Summer corn is in full swing, which means it’s corn chowder season baby! Every year I look forward to making a big pot of corn chowder to use up fresh produce. Last year I shared this incredible vegan corn chowder recipe complete with perfectly sweet coconut milk (SO GOOD) and this summer you know I had to kick it up a notch.
This southwest chicken corn chowder is thick, creamy and packed with protein and veggies for a bowl of magic you’ll seriously crave. I filled this amazing chicken corn chowder with wonderful southwest-inspired spices like cumin, coriander, chili powder and oregano, and even added an extra flavor and protein boost with a can of black beans. It reminds me of my famous cheesy southwest bean dip but with greek yogurt and a hint of sweetness from all of that fresh corn.
This comforting recipe is the perfect summer-into-fall dinner or lunch to enjoy as the temps start dropping. And if you love hearty soups & stews all year round like I do, prepare to be completely wowed by this one. Have fun adding your fav toppings and be sure to read the full post for ways to make it your own!
What makes this southwest corn chowder a little healthier
Traditional corn chowder recipes are typically made with butter, flour and plenty of heavy cream to make it thick and creamy. We’re swapping out the heavy cream and butter for protein-packed greek yogurt, and thickening it up with potatoes. The result is equally as creamy but packed with more nutrients!
Everything you’ll need to make southwest chicken corn chowder
You’re going to LOVE how creamy this southwest corn chowder is. With wonderful spices and a few special ingredients, it has the perfect flavors and textures! Here’s what you’ll need to make it:
- Protein: I like to use boneless, skinless chicken thighs in this corn chowder recipe. You’ll also add a can of black beans for extra fiber, protein and flavor.
- Veggies: you’ll need an onion, garlic, poblano pepper, red bell pepper and fresh or frozen sweet corn.
- Potatoes: that’s right, the secret ingredient for super creamy corn chowder is yukon gold potatoes!
- Spices: we’re using a mix of ground coriander, ground turmeric, chili powder, garlic powder, oregano and plenty of salt & pepper. Feel free to add some cayenne pepper if you like a little heat.
- For the base: you’ll need some low sodium chicken broth, plain greek yogurt and milk to create a creamy texture in this southwest corn chowder.
- Optional toppings: I love to garnish my bowl with shredded cheddar cheese, chopped scallions, fresh cilantro & avocado and tortilla chips. So good!
Make it your own
This easy southwest corn chowder is great for customizing and is delicious so many different ways. Here are some simple ingredient swaps & customizations you can make:
- Go vegetarian: feel free to omit the chicken and enjoy the chowder as-is, or add in another can of black beans for an extra boost of protein.
- Choose the milk: you can really use any milk you’d like. I prefer unsweetened almond milk but regular milk and even coconut milk will work well.
- Add some heat: if you love spice like we do, try swapping the poblano pepper for jalapeño and add in that cayenne pepper. A drizzle of your fav hot sauce on top would be perfect, too!
The key to super creamy corn chowder
As I mentioned, this southwest chicken corn chowder is made extra creamy without using actual cream thanks to the potatoes! You’ll actually cook them up and blend the chowder all together to get the perfect texture. Adding greek yogurt or sour cream is the perfect touch.
How to make this healthy chicken corn chowder
- Cook your chicken. Start by cooking up the diced chicken in a large pot with olive oil, salt and pepper. Set it aside in a separate bowl while you continue with the recipe.
- Cook the veggies. In the same pot, you’ll cook the garlic, onion, peppers, corn and potatoes until the potatoes start to soften slightly.
- Simmer with spices & broth. You’ll then stir the veggies with all of those spices for about 30 seconds so that the flavor and aromas release. Then stir in the broth, milk, yogurt, salt & pepper and simmer everything for about 10 minutes until the potatoes are fork-tender.
- Blend it up. Here’s the fun part! Take half of the chowder and carefully blend it in your blender so that it turns nice and creamy. Stir this back in with the rest of the corn chowder and voila! It will be so creamy and delicious.
- Add protein & serve. Finally, add the chicken back to the pot along with your can of black beans and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Serve with all of those delicious toppings if you’d like!
Storing & freezing tips
- To store: store this healthy southwest chicken corn chowder in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
- To freeze: simply let the corn chowder completely cool, transfer it to a freezer-safe container, and store it in the freezer for up to 2 months. When you’re ready to eat it thaw the corn chowder in the refrigerator and then heat it in the microwave or on the stovetop.
More soups, stews & chowders you’ll love
- Creamy Vegan Corn Chowder
- Homemade Roasted Tomato Basil Soup
- Lightened Up Cheddar Cauliflower Broccoli Soup
- Green Chile Chicken Pozole
- Creamy Tomato Orzo Soup with Mini Turkey Meatballs
Get all of our soup & stew recipes here!
I hope you love this southwest chicken corn chowder! If you make it be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked it. Enjoy, xo!
Southwest Chicken Corn Chowder
Delicious and creamy southwest chicken corn chowder made with beautiful summer veggies like sweet corn and fresh peppers. This easy chicken corn chowder recipe is filled with savory southwest flavors and spices and packs plenty of protein. Add your favorite toppings for the perfect end-of-summer dinner!
- For the chicken:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, diced into bite sized pieces
- Freshly ground salt and pepper
- For the corn chowder:
- 1 medium white onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 poblano pepper, seeded and diced (can also use 1 seeded jalapeno)
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 4 cups diced yukon gold potatoes
- 5 cups fresh sweet corn off the cob (can also use frozen)
- 1 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- Optional: ¼ teaspoon cayenne (only if you like a little heat)
- 2 cups milk of choice (I used unsweetened almond milk, but dairy milk or coconut milk would also work)
- 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
- ⅓ cup plain greek yogurt (or sour cream)
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
- Juice from ½ lime
- To garnish:
- Shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup fresh diced cilantro
- Diced avocado
- Tortilla chips
In a large soup pot over medium-high heat add the olive oil and diced chicken, season with salt and pepper and cook until cooked through until chicken is no longer pink, about 5-7 minutes. Once chicken is done cooking, transfer to a bowl or plate and set aside.
In the same pot, reduce heat to medium and add in onion, garlic, poblano, red bell pepper, potatoes and corn and saute for 6-8 minutes or until potatoes start to soften a bit.
Next stir in spices and cook for 30 seconds to release their flavors and aromas, then slowly stir in the milk, broth and yogurt (or sour cream), scraping up any bits from the bottom of the pan as you stir. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium low and gently simmer for 10-15 minutes uncovered or until the potatoes are tender and can easily be pierced with a fork.
To give a creamy texture, blend approximately half of the soup (BE CAREFUL WHILE DOING THIS!) then return to the pot. Stir to incorporate and then taste and adjust seasonings -- adding in more salt and pepper if necessary. You can blend more if you like a creamier soup, but I love a little texture. Finally stir in the chicken, black beans and lime juice.
To serve, garnish with shredded cheese, scallions, cilantro, avocado and a swirl of sour cream (if not vegan). Makes 6 servings.
Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats