How to Cool Down Spicy Food

Have you ever gone overboard with the amount of chili peppers you have added to the dish you are cooking? It happens to the best of us, not to worry. What makes hot “hot” is Capsaicin, an active component of chili peppers which chemically is alkaline. If you or your family and friends don’t experience pleasurable effects from ingesting high doses of capsaicin, the best way to cool down overly spicy dish is to diminish the alkalinity with acid. Here are some tips to tone down the spiciness:

Nut Butter

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The fats in nut butters can help to counteract overly hot flavors. Add one teaspoon of nut butter or more to balance the heat to taste. Does not influence the flavor of the dish and help to snuff out the flame.


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Sugars help to neutralize heat of chili peppers. Depending on the volume of chili add some sugar or honey, it really helps to extinguish the flame. Another option is unsweetened chocolate, it brings balance on too-hot flavors. 


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The juice of a half lemon or chopped tomatoes can down enough hot flavors of your dish.  The natural acid in food, really work on neutralizing the heat of the capsaicin and its brightness the flavor as well.


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For people with lower capsaicin tolerance, one of the best ways to act against hotness is to add dairy products. Sour cream and cheese are the best method to bring down the spice of a dish.


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Depending on what you are cooking you can diffuse the heat with more broth, vegetables or meat. Put raw peeled potatoes or carrots to the pot to reduce the spice, or simply add more of the main ingredients.

Serve with Starch

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Having bread, rice or other grains as a side dish may also help to tone down the spices. Another way is to try to make casserole, pour the chili into a baking dish and drizzle with cornbread mix on top, the sweetness of the corn will offset the heat.

Experiment with tastes and find out what work best. You may find something that you really like.