chopped cilantro and serve, baked tortilla chips on the side if you wish.


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201 comments on corn chowder with chile, lime and cotija

  1. Erin

    I am looking forward to your take on what you eat in Barcelona! Magical place…I know you will love it. We spent the December holidays there last year and wish we could live there! Hope you love it as much as we do.

  2. Marcella

    This looks delicious. Living in San Antonio, TX, street corn is e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e, but this soup looks so good for when it actually gets cold here (aka, December)!!!

  3. Nicky

    Looks wonderful…I’ll probably add more veg when I try it…maybe a succotash flavor by adding some sautéed zucchini and chopped tomato. I’ve been thinking about trying a new corn chowder recently, but I was headed more toward italy rather than Mexico. Looking forward to trying this out..

  4. somesmallthings

    Oh my god woman this soup is my spirit animal! I look forward to making a pot and savoring while I watch the Game of Thrones Finale. A+ summer goals.

    1. Mary B

      I’m lactose intolerant too – Lactaid milk is a good substitute, but I’d bet an unsweetened non-dairy milk like almond or rice could work too (coconut might be really interesting?hmm). Skip the heavy cream and mix greek yogurt with the mayo for the topping (if you can tolerate it – or use a non-dairy yogurt)

      1. Ellen

        Lifeway brand plain Kefir is a great substitute for cream, milk, or buttermilk, and is lactose free. It has a little extra tang though.

    2. Patsy

      I’m lactose intolerant but still ok with other forms of dairy, so I usually use evaporated milk. The preserving process transforms the lactose, so it doesn’t bother me in cooked foods.

  5. Statgirl

    This looks so good but I have one suggestion: rather than scraping the corn “milk” off the empty cobs, you could just put them in the soup for the 10-13 minute simmer, to extract even more flavor from them, and then fish them out before serving. Can’t wait to try this!

    1. Erika

      If you do it in an instant pot, cooking it at pressure fully milks the cobs (you throw them right in w the corn and then remove once cooked). This is how Kenji Lopez-Alt makes corn soup and it is transcendent

    2. Charlotte in Toronto

      I know someone who does this with his naked cobs to intensify the corn flavor. Sometimes he even grills the naked cobs before they go into the pot. It makes a nice charred flavor.

  6. Kristin

    I am sitting here eating Mexican Corn Salad from Annie’s Eats, and I see THIS! YUM! Can’t wait to try it! Have a great trip!

  7. Eftihia

    I too am heading to Spain for a vacation tomorrow, Deb! I a man a big fan of your blog and recipes, so perhaps we’ll run into each other in Barcelona!

  8. Ingrid

    Any chance this would work with frozen corn? I know, I know — but I’d love to make this the instant I get home in a couple of hours, and that means using the corn I have instead of going to the store to buy outrageously expensive ears.

    1. George

      I literally just made this with canned corn (accidentally bought way too much!). And it worked perfectly. I used 4 15oz cans. I didn’t really measure the amount, just eyeballed until it looked good.

  9. Jessica

    Deb- this looks INCREDIBLE! Any suggestions for making it gluten free? I assume the flour is to thicken the soup. Could it be omitted? Or a substitute? Thanks!

  10. Susan

    Well this answers the question of what I’m going to do with the leftover cotija and impulse-purchase corn cobs in my fridge.

  11. Zoë M J Bassett

    I live in Valencia! If you’re coming iba way, my “bumps and babies” group will take you all out to the best food places (and wine palaces, and parks, and beaches, etc).
    Which bit of Spain are you coming to?

  12. Molly G

    Ooh! This looks so good! Thank you for a delicious recipe before you head off to Espana! Enjoy your trip – I can’t wait to hear about all the details :)

    I really hope Denver is on your list of book tour cities… That would be incredible!

  13. Hillary

    Wow! I love corn chowder. I am thrown by the beans and would prefer potatoes. When would you add potatoes? Same time you would add beans in the recipe as written above?

      1. Lizzy Njie

        I’m glad for this answer, I’m breastfeeding and have found out the hard way (yayyy, all night has and screaming!) that my little man doesn’t tolerate beans too well.

  14. Deepti Bhogle

    Yum! Corn chowder has been on my mind for a few days now.. do you think I could freeze/refrigerate half of it for another week?

