The Simple Way To Fix Overly Sweet Tomato Sauce

It's hard to think of a kitchen staple more versatile than tomato sauce. Whether you're ladling it over a bowl of hot pasta, spreading it over a pizza, simmering some meatballs in it, or using it to dunk some mozzarella sticks or tomato sauce — it forms an integral part of so many of our favorite foods. While there are many excellent varieties of jarred tomato sauce brands on the market, making your own at home is a pretty simple affair. 

Some of the easiest recipes for homemade tomato sauce call for not much more than chopped tomatoes, olive oil, and garlic, while more involved versions, such as puttanesca, might call for additional flavorings such as olives, capers, and anchovies (via Delish). As long as you've got good-quality ingredients on hand and follow the recipe closely, your homemade sauce is likely to turn out tasty. 

But sometimes, the greatness of ripe summer tomatoes (or excellent canned ones) shines through a bit too brightly, leaving a sauce that's just too sweet. Alternatively, you may have purchased a store-bought version, and when you taste it, it's a little heavy on sugar. Instead of just tossing your sauce, here's how you can fix it.

Add some acid to the sauce

Have you ever noticed how adding some bright acidity to a dessert or cocktail seems to tone down its sweetness? According to Livestrong, the same move can help tone down the sugariness of a store-bought or homemade tomato sauce. Nutritionist Lisa Richards told the outlet that some fresh lemon juice or bottled vinegar should brighten up the sauce, and recommends gently heating the sauce, adding the juice or vinegar one teaspoon at a time, tasting, and adding more as needed.

If you don't have any acid on hand or prefer to try a different method, Robust Kitchen has some additional fixes. Diluting a sweet tomato sauce will dull its sweetness, so you can add water or chicken or vegetable broth, a little at a time until the sauce tastes better. Or, if you like spicy food, you can try spicing the tomato sauce with some crushed chili flakes, which should help balance out its sweetness.