How to counteract too much black pepper in soup? (+5 ways)

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, “How to counteract too much black pepper in soup?”. We will elaborate on different ways that will help you counteract too much black pepper in the soup.

How to counteract too much black pepper in soup?

If you have added too much black pepper in soup and are desperately searching for ways to counteract it, do not fret, here we have prepared a long list of ways to help you counteract too much black pepper in the soup, and to make it suitable to serve.

Among all spices, black pepper is well known as a distinctive spice worldwide. It is also known as the ‘King of spices.’ It has a distinctive pungent flavor due to the presence of an alkaloid piperine, along with volatile oils, and essential oils. black pepper kernels contain 1% to 5 % piperine (1).

In sensory science, masking is a term that describes the interaction between components simultaneously present in a given matrix, resulting in a decrease in the taste intensity of at least one of the compounds involved. This is called taste suppression in contrast to taste enhancement (2).

Add acid to decrease the spice

If you have mistakenly added too much black pepper in soup and want to counteract it, you can add lemon juice, lime juice, tamarind paste, vinegar, wine, and tomatoes too.

These are all acidic ingredients that will help to neutralize the intensity of piperine present in black pepper.

Piperine is basically an alkaloid that is accountable for the burning sensation that we experience, particularly when it comes in contact with the mucous membrane of our mouth.

The alkaline piperine can be neutralized with acidic ingredients that will help to counterbalance the pH levels of piperine and reduce some of that burning flavor.

Squeeze half a lemon or lime, or 1 to 2 tbsp of wine, vinegar, tamarind paste or tomato sauce, to your spicy soup.

Studies show that acid taste can decrease the perception of pungency of piperine and capsaicin with lower intensity than bitter taste. However, it is effective to decrease the pungency stimulus (3).

Add sweeteners 

Sugars can work really well to offset the spiciness caused by too much black pepper in the soup. It will not directly lower the spice, but it will give a different flavor that will help to distract the taste buds. 

Studies show that isointense solutions of sucrose and sucralose significantly decreased pungency perception. Although these two sweet taste stimuli activate different second messenger systems, both stimuli cause an influx of calcium into receptor cells. Sweet taste inhibition of pungency perception may occur from interactions between receptor cells in the oral cavity, and/or by integrating these signals in the central nervous system. Pungency from capsaicin and piperine have similar responses. Capsaicin, which is best known for causing burning sensations, is an agonist of the transient receptor potential channel subfamily vanilloid member. Similarly, piperine, the pungent component of black pepper, serves as an agonist for subfamily vanilloid member and transient receptor potential channel subfamily ankyrin receptors (3,4). 

Add a tsp of sugar at a time to even out the spicy flavor in the soup. Then stir, allowing the flavors to mix well. Make sure to add gradually tasting after every addition or the soup will have a more sugary taste.

Other than sugar, you can also add agave nectar or honey if you want a liquid sweetener.

Neutralize the soup with dairy 

Casein present in dairy products binds to the piperine, helping to neutralize its heating effects. It acts in the same way as a dishwasher eliminates grease from the kitchen tools.

Piperine is lipophilic, that means it has low solubility in water and is attracted to other lipidic compounds in the solution, such as the lipids in the dairy (3).

Among the dairy products, you can add coconut milk, milk, sour cream, or plain yogurt and even ice cream in the soup, but do not cook after adding the dairy products over a high flame, as it may coagulate. 

Add meat and vegetables 

One more approach to counteract the excess black pepper is by adding more meat or vegetables. 

Adding vegetables such as onions, corn, carrots, will help to balance out the flavor profile of the soup. 

Like dairy, meat contains fat and may absorb piperine molecules. Vegetables contain aromatic substances, which also help to mask the pungency of the pepper. Bitter compounds in vegetables, such as glucosinolates and isothiocyanates found in cabbage and cauliflower can counteract the pungency as well (2).

To add meat to the soup, you will have to boil 2 to 3 pieces of meat (whether beef or chicken) in a separate pot without adding any flavorings. 

Bring the meat to the desired temperature and then add it to the soup. Then put the cover and cook further. After some time, taste the soup to check if it tastes good enough. 

Strain the soup a little 

The first approach that can help to counteract the excess black pepper in soup is to reduce some of the liquid from the soup by straining the soup.  

Straining the soup just a little will ultimately cut down the excess flavor of black pepper. 

To strain the soup, you can use a metal colander. Prepare a fresh soup without adding any black pepper. Then pour it into the strained soup. Stir thoroughly and the soup will be good to serve. 

Add potato

Potatoes can work greatly to reduce the spice. They consist of starch with a mild flavor and are particularly great at absorbing excess flavors. 

Potatoes are mainly starch, while black pepper contains a great amount of phenolic compounds. Starch and phenolic compounds interact to form either inclusion complex in the form of amylose single helices facilitated by hydrophobic effect, or complex with much weaker binding most through hydrogen bonds. Therefore, adding potatoes can be effective by reducing the pepper taste of the food (5). 

A peeled and boiled half-cut potato can be added to the recipe to counteract too much black pepper in the soup.

Put the half-boiled potato into the soup that will absorb the spice from the soup. Remove the potato once tender and enjoy the soup as if nothing happened. 

Add some more seasonings

If the intensity of the black pepper is not too high, you can add some seasonings to mix it out. 

For instance, you can opt for cumin powder or curry powder, which best suits your recipe. You can also add herbs, like oregano or basil to season the soup. 

Start by adding one tsp of your preferred seasoning. Then slowly raise the quantity as per your taste. 

We hope these tricks will benefit you. Still, if nothing works for you, don’t be sad. Learn from your mistakes and start all over again.

Other FAQs about Pepper that you may be interested in.

How hot is black pepper?

How long does pepper last?

How to fix too much pepper?

Conclusion 

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, “How to counteract too much black pepper in soup?”. We will elaborate on different ways that will help you counteract too much black pepper in the soup.

References

  1. Tiwari, Anshuly, Kakasaheb R. Mahadik, and Satish Y. Gabhe. Piperine: A comprehensive review of methods of isolation, purification, and biological properties. Med Drug Dis, 2020, 7,  100027. 
  2. Beck, Tove K., et al. The masking effect of sucrose on perception of bitter compounds in Brassica vegetables. J Sens Stud, 2014, 29, 190-200.
  3. Smutzer, Gregory, et al. Detection and modulation of capsaicin perception in the human oral cavity. Physiol behav, 2018, 194, 120-131.  
  4. Liu, David T., et al. Bitter Taste Disrupts Spatial Discrimination of Piperine-Evoked Burning Sensations: A Pilot Study. Biology, 2021, 10, 886.  
  5. Zhu, Fan. Interactions between starch and phenolic compound. Trend Food Sci Technol, 2015, 43, 129-143.