Creamy Vegan Corn Chowder
This deliciously creamy vegan corn chowder highlights the sweetness of fresh corn summer corn but is completely dairy-free. Best of all, it only requires 10 minutes of prep and another 20 minutes of cook time before it’s ready for eating.
- Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Ingredients & Substitutions
- How To Make Vegan Corn Chowder
- Optional Variations
- Expert Tips
- Nutrition Details
- More Delicious Summertime Recipes
- 📖 Recipe
- Expert Tips
- 💬 Reviews
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
There are few flavors that are as universally appealing as fresh summer corn, and few meals that are as comforting as a bowl of soup. Combine the two, and you have dinnertime magic!
This recipe for vegan corn chowder is:
- Wholesome & Nutritious. Made with whole foods like fresh corn, potatoes, celery, onion, and garlic, this chowder recipe is shockingly creamy and completely dairy (and alt-dairy) free.
- Allergen-Free. Made without soy, nuts, or gluten, this is a soup that pretty much everyone can enjoy!
- Budget-Friendly. When corn is in season, I can usually get 4 ears for just over $1. The rest of the ingredients (onion, celery, and potato) are also inexpensive and widely available, making this recipe come out to less than $1 per serving!
- Fast & Easy. With just 10 minutes of prep and 10 simple ingredients, you can have a pot of this hearty and comforting summer chowder ready to serve.
I usually get ideas for my recipes from veganizing old favorites or from meals in restaurants that I loved and want to recreate (like my Ranch Pasta Salad or my Mongolian Soy Curls). After seeing a big pile of bright, inviting ears of corn at Whole Foods, I was totally inspired to make some vegan corn chowder.
Modeled after a bowl of corn chowder I had while on a trip to Italy, this simple recipe makes full use of simple ingredients that are so much more than the sum of their parts. Give it a try today — you’ll be so happy that you did!
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Olive Oil – Feel free to swap in coconut oil instead, or use some water if you are oil-free.
- Onion – Any color of onion will do here! Feel free to use frozen onions instead so you don’t have to go getting all teary-eyed.
- Garlic – Fresh cloves are preferred, but you can easily swap in ½ teaspoon of garlic powder in a pinch.
- Celery – Celery lends a sweet, earthy flavor to this soup. If you want, try using carrot, fresh fennel, or leeks instead.
- Corn Kernels – This recipe is built for summer when fresh corn abounds, but you can very easily swap in frozen corn instead. No need to defrost them first.
- Idaho Potatoes – Any starchy potato will do here. If Idahos aren’t available, try russets or any other “baking potato.” Avoid using waxy potatoes, as they can get gummy when puréed.
- Vegetable Broth – I always keep a jar of Veggie-flavored Better Than Bouillon on hand, but if you’re fresh out, simply make a corn broth using your spent ears! Simmer them in water for 10-15 minutes and BOOM! You’ve got tons of flavor without any additional cost.
- Salt & Pepper – Seasoning is important here. I prefer to use kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper for the best flavor.
- Fresh Dill – While I’m a huge fan of fresh dill, I know it’s not for everyone. If you’re one of those folks, try using fresh basil, cilantro, or parsley instead. The power of fresh herbs prevails no matter which type you prefer!
- Nutritional Yeast – Nooch is the darling of vegan pantries everywhere because it somehow magically tastes like cheese. While this is technically an optional ingredient, I highly suggest you use it.
How To Make Vegan Corn Chowder
Step 1: Prep. Heat oil (or water if you’re not using oil) in a large soup pot.
Step 2: Sauté. Add onion, garlic, and celery and cook for 5 minutes. Add in corn and cook another 5 minutes.
Step 3: Simmer. Add potatoes, vegetable broth, salt, pepper & nutritional yeast, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn down the heat, cover, and cook for 10 minutes (or until the potatoes are cooked).
Step 4: Blend. Add to a high-powdered blender and blend until smooth. If you want a chunkier consistency, only blend half of the batch, then stir it in with the rest of the veggies after blitzing.
Step 5: Serve and enjoy! Feel free to add any garnishes you like. Scroll down to the next tab for some topping ideas.
