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This hearty and delicious Chicken Corn Chowder comes together in the slow cooker for an easy dinner recipe that warms you from the inside out! With potatoes, corn, tender chicken, fresh herbs, and crispy, smoky bacon, the thick, rich chowder is a delicious blend of sweet, creamy, and savory ingredients. Serve each bowl with a loaf of crusty bread, flaky buttermilk biscuits, a pan of honey cornbread, or a simple green salad!

Overhead image of hands eating a bowl of chicken and corn chowder with crispy bacon on top

Chicken and Corn Chowder

It’s January in Virginia, which means that we’re past the excitement of the holidays and we’re waffling in that in-between period. Spring isn’t yet on the horizon, and so we’re hunkered down indoors — as close to the wood stoves as possible — staying cozy with a warm bowl of soup. I can’t think of a better meal to come home to at the end of a cold, gray day than a steaming pot of chicken corn chowder. Oh my goodness, it’s tasty!

There’s nothing fancy about this pot of chowder — just down-home, farmhouse cooking at its finest! In fact, in the United States, the old-fashioned dish dates back to at least 1884, when Mary Lincoln published a corn chowder recipe in her Boston Cook Book.

At its most basic, corn chowder is a soup prepared with corn, onion, celery, milk or cream, and butter. These days, you’ll commonly find additional ingredients in the chowder, such as bacon, potatoes, herbs, seafood, or chicken.

Side shot of a bowl of chicken corn chowder with bacon on a table

What makes a chowder a chowder?

Why not just call it chicken and corn soup? According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, a chowder is “a thick soup or stew made of seafood or corn with potatoes and onions and milk or tomatoes.” That’s exactly what we’ve got here with the corn and potatoes! The cooking process, ingredients, and taste of corn chowder are very similar to the taste and texture of creamy New England Clam Chowder; however, the corn takes the place of the clams. As a result, a chicken corn chowder with bacon has a slightly sweet taste from the corn that’s balanced beautifully by the savory, smoky flavor of the bacon. You’ll love the rich and creamy texture, as well as the bite of corn and veggies in every spoonful!

Searing chicken in a cast iron skillet

Ingredients

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for Crock Pot Chicken Corn Chowder. As always, specific measurements and complete cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Bacon: adds great smoky flavor; serves as a crispy garnish at the end.
  • Chicken: boneless, skinless chicken thighs stay tender and juicy in the slow cooker, but chicken breast also works fine if you prefer the white meat.
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper: to enhance the other flavors in the chowder.
  • Onion, celery, and carrots: aromatics that add great savory flavor to the soup.
  • Corn: a key ingredient in this corn chowder! You can use fresh corn kernels when they’re in season, or substitute with frozen corn the rest of the year.
  • Potato: a peeled and diced russet potato bulks up the hearty chowder, while the starches help to thicken the broth.
  • Thyme: fresh herbs are always best when available, but you can substitute with dried thyme as necessary.
  • Chicken broth: start with low-sodium broth so that you can control the saltiness of your chowder.
  • Heavy cream: a small amount added at the end gives the chowder a rich, creamy texture and mouthfeel.
  • Canned cream-style corn: helps thicken the chowder and adds a good amount of flavor and sweetness.
Pouring chicken broth into a slow cooker

Why use cream-style corn?

This recipe calls for a combination of fresh or frozen corn kernels for texture, along with a can of cream-style corn. The canned cream-style corn helps to thicken the chowder and also adds a good amount of flavor and sweetness. It’s a quick and easy alternative to the messier, more time-consuming extra step of squeezing the starchy milk from fresh corn cobs or pureeing fresh corn kernels to achieve that same thick, creamy, sweet texture.

Pouring cream into a slow cooker

How to Make Chicken Corn Chowder

This creamy corn chowder recipe is loaded with classic chicken soup ingredients like chicken, carrots, celery, and onion, plus bacon, and of course — plenty of corn!

  1. Fry bacon in a large skillet or Dutch oven. Remove to a plate to use as a garnish later, reserving the drippings in the pan.
  2. Brown the chicken in the bacon drippings. You don’t need it to cook through at this point; just give it some nice color.
  3. Place onions, corn, celery, carrots, potato, and thyme in a slow cooker.
  4. Add the browned chicken on top, and pour in the chicken broth.
  5. Cover and cook on LOW for 4-6 hours, or on HIGH for 2-3 hours, until the vegetables are tender and the chicken is cooked through.
  6. Remove the chicken to a cutting board.
  7. Puree about half of the soup with an immersion blender, a regular blender, or a food processor.
  8. Shred or chop the chicken, and then return it to the pot.
  9. Stir in heavy cream, cream-style corn, and salt. Cook for about 5 more minutes.
  10. Ladle the chowder into serving bowls and garnish with crispy bacon and chopped fresh parsley.
Overhead shot of two bowls of crock pot chicken corn chowder with bacon and a side of cornbread

How to Thicken

Towards the end of the cooking time, you’ll puree the chowder with an immersion blender, or in batches in a regular blender, making it thick and creamy. You can puree as much or as little soup as you like to reach the desired consistency. I like to leave some good chunks in there for texture, so I typically puree about half of the soup.