  15. Nancy H

    Now I know why I’ve been thinking about soup for the last week, even if the temps here are still 100+. I couldn’t think what sounded good, but now I know and will make it this week. Have a great trip, Bon Voyage!

  16. Patricia Miller

    This looks great! Question – can the entire mayo/sour cream/cheese mixture be added to the entire pot at the end or is it necessary to add it to individual bowls?

    1. deb

      You probably can but the flavor will be more muddled/lost. I realized I’d have to add a lot of it to the pot to flavor all of it but that a small dollop goes a long way to accenting a whole bowl.

  17. charlene taylor

    Thank you so much for this! my husband is a corn lover and now is really loving mexican street corn… Can’t wait to give this a try!

  18. Ashley Magill

    I made this tonight and it was very good! I omitted jalapeños since my little were eating it. I also added some sweet peppers that I had on hand and some chili lime and smoked paprika seasonings from Trader Joe’s I had. I would worry that without some extra seasonings it would be a bit bland. It was delicious! My husband who doesn’t like soup, especially corn in his soup, had seconds.

  19. Gillian

    This was delicious! I followed the recipe as written, which I rarely do. We all loved it, even my 10 year old picky one. I used one jalapeño but scraped out the membrane and seeds. Also, McCormick seasoning makes a citrus chili garlic season blend which I used to sprinkle over top of individual bowls, plus the sour cream cotiga mix.

  20. Kelsey

    I too love elote! I also love Tosi-Lotes, which is elote in walking taco fashion. Imagine a personal sized bag of lime tortillas chips, cut open on the side and elote with all the fixin’s on top of those tortillas. So good!

  21. Toni

    Warning — you might want to cut back on the jalapeno! I made the recipe exactly as written and we could barely eat the soup. I added more sour cream to my bowl and it helped, but the soup was still very spicey. Typically my husband has a pretty good tolerance for heat, but he didn’t eat his either. The flavor was very good once it was toned down, but I would use half a jalapeno at most.

    1. Heather

      Your jalapenos must have been exceedingly spicy! I only used one because the tiny piece I ate to test the heat level made my mouth burn and my nose run, and I still thought the soup could have used a tad more heat.

    2. Gail

      I once read that when choosing a jalapeno, choose one with a rounded end… it’ll be less spicy than the ones with very pointy ends. And I have found that to be true. Also be sure not to accidentally choose a serrano pepper – they look like smaller versions of jalapenos and are often sold right next to them. They are pointy and much hotter than jalapenos. Sorry about your soup though!

  22. suzanne

    Sooooo yummy! Made this earlier in the day so after we returned from wading in tide pools late in the evening, we had delicious soup to warm us up. My picky 8 year old will try anything with beans, and so she was so glad she tried this… now on the family favorite list. Thank you.

  23. RO

    I love that elote is having a moment now, all the way over here on the East Coast. I first discovered it 10 years ago while living in California and a Mexican friend invited me to a family bbq. I was shocked. Mayo, hot sauce, lime juice & cheese? On corn?!?!? I fell instantly in love.

  24. Perfect post for late August when the jalapenos are going crazy. It’s simmering now and we’re about to sit down. Fabulous recipe and especially love the kick from jalapenos and chili powder (I used chipotle.)

    This soup is so forgiving, I changed a couple of things with delicious results: I substituted fish for the beans, since we had some leftover cooked filets in the fridge — just flaked them with a fork and added at the very end. Added the zest of the lime to the soup, and used grilled corn instead of fresh for a smokier flavor. And instead of cotija I used cheddar, which is not at all authentic, but delicious.

  25. Erica

    I see this is in the freezer friendly category and am looking for tips/review of how well it freezes. I assume the topping should be made freshly the night it is served but I am curious if people have had good results with freezing it.

  26. Colleen

    I made this yesterday and have mixed feelings. The flavor is delicious, no question. I think where mine wasn’t ideal was the texture. Maybe my corn was less tender than yours? The partly pureed corn gave it an odd consistency, a bit grainy and chunky but not at all smooth. While we had it for dinner as it was, I ended up pureeing the remainder, straining it, and adding fresh whole kernels back in(yeah, we had a ton of corn around :P) I think when I make this again, I’ll skip the pureeing part all together.

