Coconut Milk Shrimp and Corn Chowder

On the table in less than 30 minutes, this dairy-free chowder is full of perfectly cooked shrimp, sweet corn, and a creamy base packed full of easy flavor. Simple to make, easy ingredients, and a no-nonsense recipe.


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Shrimp corn chowder is the perfect comfort food that not only satisfies your cravings but also is quick and easy to make. It can be served as a main dish or a side dish, making it a versatile addition to your meal plan. Whether you're in the mood for something hearty and filling, or a lighter option, this chowder will not disappoint. With its delicious combination of tender shrimp, sweet corn, and creamy broth, it's sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

Shrimp, corn, fresh parsley, paprika, and a creamy chowder base all in a bowl with a spoon.

What makes a chowder a chowder?

A chowder, unlike a bisque, is usually made from milk or cream and thick and chunky with bits of potato, veggies, and meat (in our chowder the texture comes from corn and shrimp, the milk from coconut milk). A bisque, on the other hand, is smooth and creamy with little to no chunks.

corn and shrimp ready for shrimp and corn chowder

Key Ingredients for Shrimp and Corn Chowder

  • Shrimp. Uncooked frozen shrimp (that you have thawed and rinsed) is best for this.
  • Corn. Frozen corn is my favorite to use but you can use fresh or canned, as well.
  • Russet Potatoes. Use sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes for even more nutrition. However, it WILL sweeten this chowder, a bit.
  • Cajun seasoning. If you don't have cajun seasoning, Old Bay seasoning will work great!
  • Coconut Milk. Coconut milk adds a creamy texture and a subtle sweetness to the chowder and is also dairy-free, making it a good alternative for those with lactose intolerance. And using coconut milk in the chowder adds a yummy flavor that I think is better than traditional chowders made with dairy milk.

What kind of shrimp?

You're going to want to start with raw shrimp to get the best results for this Shrimp and Corn Chowder. You can use fresh or frozen (thawed) shrimp. Either way, make sure it is rinsed, deveined, and tail-free before you cook it. I like to use medium when cooking for my family but often use small when cooking for other groups or small children.

Can I use precooked shrimp?

YES, you can use pre-cooked shrimp. If you do, add it into the pot at the very end of the recipe and skip putting it into the oil in the beginning of this recipe or you will get gummy shrimp.

Subs for shrimp?

If you don't have shrimp or don't like shrimp, but the rest of this Shrimp and Corn Chowder sounds delicious, try using sliced, smoked sausage instead. Or, keep it in the seafood family and use scallops, lobster, or crab meat.

What can I use instead of sherry?

Sherry provides the little bit of acid needed for this Shrimp and Corn Chowder. If you don't have sherry on hand, use another acid, like lemon juice, white wine, or vinegar (white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar...I'm starting to sound like Bubba talking about all the types of shrimp in Forest Gump...you get the idea).

Can I use canned corn?

Good news! You can use fresh, frozen, or canned corn in your Shrimp and Corn Chowder. That makes it super easy to make this recipe with whatever you have on hand.

How to make Shrimp and Corn Chowder

  1. Heat olive oil in a large dutch oven or soup pot. Add the shrimp, salt, and pepper. Cook the shrimp just until pink, add 1 cup of the frozen corn, stir to coat, and then remove from heat and set aside.
    Cooking the shrimp and corn and then removing them from the pan while you finish the soup helps create perfectly cooked shrimp, sweet and firm corn, and a creamy chowder base.
  2. Heat additional olive oil into the pan and add the onion and cook until transparent, about 3 minute. Add the minced garlic and cajun seasoning and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.
    Most soups with only a few spices benefit from having the spices toasted for a minute or so to deepen their flavor. The best part is the bits that stick to the pan and then come off in the broth, later.
  3. Add the broth, additional corn, diced potato, and bay leaf. Bring to a low boil and simmer, stirring the bottom of the pan to pull up the yummy drippings and toasted spices.
    Diced potatoes, frozen sweet corn, and veggie broth create a beautiful base for this chowder. The potatoes and corn bring starch to the broth that eliminates the need for any flour or thickener. Great for gluten-free diets!
  4. Remove the bay leaf, add the can of coconut milk, and bring it back up to a low boil, and immediataely remove from heat.
  5. Puree the soup using an immersion blender. Note: if you don't have ANY form of a blender take a potato masher to the potatoes and corn and do your best to develop a thicker consistency by smashing and mashing by hand. Messy, and you won't end up with a perfectly smooth texture, but still tasty and delicious! Also, it isn't necessary to puree the soup for flavor but for texture. If you don't have an immersion blender go ahead and try it without blending.
  6. Add back in the shrimp & corn, the fresh chopped parsley, and sherry wine. (or another acid like lemon juice, vinegar, or white wine).
  7. Serve immediately with additional fresh chopped parsley and a good sprinkling of paprika.

shrimp and corn chowder with fresh parsley and a sprinkle of paprika, in a bowl.

