Transform summery corn chowder with a hint of fresh basil pesto

Sweet summer corn is transformed into this lovely chowder with a hint of fresh basil pesto. It’s the epitome of a light and tasty summer dish.

Just because the weather is warming up doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a delicious bowl of soup. This soup was inspired by the flavors of summer using fresh, sweet corn I picked up from my local farmers market. I decided to add even more robust flavor by stirring in a couple of spoonfuls of homemade pesto full of basil, pine nuts and sharp Parmesan cheese.

This soup also freezes great and can be prepared several days in advance and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use. Not only is this recipe easy to make, but you can enjoy this dish warm or chilled next to a green salad or served with slices of fresh baked French or Italian bread.

Sweet summer corn chowder with pesto recipe

Light and summery, this corn-based chowder gets topped with homemade basil pesto and is wonderful served warm or chilled. If you’re a meat eater or love bacon, try adding crispy bacon crumbles on top of this chowder for even more flavor.

Serves 6-8

Prep time: 20 minutes | Cook time: 45 minutes | Total time: 1 hour 5 minutes


For the corn chowder

  • 6 ears fresh corn, kernels removed from the cob
  • 1 medium sweet onion, diced
  • 2 ribs celery, finely diced
  • 2 carrots, finely diced
  • 1 (4 ounce) can diced green chili peppers
  • 2-1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons pure cane sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Diced tomatoes, for garnish (optional)
  • Fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)

For the basil pesto

  • 3 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1/8 cup Brazil nuts
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Salt and pepper


  1. To a large pot over medium-high heat, add all the ingredients for the corn chowder.
  2. Stir the chowder, and cover the pot with the lid.
  3. Simmer the corn chowder for 40 to 45 minutes or until all the vegetables (especially the potatoes) have softened.
  4. To a food processor, add the basil, olive oil, pine nuts, Brazil nuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic, salt and pepper.
  5. Process on high until the ingredients resemble a thick sauce. Transfer the pesto to a jar with a lid.
  6. Right before serving, add 2 tablespoons of basil pesto to the chowder. Stir well, and divide the chowder among bowls.
  7. Garnish with diced tomatoes and fresh chopped parsley. Serve warm or chilled.

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