Slow Cooker Light Chicken Corn Chowder

chicken corn chowder in a slow cooker with a wood spoon

Good morning and happy new week to you!

I feel like you might be in the same boat as I am right now: over-scheduled and slightly burnt out. In dire need for some me time, a few cooking magazines, puppy snuggles, and an afternoon on the couch. Life’s been hectic and it’s getting the most of us. As the holiday season quickly approaches, it’s imperative to our overall wellbeing that we take time for ourselves. Even if that’s just 15 minutes with your morning coffee—and not your phone/computer/iPad/iWhatever.

2 images of chopped celery, carrots, and onions on a wood cutting board and strips of cooked bacon

Last week, work was piling up getting ready for my Chicago trip– which was incredible. Thank you to everyone who came to my classes; I couldn’t be more grateful for our time together making cookie dough and pie crust!

But when my to-do list is unbearably long, I work late into the evening, often skipping what I enjoy most this time of year—cooking a warm and satisfying meal.

I decided to put reality on hold, close the office door, head into the kitchen and just cook for the heck of it. Well, slow cook. The crockpot kinda did the most work, but throwing everything into the darn thing was soothing enough! And maybe that’s what YOU need. A crockpot to cook for you, so you have more time in the evening with yourself, children, loved ones, pups.

onion, celery, and carrots sautéed in a skillet with a wood spoon

Kevin and I both loved this soup so much that I decided to make it again and photograph it for the blog, making a couple tweaks here and there. You will love this! I’m not really sure if this qualifies as an actual chowder, but it’s thick and creamy with chicken, potatoes, and corn. I call it a “light” chowder because it’s not thickened with cream or a roux; rather, whole milk and a little cornstarch.

Hello flavor extreme meal! Goodies inside: there’s mega amounts of corn (love that!) and chicken, savory thyme and parsley, plus sweet potatoes for a little something substantial. You can certainly use regular potatoes if it’s easier.

The soup begins with soup-starter basics like onions, celery, garlic, and carrots. These are actually cooked on the stove prior to going in the slow cooker. But that’s the only “work” you’ll really have to do. Throw everything else right in. Are you cooking this during the day while you’re at work? You can prep the veggies on the stove the night before.

2 images of ingredients in a slow cooker before cooking and chowder in the slow cooker

Oh, there’s bacon too. You’ll have to cook bacon. What a drag.

About 45 minutes before serving, pour in the milk. Whisk it with a little cornstarch to thicken up the soup. For a richer chowder, use half-and-half. Or you can use 1 cup whole milk, ½ cup heavy cream if you have any on hand. To keep things semi-light, I used all whole milk. And by semi-light, I mean about 150 calories per cup.

pouring milk into slow cooker for chicken corn chowder

This certainly isn’t diet-food, but it’s soul-warming and homemade– which counts the most. It’s filling too, so a little goes a long way. I LOVED these flavors together.

chicken chowder in a white bowl with a slice of bread and a spoon

So let’s give ourselves permission to slow down. We get so caught up in our routines that we don’t have a chance to enjoy the present and right now. Like, what’s happening at this very moment. We put so much pressure on ourselves to get all the things done when, in reality, our minds need the most nurturing and rest. And maybe a way to help is a warm home cooked meal with extra bread for dunking!

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chicken corn chowder in a slow cooker with a wood spoon

Slow Cooker Light Chicken Corn Chowder

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 7 hours, 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 8 hours
  • Yield: 12 cups
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Slow cooker chicken corn chowder is a satisfying and easy crockpot dinner the whole family will love. Quick to prep and full of flavor!


Ingredients

  • 4 strips bacon
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and thinly sliced (a little over 1 cup)
  • 23 celery stalks, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced (about 3/4 cup)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (14 ounce) can cream-style corn
  • 2 (14 ounce) cans corn, drained (or use about 3 cups frozen)
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed (or regular potatoes)
  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 5 cups (1200ml) chicken broth (I use reduced sodium)
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (360ml) whole milk
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • optional: fresh (or dried) parsley for garnish

Instructions

  1. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until browned on both sides. (Keep grease in skillet!) Place strips on paper towels and allow to cool. Once cool, crumble the bacon.
  2. Add the carrots, celery, onions, and garlic to the skillet. Stir and cook the vegetables in the bacon grease over medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Place the creamed corn, corn, sweet potatoes, chicken, chicken broth, thyme, parsley, salt, and pepper into a 5 quart or larger slow cooker. (Here’s one I own and love!) Add the celery/carrot/onions and the crumbled bacon (save some for garnish if desired!). Give it all a quick stir, cover with the lid, and cook on low heat for about 6-7 hours.
  4. At the 6-7 hour mark, whisk the cornstarch and milk together. Pour in the soup. Give it a stir and cover. Cook 1 more hour. Serve warm with a sprinkle of parsley and/or any leftover bacon crumbles.
  5. Leftovers keep well in the refrigerator for 1 week. To reheat, simply pour into a pot over medium heat and cook until warm. Soup freezes well, up to 3 months.