  27. Kristi L

    Made this soup for a dinner with my parents, siblings & the littles. I also served chopped onion and toasted pepitas for garnishes. Everyone loved it, but we laughed when we realized that it tasted like a soup version of a dish my mom has made for ages and ages called Corn Tamale Loaf. Thanks, Deb, for your hard work on this blog; I use your recipes a lot and find them very trustworthy.

  28. Deb : I made this down chowder tonight for dinner. It was absolutely delicious. I changed the beans for potatoes but that was my only changeout. My daughter and I thought this was the best ever!!!

  29. This was the best ever!!! I made this tonight with a couple of minor changes I used potatoes instead of beans and I used hatch chilis. But still delicious. The three of us ate it up!

  30. Brittany

    Fabulous! This will be a regular at my house. I added a tsp of cumin and also used some green onions and finely shredded cabbage with the cilantro.

  31. Heather

    I made this today and absolutely loved it. I only eat corn in the summer when it is in season, and I am always looking for new ways to use it (although your burst tomato galette with corn and zucchini is my absolute favorite). I think the soup would be great garnished with the radish-zucchini slaw in your charred corn tacos recipe, either as a lighter alternative or in addition to the mayo-cream-cotija mixture. I think I’ll try that with some of the leftovers.

  32. Pattytattat

    Ooh this was delish! My husband and I had the actual Elote corn 2 years ago while in Sedona (have signed cookbook from Chef Jeff Smedsted).

    Wish I could post a picture…

  33. This is spot on delicious. I used 1 tsp of salt at the end, 2 Serrano peppers instead of jalapeños, 1/2 cup cream, and only finished it with cilantro (it didn’t need anything else). De-kerneling the corn, getting the milk off the Cobb, and chopping up half of the kernels is, as a warning, a huge pain in the butt. However, assuming the only time you’ll make this is late summer, totally worth the effort.

  34. Lisa

    This was so yummy, Deb! Subbed beans with potatoes and as some others did used the T Joe’s chili lime seasoning on top. Came together so quick.

  35. surati Ivey

    I just read this recipe. I’ve never been a fan of Corn Chowder, just doesn’t do for me. Too bland. But this, THIS one, Yes – for sure I will make it soon. It is corn season here. I just made Blue Corn Muffins using toasted blue corn meal and folded fresh cut off the cobb corn. I’m on a corn kick. Thx for the inspiration. You’re very inspiring ya know.

  36. elmendez

    I only had 4 ears of corn, so I halved the recipe. Worked out great and it was really delicious!! Mine looked a little thicker than what you have in the pics, but we liked the heartiness of it. I used 1 entire jalapeño with seeds removed, and even with only doing 1/2 the recipe, it was fine.

  37. Julie

    This was a great soup. I like the beans instead of potatoes for summertime. Must do the topping. That was great. Forgot the cilantro But we have leftovers! Won’t forget tomorrow!

  38. Ellen N.

    Hi Deb,

    This soup looks wonderful. I’m a huge fan of Mexican corn and my husband is a huge fan of soup and of corn. I’ll be making it as soon as Los Angeles cools off.

    Am I correct in intuiting that you’ve moved over to team cilantro? If so, welcome.

    Yours,

    Ellen

    1. deb

      I am never going to be a huge fan but I’ve been nudging myself there for 10+ years, mostly because so much of the food I like contains it. I’ve found that when minced with garlic and lime, or, say, fish sauce and ginger, it’s pretty palatable. A fistful on top of a taco, however, will always be my least favorite part of said taco.

  39. casey longo

    Love the way this tastes, but mine looked HIDEOUS. Kind of vague grey-beige color. Where did I go wrong? forget the beans (I used black) ? Did I brown the onions too much? I hid the color under a mountain of cilantro, but would like to fix for next time. ideas?

    1. Becky Roberts

      Used all red beans, and a very bright red chili powder (San Antonio blend bought in bulk at the grocery store), and vegetable stock make mine a beautiful bright orange color.

  40. Mary

    Made this tonight for family dinner night. It was a huge hit. I was lucky enough to have some freshly roasted green chilies which I used instead of jalapeños. Incredible! Perfect end of summer soup.

