How do I Unspice Chili?

Written by erica dreisbach
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How do I Unspice Chili?
You can rescue an overspiced chilli with a few cooking techniques. (chilli image by Silvia Bogdanski from

Many people enjoy a good, spicy chilli with plenty of hot peppers. Cooks often learn the hard way, however, that a bland chilli is much easier to spice up than chilli that's too hot is to unspice. If you have overspiced your chilli there are a couple of standby tricks that will bring help you it back down to a more palatable condition.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Beans
  • Potato or carrot
  • Peeler
  • Knife
  • Cheese, sour cream or plain yoghurt
  • Sugar
  • Lime juice, crushed pineapple or tomato

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  1. 1

    Add water to your chilli and more beans and vegetables or other non-spicy materials. This will dilute your chilli slightly, but potentially reduce its spiciness drastically.

  2. 2

    Peel a potato or carrot to expose as much surface area as possible. Slice it into a few large chunks and add it to your chilli, then simmer for several minutes. These starchy vegetables will absorb some of your chilli's spice. Then remove the potato and carrot pieces and serve them on the side for spice lovers, or simply discard them.

  3. 3

    Serve your chilli with plenty of shredded cheese and sour cream on the side. Capsaicin, the flavourless compound that makes food hot, is soluble in dairy products. Some cheese, sour cream or plain yoghurt added to the top of your chilli will reduce its apparent hotness. The fat in these dairy products helps lessen the heat, so avoid any reduced fat or no-fat versions.

  4. 4

    Add a small amount of sugar to your chilli. Add enough to taste so the sweetness does not interfere with the overall savoury flavour.

  5. 5

    Add an acidic fruit to your chilli like lime juice or crushed pineapple. Tomatoes also will help dissolve the heat from the chilli peppers without interfering with the flavour.

Tips and warnings

  • Be careful not to to touch your eyes, mouth, nose or other body parts if your hands are coated with chilli pepper oil. The oil is not soluble in water and will only spread and increase pain if you try to wash it away. Use a bit of milk first to dissolve the hot capsaicin from the chilli peppers, or prepare a solution of one part bleach to five parts water to rinse the capsaicin away.

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