How to Thicken Chili? 6 Easy Ways

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Are you looking for information on how to make chili thicker? It’s possible that you’re trying to make the best possible chili con carne or any other dish that’s hot and wonderful. This book will help you achieve whatever it is that you set out to do.

Continue reading to find out how to make your chili thicker.

Natural methods:

If you are able to thicken your chili using natural ways, you will be one step closer to being a chili connoisseur if you can say that you have mastered the dish. Natural methods work best since that is how chili was initially cooked in many circumstances.

1. Water Evaporation

The volume of your chili will begin to decrease as the cooking process progresses due to the evaporation of water. This, in turn, causes the chili to thicken, but just slightly. If you try to thicken your chili using just this approach, you run the danger of overcooking the dish, which may result in flavorless food. This is a risk that you should avoid at all costs. Something that nobody is interested in. Having said that, it may be a good idea to add a couple of extra tablespoons of water to the meal in order to assist in organically thickening the dish.

2. Let it cool

Because protein shrinks and hardens as it cools, you should also bear in mind that as the temperature in your chili decreases, the consistency of the chili will also become more consistent. During the process of cooking, it is important to keep this particular point in mind.

If your chili has a very runny consistency, using any of these two ways to thicken the sauce will not be effective enough. Therefore, at this point, you will want to start thinking about extra components.


If the natural techniques don’t work, you might consider using additives that may be added to sauces like chili to make them thicker. Have a look at these.

1. Cornstarch

The use of cornstarch as an ingredient to thicken sauces is common practice, and chili is no exception to this rule.

Cornstarch is the corn product that we choose above others made from corn, such as cornmeal, corn flour, and other thickening agents since it does not affect the taste of the dish in any way, although other corn products, such as cornmeal and corn flour, do. Because it is derived from maize, cornstarch does not contain any gluten, which is an additional advantage of using this ingredient.

You may either add it to some hot water and stir it until it thickens to the desired consistency without clumping, or you can incorporate it into your chili if you are ready to give it a good stir. Either way, you can use it.

When adding the starch, be careful to do it gradually since the thickening process might take up to a minute. You should gradually add more of the ingredient until the sauce reaches the desired consistency.

2. Xanthan Gum

Xanthan gum is a common addition that is used as a thickening agent in a variety of culinary items and recipes. It can be found in most grocery stores.

Even in little amounts, xanthan gum is able to significantly increase the viscosity of liquids; for example, simply a few teaspoons of water combined with xanthan gum may produce a thick paste. Because of this, it is an excellent choice for someone who like chili that is exceptionally thick.

This choice does not include gluten and also has no flavor; as a result, it will not have any impact on the taste of the food you are preparing. The only thing that holds it back from being ideal for the task at hand is the fact that it may be quite a pricey addition to your kitchen. At addition to this, you may not always be able to buy it in supermarkets.

If you have xanthan gum on hand, using it to thicken chili could be the best option; but, if you don’t have any, you should be able to achieve the same level of success with cornstarch since it is more readily accessible.

3. Potato Starch

Potato starch is still another excellent choice, provided that you have access to it. This is a good option for thickening items like stews and soups, but it isn’t the greatest choice for chili since the potato taste it imparts may not be to everyone’s liking.

Even though it has a little potato flavor, utilizing potato starch is a suitable choice for thickening chili since the chili’s other flavors may overpower it.

In the same way as with cornstarch, you should try your best to add just a little amount at a time and mix it rather regularly until it achieves the desired consistency. You might alternatively combine it with water and stir the mixture until it reaches the desired consistency before adding it to your chili.

If you want to add it a little seasoning in an effort to counteract the taste, one option you have is to begin by mixing potato starch and water together. This is something you may want to do. Therefore, bear this in mind when you are determining how to incorporate it into your recipe the best way possible.

4. Tomato Puree

Tomato puree is the alternative that we consider to be the least desirable choice since it might be the most challenging to perfect. Having said that, it is a practical solution in the event that you do not have some of these other components readily available.

Because tomato has a taste that goes well with chili, adding tomato puree to the dish is not always a terrible idea in and of itself. Having said that, this thick tomato paste might have a flavor that is either harsh or sharp at the edges. Therefore, if you want to be posh about it, you may counteract that by adding a little bit of brown sugar or muscovado to the recipe.

Because it is more difficult to get it just perfect, you will want to add the puree to your meal at various points during the process of cooking it, but particularly near the end as you start to drop the heat even more. Add only a couple of ounces at a time and whisk the mixture well every few minutes until the consistency and flavor are to your liking.

Be sure to purchase tomato puree of the highest possible quality, even though almost all of them are inexpensive. This is because some of the cheaper tomato pastes on the market are loaded with additional ingredients, such as sugar and salt, and you should be aware that this can also have an effect on the flavor of the product.


You should get started on thickening your chili now that you know how to do so. Bon appetite!


What do I do if my chili is too watery?

Add cornmeal: Since cornmeal has the ability to soak up extra liquid, adding one spoonful of it to your chili pot will cause the finished product to be thicker. After adding the cornmeal, turn the heat down to low and let the chili simmer for approximately 10 minutes.

How can I thicken my chili without cornstarch?

Flour, in addition to cornstarch, is another option for thickening things up. Create a slurry by combining 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour with 1/4 cup of cold water in a measuring cup. After thoroughly combining the ingredients, add them to the chili. The stew will thicken right in front of your eyes if you just give it a few minutes to cook on a heat setting anywhere between medium and high.

How long does it take for chili to thicken?

Remove the cover off the pot if you want to keep things as straightforward as possible. Simmer the chili uncovered for twenty to thirty minutes to aid in the reduction of the liquid and to stimulate the thickening of the mixture.

Does chili need to be thickened?

Sometimes there’s just a little bit more liquid in the pot than you’d want there to be, even though chili should be thick and robust enough to stand on its own as a meal. While it is possible to continue boiling the chili indefinitely, doing so runs the danger of overcooking the more delicate components, such as the beans, and turning the dish into a monotonous mass of mushy consistency.

Will tomato sauce thicken chili?

Tomato paste will not only provide a sour taste to the meal, but it will also work to thicken the sauce and make it more substantial. You may get this result with either homemade or commercially available tomato paste. Put one can of the paste into the saucepan containing the chili, give the mixture a toss, and then let it simmer for approximately half an hour over medium heat.

Will baking powder thicken chili?

Baking powder often includes cornstarch, which makes it a good candidate for usage when looking to thicken sauces. Because it does not include cornstarch, baking soda cannot be used as a thickening in any recipe that calls for it. Cornstarch is what binds the other wet components together to create a material that is smoother and more viscous.

Will chili thicken as it cooks?

There is no need to add any more ingredients if you use this simple method to thicken your chili instead. Just take the cover off the pot, turn the heat down to low, and let the chili simmer for 20 to 30 minutes while stirring it periodically. The stew becomes more substantial as the liquid evaporates.

Should chili simmer covered or uncovered?

Bring the chili you’re making to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for at least two hours. Alternating between boiling the chili with the lid closed and cooking it without the lid covered can prevent the chili from getting either too watery or too thick. When stirring the chili, a wooden spatula, rather than a spoon, will make better contact with the bottom of the pot.