How To Thicken Chilli Con Carne

Best Thicken Up Chilli

If you’ve ever made a pot of chilli con Carne on a cold day, you might have wondered how to thicken it up if it became too liquidy and soup-like. The good news is that there are many easy ways to make your chilli thicker, using ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen and a little more simmering time.

Best Thicken Up Chilli


What is Chilli?

Chilli is a thick sauce made of meat, beans, and spices. The exact ingredients depend on where you live and what you like. Most of the time, the ingredients in a chilli recipe taste better when they have more time to cook together. The best chilli recipes let you use different kinds of ingredients and cook them for different amounts of time to get the best flavour. Traditional chilli is cooked with minced beef, though you could use turkey or chicken if you prefer, or if you just want to try something different. There are different ways to cook chilli, depending on what tools you like to use, like a slow cooker, Dutch oven, pressure cooker, or stockpot and how much time you have since each method needs a different amount of attention and time to cook.

Ways To Make Chilli Thicker

There are many easy ways to make chilli thicker with everyday kitchen items. If your chilli is thin, try one of these ways to make it thicker and more flavoursome:

1. Let Your Chilli Cook Without A Lid

Take the lid off the pot if you want to keep things simple. Simmer chilli with the lid off for 20 to 30 minutes to help get rid of some of the liquid and help the mixture get thicker.

2. Add A Tablespoon Of Cornflour

Cornflour soaks up extra liquid, so adding a tablespoon to your chilli will make it thicker. After adding the cornflour, let the chilli cook on low for about ten minutes. If you don’t have cornmeal, use polenta, or arrowroot powder (gluten-free vegetable root flour) to thicken.

3. Put In One Cup Of Beans

When in doubt, add more beans. Mash some black beans or pinto beans with a potato masher. That will let their natural starches come out, which will help make the liquid thicker. Make sure to add a few extra pinches of spices (like chilli powder, cumin, salt, and pepper) to the recipe to keep the taste.

4. Add Baking Powder

Did you know that you can use baking powder to thicken a sauce? Adding sodium bicarbonate and cornstarch to a stew is a quick way to make it taste better. Before adding the powder to the pot, mix it with cold milk or water to ensure it doesn’t taste bitter.

5. Mix In Tomato Purée Or Add More Tinned Tomatoes

Using tomato purée as a thickening agent will give your final bowl of chilli a tangy flavour. Add one tbsp of tomato purée to your pot of chilli, stir, and let it cook for about 30 minutes on medium heat. To avoid changing the taste of your chilli too much by adding any new ingredients, just add another tin of tomatoes to thicken it up and add some density. Just make sure there isn’t too much liquid.

6. Add Cornstarch Or All-Purpose Flour

Cornstarch and all-purpose flour are common thickeners that you might already have in your pantry. Adding flour directly into the chilli will create lumps. Mix one tablespoon of cold water with one tablespoon of cornstarch to make a slurry. Stir the cornstarch slurry into the chilli to spread it out evenly. Let the mixture cook on low heat for 10 minutes.

7. Add Oats

If you don’t have any leftover beans or vegetables, you can thicken your chilli with quick oats. Adding oats to your chilli is also a healthy alternative to cornstarch and all-purpose flour. Add a tablespoon of quick oats to your chilli and cook it for three minutes on medium-high heat. The oats will soak up the extra liquid.

8. Add Shredded Cheese

When shredded cheese melts, it makes your chilli feel thick and doughy. Melted cheese is delicious, so this method takes care of two things at once.

9. Add Mashed Beans

This easy trick is a quick way to make chilli thicker without adding more ingredients. If your chilli has beans, use a potato masher to break them up. The mashed beans will make the stew thicker right away.

3 Potential Causes BehindYour Chilli Being Too Thin

Many things cause thin chilli, but they all come down to a lack of liquid evaporation. This can happen because:

  • Too many fresh tomatoes: Many chilli recipes incorporate fresh tomatoes to add colour and flavour to the final dish. However, when heated, fresh tomatoes release water, which can thin your chilli.
  • Short cooking times: To make chilli that smells good and is thick, cook the ingredients low and slow. If you let your chilli simmer for long enough, the remaining liquid will be absorbed by the heat, making it thicker. Your chilli will also taste better because the spices have more time to blend.
  • Too much stock: Chicken or beef stock gives chilli an earthy taste, but if you use too much, it can make the chilli watery. To fix this, add more solid ingredients like vegetables, meat, and beans, or let your chilli cook longer. Add the seasonings your chilli needs to keep its original flavour.


Thin chilli is the worst thing that could happen. Don’t worry if your chilli looks more like a bowl of soup than a thick stew. There are many ways to make chilli thicker without changing its taste. Some of these ideas might make your stew taste better.


Should I thicken my chilli?

Chilli should be thick and hearty enough to be a meal on its own, but sometimes there’s just a bit more liquid in the pot than you want. You could keep simmering the chilli, which could cause the beans and other soft ingredients to get too soft and lose their lovely texture. If you are noticing that this is the case, you may want to thicken it up.

How can I thicken my chilli without it changing its taste?

Keep the chilli warm. This is the best way to make chilli thicker without changing how it tastes, feels, or looks. All you have to do is let your chilli simmer on low heat. Ensure the lid is off your pot so the extra liquid can evaporate. It’s essential to cook your chilli on low heat for a long time. If you really want to ensure you don’t change the taste by adding anything new to the dish, just thicken the chilli with more tomatoes.

Does cooking chilli over low heat make it thicker?

Yes! The longer you let the chilli simmer without the lid, the thicker it gets. The extra liquid will turn into steam, which will help reduce the chilli until it is nice and thick.

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