  41. Jill

    I love this soup! It had so much flavor. I left out the jalapeno for the sake of my 2-year-old, but there was a nice hint of heat from the chili powder. I added 2 teaspoons of kosher salt toward the end, and that was certainly plenty for us.

  42. Pamela

    Is there a secret to cutting corn off the cob without it flying all over? I tried doing it slowly and still I find the kernels all over the counter or on the floor!

    1. Lauren

      Get a large mixing bowl and set it right side up on the counter. Invert a tiny bowl in the center of the mixing bowl. Hold the corn cobs vertically with the butts resting on the little bowl, hold the top of the cob, and slice downwards. The big bowl collects the corn and keeps it from going everywhere!

  43. Tonya

    Just made this with fresh summer corn. Love the sweet and spiciness (that can be modified for your taste). Might add some new red potatoes next time. Thanks for the recipe :)

  44. Rachel M.

    Wow! This was the best corn chowder I’ve ever had. It was the perfect use for all of the corn that I have in the fridge. Thanks for the recipe!

  45. I made this in Melbourne, Australia 4 days ago and I’ve just finished my last bowl of it now. It’s delicious, more so now that when it was freshly made. It definitely benefuts from coriander, a squeeze of lime and cheese on the top – I used Danish feta which nicely melted into the soup. Yum.

  46. Hadley

    I had always stayed away from anything chowder or corn-soup-y, but this looked too good to pass up! It did not fail me, thanks for the awesome (and to-be-repeated next summer) recipe!!

  47. Sue K

    This sounds wonderful. I am going to keep the recipe for when it gets a little cooler. I was lucky enough to be at my favorite vegetable and fruit store when they were having a $1 for as many ears of corn you can fit in the bag. I got 2 bags full to the max and got close to 7 dozen. Terrific corn and now I have lots in the freezer. Love fresh produce. Have lots of broccoli and cauliflower and tomatoes to get out of my garden but corn did not grow well.

  48. Liz

    SO GOOD! This is the recipe that I’d been waiting for all my life and didn’t even realize it. I halved the recipe since I live alone and I just wanted to see how much it’d yield. I would have added another jalapeno (I love spiciness!), but it still turned out great. This did take a while to make, taking into consideration the prep and then mixing all the elements in and simmering, but it was worth it.

    I can’t wait to make this again in the fall when it’s not, like, 100 degrees outside. I’ll make a FULL recipe and freeze it so I can just keep enjoying it!

  49. Charlotte

    I love this recipe! My sister made it last night so I tried it tonight. She suggested I add a little cumin, so that’s what I did! Also I added the Cobb to the simmering stock! Ahhh! It was absolutely delicious. I’m telling you, try adding the cleaned of kernels cob! It’s amazing!!

  50. Wench

    As soon as I saw this I had to make it, and OH MY GLOB it’s amazing. I didn’t have jalapenos so I threw in diced fire roasted poblanos instead. SO GOOD. Thank you and I hope you have a wonderful time in Spain!!

  51. Shannon

    As I was serving this, my (picky, reluctant veg-eater) son asked, “Will this taste like the one at that place?” Despite the vagueness, I knew he was referring to the corn soup (appetizer? side dish?) at the Elote restaurant in Sedona, which my family considers the highest treatment of corn possible. I downplayed, tried to reduce expectations. His review, “It does! Why don’t we have this more often?” We all loved it.

  52. Kacie

    Made this for dinner last night as Elotes is one of our favorite Mexican dishes. Added some diced blackened chicken (rubbed with a local chili blend) and some diced potatoes. This was fantastic. Especially with the final spritz of lime and sprinkle of cilantro.

  53. Renee

    Like Casey Long, my soup was delicious but also was a gross beige gray color. After giving it some thought, I’m pretty sure I bought Jersey WHITE corn. I’m thinking this is where the issue lies. You need to make sure your corn is yellow – the more yellow the better.

    1. Kate

      Yes – I just made this with white corn and it was delicious but a pretty unappetizing color. Definitely go for yellow corn. I also didn’t include the beans and it was delicious without!

  54. stephabelle

    I made this last night. Everyone loved it! Here’s how I modified (for laziness): I only used two ears of corn and frozen corn for the rest. I sauteed one diced jalapeno (de-seeded) with the onion to mellow out the flavor a bit.

