Smoky Vegan Corn Chowder with Potatoes

Created by Laura Wright
5 from 41 votes

My smoky vegan corn chowder is a cozy dinner that's robustly flavoured with thyme, smoked paprika, garlic, and lemon. Silky and lush, this stovetop vegan soup is hearty with Yukon Gold potatoes and fresh corn.

An up close, overhead shot shows a single serving of vegan corn chowder with potatoes in a ceramic bowl. A piece of whole wheat sourdough is sticking out of the bowl. The chowder is garnished with chopped fresh herbs and ground black pepper.

No dairy, no problems with my corn chowder! This recipe for smoky vegan corn chowder with potatoes combines fresh corn, smoked paprika, sun dried tomatoes, Yukon Gold potatoes, thyme, non-dairy milk, and lemon for a robust and silky dairy-free corn chowder. This vegan soup bubbles away on the stovetop before a portion of it is puréed in the blender for a creamy texture (without coconut milk!). With an optional step of steeping the corn cobs in vegetable stock, this recipe takes about an hour to cook up.

An overhead shot shows a large Dutch oven filled halfway with a smoky vegan corn chowder with potatoes. The chowder is garnished with chopped fresh herbs.
An overhead shot shows ingredients used in a vegan corn chowder recipe, including fresh cobs of corn, smoked paprika, thyme, potatoes, celery, vegetable stock and more.
A 3/4 angle shot shows potatoes going into a large pot that is filled with fresh corn kernels.

This vegan potato corn chowder is inspired by a version in my cookbook! In this recipe, we give the classic soup an extra smoky bump with smoked paprika. I also heighten the umami depth with minced sun dried tomatoes and miso. Both of these ingredients are not typical, but they work SO well. Fresh thyme and lemon are tried and true flavour partners for corn that play their role perfectly here.

To really enhance the corn flavour, I like to simmer the shaved corn cobs with the vegetable stock for 20 minutes prior to starting the chowder. The cobs have a lot of flavour to give after you’ve cut the kernels off, and this is a simple way to extract it. Of course, if you’re pressed for time, you can skip this step!

How to thicken corn chowder:

  • I don’t use flour or an abundance of plant-based “cream” substitutes to thicken my corn chowders. You don’t need them!
  • I simply purée about one third of the fully cooked soup with a small amount of non-dairy milk. The speed of the blender really activates the starch in the potatoes and corn, making for a thicker texture (but not gluey).
  • I like to use a richer non-dairy milk here, like unsweetened soy or cashew.
  • The end result is a velvety and rich corn chowder (never watery!) with zero compromise.

I love to take advantage of sweet summer corn when making this. But if you were wondering: yes, you can use frozen corn in this corn chowder. You’ll need about 5 cups of kernels total. The flavour won’t be quite as intense, but it will get you about 85% there, which is still quite nice!

This soup keeps in a sealed container in the fridge for about 5 days. You can freeze it for up to 6 months. I’m telling you, thawing out a container of this chowder in the depths of January feels like such a gift!

A head-on shot shows a portion of vegan corn chowder in a blender pitcher with cashew milk added.
An overhead shot shows a blender pitcher emptying a blended up portion of corn chowder back into the soup pot with the remaining unblended chowder.
An overhead shot shows a large Dutch oven filled halfway with a smoky vegan corn chowder with potatoes. The chowder is garnished with chopped fresh herbs.
An overhead shot shows a single serving of vegan corn chowder with potatoes in a ceramic bowl. A piece of whole wheat sourdough is sticking out of the bowl. The chowder is garnished with chopped fresh herbs and ground black pepper.

Smoky Vegan Corn Chowder with Potatoes

My smoky vegan corn chowder is a cozy dinner that's robustly flavoured with thyme, smoked paprika, garlic, and lemon. Silky and lush, this stovetop vegan soup is hearty with Yukon Gold potatoes and fresh corn.
5 from 41 votes
An up close, overhead shot shows a single serving of vegan corn chowder with potatoes in a ceramic bowl. A piece of whole wheat sourdough is sticking out of the bowl. The chowder is garnished with chopped fresh herbs and ground black pepper.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings 4 -6

Ingredients

  • 6 cobs corn (about 5 cups kernels total)
  • 5-6 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium-large sweet onion, small dice
  • 1 stick celery, small dice
  • 1 small red bell pepper, small dice
  • sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup finely chopped sun dried tomatoes (the ones packed in oil)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, minced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon chili flakes or ground chillies (optional)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb Yukon gold potatoes, chopped
  • ¾ cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 2 teaspoons light miso
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • chopped chives or parsley, for garnish

Equipment

Notes

  • I like to simmer the vegetable stock with the shaved corn cobs for about 20 minutes. This really helps to bump up the corny flavour of the finished chowder! Of course, if you’re pressed for time, you can skip this step and it will still be quite good.
  • For the non-dairy milk, I prefer a rich milk like cashew or soy here.
  • If using frozen corn, you’ll need 5 cups of corn kernels total.

