I make guacamole with a whole jalapeño and the last time it was hard to mash so I poured lots of lime juice in this time. It was hardly spicy at all. Did the extra lime juice make it less spicy?

  • 3
    I suspect you had a jalapeño that wasn't very spicy. The lime juice shouldn't cut the spiciness.
    – talon8
    Mar 11, 2015 at 4:21
  • 2
    Jalapeños can be duds?
    – Chloe
    Mar 11, 2015 at 4:56
  • 5
    @Chloe certainly jalapenos can be duds.
    – Jolenealaska
    Mar 11, 2015 at 6:26
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    @Chloe The spicy bits are mostly concentrated in the veins and the seeded area (some even say the seeds, but I think it's just the connective tissues). Depending how you cut/diced your jalapeno (probably removed seeds, since they aren't usually found in guac), you may have accidentally excluded some of the spicy bits, reducing the overall spice.
    – SnakeDoc
    Jul 6, 2017 at 14:42
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    I've since learned the capsaicin is in the white part inside. No one removes the seeds. Ain't no one got time for that. I'm up to Carolina reapers now, but I prefer the smokey flavor of ghost peppers.
    – Chloe
    Jul 7, 2017 at 15:15

4 Answers 4


Lime juice isn't going to make it less spicy, if anything I've found it accentuates the spiciness a bit although I'm not sure of the mechanism. It could be that the acidity frees up more capsaicin compounds (what makes hot food hot), or wakes up your taste buds more.

Most likely you have simply added a weak jalapeno. Peppers of the same variety can vary in heat strength quite a bit depending on the where and how it was grown, although you'll get weak and strong peppers from the same plant. You can make up for the lack of spice by adding more jalapeno or a bit of hot chili powder.

  • 1
    Acids make spicy more spicey, to get the most and most LASTING heat, combine the peppers with vinegar, let it macerate, then blend in some oil.
    – Escoce
    Mar 11, 2015 at 17:30

I see all the answers leaning toward the negative but wonder whether the responders actually tested their theories. I recently had a similar experience with habaneros and lime juice, that is I added my usual number of habaneros plus seeds to salsa, but used two noticeably juicier limes and my salsa had almost no heat and the flavor of lime was much more prominent. I know this is only one example but it was noticeable enough to make me Google the possibility of lime juice cutting heat. Anyone else with similar experiences?

A little more hunting turned up this:

If you follow the hot peppers with an acidic food or drink you can neutralize some of the activity of the alkaline capsaicinoid. Good choices include cold lemonade, a lemon or lime, orange juice, anything tomato-based, or drinking milk (which is acidic).

Information from How To Make Hot Peppers Stop Burning

  • Welcome. Michael! I edited your post with a clickable link to the article and the info given as a quote. Good for you for including the link! Since you're new here (I'm still a relative newbie myself), you might want to learn more on formatting answers if you take the SE tour. I've gone through it twice now and still am learning.
    – Jude
    Jul 6, 2017 at 1:46
  • I have heard from my friends of Mexican heritage that lemon or lime will tone down spiciness from chilis. My experience supports that position as well. Could be real, could be wishful thinking. On the other hand Jalapenos are quite variable, so you might have gotten a dud.
    – Tim Nevins
    Sep 26, 2017 at 21:51

When cooking chili, and your chili heat is too hot, it is suggested to add fresh lime juice or a little brown sugar to drop the heat down.

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    Welcome! Do you have a source for this information? It directly contradicts both the other answer and the comments on the question and answer.
    – Catija
    Mar 23, 2015 at 0:23

According to articles and blogs, acidic ingredients actually do reduce the heat of spicy oils from peppers. Here's one link:


  • That article is written by someone who doesn't understand chemistry as well as they think they do.
    – Sneftel
    Apr 10, 2020 at 23:06
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    Information from the link (whether right or wrong) should be summarized in the answer, so that the information is preserved if the link dies.
    – Allison C
    Apr 13, 2020 at 18:00

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