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Cajun Corn Chowder

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This Cajun Corn Chowder recipe is lightened-up with healthier ingredients (also vegan and gluten-free), full of protein-packed lentils, and seasoned with the best zesty Cajun flavors.

Vegan Cajun Corn Chowder Recipe

I will never be that girl who looks forward to winter. But now that we’re on the home stretch of summer, with September now just around the corner, I will say that I am extremely ready for one perk of winter to roll back around soon — hot soup season!

A quick pass through the recipe index here on the blog will give away the fact that soups are my absolute faves. So much so, that there’s really no such thing as soup “season” in our house. I’ve always been the girl happily cozying up with a bowl of chicken noodle, whisking a quick batch of egg drop, and enjoying my favorite lentil soup on repeat all summer long.

But this time of year, there’s always one soup in particular that is a must — a big comforting batch of corn chowder.

As the granddaughter of Kansas corn farmers, this soup is a tradition during harvest season, and always feels like the perfect transition from summer into fall. And all the better with this new recipe I’ve been tweaking lately. It goes big on zesty Cajun flavors, which I think pair perfectly with sweet corn. Yet it also goes mercifully lighter on the usual heavy thickeners, opting for creamy coconut milk instead, which allows this soup to be naturally vegan and gluten-free. I’ve also hidden lots of lentils in there, which amp up the protein and lend some nice heartiness to the soup. And if you’re looking to do some meal prep for the start of the school year ahead, I’ve included instructions below for how to freeze this soup too.

So in honor of harvest season coming up, let’s all pick up a batch of fresh, frozen or canned sweet corn and make a big batch of soup together!

Cajun Corn Chowder Recipe (Vegan and Gluten-Free)

Cajun Corn Chowder Ingredients:

So what exactly is in this delicious chowder? You will need:

  • The Cajun “Holy Trinity”: Onion, green bell pepper and celery = classics.
  • Garlic, Cajun Seasoning and Thyme: These will serve as our three main seasonings.
  • Vegetable Stock: Keeping with our vegetarian/vegan theme.
  • Potatoes: You can really use any kind you’d like, but I would recommend Yukon golds.
  • Corn: Fresh, frozen or canned — up to you. You will just need a little less than 1 pound (about 2.5 cups).
  • Red Lentils: They can be split or whole, but you really need red lentils for this recipe. Other colors will take much longer to cook.
  • Coconut milk: I used full-fat canned coconut milk for this recipe. But feel free to use low-fat coconut milk. Or you can sub in whole milk (if you eat dairy).

Zesty Cajun Corn Chowder Recipe (Vegan and Gluten-Free)

How To Make Corn Chowder:

This corn chowder recipe is pretty straightforward! Simply…

  1. Sauté your veggies. Sauté the Cajun holy trinity, plus garlic, until softened.
  2. Stir in your remaining ingredients. Sans coconut milk.
  3. Simmer, simmer, simmer. Until the lentils and potatoes are nice and tender.
  4. Add coconut milk. Then taste and season with extra Cajun seasoning and/or salt, if needed.
  5. Serve hot! Topped with any garnishes that sound good to you. :)

As I mentioned above, this recipe is also easy to freeze if you’d like. The trick is to just leave out the coconut milk if you are planning to make and freeze a batch, and then add it later when you reheat the soup (since coconut milk doesn’t freeze very well). That said, if you’d like to make a batch of this soup that’s completely freeze-able, you’re welcome to sub in cream or half and half instead (both of which freeze well).

Cheers, friends!

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Cajun Corn Chowder Recipe (Vegan and Gluten-Free)

Cajun Corn Chowder

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 39 reviews
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 8 -10 servings 1x


This Cajun Corn Chowder recipe is lightened-up with healthier ingredients (also vegan and gluten-free), full of protein-packed lentils, and seasoned with the best zesty Cajun flavors.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium white onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, cored and diced
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 1/2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, diced into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 (14-ounce) bag frozen corn (or you could also use canned whole-kernel corn)
  • 1 cup red lentils*, rinsed and picked over
  • 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning (or more/less to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
  • optional toppings: chopped green onions or chives, bacon, or oyster crackers, etc.


