Eating spicy food is an energizing experience. Adding another round of cracked pepper to your recipe is great and all, but cayenne, paprika, jalapeño, and chilies can make otherwise plain food feel more alive and tingling with flavor. You may sweat, your tongue may burn a little, but it all just tastes (and feels!) so good.
These recipes can ease you into just a little heat, and a little sunshine. They won't make your mouth feel on fire all night – they'll just add a little warmth to your dinner table. From a spicy grapefruit guacamole, to a 30-minute chicken posole, to bibimbap tacos – you have plenty to choose from.
To the spice-fiends and spice-wary, take note: These recipes won't require a glass of milk nearby to cool your mouth. If that's what you're looking for, bump up the spices and add some hot sauce. If you're testing the boundaries of what you can and can't eat, take it easy and remember to taste the recipe while your cooking. Adjust as needed.
Pairing drinks with spicy food can be a fun challenge. You can't go wrong with a cold beer, but it's a little bit of a challenge to find the right wine. If you do go the wine route, try to find something dry and spicy or something on the sweeter side.
More on wine & spicy food→ 3 Rules for Pairing Wines with Spicy Foods
17 Recipes That Bring Some Heat
Appetizers & Side Dishes
- Spicy Grapefruit Guacamole
- Grilled Cabbage Wedges with Spicy Lime Dressing
- Avocado Stuffed with Spicy Shrimp
- Roasted Jalapeño & Lime Hummus
- Spicy Chicken Flautas with Lime Sour Cream
- Spicy Korean Cucumber Salad
- Spicy Lentil Wraps with Tahini Sauce
- Southwestern Butternut Squash Soup
- Grilled Chipotle Lime Cauliflower Steaks
- Spicy Glass Noodles with Crispy Pork (Yum Woon Sen)
- Spicy Korean Grilled Chicken
- Egg Noodles with Rich Chicken Curry Sauce (Khao Soi)
- Chipotle Chicken Fajitas with Creamy Black Bean Spread
- 30-Minute Chicken Posole
- Blackened Catfish Fajitas
- Bibimbap Tacos
- Indian Chili Chicken