    I used a full lime in the cotija sauce and discovered the soup benefited from more lime juice, so we squeezed more on top at the end.

    In any case, it was a winner! My daughters loved it. Easy, delicious, and we’ll make it again.

  55. Natalie

    SO, SO GOOD. I used a couple cute potatoes (boiled separately, cubed and added at the end) instead of beans. Cream/mayo/lime/cheese finish is a must and makes the bowl taste exactly like elote.

  56. Lauren

    Made this tonight mostly as written. Used a homemade frozen chili paste (serious eats recipe) instead of powder, and only half a jalapeño, though it could have used at least 1 and maybe the full 2 the recipe called for. Didn’t add the beans until the end and used an immersion blender to puree the corn/onion/milk mixture to save myself the hassle of cleaning the food processor. Also used yogurt instead of sour cream for the finish. Delicious!!

  57. Nicole

    Texture tips: If anyone is like me and abhors the texture of onions, grating the onion with a box grater works well. It allows for the flavor of the onion to come through, but the shreds are so fine that they nearly melt into the soup and disappear. Although I usually have texture issues with chowder (yep, lots of texture issues), this one was just fine (if you’re worried about the texture: I added the cup of milk to the food processer with 1/2 of the corn to make it smoother). This soup was FANTASTIC and definitely worth the effort!

  58. Jennifer Donovan

    This soup was amazing and the flavors took us right back to our wonderful trip to Mexico City earlier this year. I don’t know why anyone would stray from your recipes when you’ve obviously put so much effort into perfecting them. Thanks so much for sharing this one!

  59. Jori

    SO, SO good!! Incredibly rich and creamy with only 1/2 cup of cream (and 1 cup 1% milk instead of whole… just what we had). Such a keeper! While it certainly won’t be the same… do you think we could keep making this in the fall and winter with frozen corn? Because it’s too delicious to limit to fresh corn season.

  60. Hayley

    This was a huge hit at my house! DO NOT skip out on the finish (mayo + sour cream + cotija + lime), it MAKES the dish!! Sadly, I had white corn, so it was pretty in a different way. Dynamite!

  61. Bibi

    I made this yesterday following the directions. It was delicious. Definitely a nice change from traditional corn chowder. I used cayenne rather than pepper when it came to seasoning. The cotija adds a nice texture when it sinks into the soup and warms up.

  62. Simone

    Made this last night and it was fantastic. We used a really rich, homemade chix stock and as per Debs note re cream, it probably did not need any heavy cream. Both flavours were great, before the heavy cream the individual flavours were brighter, with the cream it melded them all together like a traditional chowder – either way it rocked!

  63. AMT

    Deb, I have no idea why this horrible thought came to me today. But like a bad dream involving a friend, I feel like I have to speak it aloud to be sure it never comes true.

    I was again reading the painfully tone-deaf Cooking newsletter from the New York Times today and my heart seized with panic as I thought – I bet these fools would love to get their claws on Deb. Think about it! Gabrielle Hamilton is just the most recent example of an independent superstar falling into their trap. Their communications are so bad, their recipes so inaccurate, and their website so clunky, that it just makes sense they’d want to acquire the Deb brand and steal all of your trade secrets! I sound nuts, but that’s nothing new, so.

    This is turning into a rant, but just let me get this out – NY Times Cooking is the worst. Their recipes a) just plain aren’t that good and b) hardly ever turn out as written. Plus, they’re way out of bounds for the average weeknight cook, often involving obscure ingredients or multi-hour steps. And most of all, this Yankee finds the NY/New England affect that pollutes all of their communications not just snooty, but tired and put-on.

    Since I’m on a roll, let me quote from today’s newsletter, since it’s readily available and fairly representative: “Take a walk after dinner and think about what it’d be like to have known Anne Sexton, hung out with her in a college rathskeller, read this poem there, smoked a few cigarettes with her, while talking about the work. Imagination nation!”

    What on god’s green earth is this man talking about? Are we still talking about dinner? Do I have to know who Anne Sexton is to cook this recipe that has a French name but I am pretty sure is just chicken? Dear lord, take me back to the smitten kitchen.

