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Help - Chili a little too hot

I hope somone has a an idea how I can correct the flavor of the chili which I have made today, for serving tomorrow. The hotness is fine for me and spouse, but I fear too hot for others. I plan on reheating the chili tomorrow shortly before serving, adding some cooked beans, a little frozen corn and possibly some of the reserved bean broth. I usually thicken my chili with a little cornmeal.

Is there a way to counterract some of the heat? I expect the flavors to smooth out a bit by tomorrow, but I have a feeling the heat of the dish will still be there.

I tasted as I went, but the heat from the chili powder became most pronounced right at the end of cooking. So, I was surprised at the outcome. Any ideas what I can do to rescue this dish.

Making something else is not an option.


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  1. The extra beans are a good idea, and I'd add some tomato as well. The extra bulk will dilute the spice and the sugar in the tomatoes will help temper the heat. In addition, I always give people plenty of things to doctor it up as they wish, and dairy (sour cream, cheese, etc.) helps tame the heat as well for those that like it a little milder.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Wahooty

      I have tomato already in it. I can dilute it with reserved bean broth (I cooked some Anasazi beans and they are cooling in the fridge to get firmer.) You make a good point about having sour cream to offer. I can buy some tomorrow. I would prefer a good yogurt, but probably others would prefer sour cream. thanks!

      1. re: sueatmo

        I probably wasn't being clear - my advice was to add MORE tomato, in proportion to the extra beans. :) Just diluting with bean broth probably won't be as effective - more beans and tomatoes will help absorb/counteract the spice, rather than just spreading it around.

      1. re: ipsedixit

        Serve with sour cream--will cool it off a little bit.

        1. re: ipsedixit

          I ditto the sugar idea. Just add it bit by bit - you want to counteract the heat, not sweeten it. As long as the heat isn't completely over the top the sugar trick really seems to work.

          1. re: Dubby Jo

            OK. I'll tast it tomorrow and if it still seems too hot, I'll ad a little sugar. I already have 2 cans of tomatoes in it, and it might end to acidic for my taste if I add more. However, I will remember all of this advice if I ever get myself in this pickle again.

            Thanks Chowhounds!

        2. Make another batch with NO heat and mix the two. This will reduce the heat and maintain the integrity of your chili with out morphing it into something else.......


          1. Cut up a potato and put in the (large) chunks as you reheat--potatoes absorb a good deal
            of the effect, in my experience.

            1 Reply
            1. re: penthouse pup

              2 Inch cubes of a kitchen sponge would do the same thing?....Absorbing some of the liquid...leaving behind liquid that was just as "hot"....and just as salty, if that were the problem.

            2. Unless you can add another half batch (or however much you think would cool it off,)
              I think a lot of ppl are overthinking. You might wanna think about taking a portion of your chili, and simply rinsing it with water in a sieve. Then frankensteining a sauce in a saucepan, and then adding everything together. The sep sauce you'd create would have to somewhat match your original chili of course (common sense.)

              1. There is no other solution but to increase the volume of the dish to dilute the capsaicin. Potatoes, gastriques, any other addition that doesn't significantly increase the overall volume -- it won't work. It's physics.


                Sugar and vinegar may mask too much salt, but absolutely nothing can hide too much capsaicin. The "heat" of chilies causes a physical altogether different from tasting, so there's absolutely nothing you can do with flavors to counteract that.


                1 Reply
                1. re: dmd_kc

                  I agree 100% with dmd_kc: Dilution is the Solution.

                2. I agree with one of the poster's comments about the capsaican. The only thing that I find that does something to counteract the burn is dairy -- like drinking milk instead of water when you eat spicy foods. When my chili comes out too spicy, I just stir in some shredded cheddar and/or Monterey Jack right before serving and it does help some.

                  1. I generally add a hunk of Mexican chocolate, or dark chocolate to mine. it tames it a bit, and also really accents the flavors well

                    1. Just to finalize: I did add reserved bean liquid and previously cooked beans to the chili. The added volume, and the lack of seasoning in what I added, did take down the heat level. I would have personally liked a little more in the final product, although the chili was very good. Thanks for all the good advice. I am interested in the chocolate idea!

                      1. I add a little sugar and yogurt to the individual serves. That way you can please everybody :)