Vegan Corn Chowder with Quinoa

Comforting and creamy Vegan Corn Chowder with Quinoa makes a hearty and filling one-pot-meal any time of year! Instant Pot instructions included.

white bowl of corn chowder with silver spoon

white bowl of corn chowder with silver spoon

We’re makin’ chowduhhhh!

Because I’m a believer that soup season is all seasons. We don’t discriminate.

Anyone else crave a bowl of steamy comfort food even when it’s a zillion degrees out? Tell me I’m not alone here.

I adore this corn chowder especially late in the summer because fresh sweet corn is growing like mad. As is zucchini and bell pepper! So lookie here, this soup is super seasonal. (Side note–I used jalapeños in these photos because they look pretty but this soup is not at all spicy!)

I also love it because it’s a complete meal in a bowl. The pinto beans add extra plant protein and fiber, plus it’s creamy, satisfying, and packed with veggies. We’re in business!

What I’m saying is take a trip outside to your garden and then proceed to face-plant into this chowDUH.

silver pot of quinoa and vegetablessilver pot of quinoa and vegetablesRecipe tips and substitutions

You’ve got questions, I’ve got answers! Just promise me you won’t omit the corn, ok? She’s important.

  • Corn: Fresh or frozen works great here, and no need to defrost. I was a real Betty Crocker and boiled local sweet corn for this soup, but Trader Joe’s frozen roasted corn (or any frozen corn) would be delish.
  • Zucchini: If you don’t have zucchini or if you’re reading this in the winter when it’s out of season and it’s not available frozen, you can omit it. Or add more corn if you fancy.
  • Liquid: I used water for simplicity’s sake plus unsweetened almond milk. Swapping out the water for vegetable broth will add even more flavor. For the milk, you can use cashew, oat, soy, or cow’s milk if you’re not vegan. I haven’t tried this with coconut milk, but it would make it more creamy and may lend a coconut flavor.
  • Nutritional yeast: I always get questions about this ingredient. You can find it in a yellow plastic bottle at most mainstream grocery stores. It gives a lovely cheesy flavor and is packed with protein. You can omit it, but I’d add some cheddar cheese in its place!
  • Quinoa: Any grain will work here, but be sure to adjust the cooking time if needed (like if you’re using rice) and be weary of how much liquid the grain will or won’t absorb. For example, if you’re using pre-cooked quinoa, you won’t need as much liquid.

up close corn soupup close corn soupHow to make corn chowder in the Instant Pot

This soup is based on my Vegan Corn and Wild Rice Chowder, which is originally a stovetop recipe. But ever since I laid mouth on my more recent Instant Pot Vegan Cream of Mushroom Wild Rice Soup, I’m tempted to turn every soup into an Instant Pot recipe. It’s just so easy!

First, we sauté the onion and garlic in a bit of oil right in the Instant Pot. Then we add everything else except the beans (to avoid mushy beans) and lemon juice and cook on high pressure for 4 minutes. Quick release all that steam, stir in beans and lemon juice, and voila!

You guys…I even made my pinto beans in the Instant Pot. How impressive is that? We often get bags of Ohio-grown Shagbark beans in our CSA box and I was intimidated by them until recently.

To make, I simply combined the cup and half of dried pinto beans I had left in the pantry (be sure to rinse them) with 5 cups of water and a teaspoon of salt. Cook on manual, high pressure for 50 minutes and then natural release for 15 minutes. Drain the liquid.

I put about a cup and half of the cooked beans in the soup once it was done and then froze the rest for future use. So resourceful!

Tips for storing and freezing

Soups freeze super well. Now that I’m pregnant (eeeeek!), I’m already thinking about how magical it will be to have hearty meals like this ready to pull out of the fridge.

To store: Place any leftover cooled soup in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to four days.

To freeze: Transfer soup to a freezer-safe container and store in the freezer for up to three months.

To reheat: Simply thaw soup in the refrigerator overnight and then reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.

white bowl of soup with corn

white bowl of soup with corn
If you’re as big of a corn fan as I am, promise me you’ll try my
skillet cornbread. I’m actually drooling just thinking about it.

If you make this recipe and love it, please come back and leave a star rating and/or comment letting me know! Your feedback is super helpful for me as well as other readers.



Comforting and creamy Vegan Corn Chowder with Quinoa makes a hearty and filling soup any time of year! This soup comes together in no time and makes great leftovers. Easy Instant Pot instructions as well! Gluten-free.



  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 2 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt (if using water, salt to taste if using broth)
  • 4 cups water or vegetable broth
  • 2 cups unsweetened non dairy milk
  • 3/4 cup quinoa (I used red quinoa)
  • 115oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • Juice of half a lemon (optional)

Stovetop version:

  1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Once hot, add onion, carrots and bell pepper and sauté for 5 minutes. Add zucchini, corn, and garlic and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring often.
  2. Add cumin, thyme, smoked paprika, nutritional yeast, salt, water or broth, and milk. Stir to combine then increase heat and bring to a boil. Add quinoa and beans and simmer on low heat for 20 minutes, covered, stirring halfway through.
  3. Taste soup for seasoning and add any salt and pepper to taste. I love to add the juice of half a lemon for an extra pop! Soup will thicken as it cools. For a creamier soup, you can use an immersion blender to puree some of the soup.

Instant Pot version:

  1. Press sauté and add oil to the Instant Pot.  Once hot, add onion and garlic and cook for 3 minutes, stirring often.
  2. Add all remaining ingredients except the beans and lemon juice. Stir to combine then cook on manual, high pressure for 4 minutes. It will take 10-15 minutes for the Instant Pot to come to pressure before it starts counting down.
  3. Once it’s done, carefully quick release any remaining steam using the valve on top. Remove the lid and turn the machine off. Stir in the beans and proceed with step #3 from stovetop version.