HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Chili is too spicy-any ideas?

  • n

I made a batch of chili today and added a little too much heat. any ideas how to tone it down? Thanks

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Get a box of cornbread mix at the grocery (don't know where you are, but you want one of slightly sweet ones - like Martha White or Jiffy, mix up the batter, pour the chili into a baking dish, drizzle a little honey on top of the chili and then the cornbread mix on top of that and bake according to the cornbread recipe. Scope the finished product into a bowl and you can top with sour cream and/or grated cheese if you like - the sweetness of the cornbread and the honey will offset the heat. All else failing, you can send it to me;-)

    1. It's hard for me to conceive of a chili being too hot, but then I do have friends with lower capsaicin tolerances and have learned to tone things down for them.

      One thing you can do is add canned kidney beans, including all the liquid in the can. Enough of these will cool it down to whatever level you want, though if you have to add too many cans it may end up as a chili-flavored bean soup. Still, better than letting it go to waste.

      Also, I find that when I make a big batch and serve it over several days, it seems to lose some heat each time. Try stashing it in the fridge and bring it out again tomorrow.

      1. I was thinking just add some plain, dry cornmeal and honey or some kind of sugar. The sugar will help tone it down and you won't have to worry about adding raw egg batter into your chili and then baking it. I just don't think it really belongs in chili like that. Of course there's the sour cream and cheese method too.

        2 Replies
        1. re: HaagenDazs

          I used that masa cornmeal from the Mexican food section on the last batch of chili I made. Aside from knocking down some of the heat, it gives it a great, authentically Mexican taste. I would highly recommend using masa in chili, regardless of whether you're trying to tone down the heat.

          1. re: AbdulSheikhMohammed

            Yes, I like to add masa also. As you say, it cools it and adds great flavor; it's also a thickening agent. And if the chili is still too hot, there's always adding a dollop of sour cream as a garnish.

        2. Crushed tomatoes may help. Or something with some sweetness to it.

          I would suggest taking small batches out of the main pot, and putting into little bowls. Experiment with what tastes best to you in the little bowls. That way you don't mess p the big batch.Plus, you may just find something that you really like!

          1 Reply
          1. re: Main Line Tracey

            That's what I would have said. Tomatoes.

          2. Chili too spicy.... *baffled*

            Does not compute....

            I suppose you could always take the edge off with some cheese or sour cream or something when you serve it.

            2 Replies
            1. re: AbdulSheikhMohammed

              Agreed. Unless the chili is eating through the pot, I can't imagine it being too spicy. I would just serve it with a dollop of sour cream to balance it out.

              1. re: ESNY

                Agreed. Lactic cuts heat best. I make a medium-hot chili. Some friends (and me) want it hotter, others want it less hot. So the only way to please everybody is with the condiments. People who like less heat load up their bowls with cheddar and/or sour cream. They're happy. I put out diced jalapeno and chipotles for those who want to heat it up. They're happy. I'll add heat to my own, then put a dollop of sour cream off to the side for when I need to cool down a bite. I'm happy. We're all happy. If your chili tastes good as is, but is just too hot, pull out the dairy.

            2. This is an easy one. My wife and I like different degrees of heat, so almost every pot of chili I make I have to tone down. I'll reiterate a couple of strategies that have already been mentioned as ones I've found that work really well, and add my own.

              1) put it in the fridge and serve tomorrow if you can. This is a good method, you don't have to add or adjust anything, and the heat will decrease as the spices and flavors combine more.

              If this isn't possible or doesn't cool it off enough, try

              2) Adding things:
              a) a can or two of kidney beans, they're ready to eat, so no extra cooking time and you shouldn't need to adjust your seasonings for just a can. But I wouldn't add anymore than 2, otherwise as the poster above suggested you'll end up with bean soup
              b) add some extra unseasoned meat--depending on the level of your heat and how much you need to cool it off, a 1/4 lb or 1/2 lb of ground beef without seasoning will also work
              c) add vegetables--if you put things like bell peppers in your chili, add more, or add more tomatoes
              d) add more water, make it a bit thinner, and then thicken if necessary with smaller amounts of the above.

              I'm against the cornmeal or breadcrumb method unless its an emergency; if your chili is thick already, then adding these makes it thicker, so then you add water, then you have to readjust your seasonings, and the whole cycle could begin again. Might as well as just solved your problem and added more liquid to begin with and water it down. I'm also against the sugar method: if you're like me, the amount of time it would take to adjust a pot of chili by adding small amounts of sugar (and I want to watch my sugar intake anyway), waiting, adjusting by adding sugar etc...too much time and not enough like a real pot of chili for my tastes.

              Anyway, those are the things I've done and I've found they work. Best of luck!

              1. 1. Give it to someone else.

                2. Freeze it until you up your pain tolerance.

                3. Make a second batch with no heat and combine the two.


                1 Reply
                1. re: puzzler

                  Puzzler, I suggest picking up a bottle of "Dave's Insanity Sauce". Take a good chug straight from the bottle. The chili will immediately become milder.

                2. Save the chili for the super bowl party and order out tonight.

                  Shredded chedder and sour cream on each serving will tone it down some.

                  1. Thanks for the replies TheSwain highlights the problem perfectly-I can handle intense heat, but some of our friends like it very mild. I have been experimenting with this recipe for awhile and am still trying to adjust the heat in it.

                    2 Replies
                      1. re: Aromatherapy

                        I agree. Keep the hot one for yourself and serve a mild canned chili to the greenhorns. Add a little cumin and mild chili powder so they think it's homemade.

                    1. I think diluting with chili beans or another batch of mild and serving with sour cream is what I'd do...

                      1. I'd recommend not doing anything until the chili has 'come together' in the fridge; flavors will change, chili will be better anyway. You could ruin the best pot of chili you ever made.

