Everyone wants to have thick, hearty chili on a cold fall or winter day. It's always disappointing to see your chili have a watery, soupy consistency. Don't worry, all is not lost!
Here are 6 foolproof ways to help thicken chili. Turn your thin and soupy chili into a hearty satisfying stew in no time at all! Try these tips out on this tasty slow cooker vegetarian chili or this Chili with stew beef.
Most tips can be performed in less than: 30 minutes
- Remove the lid
The easiest method to thickening your chili is to remove the lid.
Often times when we make a soup, we leave the lid on while it simmers for long periods of time. If you notice that your chili will be on the thin or soupy side, remove the lid!
Removing the lid allows for the steam to escape the pot, thickening up the chili.
Make sure to continue simmering your chili on a low heat. If you bump the heat of the burner up in order to speed up the evaporation process, you run the risk of burning your chili!
- Add Beans
Because beans are a major ingredient in most chili, this is a great option to thicken up even the soupiest chili.
Great beans to add to any chili can include, black beans, great northern beans, kidney beans, or red beans.
Add a small amount of beans at a time until it is the desired thickness. Remember you can always add more beans but it's hard to take them back out.
Make sure you beans are from a can or already cooked. Do not put dried beans in.
Another great method, using beans, is to crush up about ½ cup of your preferred beans.
Mix in the crushed up beans. The crushed beans act as a natural starch to absorb excess liquid.
Make sure to mash the beans before putting them in your chili. You don't want to accidentally mash up your other ingredients.
Again, when doing this method, make sure to do small portions of smashed beans at a time in order to prevent the chili from getting too thick!
- Add Tomato Paste
Tomato paste is another great way to thicken up a watery chili. It adds a natural flavor to the chili and enhances the flavor.
Mix in a 6 ounce can a little at a time. Mixing a little at a time helps it to not clump together and mix in evenly.
Sometime tomato paste can add extra acidity to a dish, tomato products often do this. To counteract the bitterness, add 1 tablespoon of brown sugar along with the tomato paste.
- Add Extra Vegetables
What better way to make a thicker chili then to add delicious vegetables!
Add your favorite vegetables like corn, tomatoes, potatoes, or beans to help thicken up a thin chili.
While it wont take away the liquid, it will add more hearty ingredients making for a heartier stew that everyone will love.
- Add flour, cornstarch, cornmeal, or arrowroot
Flour, cornstarch, and arrowroot are three great methods when dealing with a soupy chili.
When thickening with flour, sprinkle a tablespoon over the top of your chili. Stir in well and add a tablespoon at a time until desired thickness.
Cornstarch is another great way to thicken extra liquid. Dilute 2 tablespoons of cornstarch in cold water. Pour small amounts of the diluted mixture into the chili until the desired thickness. If you pour cornstarch into the warm liquid, without diluting in cold water, it won't spread evenly and will clump together.
Cornmeal thickens up a watery chili well. Be prepared to have a grittier texture and a slight change in taste if using this method. If you like putting cornbread in chili, this method is for you! Sprinkle in a tablespoon at a time to avoid over thickening.
Arrowroot, from the arrowroot plant is a great thickener. A little goes a long way. Mix 1 teaspoon of arrowroot with 1 teaspoon of cold water. Mix into the chili and continue to simmer your chili. It will thicken as the chili cooks. Good news, arrowroot is flavorless and won't alter the taste of your chili!
- Post Cooking Additions
Cheese, oyster crackers, saltines, or crushed chips, are a great addition to add to any chili regardless if it's thick or thin. When your chili is on the soupy side, add any of these extras to help thicken up the consistency.
Another great post cooking addition is cornbread. Just like we talked about before, cornmeal is great at soaking up liquid. Crumble your favorite cornbread into a bowl of runny chili to not only thicken things up, but to also enhance the flavor.
Be sure to check out our cornbread recipe here! It's perfect with a bowl of chili.