June 17, 2013

Garden Corn Chowder With Basil & Chives

by IsaChandra

Serves 6
Total time: 40 minutes || Active time: 20 minutes

Garden Corn Chowder

For a girl that lives in Nebraska now, I sure don’t post enough corn recipes! And I must reallllly love corn chowder because there’s a different recipe for it in three of my books.

What I dig about this version, is that you really can dress it up or down for any season. It being almost summer and me with a freshly sprung garden, I like to run out and snip whatever fresh herbs call out at me. In this case, basil and chives. A few radishes poking their heads out? Well, great, let’s slice ‘em up and throw ‘em on!

I find that coconut oil and coconut milk give this chowder a heavenly richness while providing the perfect backdrop for all that corn flavor. The chowder is thick, rich and creamy with nice chunks of potato and carrot, and a little lime juice to give it a bit of ZING. It’s filling, yes, but also fresh and summery. I like a big pinch of red pepper flakes for some spice, but you can suit to taste. A jalapeno might be nice if you’ve got some around. Some chopped fresh tomato when they become ripe.

In the summer, serve with a salad (this Garlicky Zucchini Ribbon Salad, maybe?) and in the colder months, serve with a sandwich or just a nice crusty hunk of bread. Maybe a Banh Mi? It really can be a soup for all seasons.

Recipe Notes

~ This recipe uses a method that really makes corn chowder shine: let the corn cobs stew in the pot. They hold lots of maize-y flavor, so don’t let ‘em go to waste. At the end, you remove the cobs and only your delicious soup knows they were ever there. I suppose you can use frozen corn instead, but only if you’re really crunched for time.

~ To slice corn from the cob without the corn bouncing all over the place, put the husked corn in a wide bowl and simply use your chef’s knife to slice down each side. The kernels will fall into the bowl. All will be well.

~ Many supermarkets have already husked corn in their produce department! I (shamefully) take that shortcut when I can, because it shaves like 10 minutes off prep time. Maybe more if you’re a little slower than me.

1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
4 cup fresh corn (from 5 to 6 ears)
1/2 lb carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1 lb thin skinned potato (like yukon gold), cut into 1/2 inch chunks
4 cups vegetable broth, divided
1 tablespoon corn starch or arrowroot
3/4 cup coconut milk, regular or lite
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Salt to taste
Fresh black pepper to taste

To garnish:
Chopped fresh chives (1/2 cup should do it)
Thinly sliced fresh basil (1/2 cup or so)
Thinly sliced radish
A few extra fresh corn kernels

Preheat a 4 quart soup pot over medium high heat. Saute onion in oil with a pinch of salt until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and saute for another minute. Add corn and carrots and cook for 3 more minutes or so.

Measure one cup of the broth into a measuring cup. Mix in the cornstarch with a fork until dissolved. Set aside.

Add remaining 3 cups of broth to the pot, along with the potatoes. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, break the corn cobs in half and add them to the pot. Lower heat to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Remove corn cobs. Add remaining vegetable broth and starch mixture, and cook to thicken, about 3 minutes. Add coconut milk, black pepper, salt to taste and lime juice.

Use an immersion blender to blend about half of the soup. If you don’t have an immersion blender (get one!) then transfer about half of the soup to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth then add back to the pot. If the soup is still steaming hot, make sure to either keep the opening on top of your food processor open, or lift the lid often for steam to escape. If steam builds up in a close container it can explode the lid off. Ouch.

Taste for salt and seasoning. Serve garnished with fresh corn kernels, fresh herbs and radishes.



  • June 17, 2013 at 6:07 pm: Kricky

    This recipe looks fantastic, but not sure if I understand what order you meant to have the veggies added – Should the first paragraph be potatoes and carrots? Thanks!!

    • June 17, 2013 at 6:16 pm: IsaChandra

      Ah, third paragraph is supposed to be potatoes, not carrots. I updated!

  • June 17, 2013 at 6:22 pm: Matt

    Looks delicious… but when do you add the potatoes and corn kernels?

  • June 17, 2013 at 6:24 pm: Matt

    Never mind, I get it now. Thanks for the fix. :)

  • June 17, 2013 at 6:28 pm: panda cookie

    I am making this as soon as the corn starts rolling in at the farmers markets here.

  • June 17, 2013 at 7:18 pm: Sferd

    By ‘coconut milk,’ you mean the canned variety?

    • June 17, 2013 at 9:15 pm: IsaChandra

      Yes, not that coconut beverage stuff :)

  • June 17, 2013 at 8:15 pm: deb

    Can’t wait for fresh corn this season! Just a few more weeks here in the Midatlantic. This take with coconut milk / oil sounds awesome! Thanks!

  • June 17, 2013 at 8:42 pm: Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

    This looks so lovely!! Such a gorgeous recipe!

