Serves 6
5 minutes, plus 1 hour refrigeration before serving prep, 30 minutes cooking, 1 hour 35 minutes total

This soup is a delicious lesson in frugality. The corn kernels are cut off the ears, and then simmered along with those naked cobs, onions, garlic and the snap of fresh serrano chile to make a corn-infused broth that stands at attention. Purée, chill and serve with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt and a sprinkle of chives. Or skip the dairy entirely to keep it completely vegan.

Cook to Cook: For a smoother and more finished take on this soup, force it through a fine-mesh sieve after puréeing; discard the solids.

Can be made up to 2 days ahead and kept covered and refrigerated.


  • 4 to 5 ears of corn, shucked and trimmed
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 minced serrano chile, seeds removed if heat sensitive
  • 6 cups water
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Sour cream or whole-milk yogurt for garnish (optional)
  • Minced chives for garnish (optional)


1. Cut the kernels from the cobs with a sharp knife or corn zipper and set aside. You should have 2 to 2-1/2 cups of kernels. Break the cobs into halves.

2. In a 6-quart pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and the chile and cook until onion is softened, about 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally and taking care to keep the onion from browning. Add the corn cobs, water, salt and pepper and simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes. Add the corn kernels and garlic and cook 5 minutes longer, taking care not to overcook. The corn kernels should still have crispness and the broth should smell very “corny.”

3. Allow the mixture to cool. Discard the cobs and purée the soup in batches in a blender until very smooth. Use caution when blending hot liquids. Don’t fill the blender more than one-third full, and be sure to hold the lid firmly in place. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.

4. Refrigerate at least 1 hour. Serve cool, but not stone cold. Garnish with sour cream and chives if desired.

From A Summertime Grilling Guide by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift. Copyright © 2012 by American Public Media.