How To Thicken Chili With Starches Effectively

Chili is a great addition to different kinds of recipes. The spicy flavor brings up the best flavor of the dishes. The recipe of making chili is so easy to follow. However, it is quite difficult to master how to make it perfect.


Sometimes, you get excess chili liquid. If this happens, you can always resort to different ways on how to thicken chili. In this how-to-article, you will learn how to use different ingredients to successfully thicken your chili without altering too much of its flavor.

The most common ingredient to use for thickening your chili is flour. One great thing about flour is that it is very easy to find in almost any store. For every one cup of chili, you can use two tablespoons of flour to thicken it.

Follow the golden steps below:

  • Step 1 : Mix two tablespoons of flour (30 ml) and ¼ cup of cold water (60 ml) together in a separate bowl. Use fork for mixing. Be sure to mix it well and get rid of slumps to make sure that the thickener will be very smooth.
  • Step 2 : Once done, combine the flour mixture to the chili on the skillet.
  • Step 3 : Cook the combined ingredients over medium to medium-high heat. Stir the mixture from time to time for a few minutes until it boils and thickens.
  • Step 4 : Once the mixture started to thicken, let it continue to cook in medium heat to make sure the flour is completely combined with the chili. If not, then there will be a hint of flour taste in your chili sauce.

Remember to use the right measurement of flour. If you use too much, then it could make your chili tastes dull and sour. Starches, including flour, will add a little gloss to your chili liquid’s appearance.

Use Cornstarch Slurry

Another ingredient you can use for thickening your chili is cornstarch slurry. You can just use a tablespoon of it. It is already enough to make your chili thicker.

The steps for using cornstarch slurry to thicken your chili are the following:

  • Step 1 : Mix a tablespoon of cornstarch (15 ml) and a tablespoon of water (15 ml) in a separate bowl. Beat neatly until you can no longer find lumps.  
  • Step 2 : Mix the cornstarch slurry into the warm slurry.
  • Step 3 : Cook the mixed cornstarch slurry and chili over medium to medium-high heat for a few minutes until it bubbles and starts to thicken. 
  • Step 4 : If you think it is still not thick enough, feel free to add more cornstarch and water.
  • Step 5 : After the mixture thickens, continue to cook it over medium heat for two more minutes to completely mix cornstarch to the chili. You can also try to heat it on a microwave for a minutes.

Use Masa Harina or Cornmeal

  • Without mixing any water, add two to three tablespoons of masa harina or cornmeal directly to the chili. Mix it well so that the cornmeal or masa harina absorbs the liquid fully.
  • Continue to simmer the chili for five more minutes until it starts to thicken up.

Both the cornmeal and the masa harina resemble flour. However, they do have strong corn taste as the cornmeal is directly made out of corn while masa harina has strong taste as it is made out of dried hominy, which is still a corn product that processed on a masticating juicer and then processed or other tools.

Due to this, using either of the two can alternate the taste of your chili liquid.

Others say that the taste of corn complement the taste of chili well. Thus, they love to use either of these for thickening chili liquid. However, there are some people who argue over it.

Thus, if you do not like corn taste or if you do not know what the preference of those who will eat, it is much safer not to use cornmeal and masa harina.

Using Arrowroot

While arrowroot is not as easy to find as flour and cornstarch, it is still available almost everywhere. It can also be used to thicken your chili.

All you have to do is to follow the steps below

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    Step 1: Mix a teaspoon (5 ml) of water and a teaspoon (5 ml) of arrowroot in a separate container until the mixture smoothen out.
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    Step 2: Add the arrowroot slurry into the chili.
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    Step 3: Stir the mixture constantly for a few minutes until it completely thickens.
    Arrowroot is flavorless and since only a small amount of it is used, it is a guarantee that it won’t dilute the flavor of the chili unlike other starches that can be used for thickening it. This is recommended to those people who are chili fans that they do not want to alter its flavor by adding other ingredients. Also, just like the first starches discussed above, it will add a gloss to the appearance of the chili liquid.

Letting the Chili Reduce

If you are not a fan of adding anything to your chili, then it is best to just let it reduce. You won’t need anything except the chili itself. All you need to do is to remove the lid of your pot and cook the chili a little longer than the usual. You can use either low heat or high heat.

 If you bring up the temperature, then you could finish in 30 minutes. However, if you choose to cook it on a low temperature, you would take up to 60 minutes. Whichever you choose, be sure not to let the chili reach the boiling point.

The process of evaporation is what makes the chili thicken in this step. Removing the lid of the pot is an important step as it is what maximizes the effect of evaporation. If you use this method of thickening chili, the resulting chili will have a stronger, more concentrated flavor. This is perfect for those people who really love pure chili flavor.


Are you now confident about thickening your chili with starches? Which starch do you think will work the best for your preference? Now, you can add more chili flavor to your food not just by the best pepper mill, but also with the classy chili sauce.

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Jenny Hopper

My name is Jenny Hopper, I'm a mother of two cute little kids. To tell you, blogging isn't an easy task. But for me, I feel rewarded for doing the things that I love and one is sharing my experiences with the world and with you. And I definitely welcome any helpful and sincere contribution from you.

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