    • June 17, 2013 at 9:14 pm: IsaChandra

      Thank you!

  • June 17, 2013 at 8:57 pm: Susie

    Sounds good, but when do you add the potato? And when do you add the cup of broth into which you mixed the corn starch?

    • June 17, 2013 at 9:13 pm: IsaChandra

      I updated the recipe!

  • June 17, 2013 at 9:01 pm: Lindsay

    Where in Nebraska did you move? I live in Omaha!

    • June 17, 2013 at 9:13 pm: IsaChandra

      Yup, Omaha!

  • June 17, 2013 at 9:29 pm: KathyJ

    This looks so good, I printed it, go up went to the produce stand bought everything and will be cooking it for dinner tonight!

    • June 18, 2013 at 2:29 am: IsaChandra

      You are my star pupil.

  • June 17, 2013 at 10:50 pm: Linda Lindert

    How many servings? Looks great! I love corn soup and basil and chives–heavenly.

  • June 17, 2013 at 11:52 pm: Emma

    Looks scrumptious- I’ve never had chowder before and always thought of it as kind of a heavy dish, but this looks light and fresh. I ove that I can use my garden basil and chives in it :)

  • June 18, 2013 at 3:54 am: Eileen

    This is exactly what I want to eat now that the fresh summer corn has hot the market. I love the idea of coconut milk in a silky chowder. :)

  • June 18, 2013 at 8:34 am: Elizabeth Mars

    I’ve just been thinking about corn chowder and finding a good vegetarian recipe for one. All the ones I’ve found when I googled this seem to have bacon in it, This looks lovely, I’ll have to book mark and try it soon.

  • June 18, 2013 at 5:05 pm: Jennifer

    Could that picture be any more beautiful? No.

  • June 18, 2013 at 8:36 pm: NBMaggie

    Love the idea of coconut milk and basil, but can’t wrap my limited intellect around the concept of carrots in a corn chowder so it’s red peppers for me instead. Thanks Isa for the recipe now but even here in the Ontario sunbelt it will be early August before the real corn is available. I’ll be coming back here then for this recipe.

  • June 18, 2013 at 8:48 pm: Sarah

    Thank you so much for the recipe! I made this last night, and though it took a bit of time, it was really worth it!

  • June 19, 2013 at 1:22 am: KathyJ

    I made this for dinner last night (see my comment). I think you should double this recipe because I just had some leftovers. It was even better today. I didn’t think that would be possiable but it’s true!

  • June 19, 2013 at 2:00 am: andrea

    My pregnant mind could not clear the image of this soup out of my mind. I left it on the table and my rockstar husband made it for dinner tonight. He didn’t use oil and we only had 2 cobs (the rest was frozen but the two cobs went into the soup) He also used red potatoes……ok…..WOW. I look like I am 8ths preggo now instead of 6 I ate much. We just ate with a crusty bread. Our 5yr old dug it too and pulled basil from his garden to add on his (we did red pepper flakesand chives) anywho….crazy good! Thank you!!!!!!

    • June 19, 2013 at 3:26 am: IsaChandra

      haha, thanks for the happy review!

  • June 19, 2013 at 3:56 pm: Fluvial

    Made this last night and it was AWESOME! It was also my first time cooking with coconut oil and I found myself singing ‘If you like pina coladas…..’ while stirring. It was like a vacation in my house.

  • June 19, 2013 at 10:52 pm: Jennifer

    I just made this soup for dinner. WOW! It is absolutely beautiful and delicious. It is so fresh and all of the flavors just go together so well. Thanks a lot for sharing the recipe. It is great hot, at room temperature, and cool. I cook for meat eaters, a vegetarian, and me (Vegan). Everyone loved this! I will definitely be making it again and again and again.

  • June 20, 2013 at 12:10 pm: Stephanie

    Sounds wonderful. I haven’t had corn chowder in a long time, I think this would be amazing. Thanks for sharing!

  • June 22, 2013 at 1:45 am: Leah Sonne

    Anyone who comes up with a real recipe is truly creative and on their way to cooking success! Here’s my tip though, coconut oil is too expensive. It’s like adding real saffron. It’s a fad and an expensive habit to get into. As is using coconut milk. When you’re cooking with corn just boil a couple of potatoes, blended with their their water. Maybe blend in a little avocado too. I use a hand held blender and like most people I’m on a strict budget.

  • June 23, 2013 at 10:42 pm: Jeff Neuner

    Tried this tonight. Big hit with the entire family. Everyone went back for seconds!

  • June 23, 2013 at 11:24 pm: Lin J

    I’m not sure if I I’d everything in the right order but it tasted fabulous. Thanks for another great recipe!