    Ok, that’s it from me. I’m sorry to vandalize the comments on this lovely recipe. Just please, Deb, don’t ever go write for those amateurs.

  64. Cynthia

    Looks beautiful! I’m going to try this tonight! Oh, wait, it’s been 108 degrees this week. 🔥🔥🔥My car meter showed 126 in the hottest part of the day! I’ll wait a bit, and then I’m on this! 😝🌟☝🏻

  65. Ruth

    We don’t eat so much corn chowder in the UK, but when I read your description of a basic one at the beginning I really wanted to make it before I tried the lime one. It’s chilly here, and I loved the sound of the bacon. Is there anywhere I could go to on the internet to find the best recipe? Knowing you, Deb, it’s in one of your rare books.
    Sorry — you are now on holiday, but I’ll look for an answer later. Barcelona. Lived there for a while. Tapas bars the best. Hope you are having a wonderful time.

  66. Lisa H

    This was fabulous and such a great use of corn from my farm share. I had about 10 ears that I wanted to do something new with. I was excited to try this recipe especially because it has the beans (as a vegetarian I’m constantly struggling to get enough protein). I used a green bell pepper instead of a Jalapeño because I had a few on hand. I used 1 can of black spicy beans from Whole Foods and a regular can of black beans. The soup really wasn’t spicy at all as a result, but it still had amazing flavor so it’s okay. I only used 1/2 tbsp Morton’s kosher salt and I’m glad I did. If I had used the full tbsp it would have been way too salty. I did salt the onions a little at the beginning and DID NOT use low sodium vegetable broth (Whole Foods brand), so all of that could contribute to the salt level.

  67. Susan Wilen

    I love the way this tastes, but mine looked grey-beige in color so it was not as appealing as your photograph. I followed the recipe exactly. My corn may have been whiter than yours and that might have kept it from looking yellow. What did I do wrong?

      1. deb

        Sorry, I thought it was clear that mine was not yellow. It was orange-y from the corn + chili powder and more. For a clearer color, you can omit the chili powder in the soup but of course you’ll miss the flavor too.

  68. Wife To An Amazing Cook

    We enjoyed this so much! I followed the recipe except for using 1/2 of a jalapeno instead of a whole one and I cut back on the salt. The flavor was amazing and leftovers were fought for at lunch the next day. I’ll agree with other commentators that my soup was more beige than Deb’s, but didn’t appear to suffer for it.

    1. RO

      depending on where you live it might be harder to come by. if so just google substitutes. there is a large salvadorean population in my neighborhood so i found something similar.

  69. Lauralli

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!! I made a “light” version of this used reduced fat ingredients. Also used frozen whole kernel white corn. It is fantastic! I wanted to lick the bowl! And, I could just use the “finish” as a dip for the tortilla chips I love it so much! I think I have a new chowder & “finish dip”! :)

  70. Cara

    Does anyone have any tips for how to get kernels off the cob without them flying everywhere? I use a large chef’s knife and every time I feel like half the ear ends of on the floor…

    1. Ellen N.

      I put the corn in a wide mixing bowl. I use a serrated knife to cut the corn off the cobs. Any corn that misbehaves ends up in the mixing bowl.

  71. This recipe is life-changing! My partner and I have made it twice already since you first posted. It comes together so easily and quickly, tastes fantastic, and is still good to eat even after a week. Admittedly, it don’t look like much, but every time we eat it, we both acknowledge just how remarkably good it is. This really does best basically any other corn chowder. We didn’t have any chili powder, so we used acho powder, which is spicier but has the same character, but we made no other modifications. So dang good! Thank you!

  72. Becky Roberts

    Question about crema:
    My store sells Mexican table crema and Mexican sour crema. What is this recipe calling for? I have googled the difference between the two and am now even more confused!

  73. ashby

    This is really, really good. Like, “make it again within the same week” good. I roasted some poblanos and used those instead of the jalepeno and it was smoky and fabulous.

  74. Clara V

    Delicious!!! Like other commenters I subbed the black beans for potatoes – keeps a litter feel and doesn’t muddle the color/taste as black beans might. Really love it, recipe makes a ton.

