You might be familiar with this popular creamy corn potage 玉米濃湯 in Japan and Taiwan, where it’s often served as a side at restaurants or as an easy comfort at home. If you’ve ever tasted that sweet and velvety corn soup served in a small cup at Japanese curry or Taiwanese steak restaurants, this is it but with a summer twist!
I’ve simplified this recipe so that you can have it whenever you crave the smooth, creamy texture of corn potage (no roux is needed here)! This recipe will show you a luxurious (and vegan-friendly) way to make corn potage without the need for heavy cream.
It’s perfect for anyone that’s looking for a creamy corn soup without the cream. Plus, you can enjoy it chilled for hot summer days or eat it hot for a cozy soup. It's pretty much good all-year-round!
If you enjoy creamy and simple soups, you’ll also like this kabocha squash porridge. Or if you’re searching for more Taiwanese soups, this bitter melon soup with pork ribs can be cooked on the stove or in a Tatung cooker.
- corn on the cob - fresh corn on the cob will make the most flavorful and sweet corn potage. If using frozen corn kernels, I recommend using leftover cobs to make your corn stock.
- water - I mention water here because you don’t need any soup stock for this recipe. It actually tastes more like the real deal without using stock since corn potage is all about the star ingredient, corn.
- coconut milk - use this if enjoying it chilled on a hot summer day. The coconut milk gives this version a pleasant coconut-y aroma. For a more traditional Japanese corn soup version, use soymilk or a combination of heavy cream and milk. It’s equally tasty with a plant-based milk!
- kosher salt - I use the Diamond Crystal brand kosher salt (affiliate link) in most recipes since it has lower sodium levels, making it easier to layer the seasoning without accidentally oversalting a dish. It can be found in some grocery stores. *If using table salt or sea salt, use half of the amount listed in the recipe.
See recipe card for quantities.
🎥 cooking video
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I’m going to go through each step in detail below, including step-by-step photos on how to prepare the corn. If you’re in a hurry, click here to jump straight to the recipe.
Place corn on the cob, garlic, and water into a medium stock pot. Bring the water to boil, cover, and turn down to simmer for 20 minutes.
Place each ear of corn on a cutting board and carefully slice the kernels off from top to bottom. After the first slice, place corn down on the flat (already cut) side to cut the remaining kernels from the cob.
Place corn kernels and 2 cups of the water used to cook the corn into a blender. Add salt, coconut milk, and lemon juice. You can start by adding less water and adjusting the soup thickness to your liking. Blend until smooth.
Pour into a storage container and chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve. This soup can also be enjoyed right away. Top each bowl with cilantro and calabrian chili oil if using.
pro tip: The Vitamix blender is a trusted tool in professional kitchens and works especially well for velvety smooth soups like this one. A regular blender will work too. You just might want to strain the soup through a fine mesh strainer for that extra smooth texture.
To make the simplest version of this recipe, you can use the following substitutions:
- Plant-based “milk” - replace the coconut milk with soymilk or oatmilk for the same creamy soup, just minus the subtle coconut aroma.
- Frozen corn - if you don’t have access to fresh corn, frozen corn will work too. You can either use frozen corn on the cob, which can be found at Asian grocery stores like 99 Ranch Market, who have a delivery app - iOS or Android, H Mart, or Weee! (affiliate link), or use frozen sweet corn kernels. Having the cob does help to make this soup sweeter and more flavorful though! I like to keep any unused corn cobs in the freezer (stored in a freezer-safe bag/container) for this very purpose.
note: if you're using table salt instead of Diamond Crystal kosher salt (affiliate link), make sure to cut back on the amount by half.
- Taiwanese style - offer ground white pepper to your guests to use as they please. The Taiwanese version of corn potage is often enjoyed with a light sprinkle of ground white pepper.
- Keep it simple - In its simplest form, all you need is corn, garlic, water, salt, and a plant-based milk like unsweetened oat milk or soy milk.
- Spicy - add calabrian chili oil to individual bowls for an added kick
- Luxurious - add your microgreen or fresh herb of choice. I like it with cilantro since the flavors pair well and it’s not too overpowering. This soup is all about tasting that sweet corn!
- Add more texture - if you like a variety of textures in your soups, you can mix in ½ cup of already cooked or steamed sweet corn kernels.
- Kid friendly - omit the chili oil, pepper, and let them add any fresh cilantro themselves as they please.
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The Vitamix blender (affiliate link) is a powerful tool in the kitchen! It really helps to get the soup to a smooth consistency.
This soup is best enjoyed the same day but should be good for 1-2 days if allowed to cool properly and stored in the refrigerator.
Coconut milk and some plant-based “milks” don’t do well after freezing since the texture may change. You can freeze the soup without the coconut milk or plant-based “milk,” then add it in when reheating the corn potage.
💭 top tip
Using corn on the cob or using leftover cob to flavor your corn stock is essential for making a flavorful soup.
Using the whole corn on the cob helps to increase the flavor of the soup. It's the secret ingredient to really sweet and flavorful corn potage.
If you're looking for another dish or recipe to serve with corn potage, a popular combo is Japanese curry. It also tastes great with kimchi fried rice.
Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below.
Happy cooking! ~ Cin
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Please give this recipe a star rating if you make it. I would love to hear from you. If you have any questions at all, please let me know in the comments below.
corn potage 玉米濃湯 (Japanese corn soup - vegan-friendly)
watch it step-by-step: the sound of cooking® video
- 4 ears yellow or white corn husks and silk removed
- 1 clove garlic peeled and smashed to help release flavors
- 2 quarts water
- 1 tsp Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt
- ½ cup canned coconut milk, unsweetened
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
- ½ cup cilantro microgreens (or regular cilantro tops) washed
- ½ tsp calabrian chili oil divided evenly between 4 bowls
- ground white pepper to taste
- Place corn on the cob, garlic, and water into a medium stock pot. Bring the water to boil, cover, and turn down to simmer for 20 minutes.4 ears yellow or white corn, 1 clove garlic, 2 quarts water
- Remove corn with tongs while reserving the water, and allow corn to slightly cool before cutting kernels from the cob. You can place each ear of corn on a cutting board and carefully slice the kernels off from top to bottom. After the first slice, place corn down on the flat (already cut) side to cut the remaining kernels from the cob.
- Place corn kernels and 2 cups of the water used to cook the corn into a blender. Add salt, coconut milk, and lemon juice. TIP: You can start with adding less of the water and adjust the soup thickness to your liking. Blend until smooth.1 tsp Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt, ½ cup canned coconut milk, unsweetened, 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
- Pour into a storage container and chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve. If chilling for more than 1 hour, remove from the refrigerator 20 minutes prior to serving.
- Right before serving, top with cilantro, optional calabrian chili oil, and ground white pepper to taste.½ cup cilantro microgreens (or regular cilantro tops), ½ tsp calabrian chili oil, ground white pepper
equipment and highlighted ingredients
Calabrian chili is native to Southern Italy and can be found in glass jars in the pantry section of some grocery stores. The oil from the marinating chilies can be used for an adult spice kick. right before serving: Re-taste the chilled soup for seasoning adjustments since it can taste different when cold vs. hot. Try adding a gentle squeeze of lemon juice to brighten up the flavors before adding more salt. note on salt: if you're using table salt instead of Diamond Crystal kosher salt, make sure to cut back on the amount by half.
🌡️ food safety
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before prepping.
- If using, wash the fresh cilantro or microgreens under cold water and dry on a kitchen towel.
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods. If not enjoyed right away, allow the soup to cool down in smaller covered containers and then store it in the refrigerator.
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