  • June 25, 2013 at 12:50 am: Taylor Hart

    made this tonight and it was just what i wanted. have made your other corn chowder from VWAV and this one seemed to pull together much quicker. i used earthbalance coconut spread because that’s what i had on hand. i also served mine with thai basil and sriracha as condiments. thanks again for your inspirational recipes.

  • June 25, 2013 at 3:55 pm: Billy

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  • June 26, 2013 at 1:41 am: Ashley

    This is gorgeous! I love fresh corn, and the colors you have going on with the toppings is great!

  • June 28, 2013 at 8:45 am: vé máy bay đi hàn quốc

    Never mind, I get it now

  • June 30, 2013 at 1:46 am: Eileen Walker

    I am now on my second bowl of this luscious soup. This soup may finally get me off my minestrone phase. Just a note — coconut milk in cans is everywhere now and not that expensive. I keep it in my pantry just for these types of recipes. Thanks for a great website.

  • July 2, 2013 at 2:39 pm: Katrina

    This was delicious! I used low sodium vegetable broth and lite coconut milk. The fresh corn makes it so flavorful and the soup was very creamy.

  • July 4, 2013 at 1:09 pm: Gail Loyd

    Got a friend you loves corn but is allergic to coconut. Yes, I could just use almond milk or rice milk, but I’d lose a lot of richness and creaminess. If you were choosing a nut to compliment the corn would it be cashews, almonds? Maybe pepitas?

    • July 4, 2013 at 3:06 pm: IsaChandra

      Cashew cream, for sure!

  • July 4, 2013 at 4:14 pm: cathy

    This chowder is so so good.
    Only one word can describe it.
    “Love”

  • July 7, 2013 at 7:22 pm: Veganquinn

    Awesome recipe! And just in time for jersey corn season! You are amazing :)

  • July 16, 2013 at 11:40 pm: Renee

    Thanks for the recipe! I was wandering around my kitchen trying to figure out what to do with some potatoes and onions so I looked up your recipes under ‘potatoes’ and found this marvel! I just happened to have organic frozen corn lurking at the back of my freezer, and everything except carrots. The soup is literally on the stove right now AND IT’S DELICIOUS. Tastes just like the stuff I used to get from this mom n pop diner down the street from my childhood home. YUM

  • July 18, 2013 at 2:15 am: Dustin

    I just gave this recipe a shot with all of the fresh corn at the market now. WOW! You are amazing! I should have known as everything you’ve written that I have tried was wonderful but I still get nervous with a new recipe. Thank you again! You’re a vegan goddess!

  • July 18, 2013 at 4:11 pm: Jen

    I’ve made this twice now and it is soooo good. We love it for lunch the next day too. It only gets better the next day!

  • July 21, 2013 at 2:40 pm: Heather

    I went out and bought an Immersion blender just for this recipe! This soup is amazing. We can’t get enough of it. Serious withdrawals will set in when it’s winter and we don’t have access to fresh corn.

  • July 25, 2013 at 10:46 pm: LC

    Just made this and I cannot believe how good it is. I was skeptical it would come together so well, but I am so happy this soup proved me wrong.

    Quick, easy, and ridiculously both healthy and tasty! Thanks so much for sharing!!

  • July 28, 2013 at 3:53 pm: Suzanne

    Fantastic recipe! Another great us for NJ corn. Another poster mentioned adding red bell pepper. I, too, used a bell and the potatoes. Delicious. Thanks for sharing the recipe, Isa!

  • August 4, 2013 at 9:23 pm: Rachael

    This is out of sight insanely delicious!

  • August 5, 2013 at 11:50 pm: Mary

    This is delicious…I couldn’t stop refilling my bowl! It took a little prep work, but now that I’ve made it once it should be pretty easy to do again, and I will definitely make this again! I dipped huge chunks of french bread in this, and it was divine! Maybe I’ll make croutons next time :)

    Absolutely perfect, no substitutions, I loved how this recipe added coconut milk, I think that really made it super creamy :)

  • August 9, 2013 at 12:08 am: Lisa

    made this tonight and it was so good. used a jalapeno from my garden.
    love using summertime sweet corn.
    Nebraska ears of corn must be serious business. I used 6 ears of corn and it was still under 4 cups (i live in New England)

  • August 11, 2013 at 2:19 am: Leslie

    I’m a bit confused… so you use a knife to remove the corn from the cobs first, then add that. Then you put the cobs that have the corn removed into the broth for flavour…. is this correct? And the fresh corn kernels you add at the end are raw, not cooked at all?

    This is what I’m going to do, regardless! I’m sure it will work out, it sounds delish.

    • August 11, 2013 at 5:02 am: IsaChandra

      You got it!

  • August 21, 2013 at 2:32 pm: Monica

    Made this last night and it was a huge hit! My carnivore boyfriend and uncle nearly licked the pot clean. Boyfriend asked me to add it to our regular rotation. Only changes – added a little more red pepper flakes and a dash of dried sage. Didn’t bother with the garnishes (out of convenience, I had everything else on hand).

