Green Chile Corn Chowder

It’s soup season… yes? Hatch Green Chile Corn Chowder is a soul-warming, zesty, vegetarian soup recipe with southwest flavors reminiscent of a green chile tamale, and perfect as a starter course or light supper. I’ve included a dairy free option as well!

Creamy Hatch Green Chile Corn Chowder in an earthenware bowl on a wood background with a copper spoon.

👩🏻‍🍳 Tamara Talks – About Hatch Green Chile and Poblanos

Well, it’s fall (in most of the northern hemisphere?). We really don’t have seasons in south Texas, but we try to pretend by eating soups and stews. Haha. Actually, we’ve enjoyed a couple of weeks of perfect temps in the sixties and seventies, so I am not complaining.

I finally put together a post for my Hatch green chile enchiladas with a runny egg. This is one of my favorite indulgent meals of all time, but we can’t eat them all the time! 😬 I’m more likely to elevate a pot of healthy Hatch green chile chicken soup.

I hesitated before deciding to call this a “green chile” chowder rather than a “Hatch green chile” chowder. While this New Mexico girl adores Hatch green chile, I don’t live in NM anymore, and it’s become harder to keep it in my freezer.

On the other hand, I use a lot of POBLANO CHILES. Life on the border does have its perks… Poblano chiles are available year ’round in McAllen, but also widely available throughout the US. I suspect, but do not know for sure, they are available in other countries as well.

I may have mentioned before that we do try to reduce gluten and dairy, though we don’t follow a restricted “diet” per se. SO. I tried (successfully I might add) using gluten free masa flour instead of wheat flour for the roux, and I use non-dairy coconut creamer in place of half n’ half or full fat milk.

At any rate, this delicious gluten free corn chowder features corn (fresh and masa) and green chile. I will offer suggestions for making it your own just before the recipe!

🌽 Using Masa Harina as a Gluten Free Thickener

As I have mentioned a few times on this blog, I do not follow a restricted diet, but I do seek to reduce both gluten and dairy. This corn chowder was a rather successful experiment.

Mexican food and masa harina are a ubiquitous pairing. TORTILLAS. And tamales. I love the earthy flavor it brings to dishes, and I was intrigued with the idea of using masa to thicken a soup with a Mexican vibe.

I used masa harina as though I normally would – by toasting it a bit with the oil and aromatics before adding liquid. I subsequently found recommendations of using the masa mixed with liquid and then added to soups to thicken. I prefer to toast it first with the oil and aromatics. Both methods will work.

If you want the soup thicker after all the liquid is added, feel free to add a bit more masa mixed first with broth or water.

📋 Ingredients Notes

Ingredients for green chile corn chowder - corn, salsa, green chile, masa, cilantro, garlic, cumin, and onion
  • green chile – As I mentioned above, I will always use Hatch green chile if I have it. Alas! I do not always have it since moving to Texas. Poblano chiles are an excellent substitute. You can also use frozen or canned green chiles.
  • corn – If you have the time (and the inclination), cutting sweet corn off the cob is worth the extra time and effort. Otherwise, canned or frozen corn kernels are fine. When I made this corn chowder for my New Mexico kids, they had a can of fire-roasted corn that was really good. Of course they had a freezer full of Hatch green chile too!
  • onion
  • garlic
  • masa harina – You can substitute regular flour to thicken your chowder if you prefer.
  • ground cumin
  • salsa verde – Look for a quality jar of salsa verde that has both green chile and tomatillos if possible. Avoid highly acidic brands. My homemade salsa verde is perfect, and I use it if I have it!
  • broth – If you want to keep this chowder vegetarian, use vegetable broth. Otherwise, chicken broth is fine.
  • coconut creamer – I limit dairy in our diet, so I usually use non-dairy coconut creamer. If this is not a concern, use half and half or whole milk.

🌶 How to Roast Green Chiles

Fresh poblano green chiles on a baking sheet before going into the oven to roast.

Fresh poblano chiles prior to going under the broiler to be blackened.

The green chile after it has been roasted on a baking sheet.

Poblano Chiles with their blackened skins after they’ve been blackened.

A glass covered casserole with green chiles steaming to loosen blackened skins.

A glass casserole with lid allows the chiles to steam for 10 minutes +/-.

As I mentioned above, Hatch green chile is my preference, but poblanos are a fine alternative. The process will be the same if you need to get them roasted.

I no longer have a gas stove (always my favorite method of charring chiles). I will occasionally use my gas grill, too, but I find this method to be easiest. Put the chiles on a baking sheet that can handle intense heat. Put the pan very close to the broiler heat element. Watch the chiles closely, and move/turn them as they blacken.

When the green chiles are well-charred, place them in a covered casserole or paper bag to steam. Some sources suggest a plastic bag, but I do not like to use plastic more than necessary, and I don’t like the hot chiles coming in contact with the plastic.

After 10-15 minutes, the chiles will be soft and the blackened skins loosened. Remove the blackened skins, stems, and seeds, then rough chop them.

