Potato Corn Chowder with Ham (Stovetop or Slow Cooker!)

Potato Corn Chowder is creamy and comforting, loaded with sweet corn, hearty potatoes, and flavorful ham. It’s quick and easy to make on the stove or you can let your slow cooker do the work for you!

Potato Corn Chowder with text overlay.


 

Whether you make this Potato Corn Chowder on the stove or in the slow cooker, there's nothing much easier than throwing some ingredients into a pot and walking away for awhile. And if that pot happens to be a crock pot, simply let it do its thing all day long! As an added bonus, your house will smell divine in the meantime.

This Potato Corn Chowder recipe is an incarnation of a soup I'd been throwing together for years depending on what ingredients I happened to have on hand...sayyy, leftover ham. Since my concoction was always a hit with my family, I eventually decided to measure out everything, write it all down, and share it on ye olde blog. Even today, I almost hesitate to call this corn and potato chowder a 'recipe' because it's embarrassingly easy. But that's my favorite category of recipe to make...and I imagine you don't mind quick-and-effortless-to-assemble dinners either, right? 😉

Ingredients

Simple ingredients yield tasty results!

Labeled ingredients to make potato corn chowder recipe.
  • Potatoes. Peeled and diced. I typically use good ol' russets. However, if you're in a really big hurry to get it going, you can even make this Potato Corn Chowder with frozen potatoes, like diced or shredded hash browns.
  • Corn. Drained canned corn would work , but frozen corn yields the best flavor, texture, and convenience for this recipe. No need to thaw it.
  • Ham. Diced. Although the ham is optional, I highly recommend it for what's technically a Ham Potato Corn Chowder. 😉 This is a great way to use up leftover ham after the holidays. If you have a ham bone, you can even toss it in there! I've also made this recipe with chopped Canadian bacon in a pinch.
  • Garlic. Minced. If making the stovetop version, I recommend using fresh garlic. (You'll also need a splash of extra-virgin olive oil in which to saute it for a minute.) But if making the slow cooker version, water-packed minced garlic from a jar will work fine.
  • Thyme. Dried or fresh will both work. Just remember that dried herbs are three times more potent than fresh, so the quantities are different depending on which one you use.
  • Chicken broth or stock. Alternatively, you could use water plus Organic Chicken Better Than Bouillon. Or vegetable broth or stock.
  • Salt + freshly ground black pepper. To taste. The broth you use and the saltiness of your ham will dictate how much additional salt you need to add at the end of the recipe (or not).
  • Half-and-half. The secret to the creamy broth! Depending on how decadent you prefer your final corn and potato chowder, feel free to add milk (lighter) or heavy cream (richer) instead.
  • Cornstarch + water. Optional. A cornstarch slurry may be stirred in at the end of the cooking time if the final broth is too thin for your liking.
Aerial view of bowls of Potato Corn Chowder.

How to Make Potato Corn Chowder

(The below photos are intended to be helpful, but please refer to the recipe card at the bottom of this post for FULL DIRECTIONS.)

I'm going to walk you through making this Potato Corn Chowder recipe in a pot on the stove, but scroll down if you'd like an overview of directions for making it in the slow cooker. Either way, both methods are fully explained in the recipe card at the bottom of the post!

  1. In a large pot over medium heat, saute minced garlic in olive oil until fragrant. 
Sauteing garlic in pot for ham potato corn chowder.
  1. Add diced potatoes, frozen corn, thyme, pepper, and broth to the pot.
Potato Corn Chowder ingredients added to pot.
  1. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until the potatoes are nice and tender.
Potato Corn Chowder simmering on stove.

This next step is technically optional, but it serves to slightly thicken up the soup while retaining the various textures of the different ingredients. (And if you have an immersion blender, you could utilize that instead.)

  1. Remove several ladlesful of drained potatoes (it's okay if you also get a little corn) to a plate and thoroughly mash until smooth.
Drained potatoes in bowl.
Mashed potatoes in bowl.
  1. Stir the mashed potatoes back into the soup along with the diced ham and the half-and-half. Additional broth may also be added here if more liquid is needed, due to loss via evaporation. Adjust the seasonings by tasting and adding salt and pepper, if necessary.
Final corn and potato chowder ingredients in pot.
  1. Optional: If you would like the broth of your Potato Corn Chowder to have a thicker/silkier consistency at this point, whisk 2 tablespoons cornstarch into 2 tablespoons cold water (or additional half-and-half) and slowly pour into the soup while stirring. Bring to a simmer.
  1. Cook over low heat for five or so minutes, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Enjoy!
Bowls of Potato Corn Chowder on white table.

