I'm following a recipe that calls for 2 chiles serranos and serves 6. The dish is not hot/spicy at all, and I wouldn't want to lose this when scaling.

I need to scale by 6, and the dish should serve about 36 persons. Should I now use 12 chiles serranos?

They will be cooked with the rest of the ingredients, adding some flavour. Unless I'm missing something about this recipe, you are not supposed to eat the chiles!

This is the recipe I'm following. It's from a Diana Kennedy book.

I don't want the dish to become super hot!!!

2 Answers 2


I would follow the age-old cooking rule that says you can always add, but you can never take away. In other words, I'd add, say, 6 chillis, see how that tasted, and add more if you think it needs it.

  • 2
    This is important with chilies as they can vary considerable from batch to batch. Commented Nov 30, 2011 at 13:59
  • @dmckee: But the variance will be reduced in larger quantities. If it's been not-spicy with two chiles several times, surely that's enough data to be confident it won't when scaled up. Also, in this case, you can't add. The chiles are being used mostly for the flavor; they're whole so the seeds and membrane aren't exposed to the dish, and the flavor comes out as they cook for half an hour.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Nov 30, 2011 at 19:18
  • @Jefromi In some chilies a substantial part of the variance derives from the conditions the plant was subjected to while growing. This can result in whole crops being unusually hot or mild. This is a big deal in New Mexico, where a dry year implies scorching hot chilies. I suppose that commercially provided chilies may come from mixed crops, but I wouldn't count on it. Commented Nov 30, 2011 at 19:24

I don't really understand why you think it'd get hotter if you scale the serranos the same as everything else. You certainly could play it safe by starting with less, but given the recipe, you wouldn't be able to add more in later. I would definitely use 12, so that you get as much of their flavor as you do in your normal-sized recipe.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.