Creamy street corn chowder, inspired by the flavors of Mexico, will turn any dinner table into a vibrant fiesta. This hearty chowder is a delightful way to enjoy the flavor of fresh summer corn throughout the colder winter months.
- Ready in 30 minutes: Fire roasted corn and poblano peppers give this soup loads of flavor in a short amount of time.
- Made for topping: Let everyone at the table get creative with their toppings to make a one of a kind bowl. From the traditional sprinkle of Cotija, to a zesty punch of lime, or an extra dollop of sour cream – you can tailor your bowl to your heart’s content.
- Freezer friendly: Freeze your leftovers for a quick and easy meal in the coming weeks! Your future self with thank you.
A summer Staple gets a makeover for the cool weather
Street corn is the ultimate culinary chameleon.
Whether it’s at a backyard BBQ, a tailgate party, or a low-key family dinner, it always seems to fit the occasion. It’s a staple for us all summer long, but this spectacular makeover brings it into comfort food territory that’s perfect for winter!
This street corn chowder takes all the flavor of street corn – fire-roasted corn, smokey chile powder, and salty cotija cheese – and rounds it out with sour cream for a velvety finish.
But the real fun is adding toppings. From cilantro and lime wedges to jalapeno slices and tortilla chips, you can dress this soup up so many different ways.
I could go on, but I’d rather have you taste it. Brace yourself for a culinary fiesta, and let’s get cooking!
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Fire Roasted Corn: Frozen fire-roasted corn adds extra flavor without any extra effort. The fire roasting process enhances the corn’s natural sweetness and add a touch of smokey flavor. If you can’t find it, you can also roast fresh sweet corn in a skillet for a similar flavor.
- Poblano Peppers: Fresh poblano peppers echo the flavor of the ancho chile powder and give this soup a pop of freshness and a hint of heat. If you don’t like spicy food, you can swap them out for red or green bell pepper. If you do like spice, turn up the heat with green chiles.
- Ancho chile powder: Ancho chile powder is made from dried poblano peppers and is one of the key flavors of Mexican street corn. It has a mild heat and gives the chowder just the right amount of heat, smoky flavor, and color to our chowder.
- Yellow Onion & Garlic: These aromatic staples help build the base flavor.
- Broth: Chicken or vegetable, it’s your choice. Choose a low-sodium variety to give yourself more control over your soup’s saltiness.
- Sour cream: Gives the chowder a creamy finish. You can substitute half and half, heavy cream, or canned coconut milk.
- Cotija Cheese: This aged, dry cheese brings a wonderful, salty balance to the sweetness of the corn. If you can’t find it, feta cheese is a nice substitute.
- Fresh Lime Juice & Zest: A vibrant burst of citrus to brighten up the chowder.
- Fresh Cilantro: Our finishing touch! Cilantro adds a fresh, bright flavor to your soup.
How to make street corn chowder
Sautee the onions and poblano peppers in a large soup pot until they’re soft. Add the chile powder and salt and stir everything around for a minute to let the spices toast.
Add the fire-roasted corn and broth and bring it all to a simmer.
Puree the soup with an immersion blender.
Reduce the heat and stir in the sour cream, cheese, and cilantro.
Serve the chowder with your favorite toppings.
- Don’t worry if you can’t find fire roasted corn. You can roast regular frozen corn or fresh corn kernels in the oven with a drizzle of olive oil.
- Keep your chowder chunky. Avoid over blending, as having pieces of corn and pepper adds a satisfying texture to every bite.
- Make it your own! Load it up with black beans and shredded rotisserie chicken, top it with Greek yogurt, or add potatoes. There are endless ways to riff on this soup and make it your own.
Commonly asked questions
How to store
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze them for up to 3 months.
Can I use fresh corn instead of frozen?
Absolutely! If corn’s in season and you’re in the mood for an arm workout, go ahead and husk those cobs.
What can I serve with this chowder?
Oh, where to start? Tortilla chips or crusty bread gets my vote. But if you feel fancy, a nice green salad or some grilled shrimp would make a fabulous sidekick.
Can I add more vegetables?
The more the merrier! Feel free to toss in some bell peppers or zucchini. Just remember to adjust the cooking time accordingly.
Can I make this in a slow cooker?
Yes! I still like to sauté the vegetables on the stove to soften them and give them more flavor, but you can transfer to a slow cooker when you add the broth. Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 3.
Can I make this in an Instant Pot?
Yes! Sauté the vegetables, then pressure cook on high for 8 minutes once the liquid is added.
More delicious corn recipes you’ll love:
- Classic Street Corn
- Esquites (Street Corn Salad)
- Buffalo Street Corn
- Goat Cheese Street Corn
- Curry Corn Salad
- Instant Pot corn chowder
Mexican Street Corn Chowder
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion diced
- 1 Poblano pepper diced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 6 cups frozen corn fire roasted, preferred
- ¼ teaspoon ancho chili powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 cups chicken stock or vegetable broth
- tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1 teaspoon grated lime zest
- ½ cup sour cream
- ½ cup grated Cotija cheese
- ¼ cup cilantro chopped
- lime wedges, tortilla chips, etc, for serving
- Add the oil to a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. When hot, stir in the onions, poblano pepper and garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes, until softened.
- Add the corn, chili powder, and salt. Stir and cook for 1-2 minutes. Stir in the broth, lime juice and lime zest. Simmer over low heat for 15 minutes, or until heated through.
- Use an immersion blender to blend the soup into a chunky puree.
- Stir in the sour cream, cotija cheese, and cilantro. Simmer over low heat until warmed through.
- Top with additional ancho chile powder. Serve with lime wedges, tortilla chips, sour cream, and all of your favorite toppings.