How to Fix Oversweetened Stew

A close-up of a white bowl with beef stew on a white counter.
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Stews are well-known for their salty and savory flavors. Adding a little sugar can help balance out those flavors, but it is easy to add too much. Don't panic if your stew becomes too sweet. You can balance out a sweet stew in several ways, including adding in different flavors to make the sugar less noticeable or adding more stew to water down the sugar. Avoid throwing away a sweet stew until after you have tried some of these techniques.


Step 1

Wait until the stew is completely finished cooking before adding any extra ingredients to reduce the sweetness. As the stew cooks, the ingredients added will condense and become more powerful, which makes it much harder to get the flavor just right.

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Step 2

Add lemon juice or vinegar to your stew one ½ tsp. at a time. Taste the stew after you have stirred in each addition. Stop when you can taste the sour ingredient. Sour flavors balance out sweet flavors to an extent that helps make the flavor less overwhelming.

Step 3

Pour salt into your dish in 1/8 tsp. doses until the sweetness is no longer as noticeable or until you start to taste the salt. Be careful with how much salt you add because most stews have a tendency to be salty.

Step 4

Make another batch of the stew without any of the sweet ingredients and combine that to the first batch to tone down the sugary flavor.

Things You'll Need

  • Lemon juice

  • Vinegar

  • Salt

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