Corn Soup Recipe

A simple corn soup topped with an electric harissa-yogurt swirl + photos from a walk around North Beach on the Fourth of July.

Corn Soup

My heart broke a little the other night as I pulled a heavy wool coat from my closet. After fifteen summers in San Francisco, I know with absolute certainty I'll be cold at some point during Fourth of July fireworks. This year was as good as it gets though - warm daytime weather all weekend, and clear skies for the festivities. I only complained about being cold once all night. Holiday weekend highlights? This bowl of corn soup topped with harissa yogurt, and a walk around North Beach with my camera before watching the fireworks from underneath Coit Tower. Pics below.

Corn Soup Recipe

People were out in full force in the parks - picnic blankets, dogs zipping here and there, Frisbees, bikes, and boom boxes. The eventual sunset was stunning enough that I mentioned to Wayne that fireworks would just be a bonus. And after sunset, people clustered on the north-facing hillsides all across the city to watch the sky light up. It was a good night out, and made me happy to be bundled up in San Francisco.

Corn Soup Recipe

A couple more words about the corn soup. The harissa-yogurt swirl is one way I like to enjoy this soup. But there is typically a progression when I make a pot of corn soup like this. I enjoy the first small bowl straight, properly seasoned, and finished with little dabs of butter and a touch of homemade celery salt. This way, it's all about the corn. Then I'll move onto more adventurous toppings like this one, the harissa yogurt, for seconds and leftovers. It's a soup that's also great topped with feta and dill, or any number of compound butters. Make a pot, and play around a bit. If you can imagine it goes well with corn, work it into a topping, and see how it goes.

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Corn Soup with Harissa Yogurt

I like this soup just like this, but if you're looking to make more of a meal of it - try serving over a bit of hot farro or barley. Or alternately, topped with a poached egg and sprinkled with toasted, sliced almonds.

6 ears corn, husks removed
7 cups / 1.65 liters water

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 pound potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch dice

4 medium shallots, chopped
3 medium cloves garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
freshly ground pepper

plain yogurt, harissa, and fresh dill, to serve

Start by bringing the water to a boil in a large pot. While it is heating use a knife to cut the kernels from the cobs of corn, reserving them in a bowl. Take the cobs and place them in the water. Let them simmer there into a stock/broth while you're prepping the rest of the ingredients, ideally 15-30 minutes. Remove the cobs from the broth when you're ready to use it.

In the meantime, heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes, stir until they are well-coated, add a big pinch of salt, and saute until the potatoes are cooked through, about 5-7 minutes. When the potatoes are nearly cooked, add the shallots and garlic.

Add this mixture, along with the corn kernels and the salt, to the corn broth. Let simmer for 2-3 minutes. I like this soup a bit chunky, so I remove about half of the soup while I puree the rest, then stir the reserves chunky portion back in - combining smooth/chunky in the end. Taste and adjust with more salt and pepper, to your liking.

Serve dolloped with a bit of plain yogurt, salted, then swirled with a spoonful of harissa paste. And a sprinkling of fresh, chopped dill.

Serves 4.

Prep time: 15 minutes - Cook time: 10 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Such gorgeous photos! Looking forward to corn season to give this a spin.


Looks fabulous, especially with the harissa yogurt.


I JUST bought corn and was scratching my head with what to do with it. Perfect timing. And harissa swirls? I could swirl that all over my body with pure contentment. Not in a gross way. Okay I'll shut up.

Bev Weidner

I'm intrigued by the idea of homemade celery salt. How exactly do you do that? Did you write a blog post about it in the past? No, but I'm happy to do that!

Samantha @ Bikini Birthday

I adore summer corn, and this soup sounds like a fantastic way to put it to good use. I'm waiting for a cooler day in Boston to make it!

Lauren @ Healthy Food For Living

That corn soup looks delicious! I always watch the fireworks right off the coast of Lake Michigan so we are always bundled up! The lake breeze is always chilly! I'm glad you had a happy 4th!


I love that you added harissa! That soup looks like it would be good chilled as well - perfect of our (warmer) southern nights. I just made a chipotle corn hummus and would love to try it using harissa.

Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table

I recently blogged about a corn & crab chowder that I made--I loved hearing about your corn soup! I think I might incorporate some of your techniques (like sauteing the potatoes instead of just boiling them) into my own recipe. Thanks!

Gretchen @

The soup looks delightful and your photos are beautiful! :)


i'm with katie - please share how you make the celery salt?


A chilly night with some soup sounds wonderful right about now...the 4 in New York was (as usual) muggy and steamy. Not really in the mood for hot you think it would be good chilled?
HS: Hi Katie - it is good cold, but in that case I'd puree all of it.

The Hungry Traveler

Mmmm, sounds great! The other day I was talking about making corn soup - you must have read my mind!


This looks fab -- I keep buying corn and am running out of different ways to cook it. Will definitely try this!


oops, link above was a mistake.


Heidi, your blog makes my day. I love how you set the stage for each of your recipes. Sounds like you had a wonderful fourth and some beautiful photos to prove it. We are on the same page. I just made a stew this weekend too. I love the simplicity of this soup. Looks perfect for the summertime.


Stunning photography and your soup is perfect -love the simplicity of the corn and potato set ablaze with harissa - gorgeous!


i remember san francisco in the summers...we would freeze our tails off in shorts and t-shirts! but you're right, a jacket and a bowl of warm soup would be perfect for staying toasty. looks amazing, especially with the harissa yogurt!

Heather (Heather's Dish)

Your description of crisp, cool SF nights and this soup conjure up visions of an almost chowder-like summer soup. Love the idea of small summer potatoes with corn. I know what I'll be picking up at the farmer's market this weekend!

JL goes Vegan

Oh I love those pictures of the city!

Simply Life

Fabulous fireworks shot. That is gorgeous.

Jessica @ How Sweet

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