There are many different reasons that your salsa could land up way spicier than you intended (and can handle). Some recipes call for a certain amount of chopped jalapenos to be added into the salsa, but jalapenos can range in heat from giving your tongue a little tingle, to setting your whole mouth on fire.
As there really is no better way for you to test how hot the jalapeno is, other than taking a bite out of it, it is fairly easy to land up with an overly-spicy salsa. However, if too much heat isn’t your thing but the salsa cravings aren’t going away, what can you do?
Can you make salsa less spicy? There are many ways to reduce the spiciness of salsa. To make salsa less spicy, you can dilute it, increase the acidity, add sweetness, add fried onions, and serve it with sour cream, cucumbers, cilantro, or avocado.
To help you make your salsa less spicy in the future, as it is easier than avoiding too much spiciness in the first place, here is a list of all the different ways to make salsa less spicy.
How To Make Salsa Less Spicy
Below are 9 ways to make salsa less spicy. Choose the method that works for you and your taste buds!
1. Dilute The Salsa
Possibly the easiest way to reduce the heat in salsa is to increase the number of ingredients that are not spicy in relation to the already spicy ingredients.
For example, you could add in more tomato, onion, and cilantro to the already mixed salsa. By adding these ingredients, you will be reducing the heat, but not diluting the actual flavor of the salsa, and still give it a balanced taste.
You can do this by making a new batch of salsa without any jalapenos, and adding it to half of the spicy salsa, which will give you a good portion, but with half of the heat.
You can add more of the non-spicy salsa until it is just right for your taste buds.
If the salsa is quite thick, you could also try to add some water to dilute it slightly, but not too much that it becomes watery.
2. Increase The Acidity In The Salsa
One effective way to reduce the level of heat in food is to add in more acidity. It is so helpful to understand how other flavors and ingredients influence the overall profile of a dish, and acidity is one of those ingredients that makes quite a difference.
Salsa is already quite acidic, and acidity is an important component of the dish.
To reduce the heat in salsa, you can add in some lime juice, even if it is not found in the original recipe. The lime juice actually gives a lovely citrus taste to the salsa, while cutting down the heat.
Another acidic option is to add some vinegar to the salsa, you just have to be careful to not overdo it.
Lastly, you can also add more tomato to the salsa, as tomato is acidic, but also add in other ingredients such as cilantro and onion to balance out the flavor.
3. Add Sweetness
A small bit of sugar can help make your salsa just right if it is only a tiny bit too hot. You don’t want to add in too much sugar that you land up with a sweet salsa, but just a little bit can help tweak it down to the perfect heat.
Sugar can help neutralize the acidity of the tomato as well.
If you are not a fan of adding in sugar to savory dishes, you can then add a small amount of tomato paste, which will neutralize the heat and give the salsa a smoother consistency, rather than it being too watery.
4. Add Fried Onions
Fried onions work great when added into an already spicy salsa, as they can help to add some sweetness and a little bit of fat. Both fat and sweetness both work wonderfully to reduce the level of heat in dishes.
Fat can help to break up the capsaicin coating, which is what causes the hot, burning sensation.
The fat from the fried onions breaks down the bond of the capsaicin, so the burning sensation isn’t as intense and does not last as long.
5. Serve With Sour Cream
If you are hesitant to add in any other ingredients to your salsa, you could just serve it with sour cream.
You might have the perfect balance of flavors, ignoring the heat, and any other ingredient added to the salsa might ruin that.
You might also be catering to a group of people, some who enjoy the heat and others who don’t. By serving the salsa with sour cream, you will be able to cater to each taste.
The sour cream helps to neutralize the heat from the jalapenos and capsaicin, as it contains fat and acts as a diluent for the salsa, both of which will reduce the spiciness.
Those who prefer a hotter salsa can go without sour cream and those who want something milder can top their salsa with the sour cream.
6. Add Fruit
This will work if you are a little experimental with your salsa. You can effectively tone down the heat by adding in some sweet fruits such as pineapple, peaches, or even melon.