This only takes about 4 or 5 minutes of your time, and the pureed corn, potatoes, and other vegetables add a velvety texture to the soup — which means that you only need a small amount of heavy cream at the end.

Side shot of two bowls of chicken and corn chowder on a dinner table with a side of cornbread

What to Serve with Slow Cooker Chicken Corn Chowder

A warm bowl of this cozy, old-fashioned chowder goes well with any of these sides:

Hands dipping cornbread into a bowl of chicken corn chowder

Make Ahead Creamy Chicken Corn Chowder

For quicker weeknight dinners, you can prepare a batch of chicken corn chowder on the weekend and keep it in jars in your fridge to reheat when you need them.

Storage

Properly stored in an airtight container, the chowder will last in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

To Reheat: Place the chowder in a pot and warm over a low flame, just until heated through. Be careful not to let the soup boil.

Can you freeze chicken corn chowder?

I do not recommend freezing this corn chowder recipe, as the milk or cream will “break” or separate when thawed.

How to Freeze Cream-Based Soups

If you’d like to prepare this chowder in advance to store in the freezer, just follow the recipe, but leave out the dairy. Cool in freezer-safe containers, leaving an inch of headspace. When ready to thaw, place the soup in a pot over low heat. When liquefied and simmering, stir in the cream, being careful not to let it boil.

Recipe Variations

  • For a lighter chowder, use half-and-half in lieu of the heavy cream.
  • Instead of russet potatoes, you can use 6-8 ounces of gold new potatoes that are quartered. There’s no need to peel the small potatoes.
  • Make a fresh corn chowder by using 1 cup of fresh corn kernels cut straight off the cob when corn is in season.
  • Add a diced red bell pepper (or other color bell peppers) to the pot, or make the soup spicy with a dash of cayenne pepper. A couple cloves of garlic would also be a nice addition.
  • Take a shortcut! If you don’t want to spend the time browning your chicken or frying your bacon first, you can place the raw chicken directly in the bottom of the slow cooker. Add the vegetables, thyme, and broth to the Crock Pot (as instructed in the recipe). Garnish individual bowls of soup with cooked, chopped bacon if desired.
Side shot of a dinner table with a tray of cornbread and two bowls of chicken corn chowder

Tips for the Best Chicken Corn Chowder Recipe

  • Chicken thighs stay tender and juicy in the Crock Pot, but chicken breast will also work if you prefer the white meat.
  • Let the cream come to room temperature before stirring it into the soup. The room temp cream will blend more evenly into the chowder and is less likely to curdle.
  • Use heavy cream rather than milk for the best texture and mouthfeel. The cream is also less likely to curdle or separate when added to the hot soup.
  • Taste and season as you go. The total amount of salt necessary will vary depending on the saltiness of your broth, and on personal preference. Add extra salt for more flavor, and feel free to increase the other herbs and seasonings as well. Start with low sodium chicken broth if you’re sensitive to sodium, since many store-bought options can be quite salty.
  • Garnish the soup with fresh parsley or fresh thyme at the end for a bright finishing touch.
Hands holding slow cooker chicken corn chowder recipe with a side of cornbread

More Crock Pot Soup Recipes to Try

Overhead image of hands eating a bowl of chicken and corn chowder with crispy bacon on top

Crock Pot Chicken Corn Chowder

5 from 2 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 3 hours 30 minutes
Total: 3 hours 45 minutes
Servings 8 cups
Calories 248.9 kcal
A hearty and delicious Crock Pot Chicken Corn Chowder with bacon is an easy dinner to warm you from the inside out!

Ingredients
  

  • 6 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 ½ lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs or chicken breast
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • ½ cup diced celery
  • ½ cup peeled and diced carrots
  • 1 russet potato (about 6 ounces), peeled and cubed
  • 1 ½ teaspoons fresh thyme leaves (or ½ dried thyme)
  • 1 ½ cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 (14.75 oz) can cream-style corn
  • Optional garnish: chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

  • Fry bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside to use later as a garnish. Reserve bacon drippings in the skillet.
  • Season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides.
  • Add chicken breasts to the bacon drippings in the skillet and cook over medium-high heat, just until browned on both sides (about 3 minutes per side). The chicken does not need to be completely cooked through – it just needs to be browned on each side for flavor, since it will continue cooking in the slow cooker.
  • Meanwhile, place onions, corn, celery, carrots, potato, and thyme in a slow cooker. Add browned chicken to the slow cooker. Pour chicken broth over top, cover, and cook on HIGH for 2-3 hours or on LOW for 4-6 hours.
  • Remove chicken from slow cooker and place on a cutting board.
  • Using a handheld stick blender, puree about half of the soup in the slow cooker. If you don’t have a stick blender, you can carefully transfer about half of the soup to a regular blender or food processor and blend until it reaches desired consistency. You might have to do this in batches, depending on how large your blender is.
  • Once the soup is pureed, chop or shred the chicken and stir the meat back into the soup in the slow cooker.
  • Stir in heavy cream, cream-style corn, and ¾ teaspoon salt. Continue cooking for about 5 more minutes, or until heated through. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, if necessary.
  • Divide chowder among individual bowls and garnish with reserved cooked bacon and chopped fresh parsley.

