Summertime slurping isn’t just for sweets… unless you count sweet corn. Summer Corn Soup relies on just a handful of ingredients for super summery flavor – plus a bonus flavor bomb from a bright and fresh herb gremolata. This vegan-friendly pureed soup is creamy without the cream and decadent without being heavy.
For many, summertime is a season of backyards and beaches. But you’re still more likely than not to find me in the kitchen. First of all, my kitchen is air conditioned. (Have you been to Maryland in August?) Second, my favorite thing about summer is the food. And if you do happen to find me in a backyard or at a beach, you’ll certainly find me enjoying all the delicacies that summer brings – from berries and burgers to crabs and corn. Oh, corn. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…
Growing up in the Garden State, I had my fill of juicy, red Jersey tomatoes and fresh, crisp Jersey sweet corn. You can pooh-pooh New Jersey all you want but there’s a reason it got its nickname. If you’ve never had our produce off the back of a truck, then keep our name outta your mouth.
My proximity to all this deliciousness surely shaped the entire course of my life. I can’t imagine where I’d have ended up if I wasn’t exposed to produce that is so good it makes you want to punch something. So that’s why I now spend a healthy portion of my summers in the kitchen, shadowboxing the air as each recipe gets closer and closer to perfection.
This simple sweet corn soup is one my favorite TKOs – and one of the first recipes I reach for after we’ve had our fill of picking kernels out of our teeth. It’s quick and easy, with a short list of ingredients that really allows the corn to shine. The herby gremolata is optional, but it definitely brings a je ne sais quoi to the dish that takes it from punch-worthy to full roundhouse kicks.
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How to Make Corn Soup
This recipe for sweet corn soup combines so many of the season’s best offerings – tender sweet corn, fresh savory herbs, bright flavor, and that endless summer feeling. It’s sweet but complex, and the herby gremolata perfectly complements the rich, buttery puree. To get the flavor and texture just right here, use the freshest summer corn you can find.
Before we start, our BEST tip: keep those cobs! Corn cobs contain a lot of starch via the “corn milk” contained within. Toss the cobs into the soup while it simmers to both thicken the final soup and enhance the flavor.
- PREP THE CORN. Prep the corn by slicing off the kernels – reserve ½ cup for garnish and save the cobs.
- SWEAT ONIONS. Sweat the onions in butter over medium heat in a dutch oven or soup pot.
- ADD GARLIC. Add the garlic and saute, stirring continuously, for about 1 minute.
- SIMMER. Add the corn, then season with salt, pepper, and fresh thyme; add enough water to just barely cover the vegetables, then place the cobs on top. Increase the heat to bring the liquid to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.
- MAKE GREMOLATA. Prep gremolata while soup simmers. Chop herbs and garlic and combine in a bowl.
- BLEND. Remove cobs and thyme. Puree the soup in the pot with an immersion blender, or transfer to a stand blender and puree on high. Taste and season as needed.
- GARNISH AND SERVE. Serve soup immediately with a garnish of olive oil, scoop of gremolata, and fresh corn kernels.
- Use the freshest corn you can find – preferably directly from the farm stand!
- There’s no difference between white and yellow corn except color, so use what you like, or can source.
- Be sure to sweat, not saute the onions, to preserve the corn flavor. See below.
- Feel free to add a splash of cream for a heartier garnish.
What’s the Difference Between Sweating and Sautéing the Onions?
When sweating an onion, your goal is moisture release, not browning and deeper flavor. Unlike sauteeing, sweating is done over lower heat for a longer time with frequent stirring to ensure water evaporates.
Sweating the onions in this soup will still infuse it with flavor, but the sweetness from the onions won’t compete with the sweetness from the corn. Win/win!
What Kind of Corn Should I use?
Sweet corn is a must, the fresher the better. Corn starts to lose its sweetness the moment it’s picked, converting the natural sugars to starches.
AS for white vs bicolor – there’s no difference other than the color! We like yellow or bi-color corn, simply for the color, but there’s no difference in the flavor.
Is Fresh Corn Soup Healthy?
Maybe? It might be for you… Instead of playing the healthy or not game, I can say the following with authority – this sweet corn soup is naturally vegetarian, gluten free, dairy free, and vegan friendly (just use olive oil instead of butter when sweating the onions).
Prepared true to the recipe, it packs a sweet (hehe) nutritional punch with full of dose of Vitamins A, lots of Vitamin C, and a whopping quarter of the recommended fiber intake. It’s heavy on the monounsaturated fats, very low in cholesterol, and contains healthy (hehe, again!) doses of calcium and iron.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. Freeze in a sealed container for up to 3 months. Defrost in the fridge overnight, then warm over medium heat in a soup pot. It’s a great treat once the weather turns chilly.
Frozen corn can be used in a pinch. Frozen vegetables are typically preserved at the peak of freshness, so don’t shy away from using it if the mood for corn soup strikes in December.
Must-Make Sweet Corn Recipes
- Classic Corn on the Cob
- Tomato Corn Salad with Avocado and Buttermilk Dressing
- Sauteed Zucchini and Corn
- Instant Pot Corn Chowder
- Grilled Corn Salad with Peppers
Did you make this fresh corn soup? I’d love to know how it turned out! Leave a comment and a rating below.
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- 3 tbsp butter
- 1 medium vidalia onion, diced to ½”
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 ears fresh corn, kernels sliced off and cobs reserved
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp cracked black pepper
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 5-6 c. water
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil for garnish
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh chives
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Prepare the corn. Slice off one end of the cob so that you can hold it upright. Using a sharp knife, run the blade down the side of the cob to release the kernels. Set aside a small amount of fresh corn for garnish (about half a cup).
- Heat a dutch oven or other 6-quart pot over medium heat. Add butter and heat until it foams. Add onions, stir to coat in the fat, then cover. Sweat the onions over medium heat, stirring frequently, until they are soft and translucent, 13-15 minutes.
- Add the garlic and saute, stirring continuously, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add the corn kernels, thyme sprig, salt, pepper, and enough water to barely cover the vegetables (we used 5 cups). Place the cobs on top. It’s okay if the cobs aren’t completely submerged (they float).
- Increase the heat to high and bring the liquid to a boil. Then, reduce to medium low and simmer for 20 minutes, until the corn is soft and the thyme is wilted.
- While the soup is simmering, prepare the gremolata. Finely chop the herbs and mince the garlic. Place the herbs and basil in a small bowl and stir until well combined.
- Remove the soup from heat and fish out the corn cobs and thyme sprig. Puree in the pot using an immersion blender, or transfer to a blender and blend on high. Taste for seasoning and add additional salt and pepper as needed.
- Ladle the finished soup into bowls and garnish with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and 1 tbsp of gremolata. Serve immediately.