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How To Cut Sweetness In Spaghetti Sauce ⋆ The Simple Ways ⋆

Have you noticed upon tasting that your spaghetti sauce is just too sweet? Want to know how you can balance it out? Well, you’ve come to the right place. The strategies are simple, and there are a few you can use. Let’s get into them.

So, how do you cut the sweetness in spaghetti sauce? You can cut the sweetness in a spaghetti sauce by adding volume, introducing an acidic ingredient (such as vinegar or lime juice), or combining both strategies.

Spaghetti sauce can be too sweet for many reasons.

It may be something you added, or it may just be the natural sweetness of the tomatoes you used, to begin with.

Nevertheless, the good news is this can quickly be resolved.

Let us now take a look at each one to better understand what you can do.

Reducing Sweetness Through Volume

Perhaps the most simple approach is to increase the volume of the sauce. In other words, make more of it.

Adding More Base Ingredient(s)

The best way to do this is to add more of the base ingredient.

Assuming it is tomatoes, you can do this by adding more.

Now, suppose your tomatoes were too sweet to begin with (and the resulting cause of the problem). In that case, you may want to consider adding a different variety.

For instance, canned tomatoes are generally not as sweet.

If your spaghetti sauce has another base ingredient, such as stock, for instance, you could increase the quantity of that too.

Just consider that adding volume can alter the consistency of the sauce somewhat and maybe even make it too runny.

Adding back in tomato paste is a great way to retain the tomato flavor and increase the thickness too.

Leveraging A Second Sauce

Another approach to increasing the volume to reduce the sweetness is by making a second sauce batch.

This time, you exclude the source of the sweetness. It could be added sugar, or it could be the type of tomatoes used.

Once you’re done with your second sauce, you can simply stir it in and integrate it with your original sauce; thus diluting the sweetness.

While it does require double the ingredients, twice the time, and will likely leave leftovers, it does work particularly well.

Reducing Sweetness By Adding Ingredients

The other main alternative is to add ingredients to your sauce to counteract the sweetness. Here, you have various ingredient options, although acidic ingredients work best.

Lemon juice, vinegar, lime, or other citrus-based juices are some of the best to use.

But you only need to add a very small amount!

You should only look to add 1/2 teaspoon at a time, and be sure to stir it in thoroughly.

Do a taste test before deciding to add more.

You should also give the sauce some time to simmer to ensure you reach the right flavor and consistency too.

Outside of acidic ingredients, your other main options include:

  • Cooked mushrooms will introduce umami, earthy flavors to the sauce and calm down any sweetness.
  • Salt, which naturally counteracts the sweetness. Again be sure to only add a small pinch at a time.
  • Cheese, where Parmesan is a great option. Just be sure to add this to the sauce once it has been served to prevent curdling!
  • Sour Cream/Yogurt, just like the cheese recommendation above. Again, this should only be added once the sauce and meal have been served.
  • Spices, such as chili peppers if you like heat, paprika if you prefer sauces milder.

How To Prevent Sweet Spaghetti Sauce In The Future

At this stage, your spaghetti sauce is too sweet, and all you can do is fix it. That being said, there are some best practices to follow to ensure this doesn’t happen too regularly!

  • Try Different Tomatoes – if you are making your own spaghetti sauce from scratch, then consider the type and ripeness of tomatoes you bought. It could be them. Look at the different types and varieties of tomatoes available to you and consider trying different ones next time. Generally, fresh ripe tomatoes are sweeter than those a little past their best. At the same time, canned tomatoes are known for generally being less sweet.
  • Alter The Recipe – if you are following a recipe, try making some subtle changes – like reducing the sugar content or increasing other savory flavors. You may need to be a little more mindful of what ingredients you use and how much. Be willing to experiment, take some ingredients out, add some in.
  • Try Different Brands – if you are purchasing a store-bought, pre-made spaghetti sauce, try a different brand or product. Some are known for using a lot of added sugar in the recipe, whereas others use sweeteners, additives or other ingredients that make their sauces too sweet. Check ingredient lists and be willing to try a few out. Generally, those with fewer ingredients tend to be more balanced.


If you’ve gone to all the effort to purchase and cook up a spaghetti sauce, it’s naturally disheartening when it comes out too sweet.

But thankfully, all is not lost.

In fact, you can salvage your spaghetti sauce relatively easily, as we have seen today.

And at the same time, with the aforementioned tips, you will hopefully not find yourself in this position again.

At least too soon!

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