Adding in these sweet fruits will change the original recipe, but it could create a delicious new salsa with less heat.
You can use either canned or fresh pineapple, a ripe or canned peach, cantaloupe, honeydew, or watermelon. Add the fruit into the salsa a little bit at a time until you have reached the right level of spiciness.
7. Serve With Cucumbers Or Avocado
Both avocado and chopped cucumbers can reduce the heat in salsa and other foods.
You can choose to chop up the cucumber into small cubes and add this directly into the salsa or serve slices of cucumber on the side to be topped onto the salsa.
You can also make guacamole with some fresh avocado, and add in whatever ingredients you use to make your own guacamole. Serve this on the side with the salsa, and it will do wonders to reduce the heat.
Guacamole is also delicious served with salsa – so you should include it on your plate even if your salsa isn’t too spicy!
8. Chop Up Cilantro
Many people do not love cilantro, but if you are one of those who do, then you can chop up some more of the leafy green herb to add to the salsa.
Cilantro does well to reduce heat, and it adds more of the authentic taste of salsa without diluting the flavors or balance too much.
9. Choose The Right Chilies Beforehand
If you are more sensitive to heat, you might want to look for a milder chili to add to your salsa before it gets to the point of being too spicy.
To reduce the heat beforehand, you can either use canned green chilies or roasted or raw tomatillos. These can both be added in the place of other jalapenos or chilies, and do help to reduce the expected heat.
It is much easier to plan and make the recipe milder with certain ingredients, than trying to fix a too-spicy salsa, although there are many ways to do so.
For an authentic tomatillo salsa, also known as salsa verde, check out this video by Juaja Cocina Mexicana on YouTube. You can reduce the spiciness by omitting the red chili peppers.
How To Reduce Spiciness: Summary Chart
|How To Make Salsa Less Spicy||Why It Works|
|1.||Dilute the salsa||Dilutes the spice by adding water or non-spicy salsa|
|2.||Increase the acidity||Tempers the spice by reducing the aftertaste|
|3.||Add sweetness||Balances the spice by adding a new flavor|
|4.||Add fried onions||The fat in the fried onions cuts through the spice|
|5.||Serve with sour cream||Neutralizes the spice|
|6.||Add fruit||Adds sweetness and changes the flavor|
|7.||Serve with cucumbers or avocado||Lessens the spice by adding neutral ingredients|
|8.||Chop up cilantro||Reduces the heat and adds a more authentic taste|
|9.||Choose the right chilies beforehand||Prevents too much spice with milder chilies|
Does salsa get less spicy overtime?
Salsa might taste less spicy if it is kept in the fridge for some time. Most flavors, including spice, are more pronounced when food is warm (this applies to guacamole as well), so being kept in the fridge can make it seem like it is less spicy.
It might also be a case that the flavor has had time to mellow out and blend with the other ingredients.
However, you might find that the salsa is spicier 5 minutes after you first tasted it when made fresh, as the jalapenos or other chilies have had time to spread throughout the salsa.
There are many factors that decide when a salsa tastes spicier or not, but if kept in the fridge for a while it will probably taste more mellow.
Does banana help reduce spiciness?
Banana is a great food to serve on the side of spicy meals. It is a creamy fruit, much like avocado, and helps to neutralize the heat. Many people love to have sliced up banana on the side of curry, for when it gets a little too hot!
Reducing The Spice In Salsa
It is nearly impossible to put down a tortilla chip just because the salsa is too hot, but instead of punishing your taste buds, you can reduce the spiciness in the salsa so you can get back to enjoying the perfect snack.
The above methods all work wonders to help neutralize the heat in salsa, and you should be able to find the method that suits you best.
How to make salsa less spicy: Double the mild ingredients, add in neutralizing flavors, or serve your salsa with some sour cream or guacamole.
Find the one spice-reduction method that helps you enjoy your salsa!