How to Cool Down a Curry That Is “Too Hot!”

The spice in a curry comes from the chilli used, and is caused by a crystalline alkaloid called capsaicin, which is found in chilli peppers.

As a rule of thumb, remember the smaller the chilli, the hotter it will be.

Serving up a curry that is going to burn the digestive systems of our friends is not something we want to do. Some of us like hot and spicy food, but too hot is not a great look.

There is nothing worse than guests trying to be polite as sweat streams down their faces! Probably they will be cursing you the next morning as well as they may have a bad case of “Ghandi’s Revenge”.

In this article we look at ways to cool down a curry that is just a tad too spicy.

Curry not yet served up

  • One of the easiest methods to cool down a curry that is just too hot is to add coconut milk.
  • Add fresh lemon or lime juice. This will help to reduce some of the hotness because the citric acid will counteract some of the alkalinity of the capsaicin.

Curry already served

  • Drink milk with the spicy meal or serve a savoury Raita side dish, such as a cooling mint Raita. Raita dishes are made with yoghurt and a little diced onion.
  • Banana and coconut are two further foods to serve as accompaniments to curry which are known to help make a fiery curry more palatable.

These methods can be used to turn a Curry that is a bit too hot into something edible, if, however, your curry is even hotter than that then the only other solution would be to create another sauce altogether. And this time go easy on the chilli! Less chilli gives a milder curry.

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  1. I just bought a pre-made sauce from the store… and I was drinking milk with it but it was just tooooo hot. Found this and added lemon juice to the mixture not eaten and then thought I might as well add it to what I am eating… and it works!! I am thrilled cause I was having so much trouble eating it ha ha

  2. I made a curry with regular curry powder, way too hot! Added the coconut milk as per suggestion and it worked a treat! So pleased this was my first attempt at cooking curry and i was serving it to my father (who is the king of curry) and i wanted to show him that his training had paid off! lol… Thanks so much for the hint!

  3. If you find that the curry is to hot the best thing to add before surving is aprox 100ml of natural yougart and a squeeze of half a lemon!!!

  4. By adding lemon juice really works. What I would like to know is – is there anything that can be done if too much salt is added to a curry ?

    1. U can add boiled potatoes…and if u don’t want the potatoes in the curry before serving u can remove the potatoes..

  5. Would adding full fat milk cool down a hot curry as like alot of people I may not have coconut milk or fresh lemons.

    1. Milk would cool down a curry if you do not have coconut milk or yoghurt. But coconut milk and yoghurt taste better with a curry than milk. If you’re making a curry and not too sure how hot it is going to be then investing in a tin of coconut milk does not cost much and you’ll have the tin for a long time if you don’t need it.

    1. Yes you can. Just add the coconut milk to the curry a little at a time and gently stir it into the curry. Taste the curry after a about 15-20 seconds. Keep adding more coconut milk until the curry spice level drops to what you want.

  6. Thanks!

    I was making a soup with curry powder in it, added way too much. Then I came on here a read your coconut milk suggestion!.. it was the missing ingredient!! It make the soup. and cooled down the curry.

    Much thanks.

  7. thanks-just found you and am bookmarking your page. Saved a big pan of curry that was way too hot with coconut milk. Thanks again

  8. thank you, your hints were most appreciated I would not like embarrass my guests with a overdone spicy meal. thank you, Bevan

  9. The ONLY thing that works is Avocado – trust me. As a kid in the 50’s and 60’s my parents made me eat Vindaloo curry and boy was it HOT. Fortunately we has Avo trees in the back garden (Durban, South Africa) and after trying everything mentioned in this blog (cold water, coconut, milk, lemon, ice cream ……) after eating half an avacocado there was very rapid relief. I am now a Vindaloo fan but always have a few avo’s on stand-by just in case.

  10. Hi I’m Ted and love a curry although I don’t like it too hot, but I learned a trick when in Malaya, the Malays have dishes of diced fruit on the table, its called Rojac for anyone to help themseaves to who feels the curry is too hot, these dishes contain pineapple, apple, pear, and even cucumber doe’s a good job to cool the curry.

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