Notes

  1. No Slow Cooker? No Problem! Prepare recipe through step 2. Instead of placing ingredients into a slow cooker in step 3, place into a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Give it a nice stir, then allow to boil and cook until chicken is no longer pink, about 30 minutes. Turn the heat down to low, stir in the whole milk and cornstarch, and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Serve.

Keywords: chicken corn chowder, slow cooker chowder

89 Comments

  1. heather (delicious not gorgeous) says:

    love that you used milk instead of cream! most of the time i want something lighter, and i feel like this allows the corn and chicken to come through more (:

  2. Tori//Gringalicious.com says:

    This chowder sounds so good right now! MMMMMMmmmm! I just want to curl up by the fire and eat it by the mug full!

  3. Hi Sally! If you’re like me and you’re sadly lacking a slow cooker, do you think it would be possible to cook this entirely on the stove top?

    1. You reminded me that I should add notes for those of you without a slow cooker. Just updated it based on my experience with other slow cooker soups 🙂

  4. Patricia @sweet and Strong says:

    This sounds delicious!  I love meals I can prep and then put in the slow cooker.  And yes I think everyone is in need of some down time right about now.  I am anxiously awaiting our Thanksgiving break for a fews days off to relax and enjoy cooking in the kitchen.

  5. Laura ~ Raise Your Garden says:

    I woke up this morning all food burned out and seriously considered making pumpkin pie for dinner because I could think of nothing else. And then this popped up. And I actually have most of these ingredients in my pantry all I think I need some cream-style corn. My heart is melting, this is just what I want for dinner! So running out of ideas these days, thanks for the inspiration! 

    1. Though pumpkin pie for dinner wouldn’t be so bad…

  6. Marina @ A Dancer's Live-It says:

    Cheers to this amazing chicken chowder and living in the present moment!! I definitely don’t do enough of that! I don’t eat enough chowder either. 😉

  7. Dawn - Girl Heart Food says:

    This sounds (and looks) delicious! I love using my slow cooker year ’round and especially during the colder months. The bacon and corn in there is perfect. Love a big bowl of that right now and it’s only 10am 🙂

  8. Awesome Sally! Thank you, this is going into the rotation this week. I love that it’s not full of cream, but still full of flavor. Can your next cookbook be more of your simple suppers? I think I make a Sally recipe for supper even more often than I bake a Sally recipe!

    1. I have a lot of fun cooking recipes “for the blog” so a savory cookbook would be VERY exciting. Maybe someday! I’m so glad you love the supper recipes 🙂

  9. I have a friend who should be having her first baby sometime in the next couple of weeks, and I was wondering what I could cook that would be easy to transport over to her house when she gets home from the hospital. Winner winner chicken corn chowder dinner! Can’t wait to try this out. Thanks, Sally!

    1. Such a thoughtful gesture during this immensely exciting time!

  10. Hi 🙂 this looks amazing, as always, and just what I’m looking for. I have a prep ahead question…I had surgery on my right arm and did a bunch of make ahead things, but I’ll be getting surgery on my left arm soon and looking for new easy things hubby and son can throw together that are yummy and not a box of mac n cheese ; ) aahahaha So, if I cube the veges, potatoes too, and sauté everything, can I put the precooked veges in the freezer next to corn and shredded rotisserie chicken so that one morning they can just throw it in the crock pot? For some reason I wasn’t sure about freezing the potatoes…my brain is a bit muddled and overwhelmed right now so any help is greatly appreciated 🙂 thanks so much for such great ideas 🙂

    1. You could certainly prep all of the ingredients, including the potatoes, and freeze it all. You poor thing! Wishing you a speedy recovery with lots of homemade goodies too.

      1. Thanks SO much for such a quick reply! I really do appreciate it, as will my guys with this yummy soup, yet so easy 🙂 love these sorts of recipes 🙂 thanks again!

