Too Much Chili Powder? Here’s What To Do

We all have a heavy hand from time to time. But being heavy-handed with chili powder can quickly turn a dish from delicious to a devilish disaster. So if you’ve used too much chili powder, what can you do to save that meal from the scrap heap? Try one of the solutions below, and you may very well save that dish after all. Note, these fixes work for both chili powder (the seasoning blend) as well as chili powder (or chile powder) that’s a single ingredient, like chipotle powder.

For soups and stews, add more water

Thinning down the broth base is a quick solution to diluting the chili powder more in the meal. Careful on how far you go, though. You don’t want your savory stew turning into a watered-down soup-ish mess.

For chilies: Add more tomatoes or beans

These veggies will help soak up some of that extra chili powder, and who doesn’t like a chili that’s chock full of beans and tomatoes? With the tomatoes, gauge your current chili thickness. You may want to strain the crushed tomatoes prior to adding so that the extra water doesn’t thin your chili too much.

Throw in a dash of sugar

The spicy flavors can be muted somewhat with a little extra sweetness. Like with water, use the sugar in moderation. A simple teaspoon may be just enough, and that amount won’t affect your meal’s taste that much. For chilies, brown sugar works very well.

Increase the amount you are making (without adding more chili powder again)

If your current mix is too hot, you could simply double up on the recipe amounts and cut out chili powder the second time. This will lower the heat due to increased dilution of the powder.

For chicken and seafood, serve with citrus

A lemon or lime wedge can be an impromptu at-the-table fix to a dish that’s too spicy with chili powder. The acidity of the citrus curbs the heat.

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UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on July 19, 2022 to include new content.
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Clyde Vance

Thank you from an 82 year old cook.


Thank you for the suggestion of using brown sugar to tone down chilli in soup it worked very grateful for the suggestion