This summer corn chowder (Panera copycat recipe) is delicious and my first copycat recipe on this blog. We love having this in the summer months at Panera, so I couldn't resist a recipe for it made from scratch. This may be a Panera copycat recipe, but this homemade soup recipe is full of fresh ingredients and from scratch is so much better, you'll be opting to make your own all the time.
For some reason eating at Panera always makes me feel like I am not eating fast food, even though I am aware it is a fast casual restaurant. I once read the most perfect tweet...'Panera is fast food for people who say they don't eat fast food.' There is definitely some truth to that - lol. We eat there often, but I know it isn't the healthiest. And I know soups aren't made from scratch in store. They are made in large plants, flash frozen and shipped to the chain restaurants across the country.
The summer corn chowder at Panera is delicious and the perfect recipe to make at home showcasing summer corn, which is just hitting it's peak sweetness in the Midwest. Between this homemade soup recipe and my corn fritters, we are making good use of all the end of summer produce..
The ingredients for this copycat Panera summer corn chowder are simple enough to find at any grocery store. Fresh corn is at it's peak right now in Chicago, and I highly recommend using fresh, but if you can't find decent fresh, using frozen works just fine.
- Vegetable or chicken stock. Most often, I use vegetable stock for this recipe, which keeps it vegetarian, but chicken stock works just as well, and I have used that before too.
- Heavy cream
- Fresh corn on the cob. Alternatively, you can use frozen corn (I would not use canned corn though)
- Red onion
- Red pepper
- Cayenne pepper. For a little kick.
- Lime juice
There is lots of things you can add to this homemade Panera copycat summer corn chowder soup recipe, that while not making it a panera copycat recipe, will make it something new and equally delicious.
- Add cheese - cheddar or Parmesan in this would be an excellent addition
- Don't add actual cheese but simmer with a Parmesan rind like I did here. No soup or stew is ever made bad with the addition of Parmesan rind simmered in it.
- Add all kinds of additional vegetables. Green beans cut small would be a nice addition, even kale would be great in this
- Kick it up with some spice - add a Serrano chili or some crushed red pepper flakes for some heat.
- Add wine. When in doubt or even just in the mood, add wine to the roux - it never hurts anything ever.
When adding the flour to the butter to make the roux, make sure to cook the roux for a few minutes until it turns a bit golden. You want to cook the raw flour taste out. It should toast up a bit and smell nutty, not like flour.
What can I serve this soup with?
You can keep this homemade summer corn chowder a true panera copycat recipe and serve it with crusty bread, or you can serve it alongside a lemony caesar salad or keep it going with a panera copycat Fuji apple chicken salad.
- dutch oven or large pot
- 4 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cups vegetable stock or chicken stock
- 1 red onion finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 4 tomatoes seeded and diced
- 1 red pepper diced
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream
- 5 yukon gold potatoes diced; you can use red potatoes if you prefer
- 4 cups fresh corn kernels cut off the cob
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper estimate, if you like less spicy use less, if you like spicy, use more
- 1 ½ tablespoon lime juice use fresh if you can
- Salt and ground black pepper
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
- chopped green onion for garnish
- Melt the butter in a soup pot or a dutch oven, and then add the diced onion and red pepper. Sute until the onion is translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook until fragrant. Sprinkle flour over the vegetables and stir to coat everything well and let the flour cook out a little bit and turn golden (this will result in a deeper flavor). Pour in the stock and bring to a boil. Add the heavy cream and potatoes, bring back to a boil for a few minutes, until the potatoes break down break down and are easily smashed in the soup (all about the thickness and texture).
- Add the cut corn kernels and diced tomatoes to the pot and season again with a little more salt and pepper. Bring the heat down so that the soup simmers (not a harsh boil). Simmer for about 20 minutes. Throw in your fresh parsley at the end, add our bacon back in and garnish in bowls with green onion and additional parsley if you want. Be sure to remove the thyme stick when serving.