How to counteract too much chili in soup?

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

How to counteract too much chili in soup?

Like other peppers, chili contains Capsaicin (8-methyl-N-vanillyl-trans-6-nonenamide), which is a hydrophobic vanilloid compound that gives spicy foods their pungent quality. Capsaicin is a secondary metabolite that is produced by the plant genus Capsicum. In humans, capsaicin is an irritant that produces both thermal (hot) and nociceptive (burning, or stinging) sensations in the oral cavity (1).

If you have added too much chili 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 chili in the soup, and to make it suitable to serve.

  • Add more main ingredients 
  • Strain the soup a little 
  • Add some creamy ingredients to your soup
  • Add lemon juice or vinegar
  • Add butter or olive oil 
  • Add lemon juice or vinegar
  • Add honey or sugar to counteract the chili with sweetness 
  • Pick a bland starch to eat as a side dish

Add more main ingredients 

Depending upon the type of soup you are making, the base ingredients can be different, but try to add more meat, corn, carrots, noodles, rice, or potatoes. 

These ingredients will absorb some of the soup, helping to counteract too much chill in the soup.

Strain the soup a little 

You can also 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 chillies. 

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

Add some creamy ingredients to your soup

Among the creamy ingredients, you can add full-fat products as they will be more useful than low-fat options. 

Start by pouring almost half a cup of dairy into the soup at a time and mixing well. Check to see if the soup still has a spicy taste. Then add more milk or yogurt to the soup until it is mild enough to consume.

Full-fat dairy foods consist of casein that works well to counteract capsaicin, the chemical responsible for the spicy flavor.

Capsaicin is a lipophilic compound that exhibits low solubility in water (0.0013 g/100 ml) (1). Because of this, it will link to other lipids in the solution, such as from the added dairy. People often pair milk or soy milk with spicy food in daily life, because the casein and fat in dairy products can dissolve capsaicin in the mouth (3).

Add butter or olive oil 

Add almost one tbsp of butter or oil at a time to avoid adding too much. Stir well until all of the ingredients are properly blended. If the soup still has a spicy flavor, add another tbsp of butter or oil and stir again.

Butter and oil are fatty ingredients, they work really well to counterbalance the spice.

Other than butter and oil, you can also add a dollop of sour cream to bring the same effect.

Fat is a common food ingredient that possibly reduces oral burn following capsaicin exposure. It has been speculated that fat reduces oral burn via partitioning, due to the lipophilicity of capsaicin. That is, capsaicin may partition into the fat phase, thereby limiting the number of capsaicin molecules available for binding with the transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily V member 1 (TRPV1) receptor (which identifies pungency). Studies show that Increasing amounts of fat added to both cheese sauce and a starch paste containing capsaicin (0.4–1.3 mg/L) reduced the burn relative to a no fat product (2).

Add lemon juice or vinegar

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 capsaicin present in chillies.

Capsaicin is basically an alkaline ingredient that is accountable for the burning sensation that we experience, particularly when it comes in contact with the mucous membrane of our mouth. Capsaicin can be neutralized by acids. People often add vinegar or other acid condiments to spicy food, or collocate with yogurt (containing lactic acid) and other sweet/sour beverages (containing citric acid). These examples are all based on the principle of acid-base neutralization (3).

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

Citric acid was proved to be effective in reducing capsaicin perception among testers (2). 

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

Add honey or sugar to counteract the chili with sweetness 

Sugars can work really well to offset the spiciness caused by too much chili 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. 

Sucrose attenuates or masks nociceptive sensations from several oral irritants, including capsaicin. Studies show that isointense amounts of sucrose and sucralose independently caused an approximate 50% decrease in mean perception values for capsaicin in the oral cavity, but did not completely eliminate its piquancy (1). Other studies reported that 40mM sucrose added to 2 mg/L capsaicin reduces burn relative to the same capsaicin solution alone and that rinsing with a 10% sucrose solution after exposure to 3 mg/L capsaicin effectively reduced burn, suggesting beverages containing sucrose may be useful in mitigating excessive burn. The mechanism(s) behind such data remain unknown (2).

Add a tsp of sugar at a time to even out the chilly 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.

Pick a bland starch to eat as a side dish

If you do not want to cook any sides, have the soup with bread or crackers. Or else, you can make rice, noodles, quinoa, or potatoes as a side dish. Just when you take a sip of soup, have a bite of starch directly after so the spices do not taste as bitter. 

Starch is composed of two polymers: amylose and amylopectin. Amylopectin is a linear and branched glucose chain. On the other hand, amylose is a linear glucose chain with a length of up to 270 units, organized mainly in helical structures. Given its structural characteristics, amylose can interact with other molecules, such as lipids and proteins. For this reason, it can easily absorb capsaicin molecules in the solution and counteract the spicy taste of chili (4). 

Apply butter or oil on the side dish as these fatty ingredients can help the starches be more effective at counteracting the chili.

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 Chili that you may be interested in.

How long can chili sit out?

How To Preserve Green Chillies

How To Preserve Chilies

Conclusion 

In this brief guide, we have provided an answer to the question, “How to counteract too much chili in soup?”. We have elaborated on different ways that will help you counteract too much chili in soup.

References 

  1. Smutzer, Gregory, et al. Detection and modulation of capsaicin perception in the human oral cavity. Physiol behav, 2018, 194, 120-131. 
  2. Nolden, Alissa A., Gabrielle Lenart, and John E. Hayes. Putting out the fire–Efficacy of common beverages in reducing oral burn from capsaicin. Physiol behav, 2019, 208, 112557.
  3. Xiang, Qunran, et al. Capsaicin—the spicy ingredient of chili peppers: A review of the gastrointestinal effects and mechanisms. Trends Food Sci Technol, 2021, 116, 755-765.
  4. Cervantes-Ramírez, Juan E., et al. Amylose-lipid complex formation from extruded maize starch mixed with fatty acids. Carbohydr Polym, 2020, 246, 116555.

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.