When You Should Consider Adding Peanut Butter To Chili

Chili is a beloved hearty comfort food that has a seemingly endless list of versions. From Texas red chili to Cincinnati-style chili to white chicken chili, there's many types to try. But, often, it is a single ingredient that can bring chili to the next level.

Many people vouch for cocoa powder being a great addition to chili as the chocolate pairs well with the chile powder: When added together in the pot, an earthy and nutty flavor can be noticed, as can a richness that would otherwise be lacking.

Cinnamon is another sweet and surprising addition some people swear by. According to Food Network, cinnamon can tone down the spiciness and pairs well with cumin and chile powder. But, be careful, only half a teaspoon is recommended for the entire batch.

While you may have heard of these sweet additions, adding peanut butter may be surprising. That said, peanut butter can transform your chili in the best ways.

Why peanut butter improves chili

Peanut butter is a beloved kitchen staple that can be used in a myriad of recipes and snacks: Drizzling it on ice cream or adding it to oatmeal cookies can perfect your treats in ways you may not expect. However, it is more rare that we find peanut butter in savory dishes. 

While you may have tried it in your pad Thai or salad, have you tried it in chili? This recommendation may seem strange, but there are a lot of reasons to try this addition out. Taste of Home notes that it's an easy way to get your daily protein in, especially if you're making vegetarian or vegan chili. It can also thicken up the broth, making for a smooth and creamy chili. Plus, if you want to avoid a liquidy chili, according to Kitchn, you can add peanut butter instead of trying to simmer it and potentially overcooking your other ingredients.

Finally, if you accidentally overdo the spiciness, peanut butter can reduce the heat. According to the National Peanut Board, capsaicin is the chemical in chile peppers that gives them spice. This chemical is fat-soluble, making peanut butter a perfect tool to combat any chile pepper predicament.