While there are multiple reasons food gets spicier after being put in the fridge, the main reason is that chemical reactions continue to occur, causing spices to get absorbed more by the food, which intensifies the flavor. In short, more flavor molecules are created in the food.
Why Do Spicy Foods Get Hotter in the Fridge?
The dish’s flavors develop and intensify as the food cooks and sits afterward. Aside from the chemical reaction that continues to happen, there is the response your taste receptors have to capsaicin.
Your taste receptors are activated by capsaicin, the compound that makes chili peppers spicy. Capsaicin is a lipid-soluble molecule which means it dissolves in fat. This is why spicy foods seem to taste spicier when eaten with something fatty like cheese or avocado.
The capsaicin molecules bind to the fat and are released in your mouth, activating different taste receptors and intensifying the flavor.
Then, of course, there’s capsaicin used in culinary arts. When you put hot sauce on anything, the capsaicin makes the food spicy and numbs your mouth. So, the pain of eating something spicy is reduced.
Capsaicin ignites a chemical reaction that activates pain receptors in the mouth and throat. The body responds to the burning sensation by releasing endorphins, which are hormones that block pain signals from the brain.
Combine that with the heat of warming up the food, and your food will taste spicier than ever.
The next time you’re enjoying a dish with lots of spices, keep in mind that the fridge is causing it to taste even spicier than usual.
Does Reheating Spicy Food Make it Spicier?
Reheating your food will not make it spicier. The same chemical reaction is still happening but at a much slower rate. When you reheat your food, the molecules break down and reform.
The process of breaking down and reforming concentrates the flavors more. The food tastes spicier because of the time it had to sit, not so much because of the reheating. The only thing to watch out for with reheating is bacteria growth.
Why Does Spicy Food Get Spicier the Next Day?
Food gets spicier the next day because the flavors have had time to develop and intensify. The breakdown of the food causes the flavors to become more concentrated.
The exact process happens when you put your food in the fridge, but at a much slower rate. Some even argue that food staying in the refrigerator doesn’t get spicier simply because when the food is prepared, the capsaicin is not released if it hasn’t broken down enough.
Therefore, cutting the hot peppers into smaller pieces could increase the chances of the capsaicin being released. On the other hand, if they do not break down enough, the food won’t experience the same chemical reaction.
Does Microwaving Make Food Spicier?
Microwaving food makes the food spicier because capsaicin does not evaporate during reheating. Water and other oils and moisture do evaporate, leaving the capsaicin behind.
The capsaicin will continue to bind with the food, making it spicier. Given that, it’s not reheating that makes the food spicier, but the evaporation of the water during the process.
Does Hot Sauce Get Spicier Over Time?
Sometimes older hot sauce doesn’t get spicier. In fact, it may lose its kick. This happens because the capsaicin molecule breaks down over time, and the heat dissolves. It explains why some hot sauces are spicier than others.
If the hot sauce is made with fresh peppers, it will be spicier. However, it will not be if you use older peppers.
Why Do Curries Get Hotter?
Curries get hotter over time because the different spices blend, and the flavor becomes more intense. As the flavors combine, they become more potent, and the dish becomes spicier.
The longer the curry sits, the more time the flavors have to blend and the hotter it will be.
Does Freezing Spicy Food Make It Spicier?
Experts believe that freezing spicy food does not make it spicier. When you freeze capsaicin, it does not break down. Freezing your food will not make it spicier.
Does Refrigerating Hot Sauce Make It Less Hot?
Refrigerating hot sauce will not make it less hot. As mentioned before, the ingredients containing capsaicin continue to bind with the food even in the refrigerator.
However, refrigerating your hot sauce will make it less hot if it has gone bad or is made with peppers that are not fresh.
Why Does Chili Get Hotter in the Fridge?
Chili gets hotter in the fridge because the flavors have had time to develop and intensify. The spiciness of the hot chili is not the only thing that intensifies. The other flavors will do the same, especially if it’s made with more fatty foods like meats and oils.
Here are some of the most commonly asked questions from spicy food lovers about peppers, hot sauce, and chili peppers.
Do peppers get hotter in the fridge?
Some people believe that peppers get hotter in the fridge, but there is no scientific evidence to support this claim.
Can you make hot sauce hotter?
Yes, you can make hot sauce hotter by adding more peppers or cooking it for a longer time. To do so, add more peppers and slow cook it in a crockpot for four to six hours. Start slow as a little bit can go a long way. You can do this with any recipe by adding more of the main ingredients.
Can you make chili hotter?
Yes, as a general rule, you can make chili hotter by adding more jalapeno peppers, cayenne pepper, or chili pepper and slow cooking it for four to six hours. Remember, as you add more peppers, balance it out with more spices to make it enhance the overall flavor.
What is the hottest pepper in the world?
The hottest pepper in the world is the Carolina Reaper. The Carolina Reaper has an average heat of 1,569,300 Scoville Heat Units. Interesting facts about the Carolina Reaper are that it was bred in South Carolina. It is a cross between a Bhut jolokia and a Trinidad Moruga Scorpion.
What makes chili hot?
Chili is hot because some of its ingredients contain the chemical capsaicin. Capsaicin is what makes your mouth feel like it’s on fire. Some of the ingredients in chili that have capsaicin are cayenne peppers, jalapeño peppers, and habanero peppers.
So, why do spicy foods get hotter in the fridge and elsewhere? Foods get hotter in the fridge because the flavors have had time to develop and intensify. The process of breaking down and reforming causes the flavors to become more concentrated.
Foods get spicy because capsaicin, a chemical found in some of the ingredients, irritates your taste buds defense mechanism. Capsaicin dissolves easily into fatty foods. Therefore, the more fatty ingredients in the dish, the hotter it will be.
The slower chemical reaction in the fridge allows the flavors to develop and intensify, making it spicier. With that in mind, when adding more spice parts, do it carefully to avoid making hot foods unbearable.