Combine corn, potatoes, and bacon in this easy Slow Cooker Corn Chowder recipe. Perfect for any season, it makes a creamy, hearty meal with a balance of sweetness and spice with a hint of smokiness from cooked bacon!
Corn chowder is a hearty, thick soup teeming with sweet kernels of corn, typically coupled with ingredients like potatoes and onions in a rich, creamy broth. It’s a staple in Southern cooking and can be made in so many different ways. This recipe features a simple creamy soup base with a hint of cooked bacon, offering a smoky, salty note throughout the dish.
And while corn chowder can be cooked in many different ways, the slow cooker is hands down the best way to make it. Not only do you not need to babysit a pot on the stove, but the low temperatures allow all the flavors to come together seamlessly. And it's easy to make! Cook the bacon and add it to the slow cooker along with the veggies, broth, and spices. Let it cook until tender before thickening it with cream, milk, and cornstarch until it's rich and velvety.
Corn chowder is a versatile dish perfect for a light summer dinner, a comforting fall meal, or a hearty dish during a winter chill. Serve with a crisp salad, a slice of crusty bread, or even grilled chicken or seafood for a more substantial meal. Regardless of the season, corn chowder made in the crock pot is satisfying warmth in every spoonful.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Making this recipe in the slow cooker means minimal hands-on time, allowing you to go about your day while your meal simmers to perfection.
- The blend of corn, bacon, and creamy broth offers a mouthwatering dish that appeals to both adults and kids.
- This chowder is both freezer-friendly and reheats beautifully, making it perfect for meal prep or enjoying leftovers the next day.
- This recipe uses simple ingredients that can be found at any grocery store and are budget-friendly!
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Bacon - Provides a smoky, savory depth that complements the sweetness of the corn, creating a well-rounded flavor profile.
- Garlic and Onion - Serve as aromatic foundations, introducing a pungent depth and sweetness.
- Celery - Adds a subtle, earthy flavor and a refreshing crunch, providing a textural contrast within the creamy base.
- Carrots - Contributes to a natural sweetness and vibrant color.
- Low Sodium Chicken Broth - Acts as the liquid backbone of the chowder, offering a rich, meaty flavor.
- Corn (fresh or frozen) - Stands as the star ingredient, infusing the chowder with its sweet, juicy kernels and giving the dish its characteristic texture and taste.
- Russet Potatoes - Bring a comforting heartiness, absorbing the surrounding flavors while thickening the chowder.
- Heavy Cream and Milk - Combine to give the chowder it's signature creamy, velvety texture without overpowering the other ingredients.
- Cornstarch - Acts as a thickening agent, enhancing the mouthfeel of each spoonful.
- Seasonings (thyme, paprika, salt, pepper) - Work together to elevate the dish, with thyme providing a subtle earthy note, paprika adding a hint of sweetness and color, and salt and pepper enhancing and balancing all the flavors.
How To Make Corn Chowder In The Crock Pot
Cook the bacon: Place a skillet on the stovetop and turn the heat to medium-high. Cook the bacon pieces for 5-8 minutes or until it's nice and crispy. Place the cooked bacon at the bottom of the slow cooker.
Assemble the chowder: To the crock pot, add the onion, celery, carrots, garlic, chicken broth, corn, potatoes, thyme, paprika, black pepper, and salt. Mix until well combined with the cooked bacon.
Cover and cook: Add the lid to the top and cook on HIGH for 4-5 hours or LOW for 7-8 hours.
Thicken the chowder: In a small bowl, whisk heavy cream, milk, and cornstarch until no lumps remain. Pour into slow cooker and mix until combined. Cover and continue to cook for 20-30 minutes until the chowder is thickened. Serve while hot, and enjoy!
- Cook the bacon until crispy to add the richest flavor to the chowder, along with varying texture.
- Sautéing the garlic, onions, celery, and carrots before adding them to the slow cooker can deepen their flavors, creating a more complex taste profile in the finished dish if you have time.
- If using fresh corn, roast it or grill it beforehand to intensify the sweet and smoky flavors.
