Panera Mexican Street Corn Chowder is silky, creamy, comfort food in a bowl! And with canned ingredients and pantry staples, you can have dinner on the table in 35 minutes. Save yourself a trip out into the blustery weather and make this Mexican street corn Panera copycat recipe instead!
Panera Mexican Street Corn Chowder
While street corn salad is bright and refreshing during hotter months, it’s just not the same when the weather gets chilly.
Enter this incredibly creamy chowder!! It’s just as easy to throw together at the last minute, and you can customize each bowl with all your favorite toppings.
Make your own You Pick 2 by pairing Panera Mexican street corn salad with our Green Goddess Salad.
In fact, you can prep both on the same day and enjoy them as lunches for the week!
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Canned Corn – I like to use Del Monte Southwest Corn because it comes with poblano and red peppers.
Feel free to use what you have on hand, adding the peppers separately if you’d like.
Fire-roasted corn is another great option, or use about 3 cups of fresh kernels instead.
- Diced Potatoes – This recipe is as easy as can be, using canned veggies to save time on prep.
Plus, canned potatoes are partially cooked, meaning they’ll soften much faster!
You could also use frozen diced potatoes or chop up some fresh if preferred, about 2 ½ – 3 cups worth.
Just know that you’ll need to cook your Mexican street corn chowder a bit longer.
- Chicken Stock – Feel free to use vegetable stock for a vegetarian version of Panera corn chowder.
- Heavy Cream – This gives us that dreamy, silky texture! Use half & half for a lower-fat option, or stir in some sour cream instead.
- Seasonings – Aside from salt, pepper, and granulated garlic, you’ll need Mexican chili powder to make Panera Mexican street corn chowder.
It’s spicier than regular chili powder, though you could make a substitute with regular chili powder and some cayenne.
Tips for Making Mexican Street Corn Chowder Like Panera
- Have all your ingredients prepped and ready.
This recipe moves fast, so everything should be drained, chopped, and within arms reach once you get started.
I like to measure out all of my spices into a small prep bowl so it’s easy to toss them in. Do this with your flour too!
And, of course, measure out your heavy cream and lime juice. It’s best for the cream to be close to room temperature anyway.
- Keep an eye on the heat level.
You’ll want to keep Panera Mexican street corn chowder at a consistent simmer for best results.
Bring it to a boil after adding the cream, then immediately reduce the heat to lower it to a simmer again. If it remains at a boil, the creamy broth will burn and potentially separate.
- Don’t forget garnishes!
Blue corn tortilla strips and cilantro will make your Mexican street corn chowder Panera copycat complete, but there are plenty of other tasty options.
Add a sprinkle of shredded cheese or a dollop of sour cream. Crumbled bacon adds a delicious smoky flavor, while diced avocado brightens the whole bowl!
Storing and Reheating Leftover Panera Corn Chowder
Allow Mexican street corn chowder to cool, then transfer to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Thaw frozen chowder in the fridge overnight, then reheat in the microwave or on the stove over medium-low heat. Stir frequently to keep the cream from separating.
Kitchen Tools You Will Need
- Dutch Oven – I love this set and use it all the time. It is perfect for roasts, and I especially love it for my one-pot meals.
- Whisk – These have held up for over 10 years and are still as good as the day I bought them.
- Citrus Juicer – This gets every last drop out, which makes juicing limes so much easier.
Mexican Street Corn Chowder FAQ
Soup is any mixture of ingredients in a water or broth base, while chowder is a type of soup thickened with flour and cream.
Traditionally, chowder is thickened in two parts. First, you’ll sprinkle flour over the cooked veggies before whisking in the broth — this causes the liquid to gradually thicken as it simmers. Then, add cream towards the end.
If it’s still not quite thick enough, you can mix equal parts cornstarch and water to make a slurry and stir that into your Panera Mexican street corn chowder.
Or, simply mash some of the potatoes or remove a portion of the soup, blend until smooth, then stir it back into the pot. Feel free to use an immersion blender instead, but be careful not to over-blend!
If you want some extra protein, diced or shredded rotisserie chicken is delicious in this recipe! Or keep it vegetarian with drained canned black beans.
You can also kick up the heat with extra Mexican chili powder or a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce.
With love, from our simple kitchen to yours.
Other Copycat Soup Recipes
Creamy Panera Mexican Street Corn Chowder
- 3 tablespoons salted butter
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Mexican chili powder
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 4 cups chicken stock
- Juice from 1 lime
- 45 ounces canned diced potatoes, 3 15 ounce cans, drained
- 45.75 ounces cans southwest corn, 3 15.25 ounce cans drained (I used Del Monte southwest corn with poblano & red peppers)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- fresh cilantro, chopped
- blue corn tortilla strips for garnish, optional
- Saute Onion: In a large pot or dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the diced yellow onion and sauté until translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add Seasonings: Add the salt, black pepper, granulated garlic, and Mexican chili powder. Stir to combine.
- Incorporate Flour: Stir in the flour and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes (until it thickens).
- Whisk in Stock: Whisk in the chicken stock and lime juice. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thickened (approximately 5-7 minutes).
- Add Potatoes and Corn: Add the diced potatoes and southwest corn. Stir to combine.
- Simmer: Allow the soup to come to a simmer, then simmer for 5 minutes.
- Adjust Seasonings: Taste the soup and adjust the seasonings to your preference.
- Stir in Cream: Stir in the heavy cream and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes to meld the flavors.
- Add Cilantro: Stir in the fresh chopped cilantro.
- Garnish and Serve: Serve hot and garnish with the blue corn tortilla strips and fresh cilantro. Enjoy!
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.
Originally published December 2023
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