Spiciness in Food

How to reduce spiciness in food?

There are several ways to reduce the spiciness of a dish with green chilies, depending on the type and amount of chilies you use, the other ingredients in the dish, and your personal preference.

– Add more ingredients to dilute the spiciness. The easiest way to tone down a dish that’s too spicy is to add more ingredients to lessen the proportion of the spicy element. If it’s a soup or stew, try adding more liquid. Add more vegetables, protein, or starches, too — whatever ingredient you have extra of¹.

blur calcium close up dairy, adding milk can reduce the spiciness in food
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– Add dairy. Dairy is great at counteracting spiciness and can add a nice cooling effect. You can add milk, sour cream, or even a dollop of plain yogurt over each serving, but beware of adding and then cooking the dairy over higher heat, as it may curdle. Coconut milk technically isn’t dairy, but lends a great creaminess to dishes; plus it goes well with a lot of Asian flavors if that’s the kind of dish you’re trying to tone down.

– Add acid. Take this trick from Thai cuisine, which happily uses lots of chiles. To counteract spiciness, a lot of their dishes use a liberal amount of acid from citrus, vinegar, or even ketchup. A spoonful can really do wonders to balance out and counteract the spiciness¹.

– Add a sweetener. Like acid, sugar or other sweeteners add a different element of flavor that can tame spiciness. This one comes with a caveat, though, as you want to add very small amounts and taste constantly so your savory dish doesn’t end up tasting like dessert. Try adding a little sugar, brown sugar, honey, or tomato sauce (which is high in sugar) to balance out too spicy chili². You could also try adding some caramelized onions which will add natural sweetness along with another layer of flavor².

– Add a potato or two. Another good idea for reducing excess spice is to add a couple of peeled russet potatoes or sweet potatoes to the chili. The potatoes will soak up liquid along with some of the spice as they cook. Because they soak up so much liquid and will release starch as they cook you may need to add additional liquid to the chili. Remove the potatoes from the chili before serving².

– Add nut butter. A fun trick I’ve read about is to add a spoonful of nut butter, like almond or peanut butter, to soups and stews. Apparently, it will help mellow the dish out but won’t be really noticeable when you eat it.

– Serve with bland, starchy foods. Let’s say your overly spicy dish tastes perfect otherwise, and you don’t want to mess with it by adding other ingredients. My simple solution is to serve it with something bland and starchy so that when eaten together, the spice is diffused a bit. Rice, pasta, crusty bread, or potatoes are all great candidates¹.

I hope this helps you reduce the spiciness of your dish with green chilies. If you have any questions or feedback, please let me know. Cheers! 🌶️

Does adding or squeezing a lemon reduce the spiciness of food?

shallow focus photography of yellow lime with green leaves reduces spiciness in food
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Yes, adding or squeezing a lemon can help to reduce the spiciness in a dish. The acidity in lemon juice helps to neutralize the capsaicin, the compound that makes peppers hot. This can help to make a dish more tolerable for those who are sensitive to spice. In addition, lemon juice can also brighten up the flavors of a dish and add a bit of zing.

I hope this helps you understand how lemon juice can help with spicy food. If you have any questions or feedback, please let me know. Cheers! 🍋


(1) 6 Quick Ways to Tone Down a Dish That’s Too Spicy – Kitchen

(2) Help My Chili is Too Spicy (7 Ways to Cool Chili Down).

(3) 3 Ways To Tone Down The Heat Of Spicy Chili Peppers.

(4) Reducing The Spiciness Of Chili With Sugar | Greengos Cantina.

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