Creamy Instant Pot Potato Corn Chowder for Busy Families

Aug 3, 2021Cooking

By Rebekah

By Rebekah

I’m a working mom with a supportive husband and two kids under 3.
A thick and creamy soup full of fresh corn, hearty potatoes, and, most importantly, flavor! Husband-approved and kid-friendly.

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Creamy Instant Pot Potato Corn Chowder for Busy Moms
Creamy Instant Pot Potato Corn Chowder for Busy Families

My husband has never been a fan of soups, but this Potato Corn Chowder defied all odds because he liked it!

It’s creamy, it has bacon in it, and it’s made in the Instant Pot. Check, check, and check.

creamy instant pot corn chowder for busy mamas

The star of this Potato Corn Chowder is the fresh corn on the cob – it adds so much freshness to the soup, and the “pop” you get from the fresh corn just doesn’t compare to its frozen counterpart.

Perfect for summer, this Instant Pot Potato Corn Chowder recipe is husband-approved, kid-friendly, and endorsed by this busy mom.

Ingredients You’ll Need

Unless I’m baking, almost all of the recipes I develop are flexible, meaning you can scale ingredients up and down, make substitutions, and adapt the recipe to make it work for your family.

I’m a huge advocate of using what you have on hand, so I’m including ideas and options for swapping out ingredients and how to modify the recipe, so it’s still equally delicious!

Here’s what you’ll need for this creamy potato corn chowder, developed for the Instant Pot:

instant pot corn chowder ingredients
  • Bacon: I love roasting bacon in the oven and chopping it up for this soup. It’s the easiest way to make a batch of bacon without getting bacon grease all over the place! While the bacon adds salt and flavor to this recipe, you could omit it in a pinch if it’s not in your grocery budget or you don’t have it on hand. You can also swap in bacon bits if you’re in a hurry and don’t want to dirty another pan.
  • Russet potatoes: the potatoes in this recipe get super-soft, so about half of the potato almost melts down and thickens the soup, while the other half keeps their shape and adds this lovely texture. You can easily swap Russet potatoes for waxy potatoes! I wouldn’t recommend sweet potato for this chowder, though.
  • Corn on the cob: Fresh corn on the cob is the star of this particular chowder. However, you could substitute in a bag of frozen corn if you needed to. Instead of cooking it on high pressure with the rest of the ingredients, you’d add it at the end to warm it up. Frozen corn is definitely a way to speed up this recipe, but OHMYGOSH – the fresh corn is sooo good.
  • Yellow onion: the onion in this chowder functions as an aromatic and lays the base for the soup. You could substitute red onion, white onion, or shallots.
  • Garlic: fresh garlic is added right after the onions get soft and slightly browned. It adds a lot of flavor to the chowder, but you could omit or swap in garlic powder in a pinch!
  • Chicken stock:  I always use a concentrate when it comes to chicken or beef stock (if I don’t have some homemade stock on hand). It takes up less space and produces less waste. You can substitute the chicken stock for any kind of stock (beef or vegetable come to mind). You could even get away with using water in this recipe since there’s so much flavor. The water would combine with the corn and potato to make somewhat of a corn stock.
  • Italian seasoning: this seasoning blend adds a lot of flavor to the soup. However, you could create your own seasoning blend with dried parsley, basil, and oregano if that’s what you have.
  • Red pepper flakes: this is entirely optional, but the red pepper flakes just add a little extra something. You’re not adding much, so it doesn’t make the chowder spicy at all – it just adds a little extra flavor.
  • Butter: the butter is used at the beginning to saute the onions, garlic, and spices. You can swap in any kind of fat – some of the bacon grease, olive oil, avocado oil… anything will work!
  • White wine: this is another optional ingredient, and I probably wouldn’t have bothered adding it, except I was drinking white wine when I made this chowder. 😉 Add a little splash for another layer of flavor!
  • Half and half: when the soup is done cooking, add some half and half to thicken it and create a creamy consistency. You could substitute heavy whipping cream – just cut the amount added by half. I probably wouldn’t swap in milk because it would make the soup too thin. That said, if you don’t mind a thinner soup, go for it!
  • Cream cheese: adding some cream cheese also helps thicken the soup while giving an even creamier texture. I’m sure this ingredient is why my husband loved this soup (he usually hates soup). That said, you can leave this out without disrupting the integrity of the soup. Just simmer a little longer when it’s done to reduce a bit more and thicken it properly.
  • Cheddar cheese: there’s nothing like melty cheese in a thick, creamy soup. Cheddar cheese is the perfect type for this chowder, but if you have another kind of cheese, swap it in! Good alternatives include Gouda, Gruyere, or Colby.
  • Cornstarch: When the chowder is done cooking at high pressure, you’ll add the thickeners and simmer for a few minutes. The cornstarch helps the soup get a thick, creamy texture. That said, the half and half, cream cheese, and cheddar cheese are also doing this. So you could skip the cornstarch and just simmer it longer to get a similar thickness. You can also swap in arrowroot powder.
  • Salt and pepper: Last but not least is good old kosher salt and black pepper. I just add this to taste. Sprinkle some in before you cook at high pressure, and when the soup is all done, taste it and (probably) add a little more.