Instructions

Optional Cob Stock Step

  • Cut the corn kernels off of the cobs and place the shaved cobs in a large pot. Pour 5 cups of the vegetable stock into the pot, and place it on the stove over high heat. Once the stock is boiling, lower the heat to a simmer and let it go for 20 minutes, covered. After 20 minutes, remove the cobs and set the stock aside.

For the Chowder

  • Heat a large pot over medium heat. Once it’s hot, pour in the olive oil and swirl it around. Add the onions, celery, and red bell pepper all at once. Sauté until onions are translucent and vegetables are quite soft, about 10 full minutes. If the vegetables are browning too fast, lower the heat. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add the sun dried tomatoes, thyme, smoked paprika, chili flakes, and garlic to the pot. Stir until very fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Add the potatoes and corn to the pot and stir. Season generously with salt and pepper. Pour in 5 cups of vegetable stock and stir. Bring the pot up to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer, covered, until the potatoes are quite tender, about 25 minutes.
  • Remove about a ⅓ of the soup and place it in an upright blender. Add the non-dairy milk and miso to the blender as well and then blend this mixture on high until completely smooth. Pour the puréed potion of chowder back into the pot and stir, bringing it back up to a simmer.
  • At this point, if the chowder is too thick for your liking, add some more vegetable stock to loosen it up. Stir in the lemon juice.
  • Check the chowder for seasoning and adjust to suit your taste (more salt, pepper, chili, lemon etc). Serve the corn chowder hot with chopped chives/parsley on top and extra black pepper.
A 3/4 angle shot shows a bowl of vegan corn chowder with a piece of bread sticking out of the bowl. A soup pot is seen in the background.
16/08/2023 (Last Updated 06/11/2023)
Posted in: autumn, creamy, gluten free, main course, refined sugar-free, salty, smoky, soup, summer, umami, vegan, winter

36 comments

Recipe Rating




  • Kim C

    5 stars
    I eat WFPB, but my husband is a serious carnivore. I continually offer my food to him and he turns up his nose at it. I made this last night and he actually tired it and liked it! My blender was in use, so I didn’t have an opportunity to blend it, but I will blend the leftovers tonight and see what kind of difference it makes. This is a beautiful dish!

    • Laura Wright

      Hi Kim! So glad that you both approve of the vegan corn chowder. My guy is a meat eater, so I relate to this a lot :)
      -L

  • Sarah

    5 stars
    Left out the bell pepper but this was delicious! We can rarely get fresh corn in winter but Whole Foods had organic, bi-color sweet corn which ended up having a slightly crunchy texture, mixed with the bright flavors and soft veg of the soup. My family and I loved it!

  • Carol

    I want to know what non dairy milk you used. Can I use regular milk if I’m not worried about it being vegan??

    • Laura Wright

      Hi Carol!
      You can definitely use dairy milk if that’s what you have on hand :)
      -L

  • 4waystoyummy

    5 stars
    I’m making this as we speak and wondered if coconut milk was a good option for the cashew or soy milk….which I don’t have in my pantry. Love smoked paprika and sun dried tomatoes in this recipe!

    • Laura Wright

      Coconut milk is fine if you don’t mind a bit of coconut flavour! It will work with the other components :)
      -L

  • Jess

    5 stars
    Seriously so beautiful. I blended some cooked white beans into the soup as well for extra creaminess.

  • Laura

    Made this tonight before all the fresh corn is done for the season! I really liked the addition of the miso and the sundried tomatoes! Would definitely make this again!

  • Brenda Meadows

    5 stars
    Super yummy and creamy. Just the right amount of heat. I didn’t have fresh corn so used frozen. Very very good!

  • Jackie Fox

    5 stars
    Wow! I’ve made this twice now and it’s such an excellent blend of spices and textures. Absolutely love this. I make it oil free, with fresh field corn and potatoes. Mostly made as is, but I added more sun dried tomatoes and I sautéed the veggies in white wine,
    Thank you. This is one of the best chowders I’ve ever tasted.

  • Babs

    5 stars
    Just made this today and bragged to my friends that I made the BEST corn chowder ever! A keeper, for sure!

  • Gillian

    5 stars
    Made this today and I am blown away by how delicious it is!!!

  • Caroline

    5 stars
    My daughter surprised us with this chowder for dinner this weekend, and…OH MY GOODNESS! It’s the most delicious thing I’ve eaten in a while. The depth of flavor and creaminess…it’s just so satisfying. We’ve already decided that we’re buying up as much corn from the stand as we can this season to make this on repeat until fall! (And to freeze some for the winter) :) Love all of your recipes, Laura! Thank you!

  • Sandra

    Absolutely perfect!!

  • Kelsey S

    5 stars
    The flavours on this were outstanding! Made it mostly as written (subbed sundried tomatoes for a homemade tomato confit I already had) & was blown away by how flavourful this was! I will be making this every corn season for sure! Thanks Laura for another great, reliable recipe :)

    • Laura Wright

      Oooooh I bet tomato confit would be so good in this! Thanks for this comment and review, Kelsey!
      -L

  • Kate

    Hey! Can’t wait to make this for my friend this weekend. Do you think I could use russet or white potatoes, that all I have?

