This recipe for Gluten Free Corn & Chicken Chowder is a lower-calorie and gluten-free variation of the classic Corn Chowder. Packed with earthy and sweet flavors of corn, this chowder is creamy, hearty and pure deliciousness in a bowl.
My family loves chowder. My kids’ and husband’s favorite is Clam Chowder, and I am a huge fan of Corn Chowder. We like to make it at home, but a healthier, lighter version, that we can all enjoy without slipping into a food coma later.
Lower Calorie and Gluten-Free
My husband and I are watching our calorie intake these days, so I had to revisit my trusty old recipe for Summer Corn Chowder and customize it. Also, I’ve been wanting to make a Gluten-free version for quite sometime now.
Chowder is typically thickened with a roux made with flour, or some sort of starch, and a few tablespoons of butter. I skipped that step altogether. That reduced some calories, and, eliminated gluten from this chowder. Then, I replaced the heavy cream, which is typically used in chowder, with half & half. That cut down calories further. I also added chicken to my original recipe and bumped up the protein in the dish. Adding a lean protein like chicken breast, makes me fill up with a smaller portion, so I end up consuming fewer calories in a meal.
Many times I make an even lower-calorie version of this recipe by using full-fat or even 2% fat milk instead of half & half. The result is not as thick as this one, but the taste is still amazing. So, if you’re watching your calories, that’s another alternative for you.
Real Easy Weeknight Recipe
Gluten-free Corn & Chicken Chowder comes together real easy. All you have to do is saute aromatics, blend some corn with the liquid and then add everything to your pressure cooker and set it for 6 minutes. That easy! You can make it year round, with fresh or frozen corn, and the flavors will always be amazing. Simple recipes like this chowder are on my repeat weeknight menu, as I can count on dinner being on the table in under 30 minutes!
Make it Vegetarian
For a vegetarian chowder, skip the chicken, use vegetable broth, and enjoy a delicious bowl of gluten-free vegetarian corn chowder in less than 30 minutes.
Without the flour, the real challenge was how to thicken the chowder. After a few batches, I figured two things that helped me thicken the chowder.
First, I blended some corn with half & half. That not only helped in thickening the broth, it also gave a big corn flavor boost to the chowder, that you would otherwise get by using corn broth.
Second, once it was done cooking, I used my hand blender for 5 seconds and it thickened the chowder just enough for me. In the video recipe, I skipped this step too and my family liked that result as well.
Alternatively, you can use a tablespoon of rice flour during the saute process, or, use a corn starch slurry in the end, to thicken the chowder before serving.
Corn-Flour Slurry: Making a corn-flour slurry is super easy. Simply dissolve 1 tablespoon of corn starch in 3-4 tablespoons of room temperature broth/milk/water and add it to the chowder towards the end of cooking. Stir for a few seconds. It thickens the chowder almost immediately.
Instant Pot or Stove-Top
In this recipe, I made the gluten-free corn & chicken chowder in my programmable pressure cooker, the Instant Pot DUO. Instant Pot works great for soups and stews because the process of pressure cooking helps intensify the flavors resulting in a chowder that tastes like it has been simmering low and slow for hours. It helps me get away by adding less half & half than a regular recipe. See my FAQ on instant pot to learn more.
Making chowder on the stove-top is a super simple process too. Follow all the instructions listed in the recipe, till the pressure cooking part. Then cover and simmer the chowder for 12-15 minutes on medium-heat. Open the lid, add half & half and follow the remaining instructions. That’s it!
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More Soup Recipes from My Kitchen
Weeknight Black Bean Chili
Instant Pot Chicken Chili
Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup
Chicken Noodle Soup
Instant Pot Minestrone Soup
Ethiopian Misir Wot Stew
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Gluten Free Corn & Chicken Chowder is a lower-calorie and gluten-free variation of the classic Corn Chowder. Packed with earthy and sweet flavors of corn, this chowder is creamy, hearty and pure deliciousness in a bowl.
- 3 cups corn kernels fresh or frozen (thawed, if frozen)
- 1 lb. Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast halves, tenders or regular (Skip for vegetarian)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 garlic cloves finely chopped, or, 1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 6 Crimini mushrooms cleaned and sliced
- 1 cup Yukon gold potatoes cut in 1/2 inch cubes
- 1/2 medium onion diced
- 2 stalks spring onions sliced, and white roots separated from the green stem (see instructions)
- 1/2 green pepper diced (same size as onions)
- 1 cup chopped celery around 1-2 ribs
- 1 cup chopped carrots around 1 large carrot
- 3 cups Chicken Stock veg stock for vegetarian
- 2 cups Half & Half Half & Half is preferred, but can use full-fat milk
- Chopped spring onions for garnish
- 1 tablespoon Corn Starch dissolved in 3-4 tbsp water/milk/broth- for thickening the soup
- Prep: Chop all vegetables and keep aside. Slice spring onions and separate the white roots from the green stem. The white roots will be sautéed with other vegetables and reserve the green stems for garnish. Blend 1.5 cups of corn kernels with 1 cup half and half, it should be blended well.
Turn instant pot on SAUTE mode (high). Wait till it displays "hot'. Melt butter and add potatoes and mushrooms. Saute for 30 seconds. Add remaining chopped vegetables, including the white roots of spring onions, and saute for a minute.
Add corn-half &half mix to the pot. Then add chicken stock and all spices. Add chicken and remaining corn kernels. Stir well. Close lid. Hit cancel. Set Pressure cook or Manual for 6 minutes (high). Valve should be set to sealing. Wait 10-15 minutes for natural pressure release (NPR), before opening the pot.
- Open lid. Turn on SAUTE and remove chicken for shredding. (If at this point, the soup looks curdled, don't worry. It hasn't curdled, the blended corn pieces have just risen to the top. When you cook this on SAUTE mode, they'll get blended back in.) Add the remaining Half & Half and stir.
OPTIONAL STEP: Using a hand blender, blend the chowder for few seconds. That mashes up a few potatoes and vegetables and thickens the soup naturally. Alternatively, you can make a cornstarch slurry by mixing together 1 tbsp cornstarch in 3-4 tbsp of room temperature stock/ milk/ broth and add it slowly to the chowder while stirring. This thickens the chowder almost instantly. In this recipe, I skipped both and I prefer a thinner chowder.
- Add shredded chicken back in the chowder. Garnish with sliced spring onions (the green stem) and you're done!