  • August 23, 2013 at 1:52 am: Lisa

    Wow! Wow! Wow! This soup was fantastic. I couldn’t stop eating it and between my little family of four we managed to clear the pot. I served it w/the Garlicky zucchini ribbon salad just as you suggested. This was my very first recipe to cook off of your site and I have to say that I am now hooked! Thanks for making all the tummies in my family happy tonight.

  • August 28, 2013 at 8:52 pm: Federico

    I had never made or even eaten a corn chowder, but at the market there were some ears begging me to pick them up. I expected something very sweet, which I don’t get off for, if there is nothing else to offset. I added some seitan bacon cubes and omitted starch, chives and radish, and forgot the lime juice, duh. It turned out quite bland the same day, but was terrifically flavoursome the next.

  • September 6, 2013 at 6:03 pm: Jack H.

    I found this recipe through Tess Wilson’s post on “Food Riot” for using too much zucchini. She says,”The original recipe doesn’t call for zucchini, but when you have 30lbs of zucchini on your counter, YOU USE THAT ZUCCHINI. In everything. I added two huge chopped zucchinis, skipped the carrots, added chickpeas, and found we all liked it better without the lime and basil.” My zuch’s are in the 12″x3″ range and need good recipes, NOW. As a diabetic, I’ll also leave out the potato since I’ll be using Chan Dal, the small, field grade chickpeas. (Higher fiber, better nutrients)

  • September 7, 2013 at 1:07 am: grace

    love this soup and have served it several times always to rave reviews. it is very forgiving and can take added leftover corn and new herbs to stretch it for several days. i even eat it with spinach as a sort of salad dressing! once i was out of potatoes and used sweet potatoes and it worked just as well. i come to your site and use all your cookbooks, really love the new lower fat direction you are going in (eat to live etc). i just think you are great. i guess i am a fan (blush blush)
    ~grace

  • September 8, 2013 at 2:22 pm: LeslieJ

    Grabbed some fresh corn, carrots and basil from the farmer’s market and made this lovely chowder last night, and oh, boy! Thanks. Figured it was time to stop lurking at theppk.com and actually make a comment! Love your recipes!

    • September 8, 2013 at 8:46 pm: IsaChandra

      Thank you!

  • September 12, 2013 at 2:53 am: Bettina

    Making this right now!! One small change is I am leaving out the cornstarch (only cuz I forgot to get some while at the store :()

  • September 16, 2013 at 2:12 pm: Robin F.

    I really liked this soup…It was light and the fresh herbs and radishes really hit the spot! I served this soup with the Sweet Potato Drop Biscuits from the Appetite for Reduction cookbook. The orange of the biscuits against the soup was really pretty :)

  • September 17, 2013 at 11:50 am: Lindy tinnin

    This soup is amazing! I have made it twice for meat eating friends and they loved it! Thank you so much for the recipe.

  • September 22, 2013 at 3:13 pm: Anna

    Made this today for Sunday lunch,it was delicious! Thanks for the recipe :)

  • September 23, 2013 at 12:21 am: Laura

    Bought most all ingredients from the farmer’s market this weekend and made the soup today. Delicious! Thanks for a great recipe.

  • September 26, 2013 at 3:51 am: Carolyn

    Oh, snap it! Made Potato Corn Chowder tonight, my usual recipe, tasted it and it will be fab, but it would have been even fabber with coconut milk and lime. On the list for the next batch.

  • October 24, 2013 at 5:05 pm: Wendi

    This is seriously awesome. Seriously. I even cheated with frozen corn. Seriously.

  • November 6, 2013 at 9:17 pm: Mary-Anne Lomas

    I added lentils and celery, wow, this is just outstanding!

  • March 11, 2014 at 7:33 pm: Ella

    This was so soo good! Just made it for dinner this evening…me and mum both went back for seconds helpings! It tastes so creamy, real comfort food!

  • April 7, 2014 at 4:20 pm: LC

    I made this last night and it was GREAT! I also added ginger (by accident, actually) but it was delish. Also added a few handfuls of kale for the last 5 minutes. YUM! This will definitely be made all throughout the coming summer when we have fresh produce.

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  • June 15, 2014 at 4:06 am: Natalie

    Made this delicious soup today. Thanks for the wonderful recipe Isa!

  • June 22, 2014 at 9:26 pm: Susan

    Excellent! It has become a family favorite. Thank you!

  • July 5, 2014 at 3:30 pm: Marsha

    I’m going to the farmers market ‘now’ to buy corn to make this!

  • July 14, 2014 at 4:19 pm: earth activist

    please be aware, non organic corn and potatoes could contain GMOs.