If your chili is too salty, you’re not alone.
With 5 quick & easy tricks, you can reduce the sodium levels in your chili.
What do I do if my chili is too salty?
How to Fix Salty Chili
If your chili is too salty you can save it by adding common starches and ingredients that you have on hand.
1. Add Bulk
Add half the amount of chili you used (without adding salt).
If the chili is very salty, double the original amount of chili.
If you don’t have more ground beef, stir in a little fresh mozzarella, cornstarch, potato flakes, beans, or cooked pasta until well mixed.
Related: Chili Too Spicy?
2. Add A Starch
Cornstarch or Instant Corn Flour
For each pound of ground meat, mix a tablespoon (5 grams) of corn flour or cornstarch into 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of water.
Stir them together to make a paste, then add the paste to the chili.
Stir the chili until the paste is fully mixed.
Cook for 2 minutes over medium heat to allow the cornstarch to mix into the chili.
If the chili is very salty, add more paste.
Important! Do not add dry cornstarch or cornflour directly to the pot as this will cause clumping.
Tip: Use a thick-bottomed or heavy gauge pot to avoid scorching your chili.
- The red type blends into the chili
- Add a 1/4 cup an hour before chili is done
- Quinoa soaks up excess liquid and makes chili more hearty
Important! Quinoa is a “high risk” gluten-free grain for people with celiac disease. It is often grown and harvested with wheat, barley and rye.
Powdered Arrow Root
To make chili less salty without changing the flavor, I use powdered arrowroot instead of flour.
In a bowl, put a tablespoon of arrowroot powder with a small amount of cold water.
Mix well then slowly add a few tablespoons of the excess liquid from your chili.
When thoroughly blended, add the mix to your chili and allow to cook through.
Kuzu Root Starch
Also known as Japanese Arrow Root, it comes in rock-like granules.
- Mix 1 tablespoon of kuzu root starch with 1 tablespoon of water, then add to simmering chili until thickened.
- No change in flavor or texture
- Quick oats work by absorbing the liquid in the chili, thickening the sauce (add conservatively)
- Cook for at least a few minutes for quick oats
- Cook 30 minutes for regular oats (they take longer to cook)
3. Add Some Veggies
Or throw in some greens like raw broccoli, finely chopped kale, or spinach.
Cooked cauliflower rice, carrots, peas, and other veggies work great too.
Avocado slices (garnish), mushrooms and tomatoes, although not technically vegetables, will also do the trick.
Adding an acidic ingredient — like tomato — will further absorb quite a bit of the salty flavor.
Veggies will neutralize the saltiness.
This is also a great hack for adding more nutritious vegetables to your meals.
Tip: Sautée the vegetables in a skillet before mixing them into your pot of chili. This will cook them (so you don’t overcook or scorch your chili) and also remove excess moisture (to avoid watery chili).
Raw broccoli soaks up a lot of liquid as it cooks.
Just use chopped broccoli instead of beans.
- Use raw broccoli (not frozen) and only the florets.
- Chop the broccoli very finely.
- The broccoli cooks down — after about an hour — and shrinks to the point you can hardly see it anymore.
Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it!
The broccoli takes on the flavor of the sauce and tastes great.
You can also add fresh mushrooms to your chili. Do not use canned or frozen mushrooms.
- Stir fry finely chopped mushrooms before adding to the chili
- Or add them directly to the chili and hour before it is done
Most of the time, tomato paste is used as a basic ingredient in making chili sauce.
Mix the tomato paste just before serving, in the final half hour of your cooking.
Add the tomato paste, a little at a time, stirring and checking the thickness to ensure that you achieve your desired thickness level.
Tomato paste works wonders in thickening pastes, stews, and soups.
Related: Best Pot For Chili: Top 10 of 2023
4. Serve With Unsalted Starches
- Unsalted Crackers. Crumble a crackers and stir them into your individual serving of chili. Start with 3 or 4 crackers, adding more to bring the chili to your desired thickness.
- Cornbread. Add crumbled cornbread or corn muffin to your chili serving and mix well. The cornbread thickens the chili by absorbing some of the liquid.
- Unsalted Tortilla Chips. Try crushed corn chips. Add a layer of crushed corn chips into your bowl before ladling the chili in. Stir to combine.
5. Add Sour Cream or Mozzarella Cheese
Dairy can counteract over salted food. Sour cream or a low-sodium cheese like fresh mozzarella, Swiss, goat, and ricotta are great fixes.
Did you know?
According to legend, chili largely originated with working-class Tejana and Mexican women, from what is now northern Mexico and southern Texas.
Classic Texas Chili Recipe
Prepare to lose all your chill.
Try this award-winning, authentic Easy Texas Chili Recipe tonight.
This is the best Texas chili recipe on the Internet.
Chili is one of the easiest ways to make dinner or a dip everyone can enjoy.
It’s also an easy meal in the winter … make a batch and you’ve got lunch for a week!
Contest chili is required to have a smooth gravy, which is why you’ll won’t see any fresh onions, peppers, garlic, tomatoes … included here.
