How A Potato Masher Can Help Thicken Chili

Chili is an often fiery and always hearty dish with a colorful history but a murky definition. Merriam-Webster defines chili as "a thick sauce of meat and chilies." However, Southern Living says plenty of chili fanatics out there wouldn't stand for this definition. Some would argue that anything worthy of being called chili should contain beans, but most people in Texas, where chili was invented, would never stand for beans in a bowl of chili.

One aspect of chili that is less argued over is whether or not it needs to be thick. This may sound like an argument better suited to the debate of soup vs. stew, but it also has its place with chili. Much like chili's ingredients, everyone has their own opinion on the matter, but a thicker chili certainly adds a robust texture to any bowl of the piping hot stew. Thankfully, there's a convenient tool (that you likely already possess) that can help you thicken your chili and helps to make a case for beans as well.

Potato mashers help release natural starches

There are plenty of different ways to thicken chili. Corn flour has been known to add a thickness to the stew, but brings its own flavor along with it. If you're looking for a thicker chili without any added flavors, one of the best ways is to use a potato masher.

Kitchn points out that a potato masher is a great tool for thickening chili. By using a masher to lightly break down some of the vegetables, and beans if you're into that sort of thing, it releases their natural starches which act as a thickening agent. Jessica Gavin points out that starches thicken sauces, soups, and stews, and they are naturally released by many vegetables as they break down. Beans are considered a starchy vegetable according to Healthline, and Boat Basin Cafe says that this potato masher hack is another reason to include them in your recipe. So, if you're going for a thick and hearty chili, adding some beans into the pot and breaking them down with a potato masher is one of the best ways to do it.