This Is How To Thicken Chili?


Chili is one of the most popular dishes from Latin America. It features a unique taste of spice that makes it perfect for food lovers. However, the consistency of chili or the thickness of chili has always been a parameter that decides the overall taste of the dish. Most people like their chili to be thick and not thin. If your chili doesn’t turn out with the consistency, you’re doing incorrectly. The good news is we’ve dedicated this post to teaching you how to thicken chili effortlessly. Plenty of methods exist to make your chili thick but we’ll explore the ways that have worked for us.


Best Ways To Thicken Chili

I’ve highlighted the optimal ways to thicken your chili using a variety of ways, all of which work really well. From simmering, to using flour, using emulsifiers, arrowroot, adding vegetables and of course knowing how to thicken chili with tortilla chips. We’ve mapped out the ways for you to achieve this below.

1. Simmering
This Is How To Thicken Chili? 1

Step by Step
  • Keep the chili right below 212 degrees F which is the boiling point and it will result in evaporation of the excess liquids thickening the chili. For the best results, remove the lid of the vessel and more steam will be released.
  • While doing this, you must keep the heat level of the hot plate or the oven under control so that overheating does not lead to the burning of the chili.
  • For a richer and stronger taste, this would be the best way to thicken the chili. If you add more vegetables instead, it might ruin the overall taste of the dish.
  • Surely it is one of the longest procedures to thicken chili, but once it is done, the results are commendable as well. The entire process might take one hour or more. The time of thickening will depend on the level of consistency you are looking for and the temperature at which you are simmering the chili.
2. Using Flour To Thicken
This Is How To Thicken Chili? 2

Step by Step
  • To thicken the chili, using flour or cornstarch is a common method and the desired consistency can be obtained within minutes. If you are in a hurry and wish to make the chili thicker as fast as possible, this is probably the most effective way.
  • Mix 2 tbsp of flour and ¼ cup of water to form the mix.
  • Stir continuously to make the solution free from lumps
  • Once this is ready, mix it gradually with the chili and keep stirring continuously
  • When you are done mixing wait for two minutes and allow the liquid to boil so while stirring occasionally
  • Make sure that no lumps are formed, and within two minutes the chili will start attuning consistency
  • Boil the liquid until you attain the right consistency

You can also use cornstarch in place of flour to make the chili thicker. The process is the same as flour. If you are using cornmeal, there is no need to form the thick mixture by adding water to it. You can directly add the cornmeal to the chili and mix it thoroughly. Leave it to simmer a while and the thickening will be done within 5-10 minutes.

3. Thickening By Using An Emulsifier
Emulsifiers are ingredients that help in the mixing of two liquids which do not blend well naturally. Hence, emulsifiers are often used to make a liquid mix with another consistently which is required for the thickening of chili as well. Emulsifiers are derived from either lecithin or varieties of fatty acids.

If you are willing to use an emulsifier to thicken your chili, adding a little bit of emulsifier would be sufficient to make the chili thicker. You do not have to use emulsifiers in large quantities, or else the taste of the dish will suffer.

4. Using An Arrowroot To Thicken
As the name suggests, arrowroot is derived from the tropical plant root’s rootstock. It is a completely natural solution to thicken the chili. It does not have any individual flavor, which guarantees that the taste of the dish will not change after adding it. A little amount of arrowroot would be sufficient to thicken the chili. It is a healthy option and can be applied to make the chili thicker and healthier.
  • Mix 1 tsp of arrowroot with 1 tsp of cold water to form the slurry
  • Mix the slurry to the chili gradually and keep stirring
  • The chili will become thicker within minutes
5. Adding More Vegetables
This Is How To Thicken Chili? 3

The best would be to let the liquid simmer with no lids on so that the thickening takes place faster. The vegetable will start releasing the natural juices, soon thickening the chili. It may alter the taste a little, but flavors of fresh vegetables are always good.

6. Add-Ons After Cooking
This Is How To Thicken Chili? 4

If the dish is done and you are not happy with its consistency, you can add the following to thicken the consistency without putting the whole thing on the burner once more.
  • Potato flakes
  • Crushed corn chips
  • Crushed tortilla chips
  • Crumbled crackers
  • Cheeses or grated cheese
  • Crumbled cornbread

Things To Avoid While Thickening The Chili

While thickening the chili, keep the following in minds to avoid unnecessary hassle.

Things to Avoid
  • Do not turn the heat too high so that the chili gets burnt instead of getting thicker
  • No matter what you’re using to thicken the chili, make sure that you do not use too much of anything or else, the taste might get diluted as well.
  • If you are using flour-water slurry, mix really well to avoid the formation of lumps
  • Take special care while mixing the ingredients that can change the flavor of the dish

Final Words

Chili is a Latin American dish that should be thick by definition. Lots of vegetables are generally used to make chili. If you are struggling to get the right consistency for the dish, make sure that you add the balanced amount of thickening ingredients and do not end up ruining the taste.

How To Thicken Chili? (Proven & Tested)

0 from 0 votes
Recipe by Laura Ritterman


  • chili

  • vegetables

  • emulsifiers

  • flour


  • Simmering
  • Using flour to thicken
  • Using An Emulsifier
  • Adding more vegetables

Like this recipe?

Follow us @recipefairy on Pinterest


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *