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Shrimp and corn chowder {Locro de camarón y choclo}

This shrimp and corn chowder recipe is inspired by a very traditional Ecuadorian potato soup called locro de papa.

Shrimp and corn chowder

The classic locro is made with potatoes, milk, and cheese; however in Ecuador, there are many variations of the locro soup. Some add crispy pork skin, others add cabbage or greens, in some places the cheese is replaced with ground peanuts, and there is even a variation with offal. Corn and shrimp are also used in some variations of locro.

En Español

Latin style shrimp and corn chowder soup

A good friend and fellow food blogger from Ecuador, Pilar of Confieso que Cocino, was recently visiting her sister-in-law in the Seattle area. We visited some of the popular food places in the area, including Pike Place Market and Uwajimaya.

Corn and shrimp chowder recipe

Obviously we also cooked together and one of the dishes we made was this shrimp and corn chowder recipe. We knew we wanted to make a comforting soup and wanted to use seafood. We also wanted to make sure the soup could be made easily both in Seattle and in Ecuador.

Shrimp and corn chowder recipe

Ecuadorian shrimp and corn chowder {Locro}

Easy and quick shrimp and corn chowder recipe with a Latin touch. This soup is inspired by the traditional Ecuadorian locro potato soup and is made with shrimp, corn, potatoes, seafood broth, milk/cream, onion, garlic, celery, annatto, and served with cilantro, green onions, avocado, lime and hot sauce.
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Course: Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: American, Ecuadorian, Ecuadorian inspired, Latin, Latin fusion, Pacific Northwest
Keyword: Chowder, Corn, Locro, Potatoes, Shrimp
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 8


To marinate the shrimp:

  • 1 lb of medium size shrimp peeled and deveined
  • ½ lb of large whole shrimp or prawns for garnishing
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of ground annatto achiote, adjust more or less based on your preference – can use paprika if you can’t find annatto
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of ground pepper

For the chowder:

  • 4 tablespoons of butter or oil
  • ½ white onion finely diced
  • 2 celery stalk finely diced
  • ¼ cup of white wine any dry/non-sweet white wine will work
  • 3 lbs of potatoes peeled and cut into medium or large pieces, use Yukon gold in the US or papa chola in Ecuador
  • 4 cups 1 liter of seafood stock or broth, can also use fish or vegetable stock
  • 3 ears of corn in kernels or slices, about 10 ounces of kernels (can use frozen corn)
  • 1 ½ cups of milk
  • ½ cup of cream
  • 1 tablespoon of finely chopped cilantro
  • Salt and pepper to taste

To garnish and serve:

  • Chopped cilantro
  • Chopped green onions or chives
  • Avocado sliced or diced
  • Lime slices
  • Aji style hot sauce


  • Place the shrimp in a bowl and add the crushed garlic, 1 teaspoon of annatto powder, salt and pepper. Mix well and let marinate for at least 20 minutes in the fridge.
  • In a medium to large sized soup pot, heat 2 tablespoons of butter or oil and sauté the shrimp until they are cooked, about 5 minutes. Remove the shrimp from the pot and save them to add at the end – keep the whole ones separate from the peeled ones. The peeled ones will be added back directly to the soup at the end, while the whole ones will be used to garnish the plates.
  • In the same pot where the shrimp were sautéed, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter with the diced onion, diced celery, and ½ teaspoon of ground annatto or achiote powder. Cook over medium heat until the onions are soft and transparent, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Add ¼ cup of white wine to deglaze the pan, stir well, and cook until the liquid is reduced by about half.
  • Add the potatoes and mix well.
  • Add the seafood stock or broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook over low heat with the pot partially covered. Cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20 to 30 minutes depending on the type of potatoes and size of the chunks.
  • Use a potato masher to gently mash some of the potatoes, but don’t mash them all, you still want some small chunks of potato.
  • Add the corn and the milk; continue cooking on low for another 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Add the cream and cook for another 5 minutes. Taste and adjust salt and pepper to taste. You can also add more milk or broth if the soup is too thick.
  • Add the sautéed shrimp (peeled ones) and finely chopped cilantro, mix them into the soup.
  • Serve the soup garnished with the whole shrimp, chopped cilantro, chopped green onions and chives, avocado, lime and hot sauce to taste.
Shrimp and corn chowder recipe

The idea of a chowder style recipe came up because we were talking about Lent and Ecuador’s traditional lent soup called fanesca, which is made with cod and a variety of grains/legumes. However we wanted to keep it simple and a locro style chowder seemed a better option than a fanesca style dish.

Ingredients for shrimp and corn chowder

Achiote or annatto is a red seed that is used to infuse color and a subtle earthy flavor to many Ecuadorian dishes, including locro soups. The whole seeds are either infused over low heat into oil (or butter or lard) to use in recipes, or you can use the ground seeds in powder form.

Ecuadorian locro style shrimp and corn chowder

For this shrimp corn chowder recipe, we made a quick marinade of garlic, ground annatto, salt and pepper for the shrimp. To infuse as much shrimp flavor into the chowder as possible, we started by sautéing the shrimp and then making the refrito or base for the chowder in the same pot.

Corn shrimp chowder

We used both peeled shrimp and whole shrimp; these last ones are meant to be used to garnish the final dish. If you don’t like or can’t find whole shrimp or prawns then you can use additional peeled shrimp. We used fresh corn, you can use just the kernels or cut it into slices – we used a mix of both. To simplify, or if you can’t find fresh corn during the colder months, you can also use frozen corn.

Potato, corn and shrimp chowder

In Ecuador, a locro soup is almost always served with chopped cilantro and avocado, so of course, we served this shrimp and corn locro chowder with cilantro, avocado, and also with chopped green onions, slices of lime, and aji sauce or hot sauce.

Shrimp corn chowder

Step by step preparation photos for shrimp and corn chowder soup:

Ingredients for shrimp and corn chowder recipe
Marinate the shrimp with crushed garlic, annatto, salt and pepper
Sautee the shrimp with butter or oil
Remove the shrimp and save for later
Make a refrito, then deglaze with white wine, and add the potatoes
Add the seafood broth and bring to a boil
Partially mash the potatoes when tender and add the corn and milk
Add the previously sauteed shrimp and chopped cilantro at the end
Shrimp and corn chowder {Locro de camarón y choclo}
How to make shrimp and corn chowder
Serve the chowder with diced avocado, cilantro, green onions, and lime.
Shrimp and corn chowder

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  1. It will be wonderful to serve it to my Mom on Mother’s day! Your presentation is so lovely!

  2. Thank you for your recipes..I discovered your website recently and have only tried the Arroz con pollo so far which my family loves. I made a slight adjustment to the recipe after trying your original recipe, but it didn’t alter the flavor. I look forward to trying this new Shrimp corn chowder and many others. Thank you so much for sharing. Do you have a cookbook out as yet?

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