My chili is too watery – how to thicken watery chili?

Chili is a dish that I’m sure anyone can make. But sometimes, your chili turns out too watery, especially new cooks, and you’re like, “oh! My chili is too watery”. You need not worry; a common mistake for new cooks is the tendency to add too much liquid to the pan. But, there’s an easy fix. Here are tips on how to thicken your chili so the next time you serve it, people will be asking for seconds.

 A slurry is a combination of cornstarch and water that resembles milk. To make a slurry, mix 1 part cornstarch and two parts cold water in a small bowl until the mixture is completely dissolved. Then, stir it into your chili to thicken it up. Just add the slurry towards the end of the cooking time, so you don’t overcook it.

Also, if you find the chili is too watery or soupy after refrigeration, drain half of the liquid, add 1 cup of soup crackers or cornbread cubes, and one can of tomato sauce. This will give the same hearty flavor and texture without the soupiness. If this doesn’t work for you, try mashing some beans in the chili to thicken it.

What thickens chili?

My chili is too watery

Chili is typically thickened by the starch found in ingredients like beans, roux, or cornmeal. After simmering your chili, you can also add cornmeal to thicken it.

Beans are a great source of starch, which helps to thicken the chili. They add to the protein and fiber content of this dish. In addition, canned beans are already cooked, so they don’t need to simmer in the chili for hours.

Instead, add the beans at the end of cooking. Like canned tomatoes, they’ll break down during stirring and help thicken the chili.

Also, roux is a common thickener in sauces and soups, but you can also use it to thicken chili. A roux is made from butter and flour and cooked until it is a blonde color and has a nutty flavor. Alternatively, stir some masa harina or instant corn flour into the chili while cooking. If you want a thicker chili, use crushed tomatoes instead of whole.

Will tomato paste thicken chili?

Tomato paste Is one of the best choice to thicken your chili. In fact, tomato paste is one of the best options for thickening chili. The trick is to add just a little bit at a time. Tomatoes are mostly water, but they also have pectin in them, a starch that becomes more concentrated with the moisture is cooked out of it.

Also, when used as an ingredient in a recipe, tomato paste is often used to thicken sauces or soups, adding body and flavor. How much tomato paste you use will very much depend on your recipe.

However, the problem is that tomato paste has a good deal of acid, so it can make your chili pretty tangy. If you add too much, it can overwhelm the flavor of the chili. To prevent this, I recommend adding tomato paste at the very end of the cooking process and only using as much as you need to achieve the desired consistency. You might find you end up adding less than you originally thought!

How to make chili thicker?

Chili is one of the most popular comfort foods around. Although there are as many different variations on chili as there are people who make it, one thing most people do not like is a thinner chili without much body to it. However, there are ways to thicken your chili quickly and easily so that it has a thicker consistency and tastes great.

  • To quickly thicken your chili, bring it to a boil and reduce the heat.
  • Let it simmer, uncovered for an hour or two until it has reduced to the desired consistency, then season with salt and pepper and stir in any herbs that you want to use.
  • You can also mix a tablespoon of cornstarch with 2-3 tablespoons of water, then add this mixture to your simmering chili and stir it in.

You can also thicken it with cornstarch slurry

  • Add two tablespoons of cornstarch to equal parts of water and stir until there are no clumps.
  • Then, add the cornstarch slurry to your chili and bring it to a simmer for 5 minutes as it thickens.

How to tone down spicy chili?

You don’t have to toss spicy chili out if you find it too hot for your taste. Instead, try these tips to reduce the heat of your chili so you can enjoy it just the way you like it.

  • First, mix in half a teaspoon of sugar for every two tablespoons of chili. The sugar will help sweeten the flavor.
  • Then add a bit of soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce. The salts added from these ingredients can also help mellow out the heat.
  • Once they’ve been added, allow them to simmer together with the chili for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Also, if your chili is too spicy, try a dollop of sour cream, plain yogurt, or cottage cheese on top. Or, take it a further step and mix any of the above with some shredded cheese in a bowl and put it over the whole pot. Some folks add cornmeal.

Another method is like making soup dumplings; drop squirts of Bisquick or similar into the pot. In this Chili Cookbook (a real book!), I once read that you can cut down spiciness by putting some crushed saltines on top. Any of the above combined would certainly be perfectly acceptable if you are looking for how to tone down spicy chili.

How to thicken chili with flour?

