How to thicken chili with cornstarch

In this short article, we will provide an answer to the question “How to thicken chili with cornstarch?”,  discuss other ways to thicken the chili, and give some tips to make a great chili.

How to thicken chili with cornstarch?

To thicken the chili with cornstarch, you just have to mix two tablespoons of cornstarch with two tablespoons of cold water and add it slowly to the chili. To avoid getting lumps in the chili, you must mix it very well. Then, let it thicken for about ten minutes. 

Cornstarch does not alter the flavor of the chili. 

What are some other ways to thicken chili?

Reducing it 

This is the simplest method: you just have to let the chili simmer.

You can remove the lid of the pan and mix it over low heat. It is very important to do it over low temperatures, so you will not burn the chili. It will take about 20 to 30 minutes. The excess liquid will evaporate, thickening the chili. 

Adding more beans

You can add more beans to make your chili thicker. If it is still not thick enough you can smash some of them in the pan or another recipient and then transfer to the pan. 

Adding cornmeal or polenta

Adding cornmeal or polenta to your chili can help to absorb the excess liquid in the chili, which will make it thicker. This method, however, can change the chili texture, making it grainy.

Adding tomato paste 

This is an easy way to get your chili thicker.  It also improves the flavor. You just have to add the tomato paste slowly. 

What are the tips for making a great chili?

1. Do Not Open the Can

After hours of cooking, canned beans will turn mushy compared to dried beans soaked overnight in salted water.

2. Brown the Meat

Brown the meat before adding the liquid and other ingredients to generate a richer taste. Ground beef is the most common, but don’t neglect chuck roast, brisket, or bone-in short ribs.

3. Cook it long enough

The length of time you cook chili makes a huge effect. Chili recipes require time for flavors to melt and blend, and collagen-rich meat (such as chuck roast or ground beef) requires 90 minutes to two hours to thoroughly break down and become soft. If you don’t have time for a long simmer, use a slow cooker or make it ahead of time.

It is also important to cut vegetables and flavorings into even-sized pieces. This ensures that your meal is evenly cooked; otherwise, you risk having a great mouthful followed by one with raw or overdone parts.

4. Dried Chiles are preferable to “Chili Spice.”

The majority of store chili spices looked like finely ground colorful cardboard. Being a chili mixologist and creating your own is simple and fun.

Pasilla, Ancho, and Guajillo are terrific places to start. Toast the dried peppers over high heat for 30 minutes, then cover with boiling water and purée. You’ll never go back to powder.

5. Season Throughout the Cooking Process

Do not just sprinkle salt on top at the end. Soaking the beans in salted water will help them stay together throughout cooking, and seasoning the meat while browning will produce excellent results.

It is not only how much spices you add, how you add them also has an impact on the flavor of the food. To enhance the flavor of spices, especially commercially prepared mixes like chili powder, you can “bloom” them in a little butter or oil beforehand, which makes them more strong and nuanced.

If a chili recipe asks for sautéing aromatics, add the spices when the veggies are nearly done.

6. Include Flavor Bombs

Chili is rich, deep, and frequently fiery, so using a sweet element is a terrific approach to produce a balanced flavor. Adding chopped carrots is the simplest method to add natural sweetness, but other vegetables such as sweet potatoes or winter squash may also be used. 

You can also use other sweet additions like ketchup or brown sugar. Cinnamon, ground coffee, bacon, tomato paste, and even 70%+ chocolate also can enhance the flavor. 

7. Finish It Off

People enjoy personalization. Serve with a selection of toppings ranging from sour cream and sliced jalapenos to fresh lime.

Other FAQs about Chili that you may be interested in.

Can chili powder go bad?

How to freeze habaneros?

What can I substitute for green chillies?


In this short article, we provided an answer to the question “How to thicken chili with cornstarch?”,  discussed other ways to thicken the chili, and gave some tips to make a great chili.


Mantry. “6 Tips To Make The Perfect Chili.” Medium (blog), November 15, 2017.

“How To Thicken Chili: 6 Simple Steps To An Effective Strategy • BoatBasinCafe.” Accessed December 28, 2021.

Dec. 13, Lindsay D. Mattison Updated: and 2021. “12 Tips for Making the Best-Ever Chili.” Taste of Home (blog). Accessed December 28, 2021.

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