  1. Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat.  Add onion and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add bell pepper, celery and garlic, and continue sautéing for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add vegetable stock, potatoes, corn, lentils Cajun seasoning, thyme and salt.  Stir to combine.
  3. Continue cooking until the mixture reaches a simmer.  Then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 10-15 more minutes, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes and lentils are tender.
  4. Stir in the coconut milk until combined.  Taste and season with additional salt and/or Cajun seasoning if needed.
  5. Serve warm, garnished with your desired toppings.  Or refrigerate soup in sealed containers for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.


*Whole red lentils take about 15 minutes to cook.  But if you are using split red lentils, they only take about 7-8 minutes to cook, so I would recommend adding them in halfway through the potatoes’ cooking time.

I also like to use a lot of Cajun seasoning in this soup.  But if you don’t like much heat in your food, I would begin with 1 tablespoon of Cajun seasoning, and then you can add more as you would like, to taste.

The BEST Cajun Corn Chowder Recipe (Vegan and Gluten-Free)

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58 comments on “Cajun Corn Chowder”

  1. This looks delicious. Was wondering if using fresh corn would you suggest adding it raw or cooking it first? Think I might have to make this over the weekend. Love all your recipes. Keep them coming.

  2. JESUS, Ali. This sounds ridiculous. Making it for lunch today.

  3. I’m making this for sure. Sprouts has corn on sale to so a win win. I didn’t see coconut oil listed in ingredients but listed in post as add all ingredients sans coconut oil?

    I’m with you on loving soup all year ’round.

  4. for a soup to be a chowder it must contain at least these 4 specific ingredients: cream, pork, onion and potato; otherwise, great liberty is taken with the name. this, although probably fantastic, is not a chowder. i hope this helps.

    • Not according to webster’s dictionary…since it’s very first printing by Noah Webster.

      And besides this looks like a yummy recipe

    • What about Manhattan Clam Chowder? I’ve adapted close to a dozen recipes and I’ve never used cream for Manhattan, only New England. Many Manhattan Clam Chowders don’t use bacon/pork products, either.

  5. Can I use corn cut off the cob? I bought a huge pile when it was on sale this week and have no idea how I’ll use it all up. This sounds SO good!!

  6. This corn chowder looks amazing!! Corn in season right now and this is perfect!

  7. I loved this soup. Followed the recipe exactly except used half and half for my coconut milk. Wonderful!

  8. Thank you so much for the Cajun Corn Chowder recipe… It is sooo delicious ! WOW !

  9. Made this last night to enjoy for lunch today. SO GOOD. Made it exactly as written and added some Crystal hot sauce as a “garnish” to take the heat up a notch. I can’t believe it’s vegan! Thanks a million for the great recipe. Love this site.

  10. Hi Ali – Found your site by chance and I LOVE your recipes. I’m an expat as well, moved to Auckland 13 years ago from California. It’s winter for us here and we’re always on the hunt for good crockpot and soup recipes for the season. This one was a big hit with my husband and daughter this week. Thank you!

  11. this is delicious!!!!!!!

  12. I just made this chowder and had to comment on it! SO DELICIOUS! I made a few substitutions for things I had on hand – I had some butternut squash so I used that in place of 1/2 of the potatoes (made the chowder a little more browner than if it had just potatoes). I also used almond milk rather than coconut milk (it’s what I had on hand). The only issue was that it came out a little thin due to the thinner nature of almond milk, so I just added in a little cornstarch slurry, cooked that in and voila – thick chowder again!

  13. Hi Ali,

    I made this today and I’m thrilled. I was a little sceptical when I read the ingredients list – I thought “this can’t work!” I’ve never tried Cajun recipes before, so I didn’t know what to expect. Needless to say, I’m already in love with this soup. I’ve been stuck in a rut as far as cooking is concerned, and your blog is a great inspiration.

    Greetings from Germany!