You can eat this soup as-is, or jazz it up with shredded cheddar on top and crackers on the side. It's equally yummy plain or embellished.

Potato Corn Chowder with fresh thyme garnish.

Slow Cooker Directions

It's also super easy to make this Potato Corn Chowder recipe in a crockpot instead of on the stove.

  1. Place potatoes, corn, ham, garlic, and thyme in slow cooker. Pour chicken broth over ingredients, season with freshly ground black pepper, and stir.
  2. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours (or on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours) until potatoes are tender. How long this actually takes will depend on how hot your particular slow cooker runs.
  3. About 20 minutes before serving, scoop out 2 to 3 ladlesful of potatoes onto a plate. Thoroughly mash the potatoes with a fork and then return to the crock pot, stirring them in to thicken the broth. Stir in the half-and-half and, if desired, the optional cornstarch slurry.
  4. Cover and cook the chowder for 15 more minutes or until heated through.
Ham Potato Corn Chowder in bowl.

With a long winter still ahead, I hope you'll add this Potato Corn Chowder to your repertoire to stay warm on the coldest of days. It's as easy and yummy as it is cozy!

More Comforting Soups

Aerial view of Potato Corn Chowder in white bowl.

Potato Corn Chowder with Ham (Stovetop or Slow Cooker!)

Potato Corn Chowder is creamy and comforting, loaded with sweet corn, hearty potatoes, and flavorful ham. It’s quick and easy to make on the stove or you can let your slow cooker do the work for you!
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 200kcal
Print Pin Rate

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh minced garlic
  • 2 pounds potatoes, peeled & diced into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 (16-ounce bag) frozen corn, (about 3 ½ cups)
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme, OR 1 ½ teaspoons fresh thyme
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 cups chicken broth/stock, OR vegetable broth/stock
  • 1 ½ cups diced ham
  • 1 to 2 cups half-and-half
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch, PLUS 2 tablespoons cold water, optional
  • Salt, to taste

Instructions

  • In a large pot set over medium heat, saute minced garlic in olive oil for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add diced potatoes, corn, thyme, pepper, and broth to the pot. Stir well, bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer, cooking for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  • Remove 2 to 3 drained ladlesful of potatoes to a plate, mash, and stir back into the soup along with the diced ham and the half-and-half. Additional broth may also be added, if too much was lost to evaporation. Adjust the seasonings by adding salt and pepper, to taste, if necessary.
  • OPTIONAL: If you would like the broth of your Potato Corn Chowder to have a thicker/silkier consistency at this point, stir cornstarch into water until smooth (or you could use additional half-and-half instead of water) and slowly pour the slurry into the soup while stirring.
  • Bring soup to a simmer, reduce heat to low, and cook for 5 more minutes or until heated through.

Video

Notes

  • SLOW COOKER DIRECTIONS: Omit the extra-virgin olive oil. Place diced potatoes, frozen corn, ham, garlic, and thyme in a large slow cooker. Pour chicken broth over the ingredients, season with freshly ground black pepper, and stir. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours (or HIGH for 3 to 4 hours) until potatoes are tender. About 20 minutes before serving, scoop out 2 to 3 drained ladlesful of potatoes onto a plate (it's okay if you scoop out a bit of corn and ham, too). Thoroughly mash the potatoes with a fork and return to the crock pot, stirring them in to thicken the broth. Stir in the half-and-half and, if desired for a thicker broth, the optional cornstarch slurry. Cover and cook chowder for 15 more minutes or until heated through. Adjust the seasonings, adding salt and pepper to taste if necessary, and serve hot.
  • Feel free to adjust the ingredients to your liking! My family loves garlic, so I actually end up using more garlic when I make this. You may use more or less ham depending on your preference, or leave it out altogether. You may use milk instead of half-and-half for a lighter soup or heavy cream for a richer final result. (And if you don't have half-and-half on hand, it's the same thing as using half milk and half cream.)

Nutrition

Calories: 200kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 33mg | Sodium: 982mg | Potassium: 310mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 152IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 57mg | Iron: 1mg
Made this recipe? I'd love to see on IG!Mention @FiveHeartHome or tag #FiveHeartHome!

Post originally published on February 26, 2014, and updated on December 7, 2021, and December 13, 2023.

