How to Thicken Chili: 7 Easy Tricks to Make Your Chili Hearty and Delicious

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Make a big pot of chili if you’re looking for an easy and delicious weeknight family meal or a centerpiece for your fall game day menu that will definitely score points! There are so many delicious varieties of chili to make, including veggie, chicken, good ole beef, and even pumpkin chili! You can even make a batch and stuff it into chipotle hot dogs or dinnertime zucchini boats! Because of its versatility, chili can be prepared in a slow cooker, an Instant Pot, or even on the stovetop!

If you’ve ever prepared a large pot of chili on a chilly day, you may have wondered how to best add more thickness if it seems a little too soupy. Fortunately, there are several simple ways to thicken your chili that you probably already own in your pantry. Crushed tortilla chips, flour, cornmeal, pureed beans, and cornstarch can all help achieve this, as can a little extra simmering time. Read on for some tips on how to thicken chili.

Hey there, fellow chili enthusiasts! Ever whipped up a batch of chili only to find it looking more like a thin soup than the hearty stew you were craving? Don’t fret, because we’ve got your back with 7 easy ways to thicken your chili and transform it into a thick, satisfying feast.

Why is My Chili Thin?

Before diving into the thickening solutions, let’s understand why your chili might be on the thin side. The culprit is often an excess of liquid which can be caused by:

  • Adding too much stock or broth: Remember, a little goes a long way when it comes to liquids. Start with a smaller amount and gradually add more if needed.
  • Short cooking time: Simmering your chili for a longer duration allows the liquid to evaporate, resulting in a thicker consistency and deeper flavor.
  • Using too many fresh or canned tomatoes: While tomatoes are a staple in chili, they release a lot of moisture. Opt for tomato paste or sun-dried tomatoes for a more concentrated flavor and less liquid.

7 Easy Ways to Thicken Your Chili:

  1. Simmer It Down: The simplest solution is often the best. Let your chili simmer uncovered on low heat for an additional 15 minutes or until the desired consistency is reached. This allows the liquid to gently evaporate, thickening the chili naturally.
  2. Magic of Cornmeal or Masa Harina: These pantry staples are like sponges for excess liquid. Stir in 1-2 tablespoons of finely ground cornmeal or masa harina, let the chili simmer for 5-10 minutes, and watch it thicken up beautifully.
  3. The Power of the Slurry: If you don’t have cornmeal or masa harina, cornstarch, all-purpose flour, or even oats can come to the rescue. Mix 1 tablespoon of your chosen thickener with 1 tablespoon of water to create a smooth slurry, then stir it into the chili. Let it simmer for another 5-10 minutes for a thicker consistency.
  4. Veggie Power: Starchy vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, and potatoes can add bulk and help thicken your chili. Dice up ½ to 1 cup of these veggies, add them to the pot, and let them simmer until tender. This will not only thicken the chili but also add extra flavor and nutrients.
  5. More Tomato Paste, More Flavor: If your recipe already calls for tomato paste, consider adding an extra 2 tablespoons to ¼ cup. This will not only thicken the chili but also enhance its richness and tangy flavor. Remember to simmer for an additional 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
  6. The Bean Mash Trick: This one’s for all you bean lovers out there. Mash ½ to 1 cup of kidney beans, pinto beans, or black beans into a paste and stir it into your chili. Let it simmer for 5-10 minutes, and you’ll be surprised at how much thicker your chili becomes.
  7. Crunchy Surprise: Believe it or not, crumbled corn chips can actually thicken your chili and add a fun textural element. Grab a handful of those leftover crumbs at the bottom of the bag or crush some chips in a zip-top bag. Stir them into the chili and let it simmer for 5-10 minutes. This will not only thicken the chili but also add a delightful crunch with every bite.

Remember: After using any of these thickening methods, taste your chili and adjust the seasonings as needed. You might need to add more salt, chili powder, cumin, or other spices to balance the flavors.

So, there you have it! With these 7 easy tricks, you can transform your thin chili into a thick, hearty, and flavorful masterpiece that will have everyone asking for seconds. Now go forth and conquer the world of chili, one delicious spoonful at a time!

Bob’s Red Mill Organic Masa Harina Golden Corn Flour

If you don’t have masa harina on hand, you can puree canned beans or use flour, cornmeal, or cornstarch instead.

Simply begin by adding a tablespoon of flour, cornmeal, masa harina, or cornstarch to your chili and simmering it for ten minutes or so. If it isnt as thick as youd like, repeat and simmer 10 more minutes. If you’re using pureed beans, puree one cup of cooked beans (or canned beans), add it to the chili, and simmer it for a further fifteen minutes without a lid.

How do you thicken chili?

The key to a thick chili is to not start with too much liquid. The less liquid you add at the beginning, the less you’ll need to adjust the chili’s consistency later on.

There are a few simple remedies if your chili ends up being overly soupy, though. Ree Drummonds’ go-to is adding some masa harina, which gives the chili a lovely texture and taste of corn (try it in Ree’s chipotle chicken chili).

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