30/12/2015 1:43 PM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST

How To Stop Chilli Burn, Fast

Michael Marquand via Getty Images
Spicy red chili peppers for sale at the Central Market in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Southeast Asia.

We all have that mate who believes the mark of a man is how much chilli he can handle. That guy aside, most of us enjoy a chilli stir fry, green curry or vindaloo from time to time.

Though, sometimes you order a dish and get more bang for your buck than you bargained for.

"When we eat chilli, there is a substance contained in them called capsaicin, and this invigorates our taste buds. Our taste buds then send a message to our brain saying 'you're burning!'," Ben Varela, Group Executive Chef at Public House Management Group told The Huffington Post Australia.

So, what's the best approach to stop the burn, fast?


"Consuming dairy is a great option because it sticks to the oily/waxy capsaicin and allows you to swallow it," said Varela.

The reason being, capsaicin dissolves in fat and oil -- so yoghurt and sour cream are also your best bet to beat the burn. Speaking of oil, if you don't have any dairy handy, then a small dose of olive or coconut oil will also do the trick. Really stuck? Try a spoonful of peanut butter.


"Cucumber will offer brief relief. However, it won't dissolve the capsaicin oil simply because oil and water don't mix," said Varela.

Cucumber is often served as a condiment with Asian dishes -- which is why people think it will sooth the effects of chilli -- when in reality it's intended as a palette cleanser.


Believe it or not, booze does help, because capsaicin dissolves in alcohol -- though your beverage would need to be fairly strong. For that reason, beer isn't the best option.

"Beer can help many things. However, once again it only offers fleeting relief from the burn," said Varela.

White wine is better, but milk trumps any alcoholic beverage you're having with your meal -- unless you're sipping straight vodka.


Humble H20 has to help, right? Sadly not. Water and water-based beverages only spread the capsaicin -- and along with it the burn. That means your juice and soft drinks are no help either.

"If your mouth is on fire I would be drinking the moo juice!," said Varela.


While starchy carbs won't dissolve capsaicin, they will act like a sponge, helping to soak up some of the substance. Grab that sticky or jasmine rice and shovel in a few mouthfuls.

"I personally love chilli so use it wherever possible. My favourite thing at the moment is to smoke them and store them in oil. They add great flavour to any dish," said Varela.