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How to Thicken Chili? Best Effective Ways

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On a cold day, nothing else under the sky can delight you as a bowl of hot chili. This thick spicy stew offers the ultimate comfort to you. Chilli is full of flavors as the dish includes varieties of peppers. And its tanginess comes from tomatoes, while meat and beans add a savory taste to the chili. But all the ingredients will fail if the chili doesn’t get its classic thick texture. So people often ask how to thicken chili?

If chili is thin and watery, its savory halves which isn’t very pleasant. It becomes more like soup and devoid of the authentic taste of chili. However, if you are also worried about a pot of watery chili, we are here for your help.

In this post, you can read how to thicken chili in different ways. All of our methods are simple and easy to implement. So be with us and learn how to make thick and hearty chili at home.

How To Thicken Chili?

How To Thicken Chili

This stew-like dish is delicious and healthy. A variety of chili peppers and meat are the base ingredients of the food. And some recipes make it healthier by adding beans, tomatoes, and other wholesome ingredients. Also, there is a tradition of adding dark chocolate in chili to make it more exciting.

You can do lots of experimentation and customization to your chili. But in all cases, its thickness is a crucial part. And a well-cooked savory chili always has a thick gravy. You may add any ingredient of your choice, but finally, you need to serve thick and hot chili. It is because no one appreciates watery and thin chili. And if you accidentally add excess water, you must fix it to save your effort from going in vain. So how to thicken chili is a significant concern when you prepare this dish. And to cope up with this, here are some of the best and easiest methods to make your chili denser.

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Add a Thickening Agent

It is the simplest way to thicken your chili. If you see plenty of water in the chili, add some ingredients to absorb the excess liquid. But make sure that the thickening agent doesn’t make any change in the taste and flavor.

You can use a condensing agent like flour or cornstarch that contains starch. It absorbs the excess liquid in the chili, making it thicker. Also, mashed beans or tomatoes work as good thickening agents in chili.

Add Flour, Cornstarch, or Arrowroot For Thickening

It is the most used and easiest way to thicken the chili. The reason is cornstarch and flour are always there on your shelf. You need to add all-purpose flour to water in a 1:2 ratio to make a semi-liquid mixture. And if you use cornstarch, then take an equal amount of water to make the mixture. Then add the mixture to the chili. But remember not to add flour or cornstarch directly to the chili. It will form big lumps if you do so.

After adding the mixture to the chili, keep stirring it until everything combines well. After that, you need to bring it to a boil. And then, cook the chili at low heat for 10 minutes. It will remove the raw flavor of flour and provide a glossy texture to the chili. But if you see the chili is still watery, repeat the process.

You can also use arrowroot as a thickening agent that has similar properties as cornstarch and flour. And the additional advantage is that arrowroot is flavorless. And it will not impact the classic flavor of chili. So you can add it to the chili in the same way as cornstarch.

Bonus Read: Instant Pot Chili Recipe – Quick and Mouth-Watering Dish

Use Cornmeal as a Thickener

Cornmeal acts the same way as flour. And you can mix it directly with the chili. It will absorb the extra liquid making the chili thicker. So if you are wondering how to thicken chili, add a tablespoon of cornmeal to it. After adding the cornmeal, cook the chili in a simmer for 10 minutes. And you will get thick savory chili.

There is only one downside to using cornmeal to thicken the chili. It will give a grainy feel when you take the chili. And some might not enjoy this different texture.

Add Mashed Beans to the Chili

It is a healthy way to thicken your chili. If you don’t include beans in your chili recipe, it is ideal for adding green veggies. So boil some beans and mash them using a potato masher and add them to the chili. If beans are already there in the chili, strain them in a bowl and blend into a paste. Then add it back to the chili and stir well.

When you mash or blend the beans, it releases the natural starch present in the beans. And the starch absorbs the extra liquid present in the chili, making it thick. It is the best method for thickening chili as it doesn’t change the flavor of the dish.

Add Tomato Paste

Almost all chili recipes include tomatoes that provide the dish an excellent tanginess. So if you add tomato paste to thicken the chili, it will also enhance the taste. The amount of tomato paste to mix will depend on the amount of meat and other chili ingredients. And after adding the tomato paste, cook the chili to a simmer to make it thick.

Remember that tomato paste may bring a harsh effect to the chili. So you can add half tbsp of sugar that will balance the things out.

Vaporate the Extra Liquid

Till now, we have described how to thicken chili by adding different thickening agents to it. But in all of those conditions, there is a chance of change in the taste and favor. So if you want your chili to thicken without any difference in the savor and flavor, evaporate the extra liquid.

In this method, you will cook the chili at low heat and let the extra liquid evaporate. And make sure to remove the lid of the pot so that the steam can go out. Also, if you cook in high heat, the chili may dry out without boiling meat and veggies. So always keep an eye on the chili and stir it periodically to avoid burn or scorch.

The only concern is that this process takes a very long time. You need to cook the chili for a minimum of one hour for a perfectly thick chili.

