What is Corn Potage (Japanese Corn Soup)?
Corn potage (コーンポタージュ) is a thick, creamy soup made with corn that is believed to have originated in Japan. It is so popular that corn potage comes to my mind when I think of the king of soups in Japan. It is popular in restaurants and at hotels, in pre-made packets, vending machines, and even used as a flavor for various Japanese snacks.
How I Developed This Recipe
While many in Japan might think of corn pottage as a convenience store, or a vending machine staple, there’s a world of flavor in homemade versions.
My recipe unlocks the natural sweetness and creaminess of fresh corn, elevating this humble dish to new heights. I’ve employed techniques that enhance the corn’s intrinsic flavors and create a creamy texture that’s hard to resist.
For those with access to fresh corn, this recipe is for you!
Ingredients & Substitution Ideas
- Fresh Corn: Fresh corn is preferable, but canned or frozen corn can be used if fresh is not available.
- Unsalted Butter: Use unsalted butter to control the overall saltiness of the dish. If using salted butter, adjust by reducing the amount of other salty ingredients.
- Yellow Onion: Yellow onions are commonly used in Japan, but white onions are an acceptable substitute.
- Whole Milk: It has to be whole milk here for its richness and creaminess, instead of skimmed or semi-skimmed milk.
- Heavy Cream: Optional, but adds extra richness and creaminess to the recipe.
- Easy Homemade Croutons: Cubed baguette, Olive oil, Dry mixed herbs, Salt, and Unsalted butter.
Curious about the exact brands and products that bring my recipes to life? Discover the brands and ingredients behind my recipes at the Sudachi Amazon Storefront. Explore my handpicked pantry essentials and find your next kitchen favorites!Jump to Full Recipe Measurements
Visual Walkthrough & Tips
Here are my step-by-step instructions for how to make Corn Potage at home. For ingredient quantities and simplified instructions, scroll down for the Printable Recipe Card below.
1. Homemade croutons
This is totally optional, but I personally love adding some croutons to compliment the rich creaminess of corn potage. These homemade croutons are so easy to make and only take 10 minutes!
First, preheat your oven to 180°C (360°F).
Mix olive oil, melted butter, salt and dried herbs in a bowl until well combined, then add cubed baguette and mix until evenly coated.
Spread the croutons over a baking tray so they’re all in one layer. They shouldn’t be piled up or overlap. Then simply bake for 10 minutes or until golden and crispy!
While you’re waiting for your croutons, you can move on to the soup! Make sure to set a timer for 10 minutes and simply take them out of the oven and set them aside when they’re done.Jump to Full Recipe Measurements
2. Make the corn potage
First, prepare your corn by cutting off the kernels and cutting the cores into thirds or quarters. Don’t throw the core away because it actually holds a lot of flavor and can be used in the soup. I’ll explain a little more about this later.
You can skip this step if you’re using canned or frozen corn.
Heat your pot on medium and melt the butter. Once melted, add the onions and fry them until they become soft and golden. When they get to this point, turn the heat down to low.
Next, pour the whole milk into the pan with a pinch of salt and white pepper. If you used whole corn cobs, place the cores in the milk and bring it to a low simmer. These cores hold extra flavor and essentially create a “corn stock”. (Using the cores is optional, but they do intensify the corn flavor.)
Let the temperature of the milk rise gradually over a low or medium-low heat to prevent it from curdling, and don’t let it boil!
Once the milk is almost bubbling, turn off the heat and discard the cores of the corn if you used them.
Add the corn kernels with another pinch of salt and pepper and mix. Turn the heat back to low or medium-low and bring it back to a low simmer.
When you start to see small bubbles appearing around the edge, remove it from the heat and allow it to cool slightly.
Transfer the corn potage to a blender. (Alternatively, you could use an immersion blender if you own one.)
Blitz until smooth.
I pour my corn potage through a wire mesh sieve for an extra smooth result. This will remove any bits that the blender might have missed. You might need to use a spatula to help work it through so that you don’t lose too much soup.
The corn potage is complete and can be warmed again on the stove or in the microwave before serving.
Divide the soup into bowls, drizzle with fresh cream, and top with your crunchy homemade croutons.
Enjoy!Jump to Full Recipe Measurements
How to Store
Corn potage can be kept for 3 days in the fridge or up to 1 month in the freezer.
Homemade croutons can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for about 5 days or frozen for 4-6 weeks.
