Bacon Turkey (or Chicken) Corn Chowder (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Refined Sugar Free, and More Free)

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Mug of Bacon Turkey Corn Chowder

It’s definitely soup time and while I enjoy soup as a start to a meal year round, when I say it’s soup time I mean it’s the time of year when we often enjoy soup as a meal. This Bacon Turkey Corn Chowder makes for a very satisfying meal. It’s comfort food at its finest to me. We enjoyed it for dinner one night recently. Then I had it for breakfast and lunch the next day. I even fed it to hubby for one more lunch. And we loved every bite! All of the ingredients, I pulled from “my pantry”—which to me includes my cabinet area (the traditional pantry) that houses ingredients like potatoes, canned beans, and such; my refrigerator; and my freezer. Potatoes, corn, bacon, and milk (in this case, almond milk) are staples in my house. Chicken is always in my freezer, but this time I defrosted the still somewhat meaty carcass of my Special Turkey Breast from my December support group meeting. There was just enough meat for a big pot of chowder for us. Because that recipe yields such zesty, spicy turkey meat, I didn’t even have to add any spices or seasonings to my “pot” of chowder. I say “pot” because I made this chowder entirely in my microwave in a large microwaveable bowl. You are welcome to make yours on the stovetop though. I have added a note about how you can do that, but this particular gfe recipe gets made in my mostly neglected microwave oven.

Incidentally, if you’re a soup lover, you may want to join in on National Soup Swap Day. My friend Lydia of both Soup Chick and The Perfect Pantry has been doing this swap with a group of friends for three years now. This year she has 22 friends participating! I had read about this event on her blogs and elsewhere online and thought that it was such a great idea. I even mentioned it to my support group last year. We all thought it sounded like a fun event, but then we forgot. Sigh. This year, the National Soup Swap Day is being held this coming Saturday, January 21. While I can’t fit in Soup Swap this year, I’m putting National Soup Swap Day on my Google calendar and in my planner for 2013 right now!

Lydia tells you how Soup Swap works and has some great ideas for the Soup Swap in her latest Seven Soups post:  Seven Slow Cooker Soups That Freeze Well. I bet you can think of several of your own soup recipes that would be worth sharing with friends. I’d vote for some of mine here on gfe, like Baked Potato Soup, Quick and Easy Clam Chowder, Seafood Chowder, Everything Soup, Tasty Tortilla Soup, Potato Zucchini Soup, Velvety Pumpkin Soup, or the Black-Eyed Pea (with Ham and Chicken) Soup that I’ll be serving my support group tonight. Of course, this Bacon Turkey Corn Chowder would be a good one for a Soup Swap, too. Hey, if you want to do a Soup Swap this year on a day other than January 21st, I don’t think anyone will protest. I may even end up doing that myself. It’s really a concept that I just love!

A few more quick notes … the winners of the P.F. Chang’s gift cards have been posted on my Three-Year Blogiversary post. Congratulations to the winners and many, many thanks to all who took the time to leave such generous words on my blogging milestone! You are truly too kind! Thanks also for your input on The GFE Gluten-Free Virtual Support Group. I’ll be sharing more on that event in just a day or two because as I said our actual January support group meeting, which the event will be modeled from, is tonight. I better sign off and go prepare our movie “theatre” and appropriate “movie food” to go along with our pot of soup for viewing The Future of Food!

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Bacon Turkey (or Chicken) Corn Chowder
( Click here for a printable version of this recipe. )


1 yellow or sweet onion, diced; or 3 green onions, sliced
About 1/3 cup celery, diced (about 4-inch section; mine had leaves, which add wonderful flavor and nutrition)
6 medium-sized potatoes, baked (I used Russett, each about 4 inches long)
½ cup chicken broth/stock
1 ½ cups milk (dairy or non-dairy, I used unsweetened almond milk)
2 cups turkey (or chicken), diced
1 can cream-style corn or equivalent amount of regular canned corn, frozen corn, or roasted corn kernels (see notes)
2 tbsp gluten-free all-purpose flour (optional)
4 slices bacon, diced and cooked (see notes)


Cook onion and celery in large microwaveable bowl for about 30 seconds on HIGH.

