Healthy Corn and Shrimp Chowder

A steaming hot bowl of chowder chases away a cold winter’s day! This Healthy Corn and Shrimp Chowder comes together quickly, and is chock full of delicious and healthy ingredients… It’s gluten-free, and can be made dairy-free as well!

2 yellow stoneware bowls of shrimp chowder with a loaf of sourdough bowl, fresh parsley, copper spoons.

👩🏻‍🍳 Tamara Talks – Corn and Shrimp Chowder Inspiration

Much of the U.S. is caught in winter’s icy grip. Even south Texas has spent much of early winter in the thirties and forties (not the “norm” by about 30 degrees!). Nothing warms the body and soul like a hot, hearty bowl of soup!

The “recipe” such as it is for Healthy Corn and Shrimp Chowder goes back about 38 years. I no longer have the hand-written recipe from my sweet mother-in-law, and I’ve certainly taken a lot of liberty with it over the years, but my current version always brings me back to my days as a young bride and making this favorite family recipe.

As I mentioned, I take a lot of liberty with the original corn and shrimp chowder recipe. I don’t always make it dairy-free, but I wanted to see if I could get close to the original with dairy-free milk rather than the original (canned milk) or my preferred half and half. I used So Delicious Dairy Free Creamer “Original.” Nut milk would probably work well, but I find the creamer adds the additional body to the chowder that more closely matches half and half.

The other important component of this soup is the broth/stock. I regularly make homemade shrimp stock (a byproduct of life on the Gulf), but I also use Kitchen Basics Seafood Stock. There are other good brands of fish/seafood stock out there, but I don’t think chicken stock will make a decent substitute. Substitute it at your own risk…  😀

Obviously this Healthy Corn and Shrimp Chowder has shrimp. Living on the Gulf, we have access to all the sizes and types of shrimp. I prefer the Gulf peeled and deveined 31 to 35 count, and I just toss them in whole. The original recipe called for canned salad shrimp. They’re absolutely fine! You can use larger ones and chop them up a bit, but why would you use the expensive larger shrimp just to cut them up? Haha.

Healthy Corn and Shrimp Chowder in ceramic serving bowl with individual bowls behind.
  • bacon – This ingredient is optional, but highly recommended! I use the leanest uncured bacon I can find.
  • onion
  • garlic
  • crushed red pepper (optional)
  • dry sherry
  • dried thyme leaves
  • bay leaves – I use fresh when I can get them.
  • seafood or shrimp stock – Seafood stock is widely available. Chicken stock is not a good substitute. A simple shrimp stock can be made with shrimp shells. Whenever I peel shrimp, I pop the shells in a zip bag until I have enough to make stock. If I don’t have any in my freezer, I use Kitchen Basics Seafood Stock.
  • potatoes – I love colorful food, and on photo day, I used multi-colored fingerling and new potatoes.
  • carrots – I buy shredded carrots as they are a great time saver. You can grate your own as well.
  • bell pepper – Any color (or a combination) is fine.
  • milk or half and half – I use coconut non-dairy creamer (plain flavor). It provides the creaminess of half and half with fewer fats and calories. You can use your preferred milk or cream.
  • creamed corn
  • peeled and deveined shrimp – I use already peeled and deveined 31 to 35 count Gulf shrimp. I toss them in whole. You can use larger shrimp (and chop them), but the smaller shrimp are less expensive. Frozen or canned are fine as well.
  • sea salt/fresh ground pepper
  • flat leaf parsley

Canned creamed corn, really?

The “secret” ingredient in the flavorful soup is a can of creamed corn. Okay. I know. I rarely specify canned anything. However, it is essential to the flavor of this wonderful shrimp chowder (and an ingredient in the original).

Of course there are veggies… as many as I can reasonably pack in there – multi-colored new potatoes, shredded carrots (also original), and chopped red bell pepper. My rendition of the recipe evolved to include de-glazing the pan with dry sherry; it adds so much flavor!

Lest I forget, the pot of soup starts out with bacon. Because. Bacon. If you must, leave out the bacon, and substitute a generous drizzle of olive oil; be aware that it will taste different!