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5 from 11 votes (4 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating




28 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Divine for a cold winter night. I had leftover ham in the freezer from Thanksgiving and this was the perfect way to use it up!

  2. 5 stars
    Im not usually a soup person, but this has been one of my favorite soups this season! thank you so much for sharing this amazing recipe

  3. If I use canned potatoes, do I still cook it for 6 to 7 hours in the crockpot or can the time be shortened? Thanks!

    1. Since canned potatoes are already tender, you can definitely shorten the time! You basically just need to cook the soup until heated through, which will probably only take a couple hours depending on the strength of your slow cooker. (Or you can quickly stir together the ingredients in a pot on the stove and have your soup ready even faster!) If you do cook it in the crock pot for a short amount of time, however, I'd consider reducing the garlic since it won't have a long, slow cooking time to "mellow." Hope that helps and hope you enjoy! 🙂

  4. Hi Samantha- thank you so much for this recipe. I had some leftover mash potatoes just waiting to thicken the broth. Super yummy. It’s a very cold and rainy day here in south Texas. Which is very unusual 🙂

    This soup is simmering away in the crockpot, and will warm my family’s tummy tonight.

    Happy Holidays!

    1. I hope your family enjoyed this one, Priscilla! Stay warm and happy holidays to you, too! 🙂

  5. This is great! It wasn't creamy or potatoey enough for our tastes, so before serving (while it was heating through the last 15 minutes with the heavy cream), I added some cheese and a bag of instant potatoes (Betty crocker brand - four cheese 100% real potatoes) and it was perfect! Gave it that creamier, thicker consistency we love.

    1. That's a great idea, Megan...thanks for sharing! I'm glad that this soup was a hit with your family! 🙂

        1. I'm so happy to hear that this was a hit, Megan! Picky eaters can be tricky to please...score 1 for Mom! 😉

    1. Hi Jen! I use a 6-quart crock pot for all of my recipes, so that's what I'd recommend. After making this soup the first time, you might be able to judge if it would fit in your 4-quart crock pot next time. But I haven't made this soup since last winter and I honestly can't remember how high up it goes in the crock pot, so your larger crock pot would probably be the safer bet. Enjoy!

    1. Hi Candace! I'm so sorry, but I haven't tried freezing this soup before. I think the potatoes would be fine, and honestly, I bet the cream would, too. But if you are worried about it, you could always make the soup without adding the cream, freeze, and then thaw/reheat and add the cream before serving. After a quick search, I just found this article about freezing soup with some specific tips related to soups containing cream: http://www.soupchick.com/2011/09/how-to-freeze-and-reheat-soup.html

      Hope that helps!

  6. There is nothing like a large bowl of hot soup! It's the ultimate comfort food for me. I'm pinning and making this recipe. 😉

  7. Samantha, this looks SO good! And I love your frozen potato short cut suggestion (this suddenly made all soups with potatoes seem even quicker to put together). I love a good chowder, especially on indecisive weather days. For instance, today I woke up to a snow storm that turned into heavy sleet and now it's perfectly sunny! Crazy...

  8. The chowder- looks SO GOOD!!! The weather- oh what a roller coaster. Texas is so funny like that. I certainly don't miss 80's+ in the spring like we had when we were in NV. However- I will be happy to be out of our single digit temps here soon.

  9. LOVE a good, creamy soup or chowder. This fills the bill!
    Texas has definitely had some crazy weather, pretty much the whole country has. We had a warm 'tease' (50s) last weekend, but it's 19 right now, and expecting a LOT more snow beginning Sunday. Brrrrr!! Hope the forecast doesn't pan out! Lol!
    Thanks for a great post!
    Deb

    1. Oh my goodness, Deb...I always feel bad complaining about our just-below-freezing temperatures when other parts of the country are so much colder...but this still feels cold to me! 😉 Hope your snow stays away, and hope this chowder helps keep you warm if it decides to head your way after all! Happy Friday! 🙂

  10. Samantha, this looks totally delicious! I really need to start using my slow cooker - can you believe I don't?? I think I'm afraid to leave it on when I'm not here (a weird, neurotic worrier, am I!) This would definitely be a dish my hubby would love! Thanks for sharing and pinning - enjoy your day!

    1. You should absolutely use your slow cooker, Cindy...it is so wonderful to come home to a dinner that's already cooked! And you could always give it a test run while you're home on the weekend if the thought of leaving the house with it plugged in makes you uneasy. 😉 Thanks for the pin and happy Friday!