Instant Pot Corn Chowder

bowls of corn chowder with oyster crackers

The Spruce / Diana Rattray

  • Total: 31 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 16 mins
  • Pressure Build/Release: 20 mins
  • Yield: 8 bowls (8 servings)

Corn chowder has long been a popular American comfort food. One of the earliest known recipes for corn chowder was published in 1896 in Fannie Farmer's Boston Cooking School Cookbook. The classic chowder included diced salt pork, onions, and potatoes. "Common" crackers were added to thicken the milk-based soup.

This Instant Pot corn chowder is a fast and easy soup with minimal prep. Bacon adds an extra layer of flavor, but the chowder can easily be converted to a vegetarian soup by omitting the bacon and replacing the chicken stock with vegetable broth. 

Garnish individual bowls of corn chowder with extra parsley, sliced green onions, or shredded cheese and serve with crackers.

Ingredients

  • 4 strips bacon (diced)
  • 3/4 cup onion (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup celery (chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 pound potatoes (cut into 1/2-inch dice)
  • 3 cups corn (fresh or frozen)
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half (or light cream)
  • 2 tablespoons parsley (chopped)
  • Optional: sliced green onions (for garnish)
  • Optional: shredded cheese (for garnish)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    ingredients for instant pot corn chowder
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  2. Choose the Instant Pot sauté button. When the display reads "hot," add the diced bacon. Cook the bacon, stirring, for about 4 minutes, or until it is browned and crisp. Remove about half of the bacon to paper towels to drain.

    saute the bacon in the instant pot
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  3. Add the chopped onion, celery, and garlic to the pot and sauté for 2 minutes.

    vegetables are added to the cooked bacon in the instant pot
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  4. Add the potatoes, corn, chicken stock, salt, and pepper. Stir the mixture, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Cancel the sauté function.

    corn chowder mixture ready to cook
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  5. Select the pressure cook or manual button (high pressure) and ensure the pot's steam release valve is in the sealing position. Set the timer for 8 minutes. When the time is up, let the pressure come down naturally for 10 minutes and then release the remaining pressure and remove the lid.

    cooked corn chowder in the instant pot before cream is added
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  6. Combine the half-and-half and cornstarch in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Add the mixture to the pot along with the parsley and choose the sauté button. Cook, stirring frequently, until the chowder is thickened. Taste and adjust the seasonings, as needed.

    corn chowder in the Instant Pot pressure cooker
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  7. Serve the chowder in bowls garnished with the remaining bacon. If desired, sprinkle green onions or cheese over each serving.

    instant pot corn chowder for two in bowls with spoons
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

Recipe Variations

  • Seafood Corn Chowder: Replace the chicken stock with clam juice or fish stock. Along with the cream, stir in about 2 to 3 cups of fish or shellfish (one kind or a combination), such as cooked lobster or crab meat cut into chunks, peeled raw shrimp or small scallops, or firm fish fillets, cut into chunks. Continue to cook until the chowder is thickened and any raw seafood is thoroughly cooked.
  • Chicken Corn Chowder: Place 2 boneless chicken breasts on the soup mixture. Secure the lid and cook as directed. Shred the chicken and add it back to the chowder.

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