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This hearty Vegan Corn Chowder is a creamy and delightful mouthful of comforting flavors and textures. It's a satisfying, but light bowl chock-full of savory flavors with an undertone of tart and subtle sweetness.
This Vegan Corn Chowder may be non-dairy, but it turns out super creamy using cashews as the cream base. You can keep it traditional with a flavorful mix of corn kernels, potato chunks, veggies, and an assortment of herbs, and spices.
Or add some complexity to the dish by infusing it with a dash of white wine and a tinge of lemon juice! So eat to your heart’s content and enjoy it with your favorite bread, sandwich, or salad.
And not just in the summertime when these golden cobs are in season! You can use canned or frozen corn kernels to enjoy this all year round- especially on a cold winter day.
The soup base is very similar to my Vegan Clam Chowder recipe. They taste different, of course, but they are basically made the same way and turn out so creamy.
- Corn: I prefer fresh corn for this recipe, but it's not always in season so feel free to use frozen in its place. Canned will work too, but it will lack that fresh corn taste.
- Celery: If you're not a fan, you can replace it with red or green bell pepper. It provides a different flavor, but it's just as delicious.
- Yukon Gold Potatoes: You can use russet or red potatoes too.
- Thyme: you can replace it with dried oregano.
- Crushed Red Pepper: if you don't like heat, you can omit it. However, if you do like heat, you can replace it with 1-2 small jalapeños that are deseeded and sliced or diced. Keep some seeds for extra heat.
- White Wine: this is optional, so feel free to omit it without a replacement. However, if you want to substitute it, you can use a few splashes of white grape juice instead. This will deglaze the pan and add a pop of zing.
- Cashews: If you are allergic, you can use 1 cup of canned full-fat coconut milk to replace the cashew cream. You may need to cook the soup a little longer for it to thicken.
Tips when Making Vegan Corn Chowder
This is an easy recipe to put together, but here are some extra tips to take note of:
- You can use a gluten-free all-purpose flour brand to make this a gluten-free dish!
- If you are using fresh corn cobs, scrape the remaining bits and juices off the cobs with a knife or spoon to get that sweet and milky essence that will add more flavor and thickness to your soup.
- For a smooth soup consistency, you can pour it into a blender and pulse it until you get the consistency you wanted. But if you want more chunks in your soup, you can just take 1-2 cups of it for blending and leave the rest as is.
Corn Chowder Topping Ideas
This vegan corn chowder is already packed with flavor and texture, but toppings are always fun. Here are some tasty ideas:
- Freshly cut parsley, cilantro, or green onion
- Smoked paprika
- Old Bay seasoning.
- Vegan sour cream
- Vegan cheese shreds
- Crushed red pepper
- Vegan bacon
- Replace the thyme and crushed red pepper with 1 teaspoon of cumin, coriander, and ½ teaspoon each of ancho chili powder, and smoked paprika.
- Switch out the celery for a large poblano pepper that's seeded and diced.
- For extra heat, add 1 small jalapeño that are deseeded and sliced or diced. Or add 1 serrano pepper for a bigger kick!
- Switch out the lemon juice for lime juice.
- You can roast, pan-fry, or grill the corn first for a smoky flavor.
- For an extra smoky flavor, add 1 teaspoon of liquid smoke to the recipe.
- Top with chopped cilantro.
More corn recipes to try
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Vegan Corn Chowder
- ½ cup raw cashews (*See Note)
- ¾ cup water + more for soaking cashews
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil (or preferred oil)
- 1 medium yellow onion , diced
- 2 celery stalks , diced
- 3 cloves garlic , minced
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
- ½ cup dry white wine (optional)
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 4 ½ cups vegetable broth , low sodium
- 2 large yukon gold potatoes , peeled and cut into ¼-inch pieces
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon sea salt , more to taste
- Fresh cracked pepper , to taste
- 4 cups fresh corn , cut off kernels from 4 corn cobs (frozen can be used)
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (optional)
- To prep the cashews, boil water in a small pot and remove from heat. Add cashews and cover for 15-20 minutes. Drain and rinse the cashews and discard soaking water. Place them in a high-powered blender with ¾ cup of water. Blend on high until very smooth. Set aside.