Adaptation ideas:

This Shrimp and Corn Chowder is fantastic as is, but it also serves as an excellent base for you to use if you're feeling a little creative. You can add in some chopped veggies, like carrots, celery, or red pepper, when you're cooking the onion. Some people like to add chilis, diced tomatoes, or some greens, like kale. You might mix in some favorite herbs or spices. Or you might just like to top your chowder with some extras, like a little crumbled bacon, green onions, or cheese (if you and dairy are friends).

What to serve with Shrimp & Corn Chowder?

There isn't anything much better than a hot bowl of soup with some warm bread on a cold night. Or if you're wanting to make this Shrimp and Corn Chowder with some fresh sweet corn in the summer, I suggest pairing it with a simple side salad. It is delicious any time of year with some of your favorite roasted veggies on the side. Try it with some roasted or grilled asparagus!

Storage & reheating:

You can store any leftover Shrimp and Corn Chowder in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. I recommend both storing and reheating the shrimp and chowder separately to help you avoid overcooking the shrimp, which leaves it tough and dry. Shrimp reheats quickly and the key is to not overcook it!

  • The best way to reheat the soup is always slow on the stovetop, stirring frequently, though you can zap an individual portion in the microwave.
  • You can then reheat the shrimp by sauteeing it over medium heat with a (1) little oil for a few minutes, (2) popping it in the oven at 300 degrees for about 10 minutes on a foil-covered pan with a few spoonfuls of water, or (3) adding it to the soup on the stovetop once the soup has already reached a low boil.

Shrimp and Corn Chowder Recipe

| 4 people
Prep Time | 10 mins
Cook Time | 20 mins
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
Sweet corn and perfectly cooked shrimp in a dairy-free chowder all served up in under 30 minutes!

Equipment

immersion blender

Ingredients
 

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled & deveined (I use medium sized but any size will work)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups frozen sweet corn, divided
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons cajun seasoning
  • 2 cups low sodium veggie broth
  • 1 large russet potato, peeled & diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 14 oz can coconut milk
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon sherry wine or alternative acid
Check out our Kitchen Reference Guide for help with unfamiliar terms.

Instructions

  • On medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large dutch oven or soup pot. Add the shrimp, salt, and pepper. (about 3 minutes, depending on the size of the shrimp)
  • Cook the shrimp just until pink, add 1 cup of the frozen corn, stir to coat, and then remove from heat and set aside.
  • Add the additional 1 tablespoon of olive oil into the pan and heat the oil.
  • Add the onion and cook until transparent, about 3 minute.
  • Add the minced garlic and cajun seasoning and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Add the broth, additional 1 cup of corn, diced potato, and bay leaf. Bring to a low boil and simmer for 12-15 minutes. Stir the bottom of the pan to pull up the yummy drippings.
  • Remove the bay leaf from the pot and add the can of coconut milk.
  • Bring it back up to a low boil, remove from heat, and puree the soup using a immersion blender. (note, it isn't necessary to puree the soup for flavor but texture. If you don't have an immersion blender go ahead and try it without blending)
  • Add back in the shrimp & corn, the fresh chopped parsley, and 1 tablespoon of sherry wine (or another acid like lemon juice, vinegar, or white wine).
  • Serve immediately with additional fresh chopped parsley

Notes

To save leftovers, remove the shrimp and store it separately from the chowder. This helps keep the shrimp from getting over cooked with reheating. 

Nutrition

Calories: 351kcalCarbohydrates: 39gProtein: 28gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 286mgSodium: 700mgPotassium: 736mgFiber: 4gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 1261IUVitamin C: 22mgCalcium: 192mgIron: 4mg

NellieBellie recipe tester says:

"The shrimp/corn chowder was yummy and actually didn't take too much longer than 30 minutes. I'm not much for Cajun flavor, but the combo of spicy and sweet from the corn and coconut milk was a perfect mix."

About The Author

4 thoughts on “Coconut Milk Shrimp and Corn Chowder”

  1. 5 stars
    I loved this recipe! Perfect for a cold rainy night and easy to make. I will definitely be making this again!

  2. Thank you so much for coming back and leaving a review! And for trusting me without anyone else having commented...I appreciate it!

  3. 5 stars
    No reviews at all on this recipe so I thought I'd better leave one... made this for lunch today and it's scrumptious. DH, toddler, and 1st grader all loved it--even my teenaged stepdaughter (who generally dislikes seafood) liked it!

    This may be the first time I've ever tried a recipe with no prior votes, but I went ahead because 1) the ingredients sounded promising and 2) it's compliant with Orthodox fasting rules for DH (no meat, dairy, or fish, though shellfish are allowed). Did not have Cajun seasoning on hand so used a mix of 1.5 t Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute + 0.5 t smoked paprika.

    The only other change I made was that because our immersion blender is wimpy, I pureed 2/3 or so of the soup in a Vitamix--I tried to leave potato bits unpureed so it would have a more chowdery mouthfeel though. Also added a fair amount of salt/pepper, and for serving to small kids, snipped the shrimp into smaller pieces. I was using relatively large shrimp, so without the snipping there tended to be a lot of expanse of soup in between shrimps.

    This recipe's definitely going into our regular rotation--thank you!

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