  11. Andrea @ Cooking with a Wallflower says:

    Fall and winter is definitely soup season! And this looks like a perfect one to try! I actually don’t cook often with a slow cooker, but I think I’m going to need to change that. I can get so much more done this way!

  12. I love your chicken noodle soup recipe, so no doubt I’ll love this one too. I agree life is so crazy and busy right now! When life gets as busy as this, it’s more important than ever to find time to sit down and eat a real meal at least once a day (ideally 3 times but like I said, busy). I love corn chowder and I love that this one is made with lots of chicken and bacon and sweet potato instead of potatoes (love love love sweet potatoes). Your photography (especially the last shot) really makes the recipe look like a home-cooked recipe grandmas used to make 🙂 Here’s to the beginning of another crazy week, I’m sure!

    1. Thanks so much for the photography compliment, Hayley– I really appreciate it!

  13. Is there any way of substituting the bacon. I love corn chowder and the chicken in it sounds wonderful.

    1. You can simply leave it out 🙂 Cook the veggies in 2 Tablespoons of butter or 1 Tbsp olive oil.

  14. Jessica @ Citrus Blossom Bliss says:

    Yes, yes and yes. My schedule was so packed last week I kept panicking hoping that I wasn’t going to forget something. I’ve been looking for a yummy corn chowder and it being a slow cooker recipe is just a bonus. 🙂 this is going on the menu this week!

  15. Sara @ Last Night's Feast says:

    Yumm! This looks great!

  16. Sara Anderson says:

    Hi Sally! I was thinking this soup would help me use some leftover turkey we have from a Friendsgiving this past weekend, but would I put the cooked turkey in the slow cooker from the start or maybe put it in with the milk/cornstarch mixture?  Thanks!

    1. That’s a great idea– and you could do it either way. I’d say from the very beginning. You wouldn’t need to cook the soup for as long since the meat is already cooked. I’d say 4-5 hours on low, then add the milk mixture.

  17. Looks good, PLEASE PLEASE always remember use GMO free corn…..

  18. Thanks, this looks awesome! Is there any problem in substituting almond milk for the whole milk?

    1. Shouldn’t be an issue!

      1. Would you do Coconut Milk or Almond Milk since almond milk can be a little thinner.

      2. Either should be fine, but I would try coconut milk first.

  19. Yummmm….. 

  20. This does look delicious, but I’m a little confused why it’s called “Light” when you yourself says “This certainly isn’t diet food”…am I missing something? Is there a lightened up version of it posted somewhere? Thanks!

    1. Simply because it’s not as heavy as typical chowder 🙂 But it does only have about 150 calories per cup. Not so bad!

  21. Mary Pisarkiewicz says:

    This soup is wonderful! Makes me want to make my grandmothers chicken noodle! Perfect for this rainy day, its gross in manhattan today

  22. Michelle @ Brown Butter and Biscuits says:

    This looks absolutely delicious and perfect for those cold winter nights approaching! I love easy comfort food recipes 🙂

  23. Sara @ Last Night's Feast says:

    Whoa! Yummmmmm

  24. I was going to try this with vegetable broth & Morningstar Farms bacon. Do you think that would be okay?

  25. I don’t see in the recipe when you add the chicken.  Is it in Step 3?

  26. It is cold and snowing here in MI today and this seemed like the perfect day to make this soup. I have to confess that I ate enough of this soup to sustain 6 people for weeks!!!! Absolutely delicious Sally!!! I could eat this everyday of my life!!! Thank you so much for this great recipe.

    1. You’re very welcome! Stay warm!

  27. You had me at bacon. 

    Corn chowder is one of my favorites after a good clam chowder, and living in Alaska calls for hot, hearty, comfort food soups during the cold and dark of the winter. 

    Thanks for posting Sally, very excited to try out this recipe!

    1. You’re welcome Seth! And let me know how you like it.

  28. This. Was. So. Good. Thanks again for another amazing recipe! I also made your “Slow Cooker Chicken Chili” and we loved that as well! Looking forward to trying some more of your recipes.

    1. Thanks so much for reporting back Simone!

  29. Thanks for this great recipe Sally! I was using your salted caramel Rollo cookie recipe for Thanksgiving, (which I’ve been doing for years now!) and I decided to look at your savory recipes too. So glad I tried this one–I followed it exactly and it turned out amazing! I loved it, and more importantly so did my family. Thank you!

  30. SALLY, I HAVE A DAIRY ALLERGY. DO YOU THINK COCONUT OR ALMOND MILK WILL WORK AS WELL?

    1. Either should be fine, but I would try coconut milk first.

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