This ham and corn chowder is a blend of diced ham, bacon, vegetables and potatoes, all simmered together in a rich and creamy broth. An easy and hearty dinner option that’s the perfect way to use up leftover ham!
I always make an extra large ham when the holidays roll around, because to me, it isn’t a proper holiday meal unless there are a lot of leftovers to enjoy the next day! This ham and corn chowder comes together in less than an hour, and makes for a delicious main course that is sure to please both kids and adults.
Ham and Corn Chowder Ingredients
- Butter: I add a little butter for flavor, richness and to form the base of the roux which is the thickening agent.
- Flour: Stirring flour into the soup helps to thicken the broth and give it a chowder consistency. Gluten free flour will also work fine.
- Ham: While I typically make this recipe with leftover ham, you can also just buy a ham steak at the grocery store and dice it up with the same results.
- Vegetables: The veggies in this soup consist of carrots, onions and corn. I use frozen corn for convenience, but if you happen to have access to fresh corn, feel free to use that instead.
- Potatoes: I go with classic peeled and diced Russet potatoes in this recipe, but other types of potatoes will also work. If you’re not using Russets, try red potato or Yukon Gold varieties instead.
- Broth: If you are salt sensitive, you may want to choose low sodium chicken broth, since ham also tends to be quite salty.
- Cream: A little bit of cream helps to thicken the chowder and gives it a rich and luxurious finish.
- Bacon: Any type of bacon will work here, even the pre-cooked variety you can buy at the store.
- Seasonings: Round out the flavor with salt, pepper and some fresh thyme leaves.
How do you make ham and corn chowder?
Start by melting the butter in a large pot, then add onions and carrots. After the vegetables are soft, stir in flour. Whisk in chicken broth, then add the ham, corn, potatoes and seasonings. Simmer the soup until the potatoes are tender. Finally, add the heavy cream and bacon. Simmer for a few more minutes, then garnish and serve.
Tips for the perfect ham chowder
- This dish is best when served right away. Leftovers will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
- If you have a leftover ham bone on hand, you can simmer it with onions, carrots, celery, herbs and water to make a ham broth. This would be used instead of chicken broth and will make the chowder even more flavorful.
- No heavy cream on hand? You can also use whole milk or half and half with good results.
- While I like the flavor of the fresh thyme with the ham and corn, other herbs will also work such as green onions or parsley. I think fresh herbs taste best in the soup, but you can substitute 1/3 of the amount of dry herbs if needed.
A chowder tends to be heartier than a soup, with larger chunks of meat or seafood and vegetables, as well as a thicker broth. Chowders also typically contain potatoes, and often have a creamy base.
In this particular recipe, the flour is the primary thickening agent. The cream also thickens as it cooks down, which helps to add body to the broth. If you like your chowder even thicker, I recommend cooking it a little longer to let more liquid evaporate. You could also mash some of the potatoes in the soup for a thick texture.
I do not recommend freezing chowder as the dairy content may cause it to separate or curdle when thawed or reheated. If you really need to freeze your chowder, freeze it before you add the cream, then add the cream when it is thawed and reheated.
This dish is great as-is, but you can add other ingredients to customize the flavors to your tastes.
- Protein: Try using leftover diced chicken instead of ham for a different flavor.
- Vegetables: Feel free to add more veggies to the chowder such as mushrooms, celery, bell peppers or even roasted green chilies.
- Cheese: Amp up the flavor by stirring in 3/4 cup of shredded cheddar, fontina or Monterey Jack cheese.
Once you try this chowder, you’ll find yourself making it on a regular basis. It’s just that good!
More great ways to use leftover ham
Ham and Corn Chowder
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup onion diced
- 1/2 cup carrots peeled, quartered and sliced
- 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 2 1/2 cups ham cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 4 cups chicken broth low sodium is best
- 1 1/2 cups corn kernels plus more for garnish if desired
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves plus more for garnish if desired
- 1 1/2 cups Russet potatoes peeled and cut into 3/4 inch cubes.
- 1 cup heavy cream
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 slices cooked bacon crumbled, plus more for garnish if desired.
- Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat.
- Add the onions and carrots and cook for 4-5 minutes or until just softened.
- Whisk in the flour, stirring constantly. Cook for 1 minute.
- Slowly add the chicken broth, whisking constantly, then bring to a simmer.
- Add the ham, corn, thyme and potatoes to the pot, along with salt and pepper to taste.
- Simmer for 25 minutes or until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally.
- Add the heavy cream and bacon. Cook for 5 more minutes, then serve.
- Garnish with bacon, corn and thyme leaves if desired.
- This dish is best when served right away. Leftovers will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. I don’t recommend freezing this recipe as the dairy in the broth can separate when thawed.
- No heavy cream in the house? You can also use whole milk or half and half with good results.
- I think fresh thyme tastes best in the soup, but you can substitute 1/3 of the amount of dry thyme if needed.