  75. WendyH

    My husband and 8 year old loved this as did I. (Left out the jalapeño for the little one.) Loved having enough for leftovers this week as well as putting some extra away in the freezer for later in the fall. We had white corn from our neighbor’s garden so our chowder came out beigy as some other folks mentioned might happen. But we didn’t mind. Also, am thinking I should have puréed the corn more thoroughly, as the half-puréed corn didn’t blend quite perfectly with the broth. One of the other comments noted this as well. Still, delicious and swoon-worthy. A fabulous keeper of a recipe!

  76. This is delicious. I made three small changes that I think made it a real winner:

    1. Grilled half the ears of corn before adding to the chowder
    2. Added a few dried kaffir lime leaves & pinch of tom yum powder along with the chili
    3. Doubled the whole milk and didn’t add cream

    The kaffir lime leaves added this fabulous brightness and depth of flavor. The grilled corn made it a bit smokey. I didn’t use cream, sure it would taste great, but it was delicious without and a bit healthier. Thank you, Deb, for another wonderful recipe. Looking forward to the half in my freezer when the weather gets colder.

  77. Laura

    This was SO good!! Will definitely go on repeat so long as we have great local corn coming into the greenmarkets. The only thing I tweaked was to steep some of the cobs in the chicken stock before adding it into the chowder in the hopes of adding another layer of corny goodness. :)

  78. Kaila

    This was one of the best recipes I have ever tried- I must have 100’s on Pinterest and this was divine!! I swapped milk for coconut milk and used white beans- other than that followed it and was really tasty!

  79. Sarah

    Long-time listener, first time caller. Inspired to comment because: Holy crap, this is so good. Medium time investment (mostly in the prep), amazing payoff. I cut corners at will due to ingredients on hand – not quite enough chili powder? Just dump out the remainder of the bottle in the pot and hope for the best. No whole milk? 1% plus a few splashes of half and half will do it. No heavy cream? Again, with the half and half. My husband and I each downed two bowls of this in quick succession, and proceeded to lick those bowls. Thanks, Deb!

  80. k

    Really delicious soup. I want to make a few batches and freeze for the corn-free months ahead. I normally don’t freeze soups with milk and cream…is that a problem here?

  81. Bethany

    Just so you know, my “it’s not a meal without meat” carnivore husband thought this was fantastic. It was so good that I’m trying to decide how soon is too soon to make it again. Even my kids (4 and 1) loved it.

  82. Janey

    I absolutely adored this chowder! I used chipotle peppers in adobo sauce in place of the jalapenos, about 3 cups small cubed yukon gold potatoes for the beans, and greek yogurt in place of the sour cream for the topping. I forewent mashing the kernels and instead pureed a little less than 1/4 of the chowder, and ended up with a lovely silky textured background. I was so absorbed in the amazing aromas while this was cooking that I forgot to chop the cilantro, and even so the final presentation of the chowder with its topping and crumbles of extra cotija cheese was lovely. I’m hoping I’ll find good farmstand corn so I can make this and freeze a good portion for future deliciousness! Thank you!

  83. Yael

    Just made this and whole family loved it–used 3 jalapenos and could’ve used more and maybe a bit more chili powder but otherwise stuck to the recipe, though i roasted the corn inside the their husks partway in the oven for about 20 minutes or so, directly on the rack–which makes them easier to husk imo–then i finished cooking in the soup after removing kernels from the cob. Lovely recipe and helped redeem a bummer baking experience re: the funfetti cake, also on this site…

  84. meganb

    This was so good! Made it last night with 2lbs of frozen corn (seemed to be about 6 cups). I did a few quick pulses with the immersion blender before adding the cream instead of chopping the frozen corn. Had to use Feta because Whole Foods was sold out of Cotija, but that worked just fine. This one is going into high rotation!

  85. Cheryl

    I made this beast vegan by adding the solid top of my coconut milk can and just let the half and half slide. It was still amazing and creamy. Plus I did a cool trick with some frozen butternut squash: simmered and puréed and added into this soup it was all the creaminess and none of the dairy. A dash of Trader Joe’s green dragon sauce instead of jalapeño was a time saver. The lime and cilantro were all the kick we needed.
    It’s on the weekly rotation! Cheers, Deb.

