How to make a curry less spicy

Made a batch of curry or chilli that’s ended up hotter than intended? Find out which ingredients you can add to make it less intense and balance the overall flavour.

Vegetable curry in a wide pan with yogurt

Try these tricks for reducing the heat. Add a little at a time and taste as you go but bear in mind that you will build up immunity to the heat as you taste.

5 ways to make a curry or chilli less spicy:

1. More vegetables 

The easiest way to dissipate heat in any recipe is to add more ingredients, generally more veg will be the option you have to hand and they're quicker to cook than some other options. Starchy veg such as potato and sweet potato are particularly effective. 

2. Coconut milk or cream 

For Thai curry and other similar coconut-based curries, add more coconut milk, or a spoonful of coconut cream to each serving to be stirred through. Coconut milk is a vegan option for all curries, providing the coconut flavour will work.

3. Lemon, lime or vinegar

Adding a squeeze of citrus, a splash of vinegar or some salt may also work (for both coconut-based and other curries like this goat curry) as they will balance out the flavour.

4. Yogurt or soured cream

A dollop of yogurt or soured cream works wonders on Indian-style curries and chillies but you can also add milk to the curry or chilli base if you have really gone overboard with heat. Simmer the base gently once you have added it but don’t boil it or it may split. 

5. Sugar or ketchup

Sometimes a pinch more sugar helps, or for a tomato-based dish like this Cape Malay chicken curry, a spoonful of ketchup. Do taste as you go though, or you may end up with an overly sweet dish as well. 

Chicken curry with vegetables and yellow rice on a plate

Like this? Now check out these curry and chilli recipe ideas: 

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What's your favourite tip for making a curry or chilli less spicy? Leave a comment below...

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