15 Minute Ham and Potato Chowder

Okay, I’m going to own up to something right here in the first sentence of this post: this creamy, comforting, hearty chowder is made with Tater Tots.  There, I said it.  Tater Tots. Yes, there are also things like ham, and corn, and milk and chicken broth and scallions, but for me the wonder of this 15 minute soup is the Tater Tot part.  Please still love me.  Please trust me. Please keep reading.

Here’s how it works, and if you ponder it long enough it all makes sense.  A potato chowder involves, well, potatoes.  And usually soups involving potatoes involve scrubbing the potatoes, and then peeling the potatoes, and then cutting the potatoes into teeny chunks, and then cooking the potatoes until they are tender.  And while I’m totally up for doing that kind of a thing on a lazy Sunday, on a hectic Tuesday I want my potato chowder with a lot less potato complication.

This is where the Tater Tots enter the picture.  Tater Tots are basically little nuggets of, yep, potatoes that have been scrubbed, peeled, cut into teeny chunks and cooked.  They have the added advantage of being prepared with a little bit of flour and seasoning on the inside (which helps thicken the chowder) and fried on the inside (which adds a little something something to the flavor).

So how does this all work?  As quick and deliciously as this: Put some milk and chicken broth in a pot and bring it to a simmer.  Now add a generous amount of Tots (either frozen or thawed – either way will work!) and cover the pot.  Let it simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring it now and then to break the Tots up as they fall apart into little teeny chunks.

Meantime, cut up a cooked ham steak into cubes, and cut the kernels off a couple of ears of corn (or if it’s not corn season and/or if you are super-tired on this particular day, you can totally use frozen corn).  When the chowder has transformed from Tots floating in milk to honest-to-goodness chowder, stir the ham and corn in and simmer for another couple of minutes until everything is heated through.

Now ladle your beautiful chowder into bowls and serve it up!

And we can totally keep the whole Tater Tot thing between us.

Ham and Potato Chowder
Serves: 4 hearty servings
  • 2 cups milk (whole milk works best)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 4 cups frozen Tater Tots
  • One 8 ounce cooked ham steak, cut into cubes
  • Kernels from 2 ears of corn, or 1 cup frozen corn
  • 2 scallions. sliced
  1. Put milk and broth into a large saucepan and bring to a simmer.
  2. Add Tater Tots and reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to break up the Tots.
  3. When Tots are broken down, stir in ham and corn. Simmer for another few minutes until everything is heated through.
  4. Ladle into bowls, garnish with chopped scallions and serve!


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  1. Blewits says

    I was scared but I trusted you. This should TOTALLY WORK! Genius for a weeknight. I’m going to email this to my cousin who comes in hot every weeknight. She’ll love it.

    Thanks Kate.

  2. Cathy says

    You had me at Tator Tots! Why haven’t I thought of this myself? Awesome idea! Thanks for sharing.. I think I’ll dump bacon in this rather than ham slices. :)

  3. Barbara C says

    Kind of made this today. I used tater tots and chicken stock, after that I went off on my own. I wanted something a little richer so I used evaporated milk, 2% of course, I gotta watch my figure! We were having pork steaks with it so I cut those up into hunks and put them in, didn’t have scallions so some chopped yellow onion subbed for that and we need our veggies so in went the corn. Garnished with some grated sharp cheddar and called it a meal. We had parker house rolls with it to sop up every last bit. It was pretty good. The tots broke down nicely but didn’t get as soft as I expected. Next time I will try simmering a little longer to see if that helps. It was quick, easy and a nice hearty meal on a cool fall day. Thanks for the recipe!!

    • Kate says

      I always love your enhancements! If you thaw out the tots beforehand that might break them down a little more – although I do actually like the little chunks. :)


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