Although corn potage is so beloved in Japan, it is actually a mysterious dish when it comes to its origins. This is because the word “potage” is French. People tend to think that this soup originated in France, but there is no corn potage in France or anywhere else outside of Japan.
Many “Yoshoku” (Western-style dishes created in Japan) are inspired by French cuisine, so it is not surprising that it can be confusing to know where they really come from. Nevertheless, the mystery of corn pottage only deepens, as there is no written history that it originated in Japan either.
Examples of French-inspired Japanese “Yoshoku” dishes
There is a similar soup in US called corn chowder, but it is actually very different from corn potage when compared.
However, a collection of soup recipes published in the 1960’s Japanese cookbook called “The Soup Book” (スープの本) contains a soup very similar to today’s corn potage. This at least proves that a similar dish existed around the 1960’s. But we don’t know why it became such a popular dish.
What is certain here is that no other nation in the world loves corn potage as much as the Japanese do.
As mentioned earlier, corn potage is an extremely popular snack flavor in Japan; in fact, it is one of my favorite flavors as well. Most notable would be the old-school Japanese snack “umaibo”, which is a stick-shaped corn puff that comes in a variety of different flavors.
To show you how popular corn potage flavor is in Japan, I went out and bought every corn potage-flavored snack I could find in my local supermarkets and convenience stores. They are not limited editions and are available all year round, so try them out if you get a chance.round
In the winter, Japanese vending machines offer hot drinks. However, you might be surprised that you can also find a can of corn potage hot and ready to drink! This just goes to show how much corn potage is loved here.
Here is a picture of canned Japanese corn potage in a vending machine a few minutes walk from my house. Unfortunately, I couldn’t buy it as it was sold out.
Many people in Japan don’t make corn potage from scratch at home; they just use instant powder or buy it from a vending machine. But making corn potage from scratch at home is surprisingly easy and doesn’t contain any added preservatives! So, let’s get on with the recipe!a
Corn potage tastes sweet and savory with a milky/creamy touch.
I hope you enjoy this Corn Potage recipe! If you try it out, I’d really appreciate it if you could spare a moment to let me know what you thought by giving a review and star rating in the comments below. It’s also helpful to share any adjustments you made to the recipe with our other readers. Thank you!
More Japanese Soup Recipes
- Chicken Miso Soup (Torijiru)
- Japanese Clear Soup (Osuimono)
- Ozoni (New Year’s Soup with Mochi)
- Kenchin Jiru (Traditional Japanese Vegetable Soup)
Want more inspiration? Explore my Japanese Soup Roundup Post for a carefully selected collection of tasty recipe ideas to spark your next meal!
Corn Potage (Japanese Corn Soup) with Homemade Croutons
- 150 g baguette cubed
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp dry mixed herbs
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter melted
- 2 ears of corn see note for using canned/frozen
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 100 g yellow onion(s) thinly sliced
- 300 ml whole milk
- 4 pinches salt
- 4 pinches white pepper
- heavy cream optional
- Preheat the oven to 180 °C (356 °F).
- Mix 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp unsalted butter , 1 tsp dry mixed herbs and 1/8 tsp salt in a mixing bowl until well combined. Add the cubed 150 g baguette and mix until evenly coated.
- Spread the baguette over a baking tray. Make sure it's one layer and no cubes are overlapping, then bake for 10 mins on the bottom shelf.
- Once golden and crispy, remove from the oven and set aside for later.
- Wash 2 ears of corn and slice off the kernels in rows. Cut the cores into thirds or quarters.
- Take a pot and heat it on medium. Melt 2 tbsp unsalted butter and add 100 g yellow onion(s) (finely sliced). Fry until soft and golden, then turn down the heat to medium-low.
- Add 300 ml whole milk to the pot and add the cores of cob along half of the salt and pepper.
- Continue to heat until it reaches a low simmer (small bubbles around the edge). (Do not allow the milk to boil). Turn off the heat, remove the cores and discard.
- Add the kernels along with the other half of the salt and pepper, then turn the heat back on to low/medium-low.
- Heat until small bubbles start to appear around the edge, then remove the pot from the heat and leave to cool slightly.
- Transfer the mixture to a blender and blitz until smooth. (Alternatively, use an immersion blender.)
- Pour the corn potage through a mesh sieve to make it smooth.
- Reheat on the stove if necessary, then serve with a drizzle of heavy cream and a sprinkling of homemade croutons.