Flour, a key ingredient in baking, also works as a thickening agent for sauces, gravies, and soups. Because of its large surface area, the flour absorbs liquid very well and can be used to thicken your chili. Here’s how to thicken your chili with flour:

  • Start by mixing equal parts flour and water in a small bowl.
  • Next, stir the mixture into your chili until it reaches a thick consistency.
  • Finally, simmer the chili for 5 minutes to fully incorporate the flour mixture.

How to thicken chili with cornstarch?

Cornstarch is a common ingredient in Asian sauces, but here its mild flavor makes it the perfect thickener for chili. Cornstarch is ideal because, unlike flour, you don’t need to cook it in fat first; just whisk a tablespoon or two into the chili at the end of cooking. You can use it to thicken chili cornstarch, but it’s first mixed with water to a slurry so that it has time to activate when it hits a high-temperature pan.

  • Create one part cornstarch with two parts of water until smooth for every 1/4 cup of cornstarch you need for your chili.
  • Bring your chili to a simmer over medium heat and gradually add the cornstarch slurry while stirring constantly.
  • Continue cooking until the mixture is bubbling around the edges, which should take less than a minute.
  • Immediately remove the pot from the heat and allow it to cool.

How to make chili thicker without cornstarch?

If you don’t have any cornstarch on hand, there are several other things you can use to thicken your chili.

  • Beans

1. Cook the chili uncovered, so some of the moisture evaporates.

2. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to break up any large pieces of meat as they’re cooking.

3. For a thicker chili, simmer longer, uncovered, and occasionally stir to prevent burning (about 1 to 2 hours total for meat-based chili).

4. Add beans last and cook only until heated through (about 5 minutes).

  • Rice

Add a quarter cup of cooked rice to your homemade chili to thicken it up. The rice will absorb the liquid in the chili, making it thicker.

  • Flour/ vegetables

Stir one tablespoon of flour into the chili. Simmer the chili for 15 minutes to cook the flour. If you prefer not to use flour, add chopped carrots or potatoes to your chili. The starchy veggies will thicken it up as it simmers away!

How to thicken chili in crock pot?

There are many ways to thicken chili in a crockpot. You just need to pick the one that is most convenient for you. Here is the best and the easiest way to do it.

  • Add 1/4 cup of cornstarch and two tablespoons of water for every 3 -4 cups of chili.
  • Then, stir it well until the cornstarch dissolves, and the chili begins to thicken.

If you prefer a grain, add some cornmeal, stir over low heat until the chili is reduced, and tighten; if necessary, add more as needed. Another option is to add instant potato flour or grated cheese.

How long to let chili simmer?

Simmering chili gives it a chance to “mature,” so letting it simmer for a while is recommended. However, the longer you let it simmer, the more liquid will evaporate and the thicker it will become. So, how long to let the chili simmer? Somewhere between 30 minutes to 2 hours should be sufficient.

Many recipes call for letting chili simmer for an hour or more to develop the flavors and the ingredients to come together. However, you only need about 20 minutes on the stove for a good thick chili. This allows the flavors to meld and develop and mellows the spice levels; anything more is really a matter of personal preference.

My chili is too watery

How can I thicken my chili?

When it comes to chili, everybody has their own preference when it comes to consistency. Some like it thick and hearty, while others prefer it a little thinner. Depending on how you like your chili, there are various ways of thickening your chili.

Reduce the liquid by cooking. This is simple but takes time, and prefers a small pot to minimize evaporation surface area. The most straightforward way to thicken chili is to simply cook it for a longer time until some of the liquid has evaporated.

A second option: just before serving, sprinkle flour on top and stir in. The flour should get absorbed into the remaining liquid in a few minutes, creating a semisolid paste that will resemble refried beans.

The best way to thicken chili is to remove the lid while simmering and cooking off some of the liquid. Leave it on a medium simmer, uncovered, occasionally stirring until you reach your desired texture.

It’s important not to keep it covered because you want excess steam to be able to escape as it evaporates. If you prefer an even thicker chili, you can increase the number of ingredients in your recipe. Keep in mind that a small amount of cornstarch or tapioca starch can help thicken too.

How to thicken chili without flour or cornstarch?

Thickening chili without flour or cornstarch is not complicated at all, and the methods for doing so should be in everyone’s cooking arsenal. The great thing about these methods is that they don’t take much extra time.