- In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat and add onion and celery. Sauté until tender, about 3-5 minutes.
- Add garlic and sauté for 30-60 seconds until fragrant
- Now add the crushed red pepper and thyme. Sauté 30-60 seconds until fragrant.
- Add wine and turn heat up to medium-high to simmer. Once simmering turn heat back to medium. Cook wine down about 2-3 minutes. * If you're not using wine, you can skip this step entirely without substituting.
- Sprinkle flour over veggies and stir constantly for 30-60 seconds. This will cook off the raw flour taste.
- Stir in broth and add potatoes, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Turn heat up again to medium-high to simmer. Once simmering, turn heat back to medium and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add corn kernels and cook for another 8-10 minutes until potatoes are fork-tender and corn is cooked. Remove bay leaf.
- Turn heat to low and slowly stir in cashew cream. Taste for seasoning and add more if needed. Warm for 1-2 minutes and remove from heat. Stir in lemon juice if desired.
- Optional: to give the soup base more body, place 1-2 cups of soup in a blender and pulse 2-3 times, then pour back into the pot and stir (you can also use an immersion blender). You can skip the blending if you prefer a chunkier soup.
- See note for topping ideas. Enjoy!
- If you don't have a high-speed blender, the cashews might not completely break down and this could result in a gritty texture. You can try soaking the cashews longer for 8 hours or more.
- Instead of cashew cream, you can also use 1 cup canned full-fat coconut milk. You may need to cook the sauce a few minutes longer to thicken.
I must say how very excited I am to discover how to make a vegan creamy soup! Thank you so much for this recipe, it is amazingly flavorful with the Old Bay and thyme, lemon, cashew cream, cashew sour cream & chives. I am so happy it made such a large batch of soup! So creamy and comforting and dairy free!
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Hi Margaret! We're so happy to hear that you loved the recipe! Thanks for trying it out 🙂
Can cashew butter be substituted for cashew cream. ?
Hi Eileen, I haven’t tried it with cashew butter. It may work if you can make a thick cream out of it with water. I’m just not sure if it’ll change the flavor or texture. I’d love to hear how it turns out if you try. Thanks for stopping by. 😀
My goodness this was to die for. Loved it so much I'm making a second batch. I could eat this every day ha! Thanks again for another delicious recipe.
Thank you, Linda! I'm so happy you liked it! 🙂
I made the corn chowda this weekend and the taste is really good! I have tried making a few diff corn Chowda's and to no avail none have tasted good. However, the one issue I had with this recipe seems to be in the cashew process. I blend it for about 5 minutes in a very good blender along with almond milk.. I still have small chunks of cashews. I also made your fettuncine Alfredo recipe this weekend and had no issues blending the cashews to make that alfredo sauce. I did follow directions letting the cashews sit overnight. Any suggestions if I try to make this again next time?
Hi Danielle, Thank you so much! So happy you liked it!
Usually, when there is a problem with the cashews not breaking down, it's because the blender isn't strong enough or the cashews weren't soaked long enough. With high-powered blenders, you barely need to soak them. Since you said you soaked them overnight and didn't have a problem with the alfredo sauce, I'm stumped. The only thing I can think of is could be the almond milk or maybe the cashews you bought. Were they from the same batch you used previously? Is the almond milk super smooth? Here are some things to try: Boil the cashews for 15-20 minutes. That will soften them good. Normally I just soak in very hot water, but you should try the boiling method. Try a different milk this time and see if it happens. You can also add a small amount more milk than the recipe calls for, and see if that works. If that fails, you can skip the cashew cream altogether and use full-fat coconut milk. About 3/4-1 cup will suffice. It won't taste coconutty. 🙂 I hope this helps. I'd love to hear how it turns out next time. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your feedback.