Without further ado… Let’s get cooking.  🙂

  1. Fry the bacon lardons – Add the chopped bacon pieces to a heavy soup pot (I like my Dutch oven). Cook them until crisp, and drain on paper towels. Remove all but a thin layer of bacon grease from the pot.
  2. Sauté the aromatics – Add the onion, garlic, and crushed red pepper to the pot. Sauté until onion is translucent and soft. Don’t burn the garlic! De-glaze with dry sherry, and allow it to reduce by about half.
  3. Cook the vegetables – Add the thyme, bay, broth/stock, and potatoes to the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook 10 minutes covered. Add the shredded carrots, and simmer an additional ben minutes.
  4. Finish the chowder – Stir in the creamed corn, shrimp, bacon lardons, and milk or half and half. Bring just up to a boil, reduce heat, and cover until ready to serve. The shrimp need only a few minutes to cook (depending on size). Season and taste.
  5. Serve – Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with flat leaf parsley.
A single bowl of healthy shrimp and corn chowder with copper flatware.

What kind of broth/stock can I use – Seafood stock is widely available. Chicken stock is not a good substitute. A simple shrimp stock can be made with shrimp shells. Whenever I peel shrimp, I pop the shells in a zip bag until I have enough to make stock. If I don’t have any in my freezer, I use Kitchen Basics Seafood Stock.

What kind of milk should I use? As I mention in the post, this recipe can be made with milk, nut milk, half and half, etc. There are many dairy-free options. My personal preference is So Delicious Original Coconut Creamer as it adds body similar to half and half. Keep in mind the macros will vary based on your milk choice, thickness of bacon, etc.

Do I have to use bacon? If you wish to skip the bacon, add a generous drizzle of olive oil, and skip to the second step (sauteing the aromatics).

Does the soup keep and reheat well? I‘m a bad person to ask. I don’t like anything leftover with fish or seafood. It will keep fine in the refrigerator for a couple of days, but do so at your own peril!

Kitchen Basics Seafood Stock
Cast Iron Dutch Oven
Crushed Red Pepper

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Fish and seafood are great for weeknight cooking because they require so little time to cook. If you’re looking for healthy new options for the new year, this is a great gluten free, dairy free option to add to your weeknight menus. For a south-of-the-border quick soup option, try this healthy Mexican seafood soup!

Healthy Corn and Shrimp Chowder Feature Image

Healthy Corn and Shrimp Chowder

A steaming hot bowl of chowder chases away a cold winter’s day! This Healthy Corn and Shrimp Chowder comes together quickly, and is chock full of delicious and healthy ingredients… It’s gluten-free, and can be made dairy-free as well!
4.80 from 20 votes

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Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Main Dishes
Cuisine American
Servings 4 servings
Calories 471 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 4 thick slices lean bacon - cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 small onion - finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic - minced
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper - optional
  • ½ cup dry sherry
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
  • 2 bay leaves - fresh if possible
  • 2 ½ cups seafood or shrimp stock - (see notes)
  • 2 cups potatoes - I use multi-color new, 1/2-3/4″ dice
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 red bell pepper - diced
  • 1 can creamed corn
  • 1 pound small shrimp - peeled and deveined (see notes)
  • 1 ½ cups milk or half and half - (see notes)
  • sea salt/fresh ground pepper
  • flat leaf parsley

Instructions

  • Add the chopped bacon pieces to a heavy soup pot (I like my Dutch oven). Cook them until crisp, and drain on paper towels. Remove all but a thin layer of bacon grease from the pot.
  • Add the onion, garlic, and crushed red pepper to the pot. Sauté until onion is translucent and soft.
    Don't burn the garlic!
    De-glaze with dry sherry, and allow it to reduce by about half.
  • Add the thyme, bay, broth/stock, and potatoes to the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook 10 minutes covered. Add the shredded carrots, and simmer an additional ten minutes.
  • Stir in the creamed corn, shrimp, bacon lardons, and milk or half and half. Bring just up to a boil, reduce heat, and cover until ready to serve. The shrimp need only a few minutes to cook (depending on size). Season and taste.
  • Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with flat leaf parsley.

Notes

Seafood stock is widely available. Chicken stock is not a good substitute. A simple shrimp stock can be made with shrimp shells. Whenever I peel shrimp, I pop the shells in a zip bag until I have enough to make stock. If I don’t have any in my freezer, I use Kitchen Basics Seafood Stock.
As I mention in the post, this recipe can be made with milk, nut milk, half and half, etc. There are many dairy-free options. My personal preference is So Delicious Original Coconut Creamer as it adds body similar to half and half. Keep in mind the macros will vary based on your milk choice, thickness of bacon, etc.
If you wish to skip the bacon, add a generous drizzle of olive oil, and skip to the second step (sauteing the aromatics).
Macronutrients (approximation from MyFitnessPal.com): 471 calories; 36 g protein; 49 g carbohydrates; 9 g fat.