Equipment You’ll Need

Instant pot recipes are the best because you only dirty one dish while you’re cooking. I researched Instant Pots to death (and actually tried another brand in the past), and I can say without hesitation that the Instant Pot Duo Plus 6-quart is THE BEST. It’s the perfect size, and it works perfectly every single time.

instant pot

Another stand-out piece of equipment for this recipe is the sheet pan with a wire rack used for crisping up the bacon. My husband gave me a Williams Sonoma Goldtouch® baking set for Christmas, and I’m a die-hard fan. 

take out that crispy bacon

Besides those two things, you just need basic kitchen stuff, including:

  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Spatula or another stirring utensil
  • Cheese grater
  • Garlic press

Check out: 30 Gift Ideas Under $25 for Moms Who Love to Cook

How to Make Potato Corn Chowder In the Instant Pot

The basic steps for this Instant Pot Potato Corn Chowder include:

  1. Roasting the bacon
  2. Sauteeing the aromatics
  3. Cooking at high pressure for 4 minutes
  4. Waiting to release pressure for 5 minutes
  5. Sauteeing the chowder until thickened
  6. Serve!

The steps are straightforward – honestly, the longest part of this recipe is just waiting for the Instant Pot to do its thing! And that’s why I love Instant Pot recipes so much, especially as a working mom with young kids. I can tidy up the living room and play with my kids while the Instant Pot does all the work.

I start by preheating my oven to 400º F. I place my bacon on a wire rack and set it on a full-size baking sheet. You can fit nine pieces of bacon on this setup, so that’s how I wrote the recipe!

bacon on a baking sheet with wire rack

Note: I don’t recommend sauteeing the bacon in the Instant Pot. There’s not enough room for the strips of bacon, and it heats unevenly, so parts of your bacon will get burnt. It’s a lot faster and easier to bake it in my experience.

While you’re waiting for the oven to preheat, prep your fresh ingredients. Chop the onion, do a thick dice on the potatoes, and cut the corn off the cobs.

When you’re about done chopping, put the butter in the Instant Pot until it’s melted and bubbling. Add your diced onion and cook for about 3-4 minutes, or until it’s soft and starting to get browned on the edges. 

Add your minced garlic and seasonings.

When you can smell the seasonings, and you’re starting to panic that everything will burn, add your potatoes and corn. Mix well. The veggies will let off some moisture, stopping the bits at the bottom from burning. 

When everything is mixed well, deglaze the pot with chicken stock and wine. Scrape up the bits at the bottom and mix well.

Season with salt and pepper and set the Instant Pot to high pressure for 4 minutes.

set your instant pot

When the timer goes off, wait 5 minutes before releasing pressure. Take off the lid when it’s done letting off steam, and set the Instant Pot to Saute.

get your add-ins ready for when the instant pot is done
Got my add-ins ready for when the Instant Pot is done!

