I just love a recipe that hits it out of the park the very first time I give it a whirl; and for this dairy-free corn chowder recipe, that’s exactly what happened! I basically took a stab at it, tasted a bit off of my stirring spoon, and did a slightly surprised, wide-eyed fist pump. Nailed it!
I adore this corn chowder recipe – one that just happens to be both dairy-free and vegan. And I have from the start.
This decadent, creamy, comforting, buttery-tasting dairy-free corn chowder recipe has a bit of a story.
A few Christmases back, I made this cheddar corn chowder recipe for Christmas dinner. My brother-in-law especially loved it, and it’s been a frequent request for our holiday menu ever since. It was perfect because I could enjoy some of the meatless version and my meat-eating family could add bacon to theirs.
And then – sad trombone – I had to cut dairy out of my diet. So a corn chowder full of cheese and milk wouldn’t work for me.
So, this past December, I set out to create an equally delicious corn chowder recipe sans dairy, so that I’d be able to enjoy too.
Yeah, that’s pretty much the story. And it was good, the end. Ultra-exciting!
Anyway, I opted to use use that original cheesy corn chowder recipe as a guide, stripping it down a bit and then adding some smoky/cheesy/savory flavor with that always-winning combination of smoked paprika, mustard powder, and thyme.
This dairy-free corn chowder starts with a traditional roux base for an uber-creamy situation that you expect with chowder. No watery chowder here! Coconut milk, Yukon Golds, and – of course – corn complete the picture, with half of the soup being pureed then added back to the pot for a gloriously creamy corn chowder that, I hope, will make you go wide-eyed too.
Oh, and while my brother-in-law didn’t try the vegan version of my corn chowder (I think he’s too married to the original!), my husband gives it a big ol’ thumbs-up. I don’t miss the dairy, and neither does he. (Update: My BIL has since tried this version – and he loved it!)
Rich & Creamy Vegan Corn Chowder
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion (diced) (about 2 cups diced)
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt + more to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper + more to taste
- 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 (15-ounce) can lite coconut milk
- 1 pound Yukon gold potatoes (unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch dice) (about 3 cups)
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
- 1 (16-ounce) bag frozen sweet corn kernels
- Set a medium soup pot over low heat. Add the olive oil and the onion. Sweat the onion – cook it low and slow – until tender and translucent, 10-12 minutes.
- Increase the heat to medium-low and add the flour, dry mustard, smoked paprika, turmeric, and salt. Cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes.
- Slowly add the vegetable broth and deglaze the pan, stirring up any cooked bits that are stuck to the pan. Add the coconut milk, potatoes, and thyme.
- Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat back to low and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat. Remove the thyme stems. Stir in the corn.
- Transfer half of the mixture – about 3 1/2 cups – to the pitcher of a blender. Puree completely and then add back to the soup.
- Return pot to low heat and heat the soup back up. Taste and add more salt and pepper if desired.
- Serve. I like to top individual bowls with a bit of fresh thyme and an extra sprinkle of black pepper, but it’s not necessary!
- Keeps well refrigerated for about 3 days.
- One reader shared that they swapped cauliflower in for the potatoes and they loved the results.
- Another reader did not have thyme. They used sage instead and loved it.
- To make it gluten-free, simply leave out the flour. I added the flour to help give it that chowder vibe/thicker consistency, but it’s delicious without!