Instant Pot Ham & Cheese Chowder

The first time I started experimenting my Instant Pot, it was crucial that whatever I made was loaded with flavor. Better Than Bouillon was a big part of that. They have so many flavors and varieties but their ham base is easily one of my favorites (just try it in Gumbo). Now being it’s soup season, what better way to bring a classic ham & cheese sandwich to your table than to transform it into a chowder? Oh yes, I went there. Ham & Cheese Chowder is now a thing….with just EIGHT (or LESS) INGREDIENTS!

This post was sponsored by Better Than Bouillon/Summit Hill Foods.

Ham & Cheese Chowder
potatoes
Grab a bunch of Idaho potatoes…
potatoes diced
…and peel and dice ’em up.
thickly sliced ham
Then have the deli counter at your market slice any ham of your choice into three 1/4-inch thick slices…
…and dish into cubes.
Water in measuring cup
Now let’s make out broth. Fill a measuring cup 4 cups of water (I usually make sure it’s warm or hot from the sink).
Hamm Better Than Bouillon
And now for the special ingredient to really send this ham & cheese chowder home – Ham Better Than Bouillon!
Better than boullion jar
It’s a concentrated base, so you simply scoop out 1 teaspoon of the base per 1 cup of water. Since we’re using 4 cups of water, we’ll want 4 teaspoons of the base…
mixing broth
…and mix it together so we instantly have 4 cups of the most flavorful broth!
Adding ingredients to pot and stirring
Now add the broth, potatoes (see Jeff’s Tips in the recipe card below on how to sub cauliflower to make it more carb-friendly) and some sherry (optionally for even more flavor) to the Instant Pot. Stir, secure the lid and cook at high pressure.
cornstarch
While the soup is pressure cooking, add some cornstarch to a bowl…
adding water to cornstarch
…along with equal parts cold water.
mixing to form a cornstarch slurry
…and mix until smooth and a cornstarch slurry is formed. This is what will give our chowder a thick consistency.
Stirring slurry into pot
When done pressure cooking, the potatoes will be perfectly cooked. Give the pot some heat and, once bubbling, stir in the slurry. It will thicken immediately.
adding cream to pot
And of course it wouldn’t be a chowder without some cream in there! Add some…
Adding herb cheese to pot
…along with some garlic herb cheese (you don’t have to add this, but it does send the flavors up yet another notch – if even possible).
Adding cheese to pot
We’ve got the ham base in there, now it’s time to load up the cheese! In a couple batches, add in some shredded cheese…
Whisking cheese into chowder
…and whisk until fully combined. Depending on how much cheese you want (see Jeff’s Tip in the recipe card below), it will literally be like a blanket of cheese was cooked INTO the chowder itself – emanating a true ham and cheese sandwich.
Adding ham to chowder
Well, that is, once we stir in all of that diced ham!
Finished soup
You’ve just made one of the most decadent, luscious, hammy and cheesiest soups ever. Truly.
Ladle into bowls and feel free to top with some more cheese (because sure, why not?) and/or maybe even a few drops of liquid smoke.
Cheesy spoonful of chowder
Now please just look at this. I wasn’t kidding when I said this chowder was loaded with ham and cheese.
Cheesy spoonful of chowder with more cheese
I mean how far can this cheese stretch go?! The cheese level is on par with French onion soup except rather than being on top, the cheese is infused IN the soup!
Okay – go on. You’ve earned that special (and possibly messy) slurp. (WARNING: This chowder likes to give beards a kiss)
Man in ecstasy eating chowder
And that’s it, folks. You’ve just cooked up a pot of instant comfort with bursting flavor with minimal ingredients. Let the foodgasm commence.
Instant Pot Ham & Cheese Chowder
Yield: 6