Makes 6 servings
- 2 pounds ground chuck
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can beef broth
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can chicken broth
- 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
- 2 serrano peppers
- First Dump (recipe below)
- Second Dump (recipe below)
First Dump (Meat Spices):
- 2 teaspoons dried onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 2 teaspoons each dried beef and chicken bouillon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons light chili powder (such as McCormick)
- 2 teaspoons dark chili powder (such as Mexene).
Second Dump (Gravy Spices):
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon dried garlic powder
- 1/8 teaspoon Hot Stuff seasoning (available online, or use a mix of black pepper and cayenne)
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
- 2 tablespoons light chili powder
- 1 tablespoon dark chili powder
- 1/8 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1 package Sazon Goya seasoning (optional)
- In a medium chili pot, brown your meat; then drain it and set it aside. Remove all grease from the pot and add all of the liquid.
- Poke holes in the serrano peppers with a sharp knife and add them to the pot. Bring the liquid and peppers to a boil; add your first set of spices (First Dump) and the meat. Boil on medium high for 25 minutes or until meat is tender and then turn off. Squeeze the juice from the peppers into the pot and discard the peppers.
- Allow chili to rest for 30 minutes and then bring back to a boil, adding more broth if needed. Add the Second Dump of spices and boil over medium heat for 20 minutes. Check for salt, heat and chili powder flavor; adjust if necessary.
Which cheeses have the most salt?
- Halloumi (approx 330 mg sodium/serving)
- Imported blue cheese (approx 325 mg sodium/serving)
- Feta (approx 323 mg sodium/serving)
- Processed cheeses (like string cheese) (approx 200-300 mg/serving)
- Edam (approx 276 mg sodium/serving)
Can I make another dish out of salty chili?
Here are some ideas for how to turn salty chili into a masterpiece:
- Add pasta and veggies and turn it into a casserole or pasta dish.
- Make it Mex by adding canned flour tortilla, black beans, tomato, sour cream, onions, and cilantro.
- Make a 7-layer burrito
What is the best pasta to use for chili?
- Elbow macaroni
- Small shells
- Curly spirals (fusilli and rotini)
How is chili served?
Chili is most commonly served as a main dish or dip in the United States.
How do you thin chili that’s too thick?
- Add about 1/4 cup of beef/chicken broth or tomato juice for each 1 cup of chili. A little at a time.
- Stir the chili to evenly distribute the new liquid.
- Cover the pot with a lid to avoid evaporation.
- Reseason if desired.
- Keep adding liquid a quarter cup at a time until it reaches the right consistency.
How do you fix salty chili gluten free?
How to Thicken Chili with Gluten-Free Starches, Just Add:
- Cooking collagen powder
- Arrow root powder or kuzu root starch (Japanese arrow root)
- Any corn based thickener like cornstarch, masa harina, tortilla chips, polenta…
- Finely chopped raw broccoli or raw mushrooms
- Gluten-free dry noodles while chili is cooking
- Precooked onion, corn, okra, drained tomatoes
- Low-sodium cheese like mozzarella or goat cheese
- Tomato paste
What is the best secret ingredient for chili?
Chili is endlessly customizable.
Try These 17 Secret Ingredient Ideas for Chili
- Beer, wine or liquor
- Chocolate powder
- Three Beans (Red, Black & Pinto)
- Masa harina or cornbread
- Salsa Verde
- Anchovies or fish sauce
- Pickle juice or vinegar
- Ranch dressing
- Worcestershire sauce
- BBQ sauce
- Peanut butter
- Seared, chopped steak
- Lean ground beef (less moisture)
- Kale or other greens
- Toppings: Bacon, sour cream, shredded cheese
- Garnishes: Chives, cilantro, or avocado slices
What is the difference between Texas chili and regular chili?
Texas Chili is beanless and does not add vegetables like celery, corn or carrots.
In most other states, regular chili includes vegetables as well as kidney, pinto, black or other varieties of beans.
What is a chili spice dump?
When making competition chili, the meat spices are known as the first dump and the sauce (aka gravy) spices are the 2nd dump.
The meat and sauce are cooked separately.
How can I thicken my chili?
There are many ways to thicken chili. The easiest way to thicken chili is to simmer it at a lower heat for longer. A slurry, roux, cheese, beans, or starchy vegetables can also be added to thicken chili faster.
How do you thin out chili that’s too thick?
- Add about beef/chicken broth or tomato juice a little at a time
- Stir the chili to evenly distribute the new liquid
- Cover the pot with a lid to avoid evaporation
- Reseason if desired
How to I thicken my keto chili?
- Reduction: Simmer (without a lid) until liquid reduces
- Cooking collagen powder
- Remove some of the veggies. Mash or blend them, then add back to the chili. The starches in veggies will help thicken the chili.
- Arrow root powder
- Finely chopped raw broccoli or raw mushrooms
- Chia seeds
- Add precooked cauliflower to make the chili chunkier
- Grated parmesan or cheddar cheese
- Xanthan gum (sparingly)
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