Even careful cooks can get carried away with black pepper or cayenne, creating an unpleasantly hot soup or stew. How best to salvage an overspiced dish?

While some suggest diluting it with broth or making a second, unspiced batch to combine with the peppery pot, the most effective solution is also the simplest—and employs an ingredient you probably keep on hand.

A bit of lemon juice will neutralize excess heat, nelly k says, though you may need to add a dash of sugar to counteract the lemon’s acidity and bring the dish into balance. Many hounds attest to the effectiveness of the lemon juice save, including bostonpatriot, who says it “worked immediately in my vegetable barley soup.”

Discuss: Help!!!! Added too much pepper

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