chili

How To Thicken Chili

The chilly and chili season is upon us! The cold weather is the perfect excuse to start making your famous chili. Chili is probably one of the best meals you could make for winter time. The thick, savory, deliciousness that warms our insides and brightens our moods with every bite. If you’re a big fan of chili, you’re definitely going to want to learn how to thicken your chili this year. You’ll be the talk of Thanksgiving and have them begging for more in December.

1. Thicken Chili With Corn Starch

There are a variety of flours that you can choose from. However, people often like to use corn starch to thicken their chili. You can also use maize starch too if that’s all you can find. The reason why people like to use corn starch is that it’s the perfect ingredient to thicken meals with. You can also use corn starch to thicken sauces and soups.

The process is very simple. First, mix 1 tbsp of cornstarch and 1 tbsp of cold water together. Then, as your chili is boiling, add this mixture into the pot. Finally, let your pot of chili simmer for a few minutes as the corn starch dissolves completely.

Luckily, corn starch doesn’t alter the flavor of the chili too much but can dilute it if you use a lot. However, if you’re making a large amount of chili it should be okay to add more. You’ll find that this technique is very fast-acting as your chili thickens and becomes glossy. Incase you’re wondering, corn starch and corn flour are the same thing.

2. Using Cornmeal

Cornmeal essentially has the same thickening effect on chili as corn starch does. Cornmeal is typically used to make cornbread, johnnycakes, and spoonbread. If you’re familiar with these breads, you already know just how thick they come. You might even find cornbread being paired with chili in most situations.

All you have to do is add 2 to 3 tbsp of cornmeal directly into the chili and mix them thoroughly. After doing so, you may have to let your chili simmer for 10 to 50 minutes. Cornmeal is a great ingredient to use to thicken chili, however, it can definitely alter the overall flavor. You may need to add more cornmeal if your chili isn’t the thickness you want. Cornmeal is not the same as corn starch. It is more coarsely ground flour that’s also made from corn kernels. Cornmeal has a more distinct corn taste compared with cornflour.

3. All-Purpose Flour Thickens Chili

If you don’t want to use cornmeal or cornstarch, all-purpose flour works really well to thicken chili. However, the process is a little more involved if you choose this type of flour. You may need to repeat this process if your chili isn’t to your thickness standards.

First, mix 1/4 cup (60 ml) of water and 2 tbsp of flour. Be sure that the mixture is smooth and doesn’t have any lumps. Second, stir your chili as you add the mixture into the pot until it boils. Additionally, you should be on a medium-high heat setting. This should only take a few minutes to cook. Finally, stir your chili and inspect its thickness for any lumps or remaining flour. Again, if your chili isn’t thick enough, you may have to repeat these steps to achieve what you’re looking for.

4. Arrowroot Flour

If you aren’t a fan of cornmeal, corn starch, or all-purpose flour, arrowroot is a great alternative. This flour naturally gluten-free and produced from rootstocks of several tropical plants. You also don’t need to worry about this flour altering the flavor of your chili as it is pretty tasteless. Furthermore, you don’t need to use a lot to achieve thick chili and it’s a healthier ingredient for you.

You start by mixing 1 tsp of arrowroot with 1 tsp of cold water. Then you add the mixture into your chili and stir until properly thickened. You will find that it doesn’t take long for arrowroot to thicken the chili. In addition, your chili might have a gloss to it after you’re done stirring.

5. Can’t Get Enough Veggies

If you really want to thicken your chili, vegetables are the way to go. Just by adding in tomatoes, potatoes, onions, corn, peppers, and your favorite kind of beans. Most people prefer to use black beans as they are healthier and full of flavor. Some cooks like to use tomato paste and even red sauce to thicken their chili. This is also a healthier way to thicken your chili.

All you have to do is dice up your selected vegetables and add them to the pot. You can honestly add as many veggies as you want, it’s entirely up to you and your preferences. Be sure to taste your chili as you’re adding to it as well. You will have a better understanding of the flavor and thickness as you continue to perfect it. When you’re done adding ingredients, leave the pot uncovered as it simmers and thickens. Of course, adding vegetables will definitely alter the flavor of your chili but in the best ways possible.

Now that you’re a chili expert, get ready to impress your friends and family with your new recipe! Just don’t tell them where you got your secrets from.

Cody Medina
Environmental Activist
Cody was born on the western slope of Colorado. In his high school career, Cody was nominated and awarded the Amazing Youth Leadership Award by the HRC for establishing one of the first Gay Straight Alliances which then inspired the creation of several other GSAs on the western slope. Cody’s interest in environmentalism stemmed from that experience as well. Cody now resides in Oregon with his partner and beloved animals. He enjoys hiking, camping, running, climbing, watching movies, writing, reading, walking his dog, driving to the ocean, and hanging out with his friends when possible.