4 Simple Ways to Thicken Your Chili

Updated: Feb. 07, 2024

There's nothing better than a hearty bowl of chili. Here's what to do if you accidentally made soup instead!

Mmm… chili! It’s the ultimate cold-weather comfort food. But what if your soul-warming masterpiece ends up with a thin and soup-like consistency? Don’t panic. Here are some tricks to thicken your chili for the perfect winter meal.

Psst… Does your state have an iconic chili recipe? Find out here.

How to Thicken Chili

1. Cook Your Chili Uncovered

If you want to keep things simple, take the lid off the pot. Simmer chili uncovered for 20-30 minutes to help reduce the liquid and encourage the mixture to thicken up.

2. Add a Cup of Beans

When in doubt, add more beans. Use a potato masher to mash up some black beans or pinto beans. That will allow them to release their natural starches, which will help thicken the liquid. Be sure to even out the recipe with a couple extra pinches of spice (chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper, etc.) to maintain the flavor.

Here are more genius ingredients to add to your chili.

3. Add Masa Harina

For extra richness, add a tablespoon of masa harina, a specialty corn flour. Keep in mind that this will slightly alter the taste and texture of your chili to be a bit cornbread-ish, but it’ll still be hearty and delicious.

4. Add Corn Chips or Tortilla Chips

A handful of corn chips or tortilla chips will help absorb excess liquid and give some texture to your chili. Crush up a few chips, dump them into the pot and let the chili simmer for about 10 minutes so all of the can ingredients mingle.

This Hearty Taco Chili recipe calls for corn chips to top things off. Don’t be afraid to add more for extra crunch!

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