As a person who has major texture and mess issues with the on-the-cob variety of Mexican street corn, I’m now two for two on other successful iterations of the general concept. This summer I fell head over heels for the street corn salad and have been making it repeatedly. Now, just as the weather tells me it’s time for soup, this street corn-inspired chowder comes into my life and

I’m convinced recipes are instantly better when you make them with friends, and the first time I had this was when I made it with Josie. When I say “I made it with”, I mean I sat in the kitchen with her like a lazy lump while she cooked for me because she loves me. Now whenever I make it, I think of her and look forward to our next cooking endeavor, in which I actually help.

This chowder is pretty good on its own, but the cotija lime topping is next level. The interplay of the hot soup with the cool cream, and the variety of flavors and texture and colors is irresistible, and makes this dish perfect meatless comfort food. I hope it makes its way onto your table in the coming cooler months!

  • Prep 20 minutes
  • Cook 30 minutes
  • Yield about 8 servings


For the soup: 

  • 8 ears of corn, husked
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1-2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 3 tbsp. all purpose flour
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 cups cooked black beans (2 15 oz. cans, drained)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup heavy cream

To finish: 

  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup Mexican crema or sour cream
  • ½ cup finely crumbled cotija, plus more for garnish
  • 1 lime, divided
  • ¼ cup finely chopped cilantro
  • Chili powder or smoked paprika


  • 01

    With a sharp knife, remove the kernels of corn from the cobs (to yield about 6 cups.) Transfer half of the kernels to a bowl and the other half to a blender or food processor. Process this half until coarsely pureed. Add to the bowl with the intact kernels. Use the back of a spoon to scrape any remaining pulp and liquid from the cobs themselves into the bowl. Set aside.

  • 02

    In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and beginning to brown, about 6-8 minutes. Stir in the garlic, jalapeño, and chili powder. Cook for 2 minutes. Add the flour and stir into the onion mixture until it has disappeared. Add the vegetable broth gradually, stirring constantly and making sure each addition is fully incorporated before adding more. Add in the beans, corn, milk, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, 10-12 minutes, until the corn is tender. Add salt to taste starting with about 2-3 teaspoons and adjusting as needed. Season with freshly ground pepper as well. Stir in the heavy cream and cook until warmed through, 2-3 minutes.

  • 03

    To finish, combine the mayonnaise, Mexican crema or sour cream, cotija, and the juice of half a lime in a small bowl. Stir to blend. Cut the remaining lime into wedges.

  • 04

    Portion the soup into serving bowls, then top with a dollop of the cream mixture. Sprinkle with cilantro and chili powder. Serve warm with lime wedges and tortilla chips.