Remove the pulp from three of the potatoes, mashing with the back of a wooden spoon or potato masher as you add it to the bowl.

Dice remaining potatoes and add to the bowl.

Add chicken broth and milk. Cook 5 minutes on HIGH.

Stir. Add turkey and corn. Sprinkle flour over all; stir again. Cook 5 minutes on HIGH.

Season, if needed. (e.g., salt, pepper, pinch of chipotle powder perhaps)

Top with bacon. Serve.

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Shirley’s Notes: I clean my potatoes thoroughly, but do not peel them. I bake them in my microwave using a baked potato bag. (These can easily be made using fabric and batting. My mother-in-law purchased mine at a craft show.) You can also cook the bacon in the bowl and set aside, but leave bacon “drippings” in bowl before you add the onion and celery if you prefer. The small amount of flour added near the end of the cooking time will help thicken the soup nicely, but another thickener may be used or the thickener may be left out. In the latter case, the soup may be cooked a bit longer to thicken, if needed. I’m sure you could also create a lovely vegetarian or vegan version by using white beans or chickpeas in place of the turkey and skipping the bacon. If making this soup on the stove, you’ll want to add some additional broth to the recipe; add that in the beginning when you cook the onion and celery. From that point on, you’d add ingredients as directed above, but cook the amount of time needed for thickening on the stovetop. I’m guessing that this chowder could be prepared in about 30 to 45 minutes on the stovetop.

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This post is linked to Gluten-Free Wednesdays.

Not just gf, but gfe!

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42 Responses to “Bacon Turkey (or Chicken) Corn Chowder (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Refined Sugar Free, and More Free)”

  1. Erin on January 17th, 2012 9:58 am

    This looks so delicious! Shared on my FB page, Gluten Free Simply Good, and going to make it for dinner! :)

    • Shirley on January 18th, 2012 8:15 pm

      Hi Erin–Thank you so much for sharing on Facebook, etc., both before and after making my chowder! I’m so glad that you enjoyed it! :-)


  2. Ina Gawne on January 17th, 2012 10:02 am

    Shirley – your soup sounds wonderful, tasty, and complete comfort food! I love soups all year round – and right now I woke up to 8 inches of snow on the ground! Think it will be a soup night in this house tonight! :)

    • Shirley on January 18th, 2012 8:29 pm

      Hi Ina–You guys are the ones getting the snow this year. ;-) I love snow so your photos in your recent post looked so lovely to me! :-) Soup is the ultimate comfort food to me. A small bowl is all one needs to feel warmed and nourished!


  3. Kristin W. on January 17th, 2012 1:20 pm

    Shirly you always come to my rescue. I put some chicken out to thaw with no idea what I was going to do with it for supper tonight. Now I do and with it only being 5 degrees here, this will be perfect!

    • Shirley on January 18th, 2012 8:45 pm

      Hey Kristin–I really hope that you liked this chowder if you ended up making it. Interestingly enough when I first started making a micwrowave chowder, I cut up the chicken and cooked it in the microwave, too. But I always feel funny about actually cooking anything like that in the microwave. Fingers crossed that all turned out well with the chowder! ;-)


  4. Katie R. on January 17th, 2012 2:20 pm

    I use 2 wal-mart sacks to bake my potatoes in the microwave. Take your potatoes and poke with a fork, rub in olive oil or whatever you want and put in a wal-mart sack. Tie the sack and then tie another sack around that one. Bake for 7-8 minutes on high while checking on them after about 5.

    • Shirley on January 18th, 2012 9:11 pm

      Hi Katie–Welcome to gfe! :-) Thanks for sharing your tip. I used to use a baggie to microwave my potatoes, but I prefer to steer clear of cooking in plastic now. Plus, I actually believe that using the baggies fried my microwave prematurely. Don’t know if that’s true, but the bag method produced moist potatoes due to how much steam was produced and I think my microwave was actually getting hotter than it was supposed to and there was not adequate ventilation to remove it. ??


