How to counteract too much sugar in a recipe? (+5 ways)

In this short article, we will answer the question, “How to counteract too much sugar in a recipe?” and will discuss different ways that will help you counteract too much sugar in a recipe. 

How to counteract too much sugar in a recipe?

If you have added too much sugar to your food and are desperately searching for ways to counteract it, do not fret, here we have prepared a long list of ways to help you counteract too much sugar in food, and to make it suitable to serve.

  • Add a hint of tanginess
  • Add something bitter
  • Add spices
  • Add dairy products
  • Increase the salt
  • Dilute the recipe

Different ways to counteract too much sugar in a recipe 

Too much sugar can badly ruin a dish. It is not just bad to taste, it is harmful to health as well. If you have added one whole cup of sugar while you intended to add only a half cup, one of the tricks below may benefit you.

Add a tinge of tanginess

Adding lime juice to your recipe can help to even out the extra sweet taste. In case, you do not prefer too much tanginess in your recipe you can also add citrus juice, vinegar, white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar and balsamic vinegar. Additions such as mustard paste or tamarind paste may also be appropriate for some dishes.

Adding something bitter can cut the extra sweetness 

If you want to counteract too much sugar in your recipe, you can add a bit of something bitter to even out the flavour. Among the bitter ingredients, radicchio, kale, arugula, and cocoa can work well. 

For instance, if you are making 2 quarts of sauce, start with 1 tsp of cocoa and increase the quantity gradually. This will help to make the recipe taste less sugary even though it has the same amount of sugar. Make sure to not add too much cocoa or your dish will have a more chocolatey taste.

Add something spicy

If you have added too much sugar while making curries and soups, you can counteract the extra sugar by adding spices. The spice will not only even out but also make the food taste better. However, make sure to start with a small quantity and then increase gradually. 

Options include chilli powder, peppers, chilli flakes and cayenne pepper.

Increase the salt

A small amount of salt can neutralize a dish with too much sugar. It will help to mask out and divert from the excess sweet taste. But, keep in mind that similar to sugar, too much salt can lead to health problems. So, only use this method with recipes that do not have that much sugar.

You can add soy sauce or miso, both of which can neutralise the extra sugar while giving your dish a more well-balanced flavour.

Add dairy 

In some dishes, we can neutralize the sweetness of too much sugar by adding cheese. For instance, if you have added too much sugar to spaghetti, you can counteract it by the addition of Pecorino Romano or a similar flavorful Italian cheese. 

Another good option is to add sour cream or even yoghurt. Several overly sweet desserts may be made less sugary by adding unsweetened whipped cream to them.

Dilute the original dish

If your food is extra sweet or the tips above did not work for you, you will have to choose between whether to dilute it or drop it.

Double the recipe: you can add more of the main ingredients. For instance, if you are cooking spaghetti sauce and the recipe demands 2 cans of crushed tomatoes, add 2 more cans of crushed tomatoes but do not add any more sugar. 

You may have to add other flavourings and spices, but by multiplying the number of tomatoes, you have directly divided the amount of sugar in the sauce. This means it will taste halfway sweet. Preserve the extra sauce for a separate dish or store for later use.

Discard half of it: based on the stage of cooking you are at, this idea may be less workable. Again, using the same example, discard half the sauce, then add a new can of crushed tomatoes. This way, you can decrease the extra sugars but have the same amount of sauce.

Start all over again: if nothing works for you, don’t be sad. Learn from your mistakes and start again.

Other FAQs about Sugar that you may be interested in.

What Can I Substitute for White Sugar in a recipe?

How to soften hardened brown sugar?

How to melt brown sugar on the stove?


In this short article, we have provided an answer to the question, “How to counteract too much sugar in a recipe?” and have discussed different ways that will help you counteract too much sugar in a recipe.