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Ways to make chili less spicy

Updated July 20, 2017

Whether you've accidentally added too much heat to your chilli or you've discovered your family members or dinner guests don't share your love of fiery foods, you can choose from several ways to make chilli less spicy. Instead of throwing away a batch of chilli and starting from scratch, adjust the mixture before or after serving so everyone enjoys a bowl of milder homemade chilli.

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Dilution

If your chilli contains tomatoes, add another can or two of drained, chopped tomatoes to the mixture. Drained tomatoes will dilute the heat of the spices without watering down the chilli too much. If you have the time and patience, double the entire batch of chilli without adding more spices to dilute the heat without throwing off the ratio of the major ingredients, which may include tomatoes, onions, beef and beans.

Dairy

Serve the chilli with dairy products, such as sour cream, yoghurt or shredded cheese. Dairy products contain a protein called caisen that lessens the burning effect of chilli peppers on the skin. Avocados contain fats that can also help lessen the effects of spicy foods on the tongue, so serve your chilli with sliced avocados or a mild guacamole.

Potatoes

Although they're known for their salt-absorbing abilities, potatoes will readily absorb spices from chilli, too. Peel two large potatoes and cut them into large chunks. Simmer the potatoes in the chilli for 20 minutes. Taste the chilli, and if it's still too spicy, peel another two potatoes, cut them into large chunks and simmer for another 20 minutes. If you simmer the potatoes for too long, they may break up into pieces too small to remove from the chilli. Remove the potatoes and serve the chilli.

Citrus

The acidity and sweetness of citrus fruits counterbalance the heat of spicy chilli; add citrus flavour in small amounts so you don't alter the flavour of the chilli. Stir in 1/4 cup lime juice, pineapple juice, lemon juice or orange juice; let the chilli simmer for 10 minutes and taste, adding more juice if needed. Professional chef, Peter Martin, recommends adding a can of crushed pineapple to spicy chilli to counteract the heat without adding a noticeable flavour or texture to the mixture.

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About the Author

Anika Torrance joined the "Mobile Press-Register" in 1997 as an advertising assistant and quickly moved into the newsroom, where she was a staff writer and copy editor for almost 10 years. She holds a Bachelor's degree with a double major in journalism and history from the University of Southern Mississippi, and completed a Master's degree in English at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

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