How to Thicken Chili Without Effecting Taste (8 Easy ways)

How to Thicken Chili

If you are chili lover, then you know nothing can beat the taste of a thick chili on a cold day. Chili is the ultimate food that makes me feel comfortable. But what if your comfort food ends up in a thin and soup-like form? Don’t be afraid here I will explain How to Thicken Chili for the perfect winter dinner.

Here we’re talking about thin chili problem that feels like a soup. Well, relax! Don’t worry; I got your back. In this article, I will explain 9 different and easiest ways to thicken your chili. These methods are tested and fail-proof.

Well without wasting more time here are the 8 ways to answers the question, how to thicken chili without effecting and changing its flavour.

1- Cook Your Chili Uncovered

Are you interested to know how to make chili thicker without adding anything into it? This is then the best way to thicken chili without effecting and changing its taste, texture, or appearance.

Just keep the things simple, take the lid off the pot. Keep Boiling your chili uncovered for 20 to 30 minutes. It will help to reduce the liquid and stimulate the mixture to thicken up.

2- How to Thicken Chili with Flour, Cornstarch, or Arrowroot

This method is also one of the easiest ways to thicken the chili. Moreover, we always have some flour or cornstarch at home.

To make chili thicken with flour or cornstarch, you have to begin with the need to make a slurry with water. To do this, blend all-purpose flour and water in a 1:2 proportion. In the process you’re utilizing cornstarch, blend it with the same amount of water. Including flour or cornstarch straightforwardly to the hot chili will result in large lumps.

After including the slurry in the chili, blend it carefully and well to make sure that it mixup with the chili. Bring it up to the boiling point and let it boil for 10 more minutes. Let the flour cook totally, else, you will taste raw flour in your chili.

If your chili still not thick enough, repeat the process. It is important to keep in mind that this strategy will give those veggies a gleaming appearance.

Moreover, arrowroot acts same like cornstarch and is tasteless. Add equal amounts of arrowroot powder and water to make a slurry. Then, add it to the chili until it thickens.

3- Using Cornmeal as a Thickener

Cornmeal acts the same as flour. It makes chili thicker by retaining the additional liquid. In any case, you don’t get to blend it with water like in method no two.

A tablespoon of cornmeal is the perfect way to thicken the chili. You can also use polenta or masa harina if you’re feeling especially favor.

All you have to do is to add a tablespoon of any of these cornmeal powders to your chili while it’s cooking and mix it in. Next, let the chili boil and thicken for 10 minutes more.

Moreover, the downside of using cornmeal to thicken chili will give it a grainy mouthfeel. While that may not be a problem for most people, some might not enjoy the texture.

Whereas that will not be an issue for most people, a few might not appreciate the texture.

4- Mashing Beans into the Chili

Another method for How to Thicken chili is with mashing beans into the chili . If you don’t often use beans in your chili, now is a good time to start using. Include a cup of kidney or pinto beans and to mash the beans into chili use potato masher. If you don’t have a potato masher available, you can also use a big wooden spoon or the back of your scoop to do the mashing.

But if you are already using beans in your chili and it still feels like soup, here is how to make the chili thicker.

Get a cup of the beans and blend them into a thick paste. After blending, add the paste into your chili and bring it to the boiling point. Let it boil until it reaches your desired thickness.

Blending or mashing the beans discharges the starch actually present within the beans. The starch will absorb the extra water in the chili and make it thicker. Also, this is the best way to thicken chili without effecting the taste of the dish.

5- How to Thicken Chili with Tomato Paste

The use of tomato paste is another way to thicken chili because it also adds an amazing tangy flavor to the chili.

Mix in one small 60 oz can of tomato paste into your chili during the last 30 minutes of cooking. Let it simmer until thickened.

Blend in one little 60 oz can of tomato paste into your chili while the final 30 minutes of cooking. Let it boil until chili is thickened.

Most of the chili dishes are already tomato-based, so this won’t change the taste much. Moreover, it will add some zest and tangy taste into the chili

On the other hand, tomato paste also has a few bitter notes so including a little spoon of sugar to those chilis will adjust things out.

6- How to Thicken Chili with Shredded Cheese

In case you need to thicken those small, ruddy vegetables after cooking or while serving it. Including shredded cheese is the only and the simplest way to get the work done.

You can do this by adding a big amount of shredded cheese topping on your bowl of chili. On the other hand, you can also scoop a large dollop of cheese sauce over them.

This works 100 percent because shredded cheese and cheese sauces have citric acid, which works as an emulsifier. It works by binding the fluid to the cheese, which hence thickens the chili.

Once the cheese is placed in contact with the hot chili, it melts and binds with the liquid. It even absorbs some of the liquid as it melts.

Once the cheese is set in contact with the hot chili, it begins to liquefy and tie with the liquid. It indeed retains a few of the liquid because it melts.

Cheese moreover includes flavor, richness, and creaminess to any dish; which is why it is one of our favorite ways to thicken chili!

7- Potato Starch to Thicken the Chili

If you are wondering, yes, you can make a potato starch roux, helping thicken the chili. Browned potatoes taste delicious, and a potato roux is delicious!

Firstly, you need to melt one tablespoon of unsalted butter in a pot. After that add one tablespoon of potato starch. Boil while cooking until fully include and the roux is browned. Boil the cooled roux into your chili. Bring to a boiling point (pot should be uncovered) and cook for about 10 minutes. Adjust Flavor as required.

You can also use rice flour roux. Both have similar results, and no doubt, browned rice always tastes good.

8- How to Thicken Chili with Xanthan Gum

The last method in this article to thicken chili is using xanthan gum. This is a type of sugar that’s obtained from corn, soy, or wheat. It’s utilized in a whole range of products, like toothpaste, ice cream, and chewing gum. This is because it’s a fabulous thickening agent.

Moreover, many people on gluten-free diets use it. Because, it can work as a fabulous alternative to gluten in helping to tie things like bread and baked goods.

Many thickening agents you heard of here or in the other article will have some effect on the taste of your chili. But in the case of xanthan gum, it’s totally different. It’s completely tasteful and also making it a great option. The main drawback is, it can be quite expensive, but it is easily available on the internet.

It can also make knots if you apply it directly into your chili. So, I suggest you mix it into a few tablespoons of cold water firstly before mixing it.

Thickening after Serving:

If your chili still a little on the soupy side, you can also thicken it after serving. This can be helpful when you have a lot of guests or a crowd to serve. Each person can adjust the chili according to their taste.

On the other hand, if you want the thicken chili after it has been served, you can add crushed tortilla chips or crumbled cornbread topping on chili.

Moreover, to keep things low carb, add a fistful amount of shredded cheese instead, Your chili will become cheesy, thick, and tasteful.

Letting It Thicken Naturally:

This is maybe the simplest way to thicken your chili. All you need to do is cook the chili until the extra fluid evaporates. But, this method takes too much time than the others.


Well you know there is no perfect way to thicken the chili. It all depends on your individual preferences. You also need to factor in the ingredients you have on hand and how much time you have before serving.

Knowing how to thicken chili is pivotal since you’ll be able to arrange ahead. In case the chili does end up too watery, you won’t feel frightened since you now know how to settle it.

So here is my guide on how to make chili thicken. Now it is your turn, go ahead and make that pot of chili. You’ve got nothing to worry about!