Acid: The Easy Way To Fix Food That's Too Spicy

If you're looking to add a spicy kick to your meal, you'll want to learn about these 21 types of popular peppers and how to cook with them because believe it or not, not all peppers pack a lot of heat. For example, bell peppers add color and crunch without making a salad extremely spicy. But if you're looking to make spicy salsa, try using some habanero or árbol chiles.

There's a reason why some people enjoy fiery spice more than others, but even if you consider yourself a pro with heat, it's always a good idea to know how to fix a dish that's too spicy. This comes in handy if you're cooking for friends and family or if you've added too many chile peppers. One easy way to fix spicy dishes, such as a soup or stew, is to dilute the meal by pouring in more water or broth, but another way to temper a spicy dinner is by adding a splash of acid to your dish.

According to Houston Methodist, acid helps reduce spice because capsaicin, the chemical that makes peppers spicy, is an alkaline molecule. The acid neutralizes these alkaline molecules. If you've made an extra spicy meal, you can either sip on something acidic or add an extra ingredient for less pain and more deliciousness.

Types of acid you can add to a spicy dish

There's a wide range of acidic ingredients you can use to make a dish less spicy. For example, SFGate recommends choosing an acid that will complement the other flavors in your meal and say that lemon, lime, apple cider vinegar, and tomatoes could all be good options. However, there's a little more to this trick than just pouring some vinegar into the dish.

For Southern Living, Chef Shuan Abbott explained that you should avoid using distilled white vinegar to temper spice, and if you choose any type of vinegar, you should heat up the vinegar in a pan and add sugar to create a quick glaze to add into the dish. If you're in a time crunch, adding a squeeze of lemon or lime juice might be the more effective way to lower the spice levels of your food.

Run out of both citrus and vinegar? If you don't have any acid sources on hand, there's another unexpected way to neutralize spicy foods. Although milk is a well-known cure for a hot meal, a scoop of peanut butter will also do the trick and cool your tongue down.