  14. Mmmm … this was so delicious! Definitely on my family’s “make again” list. Thank you!

  15. This chowder is amazing. I used milk and lots of bacon. I used 1.5 cups of lentils. This recipe is easy and quick to make. It includes ingredients that are staples in our kitchen. The lentils thicken it up to make a hearty meal. I plan on sharing this with all my friends and family. I have no idea how I stumbled on to this site but it might be my new favorite site for recipes.

  16. Delicious!! Thank you so much!

  17. Light and delicious! I put the finished chowder in the blender to create a smooth, uniform consistency (just my preference) and added some extra salt for taste. The coconut milk makes such a lovely undertone. Easy to make, must try!

  18. Used fresh corn as it’s in season now. We loved it! A definite keeper.

  19. I really like this, however the first time I made it following the above directions, the potatoes and lentils were a bit underdone. Used my instant pot this time, and it was a game changer. I set the cook time to 15 minutes, and it was great, next time I’ll try 10 minutes as the potato were pretty cooked.
    As a new vegan, I’m so pleased to find easy, delicious, filling recipes like this one. Thank you!

  20. I just came across this recipe and it looks fabulous. We’re hosting a friend (who prefers vegetarian dishes) for dinner tomorrow and this looks perfect. I was wondering if I could make this in the crock pot early in the day and it be ready by the evening without the potatoes going mushy and the lentils being ruined?

  21. The best EVER! I made this tonight and my family absolutely loved it. Thank you for the dairy-free option on your search. It has made by life so much easier! We are from the Midwest and kind of used to bland food. So, I took your advice and only added half the spice. Glad I did. Worked out perfectly.

  22. Made it. Loved it. Will make again. Thanks for the recipe.

  23. Delicioso! This knocked my socks off.

  24. I almost never review recipes I alter substantially, but this one was so good. Hearty, flavorful, with a wonderfully creamy consistency- yum! I plan on making again and again. I also altered cooking to make it in the Instant Pot, so I didn’t have to watch the stove.

    That said, I made some substantial modifications that made it even better for my family:
    We’re not huge fans of cajun spices, so I used a carrot instead of a bell pepper. I used a french spice blend instead of the cajun spice mix- lots of thyme, some rosemary, etc. Sauteed aromatics on saute setting of instant pot, then added everything but the coconut milk and set it to Low Pressure for 13 minutes. The potatoes and lentils broke down and gave it a wonderful creamy consistency- I did not need the coconut milk, so I did not add it. The flavor was great and the texture was wonderful.

  25. My grandpa used to say “if it makes your nose run, its a good soup”. My husband was running for the tissues several times while eating this :). It was excellent! I chose to make this in my instant pot, saute the onion, green pepper and celery, then add the rest and pressure cook for 8 minutes! I also chose to only put in one tablespoon of Cajun seasoning. I will definitely be making it again.
    P.S. Now that I reread the recipe, I realized that I forgot to add the coconut milk. Well, it still was an A+ soup without it. Thanks, Ali

  26. This was fantastic! I accidentally used a cartoon of creamy vegetable broth (soy milk based), which make it creamy enough to skip the coconut milk.

  27. I have been a frequent guest on this site for a while now. I’ve made tons of recipes and never had a “flop.” Ali’s cooking is truly amazing.

    I made this recipe for my family recently. We loved EVERY drop of it. Even my 9 and 2 year olds. We’ve never tasted a soup so yummy. Thank you very much for all of your wonderful recipes!

    • Chiming in to say this is one of my husband’s favorite soups, and I make a lot of soup! For a while I was working at a restaurant that suddenly made staff purchase food, so I’d make a big batch of soup for folks to heat up if they couldn’t/didn’t want to pay $8 for dinner, and this one was of everyone’s favorites too! It’s one of the best vegan dishes (though it’s also great made with dairy) I know of that satisfies just about any taste, especially because it has pretty continental flavors and makes enough to share.

  28. Hi!!! Making this tonight and super excited! I don’t have dry red lentils on hand…but I do have canned! Can I use canned/precooked lentils?


  29. I have mixed feelings about this recipe. The flavours are soo good with the coconut milk and the cajun spices, but it felt a little watery to me!
    I think if I made it again I would make a roux with olive oil (or butter) and flour at the beginning!