Nutrition

Serving: 1grams | Calories: 471kcal

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

Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and/or star rating! Email us with any questions: tamara@beyondmeresustenance.com

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43 Comments

    1. Hi Fred! I apologize for my slow response! I aim for 24 hours, but we were flying home form holidays in NC when you sent this, and I missed it… You add the lardons in step 4 with the shrimp. I have updated the recipe. This was my mother-in-law’s recipe, and one we’ve really enjoyed for decades!

  1. I made this tonight – fortunately, I doubled it so we have some for this week and I froze some. YUMMMMMMY! I made it as written, except I seem to have run out of bay leaves, and I used whole milk for the liquid. Tamara, you are a very gifted recipe creator! I have a few more of yours on the schedule for this week.

  2. I made this tonight – fortunately, I doubled it so we have some for this week and I froze some. YUMMMMMMY! I made it as written, except I seem to have run out of bay leaves, and I used whole milk for the liquid. Tamara, you are a very gifted recipe creator! I have a few more of yours on the schedule for this week.

  3. Seems very much comfort meal during these chill days. The ingredients you use gives so much flavors. Looks delicious chowder İ’ve seen this week. Thank you for sharing.

  4. I love soup all year round. I even eat them in the summer. One of my favorite characteristics in soup is the texture that corn gives. It seems to have just the right bite, don’t you think? Yours looks amazing, thanks for sharing your recipe!

  5. I love soup all year round. I even eat them in the summer. One of my favorite characteristics in soup is the texture that corn gives. It seems to have just the right bite, don’t you think? Yours looks amazing, thanks for sharing your recipe!

  6. Hi Tamara, I love this soup and the fact that you used creamed corm makes perfect sense to me, it a texture thing and in something so rich the creamed corn will add luxury to the recipe.. RTight from the get go the use of rendered bacon sets things off on the right foot and the addition of a beautiful seafood stock makes it really deep in flavor. This dish does not only sound delicious, but it looks amazing. I would love a bowl right now to south my soul. Great job!
    Have a wonderful day!
    Loreto@sugarlovespices

    1. Thank you Loreto! There are some nice layered flavors in this chowder, and it is so comforting on a chilly day! It’s Friday… Enjoy your weekend!

  7. Hi Tamara, I love this soup and the fact that you used creamed corm makes perfect sense to me, it a texture thing and in something so rich the creamed corn will add luxury to the recipe.. RTight from the get go the use of rendered bacon sets things off on the right foot and the addition of a beautiful seafood stock makes it really deep in flavor. This dish does not only sound delicious, but it looks amazing. I would love a bowl right now to south my soul. Great job!
    Have a wonderful day!
    Loreto@sugarlovespices

  8. Oh I’m like you I don’t like to waste anything either. I save them in a zip lock bag when I have enough I make a hearty fish stock to add to my storage. This chowder sounds so flavorful.

    1. Thanks Elaine! As I mentioned in the post, I’ve literally made this chowder for decades… It was only recently that I started adding sherry, and I really feel it elevates the dish. 🙂

  9. Oh I’m like you I don’t like to waste anything either. I save them in a zip lock bag when I have enough I make a hearty fish stock to add to my storage. This chowder sounds so flavorful.

  10. I can just imagine how this corn and shrimp chowder tastes just by looking at your photos! I love how chunky the chowder is!! I love the addition of the sherry!! Great combo with the rest of the ingredients!

  11. I agree with you about shrimp stock. I always save my shrimp shells and boil them when a recipe calls for raw shrimp and the shrimp with shells was cheaper. This soup sounds amazing. I’m a big fan of corn chowder, and adding shrimp can only make it better. I’ve pinned your recipe, and I can’t wait to try it.

    1. I grew up with “waste not, want not” Patti! I have zip bags of all kinds of stock components, and make a batch when I have enough. Most recently, my husband and our son went fishing in the Gulf. Rather than pay deck hands, they brought the fish home to clean them as our son is a professional chef. He cleaned 9 large fish, and we got about 12 cups of fabulous fish stock! I hope you try the chowder… it really is delicious!

  12. What a great chowder! Lots and lots of wonderful ingredients and flavors. I’m sure it’s keeping you guys warm down there. I think you are having colder temperatures than we are. Oh, and I agree, milk substitutes like almond milk just don’t work in chowders, but if you’re vegan, you probably get use to it. Thank goodness I’m not vegan. I want the bacon. 🙂

    1. All the bacon! We don’t eat a lot of it, but use it more as a flavoring agent… Yes, chowders have been good this “winter” as we’ve actually had one (an in of snow!). I guess you’ve not had much snow in Albuquerque…