Add Shredded Cheese

If you complete your cooking and then notice that the chili is watery, add some shredded cheese to thicken it. It is the simplest way to make the chili dense after cooking it. You can add a cup of shredded cheese on top of the chili as a topping. You can also add a large dollop of cheese sauce to the bowl of chili.

The citric acid in the shredded cheese and cheese sauces joins the liquid to the cheese, thickening the chili. Once you add the cheese to the hot chili, it starts melting and combines with the gravy. It also absorbs the liquid as it melts.

Cheese offers a tempting flavor and creaminess to any dish. And when you add it to the chili, undoubtedly, it will become a delicious dish.

Serve Add-ons To Increase Thickness

If the chili you have cooked is a little soupy, you can serve it with some add-ons that will thicken it. It is an ideal way to offer chili to many guests. This way, each person can decide the thickness of their chili.

So you can serve some crushed tortilla chips or crumbled cornbread along with the chili to your guests. Also, for a low-carb dish, you can offer shredded cheese to make the chili thick and delicious.

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FAQ’s

Q1. How To Thicken Chili In A Slow Cooker?

Ans. You can thicken chili by adding cornmeal when you’re cooking it in a slow cooker. You need to mix one tablespoon of cornmeal into the chili and let it cook for 10 minutes. If the chili is still soupy, add another cornmeal spoon and again cook it for 10 minutes.
If you dislike the grainy texture of cornmeal in the chili, add a small can of tomato paste to it. Mix well by stirring and let it cook for 10-15 minutes. You should taste the salt and other seasonings after adding the tomato paste.

Q2. How To Thicken White Chicken Chili?

Ans. White chicken chili is milder in taste in comparison to traditional chili. It comes with a light texture and creamy taste. And adding cornstarch, flour, or arrowroot slurry is the simplest method to fix this kind of chili. You can also use potato starch to thicken the chili.
Add all-purpose flour or cornstarch to water to make a semi-liquid mixture. Then add the mixture to the chili. But remember not to add flour or cornstarch directly to the chili. It will form big lumps if you do so.
After adding the mixture to the chili, keep stirring it until everything combines well. After that, you need to bring it to a boil and then cook the chili at low heat for 10 minutes.

Q3. How To Thicken Chili With Flour?

Ans. It is the most used and easiest way to thicken the chili. The reason is flour is always there on your shelf. You need to add all-purpose flour to water in a 1:2 ratio to make a semi-liquid mixture. Then add the mixture to the chili. But remember not to add flour or cornstarch directly to the chili. It will form big lumps if you do so.
After adding the mixture to the chili, keep stirring it until everything combines well. After that, you need to bring it to a boil and then cook the chili at low heat for 10 minutes. It will remove the raw flavor of flour and provide a glossy texture to the chili. But if you see the chili is still watery, repeat the process.

Q4. How To Thicken Chili With Cornmeal?

Ans. Cornmeal acts the same way as flour. And you can add it directly to the chili. It will absorb the extra liquid making the chili thicker. So if you are wondering how to thicken chili, add a tablespoon of cornmeal to it. After adding the cornmeal, cook the chili in a simmer for 10 minutes. And you will get thick savory chili.
There is only one downside to using cornmeal to thicken the chili. It will give a grainy feel when you take the chili. And some might not enjoy this different texture.

Q5. How To Thicken Chili In A Crockpot?

Ans. When you cook food in a crockpot, you constantly maintain a low temperature. So you can’t use flour or cornstarch as thickening agents. It is because you cannot bring the chili to a boil in a crockpot. So you can use cornmeal of your choice to thicken the chili.
Add a tablespoon of cornmeal to the chili. After adding the cornmeal, cook the chili in a simmer for 10 minutes. And you will get thick savory chili.

Q6. How To Thicken Chili With Corn Starch?

Ans. The process of thickening chili with cornstarch is the same as thickening it with flour. You need to take an equal amount of water and cornstarch to make a semi-solid mixture. Then add the mixture to the chili. But remember not to add cornstarch directly to the chili. It will form big lumps if you do so.
After adding the mixture to the chili, keep stirring it until everything combines well. After that, you need to bring it to a boil and then cook the chili at low heat for 10 minutes. But if you see the chili is still watery, repeat the process.

Q7. How To Thicken Chili Without Using Tomato Paste?

Ans. If you want to make white chili, you may avoid adding tomato paste to thicken the chili. But there are many other ways that you can opt to make the chili denser.
You can use a thickening agent like flour or cornstarch that contains starch. It absorbs the excess liquid in the chili, making it thicker. Also, mashed white beans work as excellent thickening agents in chili.

Conclusion

Chilli is a delicious and healthy stew-like dish that we love to take thick and hot. But If you accidentally add excess water, you must fix it. Otherwise, the chili will become thin and watery. And it will lose its savor, which is disappointing. In this post, you can read how to thicken chili in different ways. All of our methods are simple and easy to implement. So hopefully, the post will be helpful for you to make thick and hearty chili at home.

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