3 Easy Ways to Thicken Chili

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Nobody wants a thin chili because, honestly, then it’s really just soup! Chili should be thick and hearty enough to be a meal on its own, but sometimes there’s just a bit more liquid than you want in the pot. If you keep on cooking the chili, some of the ingredients — like the beans — may fall apart and turn to mush, so here are three other ways that you can easily thicken your chili.

1. Use a potato masher.

All you have to do is take a potato masher and smash some (but not all) of the chili around. Mashing the beans and vegetables so that they break down and release their natural starches will help thicken the excess liquid while still leaving a good portion of the beans intact.

2. Add cornmeal.

Sprinkling in a tablespoon or so of cornmeal, masa harina, or even polenta is a great way to thicken Southwestern-inspired chilis. Adding any of these three to a hot pot of chili means that it’ll absorb and help thicken the liquid after simmering for about 10 additional minutes. While it might add a slightly grainy texture to your chili, I find that it’s not too different than when you crumble cornbread into your bowl.

(Image credit: Christine Gallary)

3. Add tortillas.

A lot of tortilla soup recipes rely on tortillas or tortilla chips to break down and thicken the soup, so you can apply the same principle here. Just tear up some tortillas into small pieces — flour or corn is up to you — stir them into the pot of hot chili, and let the whole thing simmer for 10 minutes before you stir again.

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