I’m loving this creamy vegan corn chowder right now, just as it’s written, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of ways to make it your own. Here are a few ideas to get your wheels turning:
- Make it Tex-Mex. Feel free to add some heat and flair to your corn soup by adding in jalapeños, bell peppers, or a can of chopped roasted green peppers. Drizzle with some hot sauce, top with a dollop of vegan sour cream, crunched-up tortilla chips, and some fresh cilantro. YUM!
- Add some protein. To make your corn chowder a little heartier, consider adding in some protein. A drained can of chickpeas or white beans would be delicious, or some vegan chicken in the form of rehydrated soy curls could easily be added.
- Serve it chilled. People always ask me why I love eating soup in the summer when it so hot outside. My answer is that it’s always freezing at work so the soup warms me up, plus soup is always lighter than a big heavy meal (which I usually stay away from in the heat). If you’re not convinced, feel free to serve this as a chilled soup instead. And don’t forget to…
- Add some toppings. Adding toppings to soups is an easy way to customize them. For this corn chowder, consider adding some corn tortilla strips, some extra fresh herbs, some sautéed corn, hot sauce, vegan bacon bits, or, if you’re serving it chilled, some cowboy caviar or chopped cucumbers.
Making this creamy vegan corn chowder is super simple, but you know I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve. Here are my favorite tips for coaxing the most flavor out of your ingredients:
- If using fresh ears of corn, bust out your tube pan or bundt pan. Balance the ear of corn on the center tube, then use a sharp chef’s knife to slice the kernels off the ear. Instead of flying haphazardly all around your kitchen, they’ll be neatly caught in the cake tin!
- If you’ve used whole ears of corn, get all the flavor you can from them. You can simmer the naked ears (after removing the kernels) in a shallow bath of water for about 10-15 minutes. Voila! You’ve just made corn broth, which can easily be used as your veggie broth, or in tandem with a bit of vegan bouillon for even more flavor.
- But feel free to use frozen! While summer is a great time for this vegan corn chowder, I make this tasty meal all year long by subbing in frozen corn. The freezing process holds in the nutrients just as well as if the corn was fresh. I don’t recommend using canned corn (or any canned veggies if possible) because all of the nutrients are usually lost in the canned liquid that is discarded.
If you’re wondering how on earth this chowder could possibly be healthy, you’ve come to the right place! I promise that I’ve made some very intentional decisions to ensure this delightful bowl of sunshiny goodness is also chock-full of wholesome nutrients.
Corn sometimes gets a bad wrap because of the carbohydrate content. Nutrition-wise, corn does contain a good amount of carbs, but it’s not the same as something like white bread because corn contains fiber.
Corn also contains some protein as well as vitamin B6, iron, and magnesium, so give corn a chance!
PRO TIP: Make sure you reach for organic corn if possible. Corn is one of the most genetically modified plants in our country, which can lead to health issues like food allergies/intolerances and digestive problems.
To make my vegan corn chowder extra creamy, I used potatoes. When puréed, they add a lovely texture and mouthfeel without adding milk or cream. I usually add cashews to make my dishes creamy, but I’m using all vegetables in this soup so that anyone who has nut allergies can also enjoy it.
To make this chowder extra tasty, I added fresh dill and nutritional yeast. It’s amazing how fresh herbs can really elevate the flavor of a meal. If dill isn’t your favorite, feel free to swap in something like basil, cilantro or parsley instead.
The nooch adds a savory, umami, almost cheesy flavor to the vegan chowder, which helps to further the creamy flavor we’d expect. Nooch is also an excellent source of B vitamins!
How can I make my vegan corn chowder creamier?
While I find that the potatoes in the chowder do an excellent job making it nice and creamy, there are a few options here. First, try adding some cashew cream to the mix.
If nuts are out of the question, try using some coconut cream. Just note that your chowder will have a decidedly coconutty flavor as a result.
You can also try topping the chowder with a dollop of vegan sour cream or dairy-free plain Greek yogurt.
How can I thicken corn chowder?
If the chowder is feeling too thin, try simmering it after blending. The excess liquid should evaporate, leaving you with a thicker soup.
If time is of the essence and you need it thicker RIGHT NOW, make a cornstarch slurry with 1 part cornstarch to 2 parts water. Add the slurry to the pot with the soup over low heat, and simmer for a 2-3 minutes until it visibly thickens.
Can I make this vegan corn chowder ahead of time?
Absolutely! As with most soups, it will hold in the fridge for up to a week. You can also freeze it for up to three months.