How to Neutralize Capsaicin

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Capsaicin is the compound that makes chili peppers hot.
Capsaicin is the compound that makes chili peppers hot. (Image: little hot chili pepper image by Andrei Dulevich from Fotolia.com)

If you have an adventurous palate and enjoy sampling spicy cooking, it will be to your benefit to know how to neutralize capsaicin. Capsaicin is a colorless and odorless compound that is found in chili peppers, and according to Garden Web, is the source of their heat and pungency. The compound is highly potent and can cause irritation, especially in thin membrane areas such as the mouth and eyes. There are several techniques that can be used to neutralize capsaicin and soothe the burning sensation, which mainly consist of consuming neutralizing food and beverages.

Things You'll Need

  • High fat dairy (cream, milk, sour cream)
  • Food with sugar
  • Alcohol
  • Ice Cube

Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water to remove any residual capsaicin that you could spread to other sensitive areas such as your eyes.

Avoid drinking water to cool your mouth after a spicy bite of food. The capsaicin compound is insoluble in water, so it will have little to no positive effect on the intense heat in your mouth.

Take a drink of alcohol if you are already drinking an alcoholic beverage with your meal. According to Chipotle Chiles, capsaicin is soluble in alcohol, so it will help to soothe the burn from the chilies.

Consume high-fat dairy in any available from. This includes milk, cream or sour cream — often served with spicy Mexican food — which will help coat the mouth and break the bonds of the capsaicin.

Eat something sweet with high sugar content such as a dessert item or a beverage with sugar (i.e. sweet tea or punch). According to Chipotle Chiles, sugars will also bind to pain receptors in your mouth, which will help to dull the burn from the spice.

Suck on a cool ice cube to provide additional soothing sensation after you have taken the necessary steps to neutralize the capsaicin.

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