    • Laura Wright

      Hi Kate!
      Both russets or white potatoes would be great! I would probably go for the white potatoes myself.
      -L

  • Julie Burge

    5 stars
    An absolute spectacular chowder! A recipe that I just kept looking at until I finally had to make it. Your main photo is so beautiful! The chowder is wonderfully filling but not heavy. The flavor profile hits all the notes: sweet corn, savory sun dried tomatoes, smoky paprika, salty miso all surrounding some comforting, golden potatoes. I’m so happy this makes quite a lot, as I’ll be happy to pull some from the freezer to brighten a cold, winter day. An easy recipe with simple ingredients, the smoky flavor has made me crave it again tonight for dinner. Thank you, Laura for the great recipe!

  • n

    5 stars
    so tasty!

  • Elizabeth

    5 stars
    Made this last night and it was really lovely. I added some diced summer squash and fresh basil, as well. Delicious!

  • Lauren

    I am really excited to make this, I haven’t made any corn chowder yet this season!
    Would coconut milk be unappealing in this? I stay away from soy and nuts (stupid food sensitivity and allergy) so for me it’s either coconut or oat milk. What do you recommend?
    Thanks!

    • Laura Wright

      Hi Lauren!
      Unsweetened oat milk would be fine and so would coconut. As long as you’re used to the flavour of coconut in soups like this and you enjoy it, it would work great with the other flavours going on :)
      -L

  • Christina

    5 stars
    I saw this recipe this morning and went to our local farm immediately to buy fresh corn. I made a double batch and have no regrets. It’s delicious! I plan to freeze portions of it and enjoy the flavors of summer on a cold autumn or winter evening. Yum!
    I included the step of simmering the corn cobs in the broth first. Made the recipe as written except sautéed the veggies in vegetable broth instead of oil. It’s a keeper. Comforting and delicious! Thank you, Laura!

    • Laura Wright

      Christina,
      Thanks for leaving your review here! I’m so glad that you enjoyed the chowder :)
      -L

  • Elizabeth

    This looks so good! Your photos are phenomenal as always. I just made the corn chowder from your book last week – it’s a staple here. I can’t wait to try this one as well.
    I’ve been following your blog for many years (10?) and I have your cookbook as well. Your recipes are definitely the ones I use most in my kitchen. Many seasonal favorites have been on repeat for years and I look forward to them now as the weather changes. Thank you for bringing such delicious, reliable, wholesome recipes to my table, Laura!

    • Laura Wright

      Hi Elizabeth,
      Thank you for this kind comment and for your support over the years! This chowder is a slightly new and improved version of that one from the book–I hope that you love it!
      -L

  • Anne

    5 stars
    Excellent deep layers of flavor!!! A winner!!!

    I altered the recipe very slightly by eliminating the oil to sauté the vegetables and instead sautéed using a few tablespoons of vegetable broth. I also used dried tomatoes and reconstituted them with a small amount of hot water. I used the tomatoes and the soaking water in the soup. I stick to a WFPB diet, hence the elimination of oil.

    Looking forward to enjoying the leftover soup over the next couple days.

    • Laura Wright

      Hi Anne,
      I’m so glad that you were able to make the recipe work without oil and with dried tomatoes. I know that your comment will be helpful to WFPB folks cooking this in the future! :)
      -L

  • Lexie

    5 stars
    This was positively sensational! When I saw this recipe publish this morning, I immediately went to the nearby farm stand and got what I needed. Love the smokiness from the paprika my husband loves it, too!

    • Laura Wright

      Hi Lexie,
      Thanks so much for leaving this comment and review! So pleased that the chowder worked out for you.
      -L

  • Kim H

    5 stars
    Delicious! I did not have time/patience to make corn cob stock or pick 1 T of fresh thyme leaves. Both would have been great flavor enhancers, but this chowder is still so tasty with standard veg broth and dried thyme. Also, I cut down the smoked paprika to 1 t – just my own preference. This recipe made 12 cups of finished chowder, so I immediately froze half. I am definitely looking forward to fresh corn chowder in the cooler months (if it doesn’t get eaten before then). Thanks, Laura!!

    • Laura Wright

      Hi Kim!
      Thanks so much for leaving this comment and review! Love that the recipe worked with dried thyme and regular veg broth. I know that this comment will be helpful to folks looking to make the same substitutions.
      -L

  • Denise

    5 stars
    Made this last night. Enjoyed a Spaghett (beer, campari lime wedge) while cooking to use the open beer. A match made in heaven. The soup is so delicious and surprisingly hearty. The smoked paprika is brilliant. I’ll be grabbing more corn at the farmers market and freezing this as you suggested. Perfect for apres ski this winter. Thank you.

    • Laura Wright

      Denise,
      So glad that you enjoyed the chowder and a little bev too! It really would be a great and cozy apres ski meal :)
      -L