Tone down spicy foods by adding a small amount of sugar or stirring in an acidic product such as vinegar or citrus juice. Alternate methods include incorporating dairy products such as sour cream, milk, cream or yogurt into the dish or adding extra ingredients to dilute the spice.
Start by adding small doses to avoid altering the flavor too much, particularly when using sugar or acids. Stir the ingredient into the dish and taste it with a clean spoon. Choose the right method for the dish. For example, for a stir-fry, adding extra rice, veggies or sauce can help lessen the impact of the heat. Overly spicy soups and stews can be made milder by adding extra broth to dilute the effects of the spice. Add more tomatoes and beans to a pot of chili or more meat to a meat-based dish.
Keep in mind while preparing a recipe that the smaller the pepper, the more heat it is likely to have. Lessen the heat of chili peppers by removing the seeds and membranes before adding them to a dish. Additionally, when cooking for a crowd, consider adopting a less is more approach to using spicy ingredients. Remember, you can always add crushed red pepper or fresh diced chillies as a garnish for those who prefer spicier dishes.