A cozy and comforting bowl of Potato Leek Chowder is the best way to warm your heart and soul. Topped with gorgeous chanterelle mushrooms and crispy bacon, it’s a hearty potato and leek-loaded meal that’s perfect for family dinners and meal prep.Jump to Recipe
Creamy potato leek chowder with bacon
What do you get when you combine potato leek soup with corn chowder? My Potato Leek Chowder recipe! This creamy leek, potato, and bacon-loaded chowder is a must for comforting dinners at home.
This easy chowder recipe begins with simple sauteed vegetables, like leeks, celery, and potatoes. Next, they’re simmered with chicken stock, fresh herbs, and fire-roasted corn to infuse deep layers of comforting flavors. Top off every bowl with crisp bacon, mushrooms, and a slice of crusty bread, and you have a comforting chowder that will please everyone.
Chowder vs. soup
Soups can be thin and light, or thick and creamy. There can be large chunks of vegetables and meat, or blended into a smooth puree. Chowder is more specifically defined as a hearty soup with big chunks of potatoes and other vegetables and meat or seafood, like my Salmon and Corn Chowder.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Leeks – Leeks are part of the garlic and onion family, but have a sweeter, toned-down flavor compared to white or red onions or raw garlic. When cooked, leeks bring depth and a subtle sweetness to soups, stews, and chowder.
- Potatoes – While you can use any type of potato in chowder, Yukon Gold’s add a creamy, buttery flavor to every spoonful. Russets are the next best option.
- Bacon – The bacon strips are fried, then topped on the bowls of chowder.
- Chanterelles – Chanterelle mushrooms are bright orange woodland mushrooms that are typically foraged throughout September and October. Their golden color is gorgeous in this chowder and their peppery and sweet flavor pairs perfectly with the leeks, thyme, and corn. If you can’t find chanterelles or you want to make this year-round, use cremini, oyster, or lobster mushrooms instead.
- Corn – I like using fresh or frozen fire-roasted corn kernels because they add another layer of flavor and cook very quickly. Feel free to grill fresh corn on the cob yourself, and add the kernels into the soup at the end.
- Fresh thyme – You can add a fresh bay leaf along with the thyme for uplifted herby flavors.
- Chicken stock – Or use vegetable broth to make this a vegetarian chowder recipe (omit the bacon, too).
- Sea salt
- Chives – Fresh chives are best, but dried chives will work in a pinch.
- Smoked paprika – Regular paprika will work just as well.
How to clean and slice leeks for soup
Leeks have many layers and folds that trap sand and dirt very easily, which means they should be washed well before you start cooking. These directions will show you how to clean and cut the leeks properly:
- Cut off and discard the root and dark green leaves.
- Slice the remaining white and light green part in half.
- Slice each half crosswise into thin half-moons.
- Fill a large bowl with cold water. Place the chopped leeks into the water and move them around to loosen any dirt or debris.
- Scoop the clean leeks out of the water with your hands, then dry them with a clean kitchen towel.
How to make potato leek chowder
Heat a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat, then add the sliced bacon. Cook until crisp, then transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Leave the bacon grease in the pot.
Add the leeks and celery to the pot. Cook until they’re soft and beginning to caramelize.
Next, add the chicken stock, potatoes, thyme, and salt to the pot and bring it up to a boil. Then turn down to heat and leave the chowder to simmer until the potatoes are fork tender.
Stir the corn kernels in next. Once they’re cooked through, turn off the heat and remove the thyme stems.
In a separate pan, add the mushrooms and cook on medium-high heat. Add the butter to the pan and allow the mushrooms to soften for about 5 minutes. Transfer them to a bowl.
Ladle the soup into bowls and top with the cooked bacon, mushrooms, chives, and a pinch of paprika. Serve with crusty bread on the side and enjoy!
Potato and leek chowder is comforting and filling all on its own. A light green salad can be served on the side, like my Broccoli Brussels Sprouts Salad or Butter Lettuce Salad, but the best pairings are crusty bread and crackers. I always pair a bowl with a slice of rustic sourdough bread for dunking!
Store: Once the chowder is cool, transfer it into airtight containers and store in the fridge for up to 3 or 4 days. The leftovers can be reheated in a saucepan on the stove or for 1 or 2 minutes in the microwave.
Freeze: The chowder freezes really well for up to 1 year! Transfer it into individual freezer-safe containers. Let the leftovers thaw in the fridge before reheating whenever you need a quick dinner or a serving for meal prep.
Looking for more comforting soup recipes?
- Healthy Zuppa Toscana Soup
- Vegetable Coconut Curry Soup
- Easy Creamy Lasagna Soup
- Chicken and Dumplings Soup
If you try this Potato Leek Chowder let me know what you think! Rate and review this recipe in the comments below. Don’t forget to take a picture and tag me on Instagram @lenaskitchenblog!
Potato Leek Chowder
- 2 cups leeks white and light green parts, thinly sliced
- ½ cup celery finely chopped
- 1 lb yukon gold potatoes cut into quarters
- 4-6 thick bacon strips sliced into 1/2 inch strips
- 2-2 ½ cups chanterelles roughly chopped into large pieces
- 1 ½ cups fire roasted corn kernels fresh or frozen
- 5-8 sprigs thyme
- 2 tbsp butter
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 3 garlic cloves sliced
- 1 tsp sea salt or more to taste
- 2 tsp chives finely chopped
- 1 loaf sourdough bread warmed up and broken into rustic pieces
- ¼ tsp smoked paprika optional
- Slice the bacon into 1/4 in strips. Cook in a large dutch oven over medium heat, 5-7 minutes. Remove bacon pieces to a paper towel, leave bacon grease.
- Turn the heat to medium and add the leeks and celery. Sauté for 10 minutes. Leeks will begin to caramelize and become translucent.
- Add the chicken stock, potatoes, thyme, and salt. Bring to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer for 10-15 minutes until potatoes are tender
- Add the corn and cook for another 5 minutes. Turn off heat. Remove any thyme stems.
- In a separate pan, add mushrooms to a dry pan with a pinch of salt and cook on medium-high. Move the mushrooms around and add in the butter, cook for about 5 minutes on medium-high. Turn off the heat and remove into a bowl.
- Add in soup into bowls, top with bacon, mushrooms, chives, and a pinch of smoked paprika. Serve with warm sourdough bread or your choice of crusty bread.