I’m going to walk you through how to thicken chili without flour or cornstarch and give you some tips on how to make it happen successfully every time.

An easy way to thicken chili is by adding a flax egg.

  • Simply stir together 1 Tbsp ground flax seed and 2.5 Tbsp water.
  • Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes, or until it’s the consistency of a thick paste.
  • Add the flax egg to your chili, and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
  • The longer you cook the chili, the thicker it will become natural as the vegetables soften.

Another way is by adding tomato paste or sauce

  • Cook the ground beef first and remove any grease.  
  • Stir a few tablespoons of tomato paste into the chili.
  • Add onions, beans, and spices.  
  • Simmer and allow it to cook down for 5-10 minutes.

After cooking your chili to the finish:

  1. Take a cup of the broth and mix it with two tablespoons of either cornstarch or flour.
  2. Mix it together well, so there are no lumps.
  3. Set aside.
  4. Add just a small amount of the broth and cornstarch/flour mixture back into the chili, stirring well.
  5. Keep doing this until you get your desired thickness.

Ways to thicken chili?

Chili is one of the easiest things in the world to make, and it’s probably one of the most delicious. However, sometimes it’s hard to get that perfect bowl of chili that won’t water down your spoon. Here are a few different ways to thicken chili that will not mess up the flavor:

  1. Once your chili is done cooking, taste and season with salt to taste; if it is too thick, add a small amount of milk or cream; if it’s too thin, boil it down over medium-high heat for 5-10 minutes, until desired consistency.
  2. Add a can of beans + 1 cup of tomato sauce.
  3. Add 2 tbsp of tomato paste or flour + 2tbsp of butter.
  4. Add one potato or another starch-like noodle into the chili.
  5. Simmer the chili uncovering the pot to let the steam evaporate and thicken

Does tomato paste thicken chili?

Tomato paste will thicken chili because it contains the carbohydrate that thickens tomato sauces and stews, pectin. Tomato paste thickens chili because both tomato paste and chili have collagen in them. Collagen is the main protein in connective tissue and gives tomatoes their structure. When you cook tomatoes down, that collagen breaks down and thickens sauce as it reduces.

Furthermore, tomato paste certainly adds a lot of tomato flavor, but it also brings some acidity. That acid performs two very important functions when it comes to chili. First, the acid will help tenderize your meat if you’re using the chili on top of spaghetti.

Second, though, it’s the acid that will thicken up your chili if you opt not to use any flour or corn starch as a thickening agent.

My chili is too watery

Why is my chili bland?

Chili is an inexpensive, versatile, and satisfying dish; just about everyone has a favorite version. However, one common problem with chili, especially when made from a recipe or using packaged seasonings, is that the flavor can fall flat.

The main issue with bland descriptive chili is not using enough spices, not cooking the meat in different steps, or cooking everything all at once. Spices, in particular, develop their full flavor during cooking. Spices such as cumin, oregano, chili powder, and paprika often release flavors when heated.

But that doesn’t mean your chili needs to cook for hours! Instead, Cook, it covered on low heat for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust the seasoning at the end of cooking for best results.

In addition, next time you make chili, try using a milder chili spice mix. This will also add some great flavor to the dish! You could also make your own blend by mixing in some sweet paprika, oregano, garlic powder, and cumin.

Another option is to add a dash of vinegar or lemon juice at the end of cooking. Sometimes a few dashes can really brighten up a dish.

Should chili be thick or soupy?

The texture is often a matter of personal preference, and chili is no exception. Some chilis are thick and soupy, while others are smooth and creamy, but with the right spices, either can be delicious. Also, it depends on whether you like soupy chili or not. To me, chili is more like a thick stew than a soup. Delicious either way, though.

Furthermore, the thickness of your chili depends on the point at which it is served. Chili is generally thicker when it is served immediately because the time between cooking and serving does not allow for much evaporation of its water content.

Chili that is refrigerated and then reheated usually thins out somewhat because more moisture evaporates as the chili cools. However, other factors contribute to the consistency of soupiness or thickness of your chili.


In the process of finding a solution to my watery chili, I found out that there are several reasons why my chili is too watery, and, in this article, I have shared the tricks for thickening watery chilis.

If your chili is too watery, you need to reduce or thicken it. Don’t add flour, cornstarch, or any thickening agent that isn’t tomato sauce or a type of bean. Add tomatoes. This works like magic.

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