  5. Nikki on January 17th, 2012 3:05 pm

    Looks yummy! Do you know how well it freezes?

    • Shirley on January 18th, 2012 9:24 pm

      Hi Nikki–Thanks. :-) I’ve never frozen my chowder actually, but most folks say you can freeze chowder. The trick is in thawing and reheating them slowly, with lots of stirring, so the cream part doesn’t separate or curdle. The other factor for me is that I’m typically pulling ingredients from my freezer for the ingredients, like cooked turkey or chicken and my ham bone. So in that case, I’d prefer not to re-freeze those. If you try freezing this recipe though, please let us know how it works out!


  6. Melissa @ glutenfreeforgood on January 17th, 2012 3:05 pm

    It’s definitely soup time! I made chicken and vegetable soup yesterday. We’re on the same soup-as-comfort-food wavelength! I made mine in the crock-pot. Such an easy way to have dinner all ready and waiting for you at the end of a busy day. I’ve never heard of a “potato bag.” Interesting, although I don’t own a microwave, so I guess there’s no point in having a potato bag. That’s probably not something you’d want to use in the oven! =) Good idea about adding bacon to the mix for a nice blend of rich flavors.
    Soup’s on,

    • Shirley on January 18th, 2012 9:30 pm

      Hi Melissa–Chicken and vegetable soup is a classic … another one of my favorites. :-) I made black-eyed pea with chicken and ham soup in the slow cooker yesterday for our support group meeting. So, so good. Had leftovers for lunch today and hubby enjoyed this “batch” for the first time tonight. Good soup rocks! ;-)


  7. Carol Simply Gluten Free on January 17th, 2012 3:06 pm

    Oh Shirley, I am such a huge chowder fan. I also happen to be starving right now and really wishing I could reach right into my screen and steal that big, beautiful bowl of chowder! Love it.

    • Shirley on January 18th, 2012 9:33 pm

      Hey Carol–I’ve met some folks who don’t like chowder and I always look at them like they have two heads. What’s not to love about chowder? ;-) Sorry I don’t have the “reach through the screen” kind of blog yet. Maybe they’ll put that in the next WordPress update!!

      Thanks! xoxo,

  8. Linda on January 17th, 2012 3:23 pm

    You had me as soon as I saw the bacon! With the warm weather we’ve had in recent months I haven’t made soup as often as I normally would. You have definitely put me in the mood for chowder, though.

    • Shirley on January 18th, 2012 9:35 pm

      LOL, Linda! It doesn’t take much bacon to give this chowder just the right combination of flavors. ;-) Our weather has been so up and down lately, but today is definitely a good chowder day. :-)


  9. Susie on January 17th, 2012 4:54 pm

    Sounds good only objection is that corn is a if you eat a gluten free diet shouldn’t you also eat a diet free of GMO’s?

    • Shirley on January 18th, 2012 10:48 pm

      Hi Susie–It looks like you are new here–welcome. :-) While I do try to avoid GMOs, I still occasionally eat corn. Interestingly enough, I have, in fact, been avoiding grains since I made this chowder. I think anyone that is going for optimal health should probably eat gluten free and GMO free, but the two do not always go hand in hand for folks. As I’m sure you know, the “expert” guidance on eating gluten-free for those with celiac/non-celiac gluten issues does not typically address GMOs. It is a personal choice. Thanks for the comment.


  10. InTolerant Chef on January 17th, 2012 6:24 pm

    What a yummy sounding recipe! I wish we could get Turkey bacon over here, it would be great to try.

    • Shirley on January 18th, 2012 10:54 pm

      Hi InTolerant Chef–Thanks .. it is! I used pork bacon in this recipe. Not sure if you were misled by the title. It’s bacon + turkey + corn, etc. I’m actually not a fan of turkey bacon myself. Typically so much sodium is added to such substitutes that any positives are greatly diminished. I’m not sure about the positives either, as in low fat and such. Fat is good. What I am concerned about is the nitrates. With all that in mind, Applegate Farms is a great choice IMHO! :-) Not sure if that’s available to you.