  86. Eve

    I made this last night and it was so delicious! I was initially concerned about the texture when I added the corn to the pot since the soup was so thick, but it smoothed out really well after simmering for a bit. The lime was my favorite garnish and I might recommend adding lime juice directly to the big pot before serving. I would also recommend a little cumin to enhance the flavor of the beans. I served with small veggie quesadillas on the side, which was a fun combo.

  87. Beatrice Masters

    The soup was delicious! We brought big tupperware of it to work with bread rolls to dip. It’s filling and interesting (everyone at work was jealous) and even the roommates who don’t like soup thought it was wonderful.

    I disagree with the commenter who said the texture was off. The chunky texture was delicious. We don’t have a food processor so we just chopped up some of the corn by hand, which was easy enough.

  88. Made this recipe a week ago and it was absolutely delicious! Mom loved it too and requested I make it again for her but wondered if it I could make it a little less thick: what your advice be: increase the stock and reduce the amount of milk?
    Thank you!

  89. Hillary

    Made this tonight with potatoes instead of beans and it was Fabulous!! I used fresh corn from the farmers market. I chickened out and used a milder pepper instead of jalapeños. Probably could have used jalapeños (maybe just one). Did not find I needed all of the cream, maybe only 1/3 cup. I tried scraping the cobs, but didn’t get much milk. Otherwise followed the recipe exactly. Will absolutely make again.

  90. Ria

    Deb! This is a sublime dish. Been waiting to make this for weeks and have been blown away at dinner tonight. Thank you, again and again and again for your delicious recipes.

  91. Aww, happy 11th birthday, SK :) Didn’t see anywhere to comment on the actual bday post, so here I am instead ;) Which, btw, the corn chowder with chili looks sublime. Anyways, love your stuff and keep it coming. Go celebrate your Big 1-1 :)

  92. Christian

    Had the pleasure of making this last week, with the following substitutions: Coconut milk instead of heavy cream (didn’t use full cup either); and a nut milk instead of whole milk. Honestly, as a huge soup guy, I was really impressed and have fallen in love with this recipe. It’s delicious. I’m also not vegetarian, but felt like making this dairy-free (aside from the full fat sour cream I used to finish each bowl off).

    I also took a cue from a commenter and roasted 4 corn cobs until I achieved good char and dumped it into the pot while it simmered. Great tip for more depth of flavour.

  93. Tanya

    Oh dear lord! No other soup will ever taste good after eating this. I decided to make it for our soup club at work, and it was a hit. Everyone loved it and wanted more. I am, rather selfishly, not sharing anymore than I already did. Thanks for sharing another amazing recipe. I know I can always trust anything I try from your site.

  94. Laura

    I made this over the weekend for lunch on Saturday, and it was pretty darn tasty then. My husband and toddler both gobbled it up. But I’m having the leftovers for lunch today, and boy does it sing after the flavors are able to mix together for a few days!

    I didn’t feel like getting out my food processor, so I used an immersion blender to blend the corn with a little bit of the stock in a smoothie glass before I added it to the pot. I also added a diced red bell pepper in when I added the beans, which made for a nice pop of color and a little bit more texture.

    A note about the garnishes: while the mayo and sour cream make for a great addition, I found that the lime juice and cotija were the real stars. The saltiness of the cotija and the acidity of the lime were a nice contrast to the creamy sweetness of the soup.

  95. Kathryn

    Very tasty and really lovely flavors- mine seems to be quite watery compared to yours. I was considering adding cornflower to thicken but I am not sure if that would work for a whole batch. Lots of leftovers for lunch- personally I think it serves more like 8-10 people- thanks for another yummy dinner Deb!

  96. RinBoston

    Just finished making this.I used Trader Joe’s frozen mexican street cord, which had “sauce pellets” that bring together the different flavors of this recipe. I used one can of white beans and two links of chorizo.

  97. Jill

    I finally got time to make this soup. I had to replace fresh corn with frozen sweet corn but it still tastes wonderful.! Thank you for sharing.

  98. Mandy

    We’ve made this a few times so far, and *LOVE* it. My boyfriend adds in some smoked kielbasa, and I (the vegetarian), cook up some shiitake mushrooms to give it some protein.

    I schlepped eight ears of corn in from NJ, straight out to meet some friends for karaoke in NYC before going home, just to make this with delicious fresh Jersey corn last month. YUM!