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Chef's Notes

Beyond Heat


Heat? It’s a complex story, in the best possible way. We’ve observed trends in spicy for years and have witnessed an exciting evolution to this new, multi-sensorial, layered taste experience. With this rise in the popularity of chilies, each with their distinct profile, like smoky chipotle and more pungent profiles like wasabi and mustard, we’re all about celebrating that journey in complexity.

Today, heat continues to push beyond the singularly spicy realm and takes off on a journey where heat and ingredient pairings come together to shape how heat is perceived and how long it lingers and finishes.

Spice has long been an integral part of any meal, but consumers have gotten more adventurous and experimental since the beginning of the pandemic. With the obvious interpretations of what it means to be “hot” now off the table, a reimagined heat has officially entered the kitchen.

Let’s explore some Beyond Heat profiles.


Yuzu Kosho

This all-purpose Japanese paste is a must-have condiment in any kitchen. Delivering a sharp, tangy (from yuzu) flavor, balanced by a kiss of heat (fermented chiles), it creates memorable flavor and aroma in every dish it graces.


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Yuzu Kosho is a staple in Southwest Japan but is gaining prominence with chefs worldwide who consider it a perfect balance of acid and heat that’s so dynamic it almost comes alive. Consumers are also starting to take notice of this tangy hot condiment.

  • #yuzukosho has almost 5 million views on TikTok
  • Bon Appetit describes yuzu kosho as, “The secret weapon condiment chefs are putting on everything.”

Try it and apply it:

  • A yuzu kosho marinade application would deliver a bold bite to proteins.
  • Blend with a compound butter for vegetables or noodle dishes and sides.
  • Deliver fresh heat to greens with a yuzu kosho salad dressing.
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Tom Yum Soup Base

This hot and sour Thai soup base features red chilies, galangal ginger, lemongrass, lime, and fish sauce, often made into a paste.The result is bold, light, tart, salty citrusy, and spicy, bursting with layers of flavor.

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  • Tom Yum is recognized by UNESCO for its Intangible Cultural Heritage of Thailand.
  • US menu mentions of Tom Yum have grown 15% since 2018. Source: Datassential, US Chains & Independents
  • Salathip Thai Restaurantin the UK offers a ‘Tom Yam Spicy Cocktail’ made with Tom Yum ingredients

Try it and apply it:

  • Tom Yum Hot & Sour Soup
  • Deliver the profile of tom yum to coconut milk based mocktails
  • Create a Thai inspired hummus with Tom Yum soup ingredients

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Seeni Sambol

This Sri Lankan spicy onion sambal is a pungent, sweet, sour, and spicy caramelized onion relish that is made with red chilies and tamarind juice. It’s so popular in Sri Lanka that quick-service restaurants offer Seeni Sambol on their sandwiches.

  • Seeni sambal tops the ‘Roti Riser’ @ Lankan Tucker, a Sri Lankan restaurant in Melbourne. The dish contains handmade roti, poached egg, sweet seeni sambol, coconut sambol, and apricot chutney.
  • Serious Eats explains most Sri Lankan cooking is, “Unapologetically, punch-you-in-the-face, get-the-adrenaline-pumping flavored,” with fiery curries and sweet caramelized onion in seeni sambal.

Try it and apply it:

  • Stuff pastry with Seeni Sambol for a grab-go-snack or appetizer.
  • Top a burger or chicken sandwich for multi-sensational hot condiment.
  • Add a twist to your favorite onion snacks like a seeni sambal chip profile or dip

Feeling inspired? To learn more about the future of flavor, contact your McCormick account representative or contact us today.