  11. Debi on January 17th, 2012 9:41 pm

    You had me at chowdah, Shirley! Love, love, LOVE this! :D Next to clam, corn chowder is my fave. hehe

    • Shirley on January 18th, 2012 10:56 pm

      Haha, Debi! I can hear you saying “chowdah”! Who knew a Hawaiian gal could channel that Boston speak? ;-) Yum on clam chowder, too. And my seafood chowder is also quite tasty. I do love chowder, and I’m glad you do, too! :-)


  12. Amber on January 18th, 2012 4:56 pm

    Shirley this looks amazing! So wish I could eat corn. I really miss corn chowder. I love that little bowl you have there, super cute. Great job on this recipe and the soup swap sounds fantastic. I’m with you in 2013!! :-)

    Have a great rest of your week,

    • Shirley on January 18th, 2012 11:01 pm

      Hi Amber–Corn is hard to sub for, but if I come up with one, I’ll be sure to share. Right after I made this, I stopped eating grains myself. We’ll see how that goes this time around. Fingers crossed.

      That bowl is 35 years old and I love it as much as I did the day I bought it from the now defunct Williamsburg Pottery.

      Soup swap in 2013–how cool will that be, huh? ;-)

      Hope January is being good to you! xo,

  13. Kim (Cook IT Allergy Free) on January 19th, 2012 12:34 pm

    Shirley, I cannot wait to make this soup. I am almost out of my bone broth so I am going to make some more this weekend and will use it for this soup! And to respond to Susie, if you can buy organic corn, then you are not eating genetically modified corn. I only buy organic corn these days (which usually means it has to be frozen since it is really hard to find fresh organic corn). Just wanted to let her know that that is an option! This is a great recipe, Shirley!

    • Shirley on January 21st, 2012 3:44 pm

      Hey Kim–I need to make some bone broth, although I admit that I’ve never used chicken feet like you! Gizzards, liver, and hearts yes, feet no. Not yet anyway. ;-) Whenever I make it, I practically live on it, sipping it any time I’m hungry. I love green onions in it, too. Sort of that egg drop soup vibe!

      Anyway, this chowder will be great with bone broth. Thank you for sharing the info on organic corn, too. I truly don’t know where I can get any here, so I appreciate your info.

      Thanks, dear! xo,

  14. Betty on January 20th, 2012 1:17 am

    It’s a perfect night for soup and this one looks really good! I love to make a big pot of soup on the weekend and freeze individual servings to take for my lunch during the week. Soup swapping is really fun- our third annual Soup Swap/Luncheon at work is next Friday. (Not official soup swap day, but we had to wait for a teacher workday!)

    • Shirley on January 21st, 2012 3:57 pm

      Hi Betty–We’ve had a few perfect days for soup of late, huh? Making soup on the weekends and then freezing for the future is a great idea! So, so much better than turning to canned soup. And how very cool that you are part of a Soup Swap/Luncheon at work–love that! :-) I don’t think the day matters so much as carrying forward the concept. Sharing good soup among friends is important!

      Thanks for sharing!

  15. Lydia on January 21st, 2012 10:02 am

    Shirley, one of my other tricks for thickening chowders is to smash some of the cooked potates against the side of the pot, and stir them into the soup. It’s a great way to thicken soups without flour. Thanks so much for the shout out to Soup Chick and our Soup Swap. It’s snowing like crazy here today, but we hardy New Englanders are carrying on with our Swap!

    • Shirley on January 21st, 2012 5:38 pm

      Hi Lydia–Thanks for that reminder! Since my directions included adding smashed potatoes, I should have just said add more of those instead of flour. I’ve talked about that option before in posts, don’t know why I didn’t mention it this time. ;-)

      Love Soup Chick and the Soup Swap is such a wonderful concept! Just realized that I said Friday instead of Saturday though. Seems like I’m a little off kilter starting out this year. :-( You’re actually enjoying Soup Swap today! Hope it all goes off without a hitch despite the weather. Wondering if it’s still snowing there, but sure you are all cozy in your beautiful log cabin. I can’t imagine several wonderful soups being more appreciated than under those conditions. :-)


  16. WineDineDivas on January 21st, 2012 4:27 pm

    Oh, it sounds so delicious. We have a cold spell here in Souther California and the wetter is perfect for soup.
    Thank you,
    Judit & Corina

    • Shirley on January 21st, 2012 5:44 pm

      Hi Judit and Corina–Thank you so much and welcome to gfe! :-) To Virginians, it’s always hard to imagine Southern California being cold, but I guess it does happen. ;-) Soup is good any time though.