Of course you can successfully substitute chopped green chile. I suggest using fresh frozen rather than canned such as Bueno chopped green chile. You may even be fortunate enough to have frozen Hatch chile in your freezer!

🔪 Step-By-Step Instructions

Mis en place – prep your ingredients first! ALWAYS. In this case, your green chile should be prepped (even if you just need to thaw and drain it), your corn should be off the cob, thawed, or rinsed and drained.

Add oil, onion, garlic to a soup pot over medium-high heat. Sauté 2-3 minutes until onion begins to soften and mixture is fragrant.

Add the masa and cumin. Stir an additional 2-3 minutes until masa is fragrant.

Add the corn and prepared green chile, followed by the broth/stock and salsa. Cover and simmer 10 minutes.

If possible, use an immersion blender to partially purée the soup. Keep in mind, you want some bits of corn and green chile. If you do not have an immersion blender, carefully add about half of the mixture to a blender, purée until smooth, then return to the pot.

Add 1 cup of creamer or half n’ half, and bring up to a boil. Add more as needed to get to a chowder consistency. If it’s too thin, make a slurry of a tablespoon of masa with about 1/4 cup broth/stock and add in. Again, bring up to a boil.

As soon as the desired consistency is achieved, season with sea salt and pepper. Garnish with chopped cilantro and crumbled cotija if using.

A terra cotta bowl with corn and green chile chowder.


What do you mean by “coconut creamer?”

Do not confuse non-dairy coconut creamer with canned coconut milk used in Thai, Vietnamese, Caribbean cooking. Rather, you will find it in the dairy section of your market near the other creamers, half n’ half, whipping cream. It has a similar mouth feel and consistency to half n’ half but is non-dairy and has less fat and calories. I often use it as a very good substitute for half n’ half or cream.

Is this soup good leftover?

It’s great reheated for lunch the next day. You can also freeze it, and thaw it overnight in the refrigerator before reheating it.

💭 Top Tip

An immersion blender does a great job of puréeing about half of the soup. This is the method I prefer. You do want to leave some of the green chile and corn intact.

Enjoy! We certainly do. In fact, when I made it for 2 of our adult sons, they enthusiastically shared a photo on Facebook and exclaimed “one of the best things we’ve had in a long time!”

Signature in red and green with chiles and limes. Healthyish Latin cuisine.

Creamy Corn and Green Chile Chowder in an earthenware bowl on a wood background with a copper spoon.

New Mexico Corn Chowder with Hatch Green Chile

This Gluten Free Corn Chowder with Green Chile is a soul-warming, zesty soup with southwest flavors reminiscent of a green chile tamale, and perfect as a starter course. Add your favorite protein and make it a meal! Dairy free option too!
5 from 5 votes

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Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Soups and Stews
Cuisine Mexican/Southwest
Servings 4 servings
Calories 307 kcal


  • 1 tablespoon coconut or olive oil
  • 1 medium onion - chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic - minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons instant masa
  • 2 cups fresh - canned, or frozen corn kernels
  • 4-5 poblanos roasted - peeled, stemmed, seeded, and chopped (about 2 cups chopped)
  • ¼ cup salsa verde
  • 1 cup broth/stock
  • 1 to 2 cups coconut creamer or half n’ half - see notes
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper
  • cilantro and crumbled cotija - garnish


  • Add oil, onion, garlic to a soup pot over medium-high heat. Sauté 2-3 minutes until onion begins to soften and mixture is fragrant.
  • Add the masa and cumin. Stir an additional 2-3 minutes until masa is fragrant.
  • Add the corn, chopped green chile, salsa, and broth/stock. Cover and simmer 10 minutes.
  • Either use an immersion blender to partially purée the chowder, or remove about half to a blender and purée until smooth. Return it to the pot.
  • Add 1 cup creamer or half n’ half. Bring to a boil. Adjust if necessary. See post under blender photos if it’s too thick or too thin.
  • Season according to preference, then garnish as desired.


Important: Coconut creamer or half and half NOT canned coconut milk.
An immersion blender definitely makes the chowder easier, but a blender works too. I have tried it both ways, and prefer the immersion blender. You want about half of the mixture smooth and half chunky.
We made this chowder a main dish with the addition of some crumbled bacon. Turkey ham would be a great option as well.


Calories: 307kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 11g

NOTE: Macronutrients are an approximation only using unbranded ingredients and Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

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  1. It’s almost that time of year again! in about a month, we will make our pilgrimage to Hatch and restock for the year. This is one of the recipes I wait and wait for because the weather needs to shift and I want this sitting in front of a fire.

  2. I don’t have any dietary restrictions, and I never seek out vegetarian, vegan, or GF food options. That’s not to say that there aren’t simply delicious foods that fall into those categories. The masa used to thicken this soup goes a long way toward deepening connection to the regional flavors I love. I’m a proud New Mexican who can’t get enough of this. We will be making this again and again as we get through the holiday season. It is WAY easier than fiddling with Tamales