                        If waiting is not an option, anything added to chili will help dilute the heat, including more meat! Tomato sauce was first added to 'sweeten,' i.e., moderate the chili bite. Any sort of thickener will do the same. As mentioned, masa flour is a popular one but if you don't want to buy a pound of masa (which will take you forever to use), chop up a flour tortilla and add it then cook until it dissolves. Other thickeners that have been used include saltines, rolled oats (oatmeal), flour and corn meal. If the chili is already the right thickness, just add more water too.

                        Cook any of these until they dissolve.

                        1. When I have accidentally oversalted something, I add a peeled raw potato or two to the pot for a while - it soaks up great amounts of sodium. I wonder if it would work similarly for spice?

                          4 Replies
                            1. re: mike_d

                              Cool! Thanks for the confirmation!

                            2. re: AmandaEd

                              Wow. Interesting idea. I am currently facing the same dilemma. I do actually love spicy things, but I completely overdid it this time and all I can "taste" is heat in my chili and nothing else!

                              1. re: AmandaEd

                                Potatoes don't reduce salt or spice or anything like that. It's a "kitchen myth " confirmed by the country's leading food scientists.

                                You need to dilute it with more product without the offending ingredient.

                              2. In addition to aging the chili a day or two, try adding in an ounce of unsweetened chocolate. Maybe two ounces will be needed depending on the volume of chili. You won't taste the chocolate but it does seem to take the edge off a really spicy concoction.

                                1. Dump in a bunch of stuff and call it soup.
                                  Start again with less heat.

                                  1. Thank you soooo much for the ideas! The sour cream worked great! I also look forward to trying the chili 'caserole' with the cornbread. That sounds good and my husband will eat just about anything... until I accidently added too much heat! Opps

                                    1. So easy to fix. Start with a little bit of peanut butter. Start with a small amount and adjust the heat to taste. Works great and doesn't affect flavor at all. But really....chili too hot?? I think not. Cheers!!

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Rivers65

                                        thank you soo much...i tried the peanut butter idea and it worked like a charm...ty again u just saved my dinner :)

                                        1. re: wraithtalon

                                          What a great trick,Peanut butter! I made Devils Breath Chili and it was even hot for me. So the trick worked great.

                                      2. I wouldn't mess with the chili. I'd serve it with a mango cream cheese jello mold as a side dish. I learned that from an El Pasoan.

                                        1. I tried adding the soured cream, and as I didn't have peanut butter handy (note I'm in the UK!!!) I added just a little salt caramel from a jar I keep handy - it seemed to work and cooled it down enough. However it did go a bit creamy looking and too fluid - this was easily remedied by reducing (boiling down a bit). All's OK and thanks for the ideas!

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: 4strudel

                                            I like to add a bag of frozen white sweet corn to the batch. Seems to tone things down and is a nice contrast.

                                          2. Depending on how big of a batch you made, just separate it into portions and use one portion as a base for a new pot of chili. Freeze the rest of the portions individually to use as the base for future batches.

                                            Ignore the guys saying it does not compute. If you've never made a batch of chili that was just too hot to eat, then you just haven't made enough chili.

                                            (My personal story involves a visit to the Cayman Islands and a new pepper that I was unfamiliar with at the time - The Habanero.)

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: DoobieWah

                                              More likely to be the Scotch Bonnet in the Caymans.

                                              1. re: DoobieWah

                                                Habs make the best chili!

                                                If your chili is too hot then you haven't made enough pots of chili.

                                                1. re: C. Hamster


                                                  I'm 53 and have been making chili from scratch at least once a month since I was in high school.

                                                  But thanks for the thought.

                                              2. Yes they were. I just used the more widely known variant. Thanks for your attention to the details.

                                                1. I serve it over rice. This will tone it down a bit.

                                                  1. What makes hot "hot" is Capsaicin oil in spicy peppers which chemically is ALKALINE. The best way to amend a overly spicy dish is to offset the alkalinity with ACID: taste as you go so you don't obliterate the original chili flavor and add lemon juice, or vinegar, and then swirl in when serving a dairy component such as sour cream, creme fraiche or yogurt, or....cheese.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: BlueHorizon

                                                      I can see how you may want to be carful with this but... I added the juice of 1/2 of a lime to my batch and it took it down just enough. Might not be good with everyones recipe though but mine was seasoned with a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. The south of the boarder flavor is complemented by the lime juice... so much so that I will probably make it this way from now on.

                                                    2. A friend from El Paso taught me that instead of tinkering with the chili, serve a mango cream cheese Jello molded salad with it. Dairy of course is the foil to the heat, and the pairing is nice, especially with corn bread and beer.

                                                      1. good timing to update this-since this dish of the month is chili

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: jpr54_1

                                                          Now, if we'd get some Fall weather to go with it in ATX...

                                                        2. more beans,
                                                          more beef
                                                          more tomatoes

                                                          any combination or permutation of the above

                                                          1. I've tried all methods and the ONLY two methods that work and won't ruin your chili:

                                                            If you wanna eat it now: Just add the juice from 1/2 of a lime to approx. 4-6 cups of chili or any bean concoction; I just did this with my black-eyed peas and ham hock stew and it worked like a charm. The natural acid of limes (or lemon) really work on neutralizing the heat of the capsicum oil and I feel that it brightens the flavor as well.

                                                            If you wanna eat it another day: Freeze it into 2-4 separate batches and add one or more of these to a new batch of the same chili but without hot peppers to balance it.

                                                            1. I added more beef, sauce, a tbs of brown sugar. Worked perfectly!!