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Mexican corn chowder combines charred corn, green chiles and potatoes in a spicy, creamy broth. Make this recipe in just under an hour!
Soups and chowders are usually reserved for cold winter nights, but this spicy green chile corn chowder takes advantage of the fresh sweet corn that’s in season during the summer.
The roasted corn is perfectly balanced with fresh poblano chiles, tender potatoes and Mexican spices. While the soup is hearty enough to be eaten on its own, a simple green salad or loaf of crusty bread or Mexican cornbread is fantastic with it too.
Video: Making Mexican Corn Chowder
To see the process from start to finish, watch the video located in the recipe card at the bottom of this post!
Char the corn and sweat the aromatic vegetables to release extra flavor, then combine everything into a hearty soup. The secret to thickening this chowder is to puree a portion of the soup before stirring it back into the pot.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Fresh sweet corn – Use yellow, white, or a mix of both. If fresh corn is out of season, frozen charred corn may be used.
- Yellow potatoes – Yukon Gold is what I prefer to use, but any thin skin (waxy) potato will do. Avoid using russet potatoes, as they are too starchy and will become mushy.
- Poblano chiles – These are mild green chiles, close in heat to jalapenos. If you’re unable to find them, Anaheim chiles are a good substitute.
- Mexican oregano – Mexican oregano is pungent like Mediterranean oregano, but it has mild licorice and citrus notes. Mediterranean oregano is the one most found in spice racks and supermarkets. If you’re unable to find Mexican oregano, use the Mediterranean variety.
- Bay leaf – Remember to remove the bay leaf before blending the soup. Bay leaf is not intended to be eaten.
- Ancho chile powder – If you can’t find this, you can make and use homemade chili seasoning.
TIP: How to Shuck Corn Like a Pro
For easier shucking, completely remove the stem from the bottom of the corn cob. Leaving the husk on, microwave on high power for 1 minute. This creates enough steam for the cob to slide out of the husk with the silk still attached!
- Mexican crema – This condiment has a texture and fat content somewhere between sour cream and creme fraiche. It can be found at most grocery stores in the refrigerated dairy section. Both sour cream and creme fraiche can also be used as substitutes. If you like flavored crema, check out my recipe for avocado crema.
- Cotija cheese – A salty and crumbly cheese that’s popular in Mexican cooking. Its texture is similar to feta, but it dries out the longer it ages.
How to Make Poblano Corn Chowder
Roast the corn.
- Heat up the grill and cook the corn on the cob until all sides are charred. Make sure to rotate them every few minutes so none of the sides completely burn.
- Next, use a sharp knife to remove the kernels from their cobs. Then, scrape the cobs with the knife to release the “milk”.
- Cut 3-4 cobs in half, add them to the bowl of kernels, and set aside.
- Discard the remaining cobs or save for another recipe.
Make the soup.
- Melt the butter in a pot over medium heat.
- Add the onion, celery, chiles, and spices (except for the chile powder) to the pot.
- Cover and cook until the onion has softened, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered until the potatoes are fork tender.
Finish and serve
- Remove the bay leaves and corn cobs and discard.
- Puree 2 cups of the Mexican corn chowder in a blender until smooth. TIP: Remove the center cap from the lid so the steam can escape, but cover with a towel so you don’t make a mess.
- Add the puree back into the soup and stir well to combine.
- Then, ladle the corn chowder into bowls and top with garnishes.
Mexican Corn Chowder Recipe Notes
- Storage: Transfer to an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Soups with dairy don’t freeze well because the texture becomes unpleasant when thawed and reheated.
- Reheating: Heat leftover chowder on the stove or in the microwave until warmed through. If the texture is too thick, add a little milk to thin it out.
- Naked corn cobs: Instead of tossing the leftover cobs, use them to make corn stock, corn cob jelly, or as a substitute for wood chips. You can always store them in the freezer if you won’t be using them right away.
Other Spicy Soup Recipes
Mexican Corn Chowder + Video
- 8 ears sweet corn (or 4 cups frozen)
- 4 tbsp butter
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 2 ribs celery diced
- 2 poblano chiles seeded and diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp oregano Mexican or traditional
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 lb yellow potatoes peeled and cut into 1/2″ pieces
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tbsp ancho chile powder (or chile powder of choice)
- On a medium hot grill or hot grill pan, char the corn all over, 12-15 minutes. Set aside until cool enough to handle.
- Turn a small dipping sauce bowl over and place in the bottom center of a large bowl. Position each ear of corn lengthwise on the small bowl and slice the corn kernels off each cob, scraping the cob with the knife to extract any juices. Repeat with all ears of corn.
- Cut 3-4 bare corn cobs in half, discarding the rest. Set the corn kernels and cobs aside.
- In a Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion, celery, poblano, garlic, salt, oregano, and bay leaf. Cover and sweat the vegetables, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens, about 6 minutes.
- Remove lid. Add the corn kernels and cobs, potatoes, milk, cream and ancho powder (or chile powder of choice). Bring to a boil, cover, and lower the heat to simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes. Test potatoes with fork to be they are tender yet cooked. Carefully remove and discard the cobs and bay leaf.
- Transfer 2 cups of the soup to a blender and purée until smooth. Be careful and leave gap in lid to let steam out and cover with towel.
- Stir the thick puréed soup back into the pot of remaining soup to thicken. Season with salt and the ancho chile powder to taste.
- Divide into soup bowls and garnish with the cilantro, Mexican crema, cotija cheese crumbles and additional ancho chile powder. Serve with lime wedges.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.