Creamy, thick and chunky, Corn and Chicken Chowder is the ultimate comfort food. My healthier version of this classic dish is still full of flavor, but has less sodium, calories, fat – and Weight Watchers’ points. Plus, it’s super easy to prepare with pantry ingredients!
You Will Love This Chicken Corn Chowder Recipe
I love soups, especially chowders, which by definition are both creamy and chunky in texture. In my Corn and Chicken Chowder, hunks of chicken, potatoes, sweet corn, bell pepper and onions are swimming in a creamy, thick, slightly cheesy broth. It’s topped off with crunchy bits of bacon. Doesn’t sound healthy to you? Read on!
How I Created a Healthier Chicken and Corn Chowder
Chowders, by nature, are rich and often heavy. While I love their flavor, I frequently found myself feeling over stuffed after enjoying a bowlful. And, traditional chowders often have a lot of calories, fat and sodium. So, one day I set out to see if I could create a lightened up version – and this Corn and Chicken Chowder is the result.
After a few experiments, I discovered I only needed to make a few modifications to the basic corn and chicken chowder ingredients to make it healthier. I was thrilled! All the delicious flavors in the chowder were preserved, as were the all-important textures – while reducing the fat, calories and sodium.
Chicken Potato Corn Chowder Ingredients
Here’s what you’ll need to make my healthier version of this warm and inviting chowder (quantities are listed in the recipe card below):
- Center-cut bacon – This cut of bacon has around 25 percent less fat than regular, and therefore is also lower in calories. I also use only 2 pieces in this recipe for 7 to 8 people, and serve it as a garnish.
- Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Red bell pepper (can also use green)
- Yellow onion
- Low-sodium chicken broth – You can control the amount of salt by using low sodium broth.
- Red potatoes – Waxy potatoes, like red or Yukon gold, will hold their shape better in a chowder than russet potatoes. Russets will break down, lose their shape, and can change the texture of the chowder.
- Fresh or frozen whole-kernel corn – Don’t use canned corn, its full of sodium!
- 2% milk – You can achieve the same thick creaminess in chowder while reducing the fat by whisking flour into low-fat milk instead of creating a traditional white sauce of flour, melted butter and cream.
- All-purpose flour
- Sharp Cheddar cheese – A small amount of Cheddar (.5 ounce per serving!) stirred into the broth complements all the other ingredients perfectly and rounds out the flavors. The cheese flavor is fairly mild; for a cheesier Chicken Chowder, add more as a garnish.
- Additional optional toppings: cheese, chopped jalapeno peppers, sliced green onion.
How to Make Chicken Corn Chowder
- Cook bacon.
Place bacon strips in the bottom of a large stockpot over medium heat and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until beginning to crisp. Using kitchen tongs (or a large fork), turn bacon over and continue cooking until nice and crispy. Remove from pot and place on paper towel to drain and cool; crumble and set aside. Don’t clean out pot.
- Sauté chicken, peppers, onion and garlic.
Add chicken, bell pepper, onion and garlic to the stockpot and cook in residual bacon fat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until vegetables are softened.
- Add broth and potatoes; simmer; add corn.
Add broth and potatoes and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender when poked with a fork. Reduce heat to low, uncover and stir in corn.
- Combine milk and flour; add to soup; simmer.
Place milk in a medium mixing bowl and slowly sift the flour into the milk, whisking as you go. Slowly stir milk mixture into soup. Cook over medium heat until thick, around 10 minutes, stirring often.
- Add cheese, salt and pepper.
Add cheese and stir until melted and incorporated into broth; add salt and pepper to taste.
Ladle into individual bowls and top with crumbled bacon. Serve optional additional toppings on the side.
How to Store Chicken Chowder
If you have leftover chowder, let it cool, then place in an airtight container and refrigerate. It will keep for 3 to 4 days.
Can I make Chicken and Corn Chowder ahead?
It will keep in the refrigerator for around 3 days, but I think it’s best when served the same day. It will thicken as it sits; I recommend adding more broth as needed when reheating.
Can Chicken Chowder be frozen?
I don’t recommend freezing this corn chowder, mainly because of the potatoes and milk. They can give it a grainy texture after freezing, and also the milk can separate when reheated.
Other Chicken Soups You Might Like
- Artichoke and Chicken Chowder
- Indian Mulligatawny Soup
- Southwestern Chicken Soup with Avocado Cheese Garnish
- White Bean and Chicken Chili
- Chicken Noodle Soup
- 2 slices center-cut bacon
- 1 pound skinned, boned chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 cup chopped red bell pepper (can also use green)
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
- 4 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 3/4 cups peeled, chopped red potatoes
- 2 1/4 cups fresh or frozen whole-kernel corn
- 2 cups 2% milk
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup (4 ounces) sharp Cheddar cheese
- Optional toppings: additional cheese, chopped jalapeno peppers, sliced green onion
- Fry bacon in the bottom of a large stockpot over medium heat until crisp. Remove from pot and drain on paper towel; crumble and set aside. Don’t clean out pot.
- Add the chicken, bell pepper, onion and garlic to the stockpot and cook in bacon fat over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the broth and potatoes and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender when poked with a fork. Reduce heat, uncover and stir in corn.
- Place milk in a medium mixing bowl and slowly sift the flour into the milk, whisking as you go. Slowly stir milk mixture into soup. Cook over medium heat until thick, around 10 minutes, stirring often.
- Add cheese and stir until melted and incorporated into broth; add salt and pepper to taste.
- Ladle into individual bowls and top with crumbled bacon. Serve optional additional toppings on the side.
Make ahead: It will keep in the refrigerator for around 3 days, but I think it’s best when served the same day. It will thicken as it sits; I recommend adding more broth as needed when reheating. I don’t recommend freezing (see comments above the recipe).
- Category: Soups
- Method: stovetop
- Cuisine: american
- Serving Size: A bowlful
- Calories: 308
- Sugar: 8.1 g
- Sodium: 247.8 mg
- Fat: 11.8 g
- Saturated Fat: 5.1 g
- Carbohydrates: 27 g
- Fiber: 2.3 g
- Protein: 24.8 g
- Cholesterol: 65 mg
Chicken Chowder Recipe FAQs
Yes, chowder falls in the broad category of soups. It’s thicker and creamier than other soups, and always includes chunky (chopped) ingredients.
Chowders are thick, creamy, hearty, and have a base of broth plus most often a white sauce (butter, flour, and cream). And, the other ingredients are always chunky in nature. On the other hand, regular soups have a lighter consistency, primarily with a broth-based foundation, and in some cases, the ingredients can be puréed instead of being left in their original chopped form.
Here are my recommendations on how to thicken chowder, in order of preference:
1. If you have time, cool the chowder and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. This chowder recipe thickens as it sits.
2. For a faster fix, sift 1 tablespoon of flour into the soup, whisking as you go, then let it simmer for a few minutes.
3. Add more grated Cheddar cheese!