The amount of heat in fresh chiles can vary significantly, which occasionally results in a bowl of homemade salsa too spicy to enjoy. Is there any way to tame the heat? The surest solution is to make a second batch of salsa—this time skipping the chiles—and combine the two, diluting the kick of the original.

Another possibility is to add something that will both counteract the chiles’ burn and complement the salsa’s flavor. The substances that best mute capsaicin—the compound that gives chiles their heat—are alcohol and fats, Soul Vole says, so folding in some diced avocado should help. The sweetness of peaches or melon can also help defuse the heat, and add nice flavor as well, says Leepa.

Photograph of CHOW’s Pico de Gallo recipe by Chris Rochelle /

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