Add all of your thickeners – the cream cheese, half and half, and cheese.

I like to add some of the soup mixture to the cornstarch, then add it all back into the soup.

Mix everything together. When everything is melted and delicious-looking, chop up about half of the bacon, mix it in, and serve!

How to Serve Potato Corn Chowder

I like this chowder with more chopped bacon and some candied jalapenos on top. I also drizzled a little olive oil around the corners, but it didn’t really add any flavor. It just looked a little prettier for the photos. (I tried.)

serve up your corn chowder

My husband says you need chopped bacon, cheddar cheese, sour cream, and candied jalapenos. Some people also like adding some fresh herbs, like parsley. 

How to Make This Potato Corn Chowder Vegan

It’s easy to make this Potato Corn Chowder vegan. Here’s how:

  • Swap the bacon for plant-based chorizo, or eliminate the bacon altogether
  • Swap the butter for olive oil
  • Swap the half and half for non-dairy heavy cream
  • Swap the cheddar cheese for dairy-free (Daiya) cheese
  • Swap the chicken stock for vegetable stock
  • Omit the cream cheese

Good to go!

Instant Pot Potato Corn Chowder Recipe

This recipe is also on MyFitnessPal if you need to log it! Search for “Two Mama Bears Creamy Instant Pot Potato Corn Chowder Recipe” or visit https://www.myfitnesspal.com/recipe/view/265692917960637.

creamy instant pot corn chowder for busy mamas

Creamy Instant Pot Potato Corn Chowder Recipe

A thick and creamy soup full of fresh corn, hearty potatoes, and, most importantly, flavor! Husband-approved and kid-friendly.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Waiting on Instant Pot to Build Pressure 10 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 6 people
Calories 579 kcal

Equipment

  • Instant Pot Duo Plus 6-quart
  • Williams Sonoma Goldtouch® sheet pan with wire rack

Ingredients
  

  • 9 strips bacon
  • 6 cups thickly diced Russett potatoes (7-8 potatoes)
  • 6 ears corn, shucked and kernels cut off
  • 2 yellow onions
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 3 tsp butter
  • 1/4 cup white wine (optional)
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 4 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 TB cornstarch
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

Instructions
 

  • Step 1: Preheat the oven to 400º F. Lay bacon strips on a wire rack set on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  • Step 2: Prepare onion, potato, corn, and garlic.
  • Step 3: Set the Instant Pot to Saute. Add butter. Once melted and bubbling, add diced onion. Once softened (3-4 minutes), add minced garlic, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes. When the spices are fragrant (about 30 seconds), add corn and potato. Mix well.
  • Step 4: Deglaze the pot with chicken stock and white wine. Season soup with kosher salt and black pepper. Set Instant Pot to “Pressure Cook” for 4 minutes. On some models, this is the manual setting with high pressure. Release pressure after 5 minutes (flip the tab on the top from Seal to Vent).
  • Step 5: Turn Instant Pot back to Saute and add half and half, cream cheese, and cheddar cheese. In a separate bowl, add 2 TB of soup to cornstarch. Mix and add back to soup. Stir the soup until all added ingredients are melted and combined well. Chop 5-6 strips of bacon and add back to the soup. Reserve leftover bacon for garnishing.
  • Step 6: Garnish soup with more chopped bacon, cheddar cheese, sour cream, and candied jalapenos (all optional). Enjoy!

Notes

You can sub in frozen corn instead of fresh corn, especially if you’re in a hurry. You’ll need about 4.5 cups of frozen corn, or about 24 oz. Instead of cooking it on high pressure with the rest of the ingredients, you’d add it at the end to warm it up, along with the cream cheese, half and half, and cheese. 
Keyword Corn Chowder, Instant Pot

Conclusion

Instant Pot recipes never cease to amaze me – they cook a meal that smells and tastes like it’s been simmering on the stove all day long.

If you try this potato corn chowder recipe, please comment with a photo in our comment section below! Thanks for reading!

Related: Easy Instant Pot Salsa Chicken Recipe for Busy Moms

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