Notes

  • Chicken thighs stay tender and juicy in the Crock Pot, but chicken breast will also work if you prefer the white meat.
  • Let the cream come to room temperature before stirring it into the soup. The room temp cream will blend more evenly into the chowder and is less likely to curdle.
  • Use heavy cream rather than milk for the best texture and mouthfeel. The cream is also less likely to curdle or separate when added to the hot soup.
  • Taste and season as you go. The total amount of salt necessary will vary depending on the saltiness of your broth, and on personal preference. Add extra salt for more flavor, and feel free to increase the other herbs and seasonings as well. Start with low sodium chicken broth if you’re sensitive to sodium, since many store-bought options can be quite salty.
  • Garnish the soup with fresh parsley or fresh thyme at the end for a bright finishing touch.
  • For a lighter chowder, use half-and-half in lieu of the heavy cream.
  • Instead of russet potatoes, you can use 6-8 ounces of gold new potatoes that are quartered. There’s no need to peel the small potatoes.
  • Make a fresh corn chowder by using 1 cup of fresh corn kernels cut straight off the cob when corn is in season.
  • Take a shortcut! If you don’t want to spend the time browning your chicken or frying your bacon first, you can place the raw chicken directly in the bottom of the slow cooker. Add the vegetables, thyme, and broth to the Crock Pot (as instructed in the recipe). Garnish individual bowls of soup with cooked, chopped bacon if desired.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupCalories: 248.9kcalCarbohydrates: 21.3gProtein: 24gFat: 8.1gSaturated Fat: 4.1gCholesterol: 73.6mgSodium: 603.6mgFiber: 2.2gSugar: 4.4g
Keyword: chicken and corn chowder, chicken corn chowder, corn chowder, corn chowder recipe, crock pot chicken corn chowder, slow cooker soup recipe
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan

This recipe was originally published in January, 2018. The photos were updated in January, 2022.

blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

Read More

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Comments

  1. Now this is my kind of January meal! I know what you mean about the after-holiday excitement, but not yet ready for the warmer weather. It’s the in between, grey period, and all I want is comfort food! This looks perfect to make in the slow cooker, Blair!

  2. We do not eat pork, so the bacon is an issue. I don’t think that most turkey bacon’s hold up well in soups either. Do you have any other suggestions?

    1. Hey, Meg! That’s not a problem. The bacon is basically just used as a garnish on the top of the soup when serving. I use the bacon drippings in the skillet to brown the chicken (because it offers some good flavor), but you can easily just substitute some butter or oil in the skillet for browning the chicken instead! And obviously skip the bacon garnish at the end (or use turkey bacon on the top if you still want that crispy flavor). There’s no bacon actually in the soup, so you won’t need to change anything else. Enjoy!

  3. Hi, Karli! I prefer the thicker, smoother, creamier texture that the heavy cream provides, and it’s such a small amount in the larger pot of soup, that I would encourage you to use it.

    That said, I do think that you could go with a whole milk or a fat-free half-and-half with good luck, too. I wouldn’t use something like skim milk, because I worry that would make it too watery and the texture just wouldn’t be the same. Hope that helps!

  4. I used your recipe as a guide, but tweaked it and took it to our church Senior Adult luncheon and it was a HUGE hit. I doubled the recipe, and added almost 3/4 of a block of Velveeta cheese. I also cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces BEFORE I browned it in the skillet and I didn’t puree it at all. I cut the thyme down to 1 tsp. for the doubled recipe. I’ve been asked by multiple people for the recipe. THANK YOU!!

  5. 5 stars
    Velveta or shredded cheese (any flavor) will add salt and thickening. I like my really thick so I add potato flakes toward the end. .I use a potato masher to puree half the ingredients. Do this before adding the flakes

  6. Hi Blair,
    I’m so excited to make this recipe tomorrow for my family – it sounds so good! Is 1.5 cups of chicken broth correct? It seems like a small quantity for a soup. Thought I’d double check before I attempt it. I love reading your blog every Sunday morning – it’s part of my weekend ritual. A lot of your recipes have become family favorites, such as the stuffed shells and the chicken fajitas. Thanks for the inspiration!
    – Krista

    1. Hi, Krista! Thank you so much for your kind note!

      That’s the correct amount of broth. I’m very careful not to “water down” slow cooker recipes, because so much condensation drops back down into the pot during the cooking process. One of the worst problems (in my opinion) with so many Crock Pot recipes is that they turn out watery and flavorless. I would start with the 1 1/2 cups of broth, and then see how you like it at the end. It yields a fairly thick soup (almost a stew texture), so you can certainly feel free to thin with additional broth if you like. Just wait until the end and adjust to suit your personal preferences. Hope you enjoy the meal! 🙂

  7. 5 stars
    This is my second time making it. I just love this soup!
    Tonight I am going for the mexican twist to it
    Garnish will be limes and tortilla with some cheddar cheese
    and avocado