- Choose russet potatoes for their starchy quality, which helps thicken the soup. Cut them into uniform sizes to ensure even cooking.
- Avoid adding the dairy and cornstarch too early, as prolonged exposure to heat can cause it to curdle; instead, stir in the cream and milk towards the end of the cooking process.
- Use a whisk to fully dissolve the cornstarch in the cold milk before adding it to the hot soup to prevent lumps and achieve a smooth texture.
- If you prefer a thicker consistency, partially blend the soup with an immersion blender while maintaining some chunky texture.
- Keep the lid on the slow cooker as much as possible to prevent the liquid from evaporating.
- For a vegetarian twist, omit the bacon and use vegetable broth in place of chicken broth, adding smoked paprika to retain a hint of smokiness.
- Incorporate other vegetables like red bell peppers for a touch of sweetness or zucchini and squash for a summery vibe.
- For a lighter version, substitute the heavy cream with half-and-half or a dairy-free milk alternative like coconut milk, adjusting the thickness with extra cornstarch if needed.
- Add a diced jalapeño or a pinch of cayenne pepper for a chowder with a kick, complementing the sweet corn.
- Add a protein like cooked shredded chicken, crabmeat, or cooked shrimp in the last hour of cooking for a hearty meal.
- For a different taste and nutritional boost, try sweet potatoes instead of russet potatoes.
Storing & Freezing
Storing: Let the chowder cool to room temperature before transferring it to airtight containers. It can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
Freezing: Cool completely before portioning it into freezer-safe bags or containers, leaving some space for expansion. Freeze for 3 months for the best flavor and texture. To reheat, thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Reheat on the stove over low heat, stirring frequently to maintain a creamy consistency. Dairy-based soups can sometimes separate a bit when frozen and thawed, but a good stir typically restores their creamy texture.
Yes, you can use canned corn in this chowder. Just be sure to drain and rinse the corn before adding it to the slow cooker to remove any excess salt or packing liquid.
If your chowder is too thin, you can create a slurry by mixing additional cornstarch with a small amount of cold liquid (water or broth) until smooth, then stir it into the hot chowder and let it cook for an additional 20-30 minutes on high, or until the desired thickness is reached.
To ensure your potatoes are cooked through, cut them into uniform, bite-sized pieces, which will allow them to cook evenly throughout the slow-cooking process. If you find they're not fully cooked when the chowder is otherwise done, you can extend the cooking time on high for an additional 30 minutes, checking their tenderness occasionally.
More Crock Pot Corn Recipes
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Slow Cooker Corn Chowder
- 6 strips bacon (cut into small pieces)
- 1 cup yellow onion (diced)
- 3 celery stalks (diced)
- 2 carrots (peeled and diced)
- 3 tsp garlic (minced)
- 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 2 (15.5 oz) cans of corn (drained)
- 1 lb russet potatoes (peeled and cut into ¼" pieces)
- 1 tsp thyme
- ½ tsp paprika
- 1 tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ½ cup milk
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- Over medium-high heat, cook bacon pieces in a skillet. Cook for 5-8 minutes or until bacon is crisp. Remove and place in a 6-quart slow cooker.
- Add onion, celery, carrots, garlic, chicken broth, corn, potatoes, thyme, paprika, black pepper, and salt. Mix until well combined.
- Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 7-8 hours.
- In a small bowl, whisk heavy cream, milk, and cornstarch. Pour into slow cooker and mix until combined. Cover and continue to cook for 20-30 minutes.
- Serve while hot, and enjoy!
- You have the option to utilize 4 cups of either frozen, freshly shucked from the cob, or canned corn after draining.
- If your chowder turns out too thin, here's a remedy: prepare a slurry by blending more cornstarch with a small portion of cold liquid (like water or broth) until it's smooth. Then, incorporate it into the hot chowder and allow it to cook for an extra 20-30 minutes on high or until it reaches the desired thickness.
*All nutrition information provided is automatically calculated and is an estimate and will vary based on ingredients, brands, and changes in cooking methods listed in the recipe. If you need exact numbers on your ingredients, I would recommend calculating them with your prefered nutrition calculator.