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5 Tips For Salvaging Too-Spicy Foods

Heavy handed with the hot peppers? That's cool. We've got 5 flawless ways to neutralize the white-hot heat.

Chili Peppers

Photo by Meredith

So if you can’t stand the heat, stay in the kitchen -- and let's fix this thing!

1. Go Nuts on It

For some Asian dishes, as well as certain chilis and stews, adding a scoop of peanut butter will help smother the flames. (Who knows, you might even end up liking the extra flavor and creamy texture.) Also try cashew or almond butter. Tahini is another option.

Homemade Peanut Butter

Photo by KGora

2. Lengthen and Un-strengthen

If you have more of the recipe's ingredients on hand, toss 'em in. Or improvise, and add an additional ingredient that will play well with the recipe while neutralizing the spiciness. Good candidates might include broth, canned beans, potatoes, tomatoes, corn, avocados, coconut milk, and cooked rice.

Easy Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce

Photo by LilSnoo

3. Do the Dairy

Now here's some news you can use. Turns out, the fiery chemical in hot chilis, capsaicin, likes to bind itself onto a compound in milk, which neutralizes the burn. Add a generous dollop of sour cream or yogurt to scorching hot chili or stews, or even a touch of milk or cream. For best results, though, go with full-fat dairy. For tomato sauces and stews that don’t want dairy, try shredding some cheese on top.

Chef John's Homemade Creme Fraiche

Photo by Chef John

4. Sweet Defeats Heat

A sprinkle of sugar or honey should do the trick. Or add a touch of sweet ketchup. If it’s a tomato-based sauce, stir in a little more tomato sauce and maybe a titch of sugar.

Honey Jar

Photo by Meredith

5. Acid Defeats Heat

Add a squeeze of lemon or lime. Bonus Benefit: A little lemon juice can also brighten up flavors. If it’s a tomato-based sauce, adding more tomato sauce can help. Also effective, a dash of vinegar.

Lemons

Photo by Meredith

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Carl Hanson

About Carl Hanson

Carl will eat that. Share with him @CarlNo9 on Twitter.