How to Neutralize Sugar

Whether too much sugar was added because of an incorrect measure, faulty sugar container or a recipe that just isn't to your liking, food with too much sweetness can be hard to eat. However, there are some things that can be done based on the type of food being cooked to salvage a dish. Unfortunately, it may be impossible to save some dishes where three or four times the amount of sugar called for is added.

Fresh herbs on a chopping board.
Credit: ewkazuk/iStock/Getty Images

Step 1

Add 1/8 tsp. ground sea salt or kosher salt per 1 cup food. Stir with a wooden spoon or spatula to fully combine the salt. Taste the mixture. Continue adding salt 1/8 tsp. at a time until the sweetness is neutralized.

Step 2

Pour a small amount of vinegar into foods such as salad, potato dishes and rice dishes to counteract salt. Choose a type of vinegar that will pair well with the food instead of just using white vinegar. For example, red wine vinegar pairs well with meat-based dishes and Champagne vinegar pairs well with cheese-based foods.

Step 3

Continue adding an acidic ingredient already in the recipe to taste. For example, if the recipe calls for lemon or lime juice, try doubling the citrus to keep the sugar content from overwhelming the taste of the food.

Step 4

Double the recipe without adding the directed amount of sugar and combine it with the food that has too much sugar. If more sugar is needed, add it very carefully, tasting the food each time sugar is added.

Step 5

Put freshly chopped herbs with a savory flavor into the food, adding a small amount at a time and tasting the food between each addition. Rosemary, thyme, oregano, herbes de Provence, tarragon and basil all reduce the sugar taste in foods.

Step 6

Chop fresh jalapeno peppers or Anaheim chilies, and add them to the cooked food. Use hot peppers sparingly, and avoid using the seeds if you don't like spicy food, as that's where most of their heat comes from. Alternately, use cayenne pepper or ground chili powder to taste if fresh peppers aren't available.

Things You'll Need

  • 1/8 tsp. ground sea salt or kosher salt

  • Wooden spoon or spatula

  • Vinegar

  • Lemon or lime juice

  • Freshly chopped herbs

  • Fresh jalapeno peppers or Anaheim chilies

  • Cayenne pepper or ground chili powder

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