This is the creamiest, tastiest Instant Pot Corn Chowder – it’s ready in about 30 minutes and filled with corn, bacon, potatoes, cream & spices.
Ingredients in corn chowder
For the chowder
- Olive oil
- Yukon gold potatoes, chopped
- Frozen or fresh corn
- Yellow onion, diced
- Celery stalks, diced
- Red or green bell pepper, diced
- Garlic, minced
- Salt & pepper
- Chicken broth
- Heavy cream
- Lemon juice
- Turkey or pork bacon, cooked and crumbled
- Green onions, sliced
- Fresh cilantro, chopped
How to make corn chowder in the Instant Pot
- Add all ingredients to the Instant Pot in the order in which they are listed, except for the heavy cream and lemon juice. Attach the lid, then set the valve to seal.
- Manually set the unit to pressure cook on high power for 3 minutes. Be aware that it usually takes 5 to 10 minutes for the unit to come to pressure before the cook time begins.
Meanwhile, fry the bacon and prep any additional ingredients to use as garnish for the soup.
- When the cook time ends, perform a quick release of the pressure from the Instant Pot. Remove the lid and use an immersion blender to partially puree the soup.
Tip: To ensure that there is some texture in the chowder, only partially puree the mixture.
- Stir in the heavy cream and lemon juice.
- Ladle the corn chowder into bowls and add any desired toppings.
- Serve and enjoy!
- Potatoes: replace with red potatoes or another variety of yellow-skinned potatoes
- Garlic: 2 teaspoons minced garlic can be used in place of the fresh cloves
- Broth: can use chicken or vegetable stock instead
- Heavy cream: sour cream or plain Greek yogurt will create the same creamy consistency
Adding chicken or ham
It’s easy to add more protein to the meal simply by incorporating meat.
To use ham
You can stir in leftover cooked ham at the end of the cook time, along with the cream and lemon juice.
Or, cube some ham steaks and cook them in the Instant Pot along with the other chowder ingredients.
To use chicken
Because of the short cooking time for the chowder, you’ll need to use chicken that’s cooked and ready to eat. A rotisserie chicken is a great option for this and saves you extra cook time.
You can also cook your own chicken in the Instant Pot first! Just dump out the leftover liquid from the chicken before starting the corn chowder recipe.
Based on type kind of chicken breasts you want to use, here are the instructions to cook them in your Instant Pot:
- Frozen chicken breasts
- Fresh chicken breasts (stick to salt and pepper only or try the chili lime seasoning!)
Boneless chicken thighs can be used instead of breasts if you’d prefer. Just follow the same instructions and cook times.
After it finishes cooking, shred the chicken or cut it into bite-sized pieces. Then, stir the chicken into the chowder before serving.
You can also cut raw chicken into bite-sized pieces and add it as the first ingredient in this chowder, but you’ll have to up the cook time to 5 minutes and use no more than 1 lb of chopped up boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Cook under pressure as usual and forgo the immersion blender at the end.
More topping ideas
Try different flavors and textures with any of these additional toppings:
- Shredded cheese
- Fresh chopped chives
- Sour cream
- Roasted jalapenos
- Oyster crackers
- Diced avocado
What makes a chowder a chowder?
A chowder is a type of soup that usually contains milk or cream and some type of thickening ingredient. It also contains chunks of vegetables or seafood and isn’t pureed like cream soups.
Chowder is often thickened with cornstarch, a roux, or crackers. Potatoes in chowder also act as a thickener.
Where is corn chowder from?
It is thought that chowder, a form of the French word for cauldron, was created by fishermen who brought the custom to Newfoundland.
From there, the recipe made its way to Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and New England. Recipes for corn chowder can be found in the United States as far back as the late 1800s.
Corn chowder first appeared in the Boston area, but the Shakers soon became well-known for their chowders. This religious group had a very simple corn chowder recipe made from just cream, butter, and fresh corn. It’s very similar to New England Clam Chowder, but corn is used as a substitute for fresh clams.
Storing and reheating
Let the soup cool to room temperature before storing in an airtight container. If you store it properly, chowder will last in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.
Reheat in the microwave or in a saucepan on the stove until warmed all the way through. Use low heat so the cream doesn’t curdle and separate.
Freezing corn chowder
Typically, soups that contain milk or cream do not freeze well. This is because the dairy will separate as it thaws. As a result, the soup will have a grainy, unpleasant texture.
If you decide to freeze the corn chowder, the best option is to make the recipe as written, but omit the the heavy cream and lemon juice.
Also, allow it to cool completely before storing in freezer bags or an airtight container. Be sure to leave some space at the top of the container to allow for expansion of the soup as it freezes.
Store in the freezer up to 2 months, then thaw in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight before reheating.
Reheat on the stove, then stir in the heavy cream and lemon just before serving.
More Instant Pot soup recipes
Meal prep tools for this recipe
- Grab some glass meal prep bowls if you plan on turning this soup into leftovers
- If you don’t already have an immersion blender, get one here (it’s so much easier than a blender!)
- Freeze this recipe in glass microwave-safe bowls up to 3 months
Creamiest Instant Pot Corn Chowder
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 6 Yukon gold potatoes, chopped
- 4 cups frozen or fresh corn
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 3 celery stalks, diced
- 1 red or green pepper, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp salt & pepper
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 6 slices turkey or pork bacon, cooked & crumbled
- 4 green onions, sliced
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- Add all ingredients to Instant Pot in the order in which they are listed, except for heavy cream and lemon juice. Place lid on Instant Pot and make sure valve is set to seal.
- Press the pressure cook button and set to high, then cook for 3 minutes. Instant Pot will take about 5-10 minutes to come to pressure then pressure cook for 3 minutes. Meanwhile, cook bacon and prepare desired toppings.
- Do a quick release of the pressure on the Instant Pot by flicking the switch at the top with a spoon. Open the lid when pressure gauge has dropped and the lid opens easily.
- Optional: blend about half the soup with an immersion blender to make it thicker and creamier. Stir in heavy cream and lemon juice, then serve in bowls with desired toppings and enjoy!