  30. I make a lot of soup, and I don’t remember the last time I loved a recipe as much as this one–I wanted to make it the next week, I think about it a lot… My husband liked it a lot too.

  31. Thanks for sharing this awesome recipe

  32. So good! I made this a few days ago and it’s only gotten better each day.

  33. I have made this so many times now, my favourite soup, thank you!

  34. Very tasty. I added more Cajun seasoning and pinch more salt. Delicious.

  35. Wow, what a fantastic recipe! I made this chowder last night and it came out PERFECT! It was incredibly tasty, thick, and comforting like any bowl of chowder should be. I didn’t even miss the meat and cream!
    I added a poblano pepper to my veggies and didn’t add the entire can of coconut milk, but otherwise this recipe is spot-on!
    Thanks so much for sharing this! I’m going to think about what recipes I can substitute cream for coconut milk.

  36. I made this tonight with the cajun spice mix. Amazing, another hit! Love your recipes especially as you have so many that are easy to make Gluten-free for my GF teenage son. We love spicy food and I cannot wait to try the Jambalaya recipe! I always make double recipes so I can take it for lunch!

  37. Hi! I’ve never cooked with lentils, but can’t find red. Are any lentils okay?

  38. YUM! My husband and mother-in-law both said it was their new favorite dish. Thank you!

  39. So SO good. I only had regular lentils, so I cooked them first and then threw them in with everything else and it was fine. I also blended some of the soup and recombined it to get a thicker texture and make it less watery and that was the MOVE. This soup is spot on! I can’t wait to make it again with a little more heat!

  40. This has been a family favorite for years now. The only thing I change is substituting for red potatoes. So yummy and satisfying! I forget it’s healthy.

  41. Can’t even count how many times I’ve made this recipe. I love it SO MUCH. It’s filling and comforting, absolutely perfect for chilly weather.

  42. This was the perfect recipe tonight! My first time trying one of your recipes. We were looking for a soup but something with an adventurous flavor profile! This was it :) I added a bay leaf and a touch of celery salt. Delish! Will definitely be visiting you site more frequently!

  43. Excellent soup! I did substitute half and half for the coconut milk as I don’t like it.
    Used Penzey’s Cajun spice which did not give the full flavor profile I was expecting. May I ask what brand you use? Or, did you make your own blend?


  44. This recipe is SO good! I love SO many recipes from your site!! I have never cooked lentils before and I think they may have cooked too long because they all had burst open or something! Hahaha but it didn’t mess up the flavor at all! My potatoes were not cooked in the time you suggested, I will cut them up smaller next time!! I used your cajun seasoning mix!! Absolutely delicious!!

  45. I feel so lucky to have found this recipe. It is so over the top with bold and wonderful flavors. I have made this at least four times and when I told my husband what was for dinner tonight he was thrilled. Thanks for a keeper recipe!

  46. Just made this, and it blew away all my expectations. I usually think soups need hours/days to develop flavor, nearly always need more salt, always have too much ‘stuff’ and not enough broth, too gloppy, etc. – BUT not this one! I personally wouldn’t change a thing, but this recipe does seems adaptable to meet a variety of dietary needs/preferences while maintaining integrity. Truly a 5-star recipe. (side note: I opted to garnish with a little sour cream – delicious)

  47. Can you make this in a crockpot? If so should i just dump all in same time or wait on the lentils?

  48. I’m like you and everyone else here, I love soup any time of the year. I eat soup all the time. This one is one of my favorites too. I hope everyone knows that Lentils are so good for you. They really reduce your colesterol alot. I eat about a 1/2 cup of them everyday just for that reason, plus they are pack full of protein. This is not only a great soup but it is really healthy too. Buy the way, I love the bacon, cheese, and half and half too but try it this way first and see.

  49. This is so good. In fact, every recipe I have tried on here becomes a favorite. I appreciate the vegetarian and vegan recipes you post! Thanks for sharing.

  50. Having a problem sourcing the red lentils in my area. Could I substitute with something else? Type of bean perhaps?