HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


Best way to stop spicy burn?

Not sure if this has been answered yet but what is the tried and true best way to stop the burning of a spicy food. I love spicy foods and sometimes the burn can last so long (but it is a good feeling nonetheless). I've tried the milk thing and the bread thing, but does anyone else have any other recomendations?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. something sweet - preferably ice cream (maybe because it is cold, milky and sweet?).

    1. Capsaicin is not water soluable, so water doesn't help (as you know). It is fat soluable, which is why so many spicy cuisines include either a milk-based condiment like sour cream or yogurt or coconut milk. Capsaicin is also alcohol soluable, which is why beer goes so well with spicy food.

      If you're drinking low fat milk it's not going to do the job. I suggest capping off your spicy meal with ice cream!

      1 Reply
      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        I once heard beer isn't that good due to it's low amount of alcohol.... I still like drinking it with spicy food though.

      2. "Anything with grease" is what my ex-South Carolina girlfriend's father (who grew maybe ten or fifteen different kinds of peppers each year) would say.

        1. A mint. Seriously, the Malaysian restaurant in our neighborhood keeps bowls of them. The combo of sweet and cool kills the burn.

          1 Reply
          1. re: piccola

            I agree. If I ever can't get rid of a spicy burn, I either go for a mint or a piece of gum. I actually think the gum works better. If I cant find either of those, usually a packet of sugar will do the trick.

          2. Straight honey. When I was a kid my mom and I would get the hottest food imaginable on Indian Reservations in New Mexico, and for dessert they would serve fry bread literally dripping with honey. In fact, if done properly, the fry bread would puff up and you were supposed to bite a hole into a corner and fill the puffed up pocket with as much honey as you could. I bet the grease in the fry bread helped as well. The sticky mess also distracts you from the burn for a bit!

            When I cook with chilies and I forget rubber gloves, I soak my hands in milk or yogurt (full fat), it really helps with what can turn into a 2nd degree burn if not tended to.

            2 Replies
            1. re: ballulah

              That sounds like Sopapillas, which are quite common around there, (but I don't even know if I've seen them on the menu of any Mexican place around here.) I recall that a lot of Mexican places would serve them after the meal even if no dessert was ordered.

              1. re: Vexorg

                Yup, they are very similar to sopapillas, but it's Indian fry bread rather than a Mexican dessert...however, almost identical. At the State Fair in New Mexico I used to go to the "Indian Village" every year just for this, and you could get nearly the same thing in the "Mexican Village" right next door.

            2. I don't know if it is just me or if it actually works, but everytime I have coconut water (not coconut milk, but the clear, slightly sweet juice) it tames the burning sensation of spicy food. I like it really cold though.

              1. The answer doesn't go with everything on the menu but if you aim to subdue the bite -- milk.

                1 Reply
                1. Peanut or another nut butter has been, I believe, demostrated to emulsify most capcaicin best. Thick dairy products next best.

                  1. Yogurt is very good for this. With Indian food they have Raita, yogurt with mint or cucumber, that takes the bite out and is very refreshing. Of course, there's always a Mango shake!!!!!

                    1. a place here does "hotter than hell night" a few times a year. if you cry "uncle!" the antidote is a creamsicle.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: hotoynoodle

                        And everyone in the joint yells "WIMP!" at you

                        1. I've read that the following procedure helps. I've never tried it because I LIKE the burn.

                          Eat a few bites of the spiciest food. Then stop eating and wait a few minutes without eating or drinking anything. When you resume eating, the burn will be less.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Brian S

                            I'm with you, I have to admit that I'm a big fan of the endorphin rush.

                          2. the only tried and true remedy is a full fat dairy product...vanilla ice cream is good - the reason being capsaicin is an oil and needs another fat in order to dilute.

                            1. Tomato Juice. Don't know why, but it works like a charm.

                              1. Are we talking cutting the burn while eating or cutting the burn in order to eat?

                                While eating: this is why God made sour cream/tortillas/rice.

                                Also - I'm a big fan of the hawaiian sweet honey bread. I'm a big fan of having that when I make brisket and ribs since I make 'em pretty darn spicy.

                                And yes - like everyone says - good old ice cream.

                                While cooking: add potato or rice. Personally I'm a big fan of blackstrap molasses and real Yankee maple syrup. That also adds a nice smooth tone to whatever spicy dish you're working on.

                                1. Not carbonated drinks unless you are a masochist.

                                  Ice cream IS one of the best ways to stop the burn because;
                                  1) most importantly, it's ice-cold.
                                  2) it's sweet
                                  3) capsaicin is more soluble in oil compared to water.

                                  Make that a chunky one with lots of crunchy bits.
                                  While icy sweets temporarily numb the receptors, rough texture is supposed to distract the nerves with lots of different messages.

                                  BTW, something cold and something rough are supposedly equally effective, so I'd like someone (not me!) to try
                                  1) pure ice
                                  2) a spoonful of room temperature granulated sugar.
                                  (to see if sweetness is actually important)
                                  3) rough-textured crackers

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: grocerytrekker

                                    It's funny you mentioned crackers, every Mexican I've ever known has told me crackers work the best.

                                    1. re: grocerytrekker

                                      In a fit of desperation, i tried the spoon full of sugar technique at the suggestion of a friend - it worked like magic!

                                    2. Sugary things work best for me.

                                      But given all the suggestions here, it sounds like a sure-bet is bread in a bowl with sugar and milk (soggy bread sounds gross to me, but was something my grandfather loved).

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Foodie in Friedberg

                                        Another way to combine the suggestions here, and always a fine idea on its own terms, would be mint ice cream.

                                      2. Here in Mexico, my friends recommend eating either a plain tortilla or a couple of bites of rice to absorb the burn of the chile.

                                        We also swear by this remedy, if you accidentally rub your eye with chile on your fingers: wipe the affected eye with the ends of your own hair, or enlist a friend's hair if yours is too short to reach.

                                        Link: http://mexicocooks.typepad.com

                                        1. In Indian restaurants, i'd go with Mango lassi.

                                          In Thai restaurants, chilled coconut juice (the ones with bits and pieces of the coconut flesh in them). In Malay, or Burmese restaurants, Avocado Shake, which is probably at the top of my list for easing the burn, but it's not always on the menu.

                                          Another strategy is to NOT drink hot liquid or sauces that's hot temperature-wise right after the spicy mouthful, otherwise it works like drinking ice cold drink after you've had one of those powerful, clear-your-sinus strong mints....except more painful when it's on the hot side...

                                          1. I know this is an old topic, but wanted to add a recent experience I had at a Thai restaurant.

                                            We ordered an appetizer with very spicy Thai chiles. So spicy that any food which touched our tongue caused pain. It was "fun" for the first 5 minutes, but we couldn't eat the rest of our meal!

                                            We each ordered a Thai iced tea hoping the cold, sweet, milk would help, but alas no relief. We asked the manager what he recommended and two minutes later a plate with salt-coated limes and lemons came out. He told us to rub and squeeze the salty juice all over our tongues. It worked and we were able to function normally!

                                            1. an ice cube (dulls the taste buds)

                                              1. whole milk...ice cream...

                                                depending on your cultural variety of heat: sour cream, crema, yogurt...