This post has been updated with new photos and tips.
Healthy chicken corn chowder is a quick and easy soup recipe that’s loaded with bright and fresh vegetables. The flavors of sweet corn, red and orange peppers, green onions, water chestnuts, and chicken come together with creamy coconut milk, and a hit of jalapeno and chili sauce for a spicy kick. This light dairy-free corn chowder takes under 30 minutes to make -- but tastes like it took all day.
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You’re going to love this
Fresh summer corn. Can we just stop for a moment and pay reverence to sweet corn in the summer? There’s nothing better. And this healthy chicken corn chowder recipe is a great way to enjoy it at its peak.
Frozen corn. I love making this corn chowder in the wintertime, too. But since I’m not industrious enough to freeze fresh corn in the summer, I rely on frozen corn from the grocery store, which is an excellent substitute for fresh.
Unique flavors. Every spoonful brings unexpected “What’s that?” flavors that you don’t usually find in corn chowder. The chili garlic sauce and jalapeno zing it up, the coconut milk makes it sweet and creamy, and the water chestnuts add a satisfying crunch.
Easiest soup recipe ever. Yes, you can actually go from zero to a bubbling hot pot of chicken corn chowder in about 20 minutes.
Healthy weeknight dinner. You’ll feel good about serving this creamy corn chowder to your family and friends because it’s packed with fresh vegetables, boneless skinless chicken, and a ton of flavor.
Make it your own. You can completely customize this recipe to make it your own.
- Leave out the chicken for a vegetarian option.
- Add chopped carrots, cauliflower, broccoli -- whatever you like -- during step one to boost the veggie power.
- Throw in some fish or shrimp during the last step and heat until cooked through.
Dairy-free chowder recipe. If you’re staying away from dairy, this dairy-free chowder recipe uses coconut milk to bring the creaminess to the dish.
Corn chowder without potatoes. It’s not often you find a corn chowder recipe that doesn’t have potatoes -- either as a filler or a thickener. And this one doesn’t need them. I kept the flavors bright and fresh and used a cornstarch slurry to thicken this chowder.
How to Make Healthy Chicken Corn Chowder
In a large pot, saute green onion, red and orange pepper and jalapeno in the olive oil on low to medium heat for approximately 5 minutes.
Add garlic and chili garlic sauce, saute for additional 2 minutes.
Add coconut milk, chicken, corn, water chestnuts, lime juice and zest, and salt and pepper. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.
To achieve a thicker consistency, mix 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water and stir it into your simmering corn chowder. Repeat once, if necessary.
Before serving, stir in chopped parsley.
Healthy Chicken Corn Chowder (Dairy-Free)
- 1 bunch sliced green onions
- ½ cup chopped red pepper
- ½ cup chopped orange pepper
- 1 chopped jalapeno, ribs and seeds removed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce
- 2 cans light coconut milk
- 1 pound cubed cooked chicken
- 5 cups corn (fresh or frozen)
- 8 ounces diced water chestnuts
- ½ lime, zest and juice
- salt and pepper
- 1-2 tablespoons cornstarch
- ¼ cup chopped flat leaf parsley
- In a large pot, saute green onion, red and orange pepper and jalapeno in the olive oil on low to medium heat for approx. 5 minutes.
- Add garlic and chili garlic sauce, saute for additional 2 minutes.
- Add coconut milk, chicken, corn, water chestnuts, lime juice and zest, and salt and pepper. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.
- To achieve a thicker consistency, mix 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water and stir it into your simmering corn chowder. Repeat if necessary.
- Before serving, stir in chopped parsley.
Ingredient Notes & Substitutions
Corn. Use fresh corn if it’s in season. Otherwise frozen corn is an excellent substitute.
Jalapenos. If you don’t care for spicy foods, you can substitute in an Anaheim pepper or just leave it out. If you like some heat, but not all the heat, remove the seeds and ribs before chopping. And if you like all the heat, chop it as-is or amp up the spice level even further by choosing a hotter pepper like habanero.
Garlic chili sauce. This is one of those condiments that I always try to have on hand -- because the tiniest amount adds so much flavor. But if you need to find a substitute, you can use sriracha sauce, hot sauce, harissa, or throw in some pepper flakes.
Coconut milk. You can replace coconut milk with cow’s milk, soy milk, almond milk, evaporated milk, or even Greek yogurt thinned with water.
Chopped parsley. Basil, thyme, or cilantro would be a delicious substitute for parsley.
About this recipe
This recipe was adapted from a Thai Chicken Corn Chowder recipe in a community cookbook from my hometown, Baudette, MN, called “Someone’s in the Kitchen with Cindy.”
This loving collection of tried-and-true recipes were compiled into a cookbook and sold to raise funds to support Cindy, a hometown girl who had a double lung and heart transplant.
As a testament to how beloved Cindy is and how generous the fine folks of Baudette are, this small town of about 1000 people contributed over 800 recipes and purchased 1000 cookbooks.
Hungry for more easy weeknight dinner recipes?
My Kitchen Essentials
My stock pot set that I use to make this soup is like this one. It has the pasta insert, steamer basket -- the whole shebang. It's great for boiling large quantities of anything so you can just lift out the insert instead of trying to lug the whole bubbling cauldron to the sink. Cuisinart stainless steel is a great choice, it shines up nicely with steel wool and will last you a long, long time.
Prepworks Measuring Spoons
Measuring spoons shouldn't be annoying. And yet, when they're strewn all around your gadget drawer and you can never find the one you want, they can become swear-worthy. That's why I love these magnetic measuring spoons so much. For a few reasons, actually. First, they stick together. Second, they have flat bottoms, so you can fill one up and rest it on the counter until you need it. A feature I would have never thought I needed, but I actually do that quite often. And lastly, the double sides ensures that if your favorite brand of spices suddenly changes the opening of their jar and the round side won't fit anymore, you can outsmart them and use the elongated side. Ha!