Why Spicy + Sweet is the Perfect Flavor Combination

Spicy and sweet mixes are a hot topic when it comes to the culinary world!  Many aren't sure about this combination, but we've all tried it whether we realize it or not! If you're curious about the mix of spicy and sweet and aren't sure where to start: this is the rundown on everything you should know.

Sugar Helps Tame Capsaicin

Capsaicin can be overwhelming for some people.  Over 38 percent of people don't like spicy food or have a hard time eating it.  It's a flavor and sensation that can take some time to get used to: but it's not something anyone should avoid!

Sweet and spicy together make things easier for people who can't handle the heat because sugar naturally helps cut back capsaicin.  This leaves you with some of the heat that would make your lips and mouth tingle while cutting out the risk of things getting too hot for you.

For those who love spicier foods, this addition means you can add a lot more heat to your dishes without the worry of overdoing it!  

We Love Good Flavor Balances

The balance between two flavors that combat each other is very pleasing.  This is taken even further when things are hot.  Capsaicin makes our bodies produce endorphins, also known as a happy chemical, which, when paired with sugar, can feel rewarding.

The balance between hot and sweet is playful enough that it can surprise our taste buds while giving us the chance to know we'll enjoy it before we take the next bite.  This is the same reason why sweet and savory go so well together, and foods like honey barbecue are so prevalent.

It's Cultural for Some People

If you're not from Mexico or South America, you may not know how prevalent sweet and spicy can be! A lot of Mexican candy combines lovely things like tamarind flavor with spicy and sour flavors.  It's so common that in many grocery stores, even in the American south, you can find sweet cucumber popsicles flavored with a spicy chili powder coating them.

People who grew up with this combination are familiar comfort food that reminds them of their childhood.  You don't have to have had this your whole life to enjoy it, but luckily we can all benefit from the incredible flavors these cultures offer.

What Foods You Can Combine

There are dozens of combinations that can be made sweet and spicy.  If you're new to the mix and aren't sure where to start, consider picking up a loaf of jalapeno cheese bread or grabbing a pack of spicy crackers or chips.

From here, dip them in something sweet like cranberry jelly or even cranberry pepper jelly to kick it up a notch, and enjoy the perfect mix of sweet and spicy.  

Once you've had a taste, you'll want more!  Sweet and spicy is prevalent in many meat-centered meals like chicken and pork dishes. Still, you can also make it work if you're vegetarian, since even a chili powder sprinkled on fruit like watermelon and mangoes can be incredibly delicious!

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