  17. Wendy @ Celiacs in the House on January 22nd, 2012 2:07 pm

    You convinced me. I just turned to hubby and told him we needed to make a pot of soup together on this cold winter day. Chowder sounds mighty good, especially with some leftover Christmas ham I’ve hidden in the freezer.

    • Shirley on January 25th, 2012 12:31 am

      Hey Wendy–I’m wondering if you and the hubs made a nice big pot of soup this weekend. Hope you did, and that you enjoyed it for a few easy meals! :-) That leftover Christmas ham comes in handy, doesn’t it? ;-)


  18. Sahirah Nash on February 22nd, 2012 3:39 pm

    Hi Shirley, Do you think I could make this in the crock pot? and would I just add everything at once or wait on the milk until the end? Thanks

    • Shirley on February 22nd, 2012 7:57 pm

      Hi Sahirah–I don’t think you could make this recipe in the slow cooker as written unless you mean using diced uncooked potatoes to begin with. And you’d probably kind of have to do a cross between my recipe and Stephanie’s (A Year of Slow Cooking; if I recall, you’re already a fan) baked potato soup recipe. You can check that out here: You’d definitely want to add the milk and flour during the last 45 minutes to an hour, but exactly how you’d do this recipe in the crockpot would be a crazy guess on my part. Sorry I can’t be more helpful. If you try a crockpot version, let us know how it goes either way though—good or not so good. ;-)


  19. Kate @ Eat, Recycle, Repeat on April 29th, 2013 8:48 pm

    YUM! I think I’m going to make this with sweet potatoes :)

    • Shirley on April 29th, 2013 11:58 pm

      Kate–You will laugh, but I was thinking about adding sweet potatoes when I made this recipe this evening. Mr. GFE is not a big fan though. I can sneak in one, but not sub sweet potatoes for all. Now if I make this soup just for me, well, that’s another story. ;-) Hope you have great results, dear!


  20. Drew on November 4th, 2013 10:54 am

    Could you make this in a crock pot and leave in to cook while you go to work? If I did that, would I need to bake the potatoes first?

    • Shirley on November 4th, 2013 12:08 pm

      Hi Drew–Welcome to gfe. :-) Because this chowder has a milk base as most chowders do, I would not recommend making it in a crockpot for extended time while at work. Most soup recipes that do well in a slow cooker are broth or tomato based. Some do use milk, but it is only a fraction of the liquid and is added in the last hour of cooking. If you do any experimenting, please let us know and if I try a new slow cooker version, I’ll let you know for sure! Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful right now.


  21. Phyllis on January 25th, 2014 12:14 pm

    I had been eating gluten free soup from a can for four months. Chicken corn chowder and it was something I looked forward to everyday. Then all of a sudden it seemed to be having some effects on my body like I was eating gluten. So I am very excited to try this recipe. Do I buy gluten free broth? Can you tell I am still new at this?

    • Shirley on January 25th, 2014 5:43 pm

      Hi Phyllis–Sometimes that can happen with products. It can happen for a number of reasons. The formulation can change and something else in it bothers us. Some folks do have similar symptoms to other ingredients. Or perhaps it’s not gluten-free to the level that some of us who are super sensitive need it to be. I react to far, far less gluten than the less than 20 ppm standard that was set by the FDA for “gluten-free.” Sometimes a product does actually contain gluten and may or may not get “caught” by whoever is testing it. There’s also the cross contamination factor. Many seemingly gluten-free products are not. Yes, you have to use gluten-free broth if you want this soup to be gluten free. Always check ingredients in everything you use as well as look for “gluten-free” products to ensure your soup is gluten free. Last, I sure hope you enjoy this soup and welcome to gfe!


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