Instant Pot Ham & Cheese Chowder

Instant Pot Ham & Cheese Chowder

Being it's soup season, what better way to bring a classic ham & cheese sandwich to your table than to transform it into a chowder? Oh yes, I went there. Ham & Cheese Chowder is now a thing....loaded with flavor, a built-in cheese stretch and with just EIGHT (or LESS) INGREDIENTS!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Additional Time 2 minutes
Total Time 12 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 cups ham broth (4 teaspoons Ham Better Than Bouillon + 4 cups water)
  • 1/4 cup sherry wine (optional, if not using sub an additional 1/4 cup broth)
  • 1 1/2 pounds Idaho/baking potatoes (about 3 of them), peeled and diced (NOTE: you can also use baby potatoes and quarter them with the skins on)
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch + 3 tablespoons water to form a slurry (see Jeff's Tips)
  • 5-6 ounce package of a garlic herb cheese, cut into chunks (optional)
  • 4 cups (1 pound) shredded cheese, plus more for topping (I used half Swiss and half Cheddar but you can use any kind you like - See Jeff's Tips)
  • 2 cups heavy cream or half & half
  • 1 1/2 pounds ham of your choice (I used Virginia), diced into 1/4-inch cubes (ask the deli at the market to slice the ham into 3 thick slices of 1/2 pound each)

Instructions

  1. Add the broth, sherry (if using) and potatoes to the Instant Pot. Stir well.
  2. Secure the lid, move the valve to the sealing position, hit Cancel and then hit Manual or Pressure Cook on High Pressure for 5 minutes. Quick release when done.
  3. Hit Cancel and then hit Sauté and Adjust so it’s on the More or High setting.
  4. Once bubbling, stir in the cornstarch slurry and let bubble for about 30 seconds before turning the heat off the pot – it will have thickened into a chowder consistency almost immediately.
  5. Add the heavy cream, garlic herb cheese (if using) and, in batches, whisk in the cheese. Stir until fully combined and then stir in the ham.
  6. Ladle into bowls and serve with some toasty garlic bread, if desired.

Jeffrey's Tips

This makes a wonderfully THICK and RICH chowder!
For a thinner chowder, lessen the slurry to 1-2 tablespoons each of cornstarch and water. You can start with less and always add more. 

You can also add less cheese if you prefer by starting with 2 cups and working your way up (just like the slurry). However, given that this soup is supposed to emanate a ham & cheese sandwich, I like it super cheesy. 

To keep it less carb-heavy, sun a large head of cauliflower for the potatoes. Remove the stalk, chop it up and add it to the pot when you would the potatoes, but lessen the pressure cook time to 1 minute instead of 5. 

When serving, you can also top the soup with a few small drops of liquid smoke to give it an extra smoky flavor!

If you make the recipe as written and you place any leftovers in the fridge, it’s going to really thicken. When reheating and if you decide you want to thin it out, simply add more broth or cream to your liking and stir until its the desired consistency.

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Michelle

    Question. I do not have ham BTB. I do have ham juice from cooking hams. Could I use that? Maybe watered down a bit? I use it to make ham gravy normally.

  2. Chrissy

    It says 4 cups of ham broth in the picture instructions but 3 in the actual recipe. Which is correct? I can’t wait to try this! 🤤

  3. Colleen Gilberto

    I added about a tablespoon of Tony Chatori’s Cajun seasoning. It’s snowed about a foot and a half overnight and the boys were out shoveling the driveway so this was just what they needed to warm their bellies

  4. John Carlisle

    I just made this and it is amazing! A bit thick so I doubled down on the ham broth and put in a 10 oz. can of creamed sweet corn. Wow!

    Thank you Jeffrey!

  5. Ursula

    I’m not a regular user of my instant pot but I think I will follow you. This recipe was easy and DELICIOUS! I couldn’t find the ham better than bullion so I use the garlic one that I had on hand. And then I just used regular cheese rather than a garlicky cheese. My family loved it!

  6. Maddie

    Delicious, but I had to cut back on the cheese. I love cheese but nearly two pounds was a bit much even for me, lol. A great recipe for a cold day that I will be making again. I’m going to try baby red potatoes next time too.

  7. Sharon

    So good! Super easy with minimal chopping. I can’t get ham broth here in Canada so used homemade turkey broth and a 1/2 tsp of garlic BTB. I did it with the cauliflower instead of potatoes and it was delicious. I also put in a sprinkle of Tony Chacheres.

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