If I make it on a Sunday and freeze it and then unfreeze it Thursday, how long will it last before we should eat it? Thanks!
Hi Dawn, I think it would be fine for 3-4 days in the fridge. Have a great weekend! 🙂
This is sooo good! I will be making it again. Highly recommend. I left out the white wine and just used stock instead. Delish!
Hi Kimberly, thank you for making it and sharing your feedback. So glad you liked it! 🙂
My husband made this soup for dinner tonight and it was wonderful. We left out the lemon and red peppers. Excellent flavor and enough variety in the size of the veggies for great texture. Thanks, Melissa
Hi Sherry, thank you so much for the feedback! I'm so happy you both loved it! Happy New Year! 🙂
Wonderful taste! And non vegan boyfriend loved it. Problem was the cashews left a little grainy texture and I didn’t know how to use immersion blender to make it more creamy without blending all the potatoes in the soup so I skipped that step. How do you make chowder extra smooth? But the taste was amazing!!
Hi Yvonne, thank you for making it! It sounds like your blender might not be strong enough to pulverize the cashews. The cashew cream should be completely smooth. You may need to soak the cashews overnight. If the cashew cream is still gritty, you may want to skip it altogether. You can use 1 cup of full-fat canned coconut milk instead. You won't taste the coconut, but if you don't like it at all, you can just use 3/4 cup soy milk. The soup will still be creamy. I hope this helps. I'd love to hear how it turns out for you next time.
Can you make this a few days ahead of eating it? Was thinking of making it on a Sunday for a Mon or Tues dinner.
Hi Dawn, yes, you can make it ahead of time. You may need to add a small amount of vegetable broth when reheating but that's it. Thanks for stopping by. Have a nice Sunday 🙂
This recipe looks delicious! I have been on the hunt for new healthy dinners, yay!
I will be trying this one out! Thanks for sharing 🙂
Hi Majke, thank you for stopping by! I'm so glad you found some recipes you like. Let me know if I can help you find anything in particular. Have a great week!
I have missed creamy soups and chowders since going vegan and was very excited to find this recipe. It did not disappoint. It was flavorful and filling. Plus, there is more than enough for lunch tomorrow. My only comment is that it took me a lot longer than 15 minutes to prep (more than 30 minutes).
Hi Kara, Thank you for making it and sharing your feedback (especially about the prep time). I missed creamy soups too, so I made it a mission to veganize my favorites. Enjoy the leftovers! 🙂
This is wonderful! Mary Ellen at V Nutrition highlighted this on her FB page. Shout out to her for alerting me to your wonderful web page. I was roasting a case of Hatch green chilis yesterday while I made this and added a handful of roasted chopped green chilis with the corn and wow! Very good! Being New Mexican we add chili to just about everything. This made so much soup that I took a quart over to my elderly neighbors, non vegans, who loved it.
Hi Kiki, thank you for stopping by. I'm so happy you found my blog through Mary Ellen's FB page. She's one of my favorite bloggers. Just the sweetest person too. I'm so happy you liked the corn chowder. It sounds insanely delicious with the green chilis! I MUST try this next time. Thank you for sharing your feedback. Have a great week!
I spent the afternoon making this, taking my time. I used coconut milk and it is one of the best things I've ever tasted! I highly recommend making this.
Hi Gayle, this is so wonderful to hear! Thank you for making it and sharing your feedback. I'm so happy you liked it. Have a great weekend!
Hi Melissa, as always I love your recipes. I made this chowder and it was really delicious. I only made a couple of modifications and it really worked. I like my food with color, it think is a Peruvian thing, I used turmeric to give the soups that bright yellow color. I t did not change the taste, oh! I also used yellow potatoes and omit the flour to reduce the carb content it was still creamy and divine!!!
Hi Beatriz, Thank you for making it! I'm so happy it worked out for you. I think the addition of turmeric is a wonderful idea and I will try that next time. I haven't tried it without the flour, but I'll give that a go too. I love getting feedback like this. Thank you again 🙂 xo