How to cool down spicy food

If you’ve gone too far with the spice and need to cool it down in a hurry, never fear. These simple tips – from adding dairy to balancing out the sweet and sour – will quickly rescue your meal and make it something everyone can enjoy.

Thin the sauce
The easiest way to cool the dish down is to thin the sauce using your choice of liquid. If you’re cooking a stock-based soup or stew, try adding a little more stock or water. If it’s a tomato-based dish, add another tin of crushed tomatoes. Failing that, and if you have all the ingredients on hand, try making another batch of the sauce leaving the chilli out. Once done, mix the two together and freeze the leftovers for another day.

Add dairy …
When it comes to lowering the heat in spicy food you can’t beat dairy. That’s because the casein protein in dairy coats the capsaicin – what makes the food hot – preventing the tongue from experiencing the true punch in the food. Use cream, yoghurt or sour cream to immediately lower the heat and prevent it from overwhelming your dish.

Add coconut milk …
Even though coconut milk doesn’t contain the same casein protein – the ingredient in dairy that helps cool down spicy food – it does contain plenty of fat, which helps to calm the heat in a dish and cool it down. Remember to add a little at a time, and taste as you go, to ensure you don’t lose all the other flavours in the process.

Swirl in a nut butter
Just like coconut milk, nut butters can use their richness and high fat content to help calm down the spiciest dishes. These are a great option for South East Asian curries, where nuts are a common ingredients, and will add a little more richness to the dish.

Throw in some potato
If your dish is a natural companion to potato, consider dicing or grating a potato to add to the dish. The starch in the potato will help absorb some of the heat, making it seem instantly less hot.

Balance it with a little sweet and sour
It’s well known that a tablespoon of sugar, palm sugar or honey, can help take the edge off a too-spicy dish. However, by adding something sour – a little lime juice, lemon juice or vinegar – you can further balance out the flavours to lessen the fire and achieve a good mix of flavours.

Posted by no1ladydj, 27th June 2014

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  • Thanks for tips,love spice and sometimes you can go over board!


  • Another tip is to have some side dishes on the table. Tzatziki I so brilliant. Coconut coated bananas. Greek yoghurt. And if it’s that intolerable….just don’t eat it! Spicy food should have some heat


  • this story is good


  • the story is exellent


  • top story to read


  • it a a great and exellent story


  • I love hot food so when serving to the kids I just add extra coconut milk to theirs.


  • My Mum just told me that when Grandad used to make his “famous” curry, sometimes he’d go overboard with the chilli and some flavours. Apparently he swore by adding some chopped up apple to the recipe if that happened, he reckoned it really took the heat out of the dish.


  • I love chilli in savoury dishes, and I’ve found that adding potato has rescued so many dishes where I’ve gone overboard with the hot stuff. There’s not too many dishes you can’t add a bit of the humble old spud to.


  • Screenshot this because I have serious spice lovers in my house!


  • I DO SOME OFF THESE…some are new..thanks for the life saving tips…ooops i meant taste saving :)


  • Thanks for the tips, very handy..I’ll need to screen shots this lol


  • Thank you for the hints, I normally use plain yoghurt to cool it down, will try other suggestions


  • thanks for sharing good tips will use cheers


  • Thanks for your tips and advice. I normally add a bit more coconut milk if it’s a curry but I love the other suggestions. I used to love spicy food, like incredibly spicy but as I’ve gotten older I can’t tolerate it as much as I used to.


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