Chili is Too Sweet?

I put too much sugar in a batch of Chili and was wondering what to do.

Any ideas?

Dale from Pelican Rapids, MN


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February 1, 20062 found this helpful
Best Answer

I'd probably try adding more cider vinegar and yellow mustard first, a little at a time, tasting as you go. More onions might be in order as well. Another trick you might try is adding a bit of unsweetened or semisweet cocoa powder or perhaps a little instant coffee. Keep in mind that you are experiamenting here and be careful. Try these tricks by putting a few spoons of chili in a small bowl or coffee cup and play with very small amounts at a time, writing notes on what you did and how it came out.


Who knows, you might create a great recipe!! It is a good idea to play with this stuff on a small scale though; if you're like me you are going to eat your mistakes so it's best to keep them to a minimum.

December 4, 20160 found this helpful

You were a big help. Thanks

December 5, 20170 found this helpful

I added a splash of vinegar as suggested----fixed it!!!! Thank you!!!

By (Guest Post)
February 1, 20060 found this helpful

why would you put sugar in chili in the first place?

February 1, 20170 found this helpful

Why sugar? It cuts down the acidity from the tomatoes.

August 10, 20180 found this helpful

I agree w adding a small amount of vinegar to you recipe to counteract the sweet. Good Luck!!!!
In addition, I am sure the person asking for a repair technique was not seeking judgemental responses.


It would see to me, sugar was used because the recipe called for it or the cook felt it to their liking.

October 4, 20180 found this helpful

You are unhelpful!!! Thanks for nothing Dr Obvious

November 11, 20180 found this helpful

I used a different (store brand Walmart) vegetable juice and it was very sweet. Now I'm trying to fix it. Trying vinegar, lemon juice and bacon grease. Not there yet though. Might try the mustard next.

February 2, 20061 found this helpful

I put sugar in my chili if it tends to have too much "tomato" taste...don't know how to describe it but the sugar seems to mellow it out a little. I never measure anything! I just don't have the patience for it! I've created some awesome recipes experimenting, so I try to keep track of what I'm doing! I agree with the vinegar and onions tip though. I wish my mom would have taught me to cook, she made the most awesome chili and it was sweet. It was so good though! Guess I better start experimenting again! Good luck!


Elkhart, IN


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February 2, 20060 found this helpful

Yes, why would you put sugar in chili in the first place? I've made lots of chili and never added sugar. I have heard of putting some in spaghetti sauce, to cut down on acidity....I've just never done it. I would think you'd have to add some heat to take away the sweetness.

December 26, 20171 found this helpful

Some chili recipes do call for sugar. It mellows out the heat in the chili.

January 2, 20181 found this helpful

The sugar cuts the acid in the tomatoes.

April 27, 20181 found this helpful

I add a bit of sugar to chili to tame the acid from the tomatoes. It doesn't make it sweet, it just keeps heartburn at bay.

October 2, 20180 found this helpful

I was almost done & found the only beans I had were bushes steakhouse beans(which never tasted sweet to me with steaks!). Not wanting to run to the store, I used them. My potential best ever became way too sweet. I will try the vinegar first.

December 30, 20180 found this helpful

Been making chili forever and used Bush's original baked beans {only a few] made it too sweet. Used 1/2 tsp white vinegar and Voila, back to goooooood tasting chili..

October 22, 20190 found this helpful

No, heat will not take away the sweetness. Many chili recipes call for sugar. It neutralizes some of the tang from the tomato products and spices.


A good way to neutralize too much sugar is unsweetened cocoa. You'll need to experiment to determine how much is needed.


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February 2, 20060 found this helpful

Here's one of the chili's I like to's easy and really tasty!

Debbie's Yummy Chili

About 2 1/2 lbs. ground chuck
1 medium - large onion, finely chopped
Large can of whole tomatoes, undrained
1 can Mexican style chili beans
1 can Ro-Tel Tomatoes
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
2 cloves garlic minced
salt and pepper to taste
chili powder to taste

Fry meat, onion, and garlic together in a large skillet until meat is nicely browned; drain fat. Add meat and all other ingredients in large pot. Bring to boil and then simmer atleast one hour. It gets better longer it cooks and also is better next day.


Serve some shredded cheddar cheese on the side. Cornbread is good with it.

I came up with this chili recipe on Super Bowl Sunday 1-30-00


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February 2, 20060 found this helpful

Here's another one I came up with for the crock pot. Try it, you'll like it!


1 -1 1/2 pounds ground chuck
1 small-medium onion, chopped
3 cans diced tomatoes (undrained) (that's the can that is around 15 oz)
1 can tomato sauce
1 can (tomato sauce can) water
1 can Ro-Tel tomatoes and green chilies (undrained)
2 cans Bush's mild chili beans
couple dashes of cumin
1/4-1/2 tsp garlic powder
chili powder to taste.

Cook onion with beef. Drain grease and add meat to crock pot along with all other ingredients.

Cook on high about 4 hours, then turn to low a while till dinner (I have a warm setting so after cooking some additional time on low, I set on warm).


By (Guest Post)
February 2, 20060 found this helpful

I always add sugar to anything with tom. so you are not alone. I would probably try heat also a little at a
time though.
Walkerton, IN

By Lori (Guest Post)
March 11, 20061 found this helpful

Many people use sugar to cut the acid in TOMATOE BASE recipes. Use Baking Soda instead. It cuts the acid and it makes it sweet. Simply bring whatever it is that you are cooking to a low rolling boil, stir in 1/4 teaspoon of Baking Soda. Stir rapidly, it will foam, keep stiring, bring it to a low rolling boil. When it is at a rolling boil, LOWER the heat and allow it to cook VERY low, STIRING often, for at least another hour. YOU WON'T BELIEVE HOW WONDERFUL IT WILL TASTE. No acid burping and a nice soft sweet taste! Family Secret passed on for a few generations ENJOY! : )

By guest (Guest Post)
April 12, 20070 found this helpful

I tried the cider vinegar idea... didn't work. I called my sister & she said to add more cumin (I had chili powder; worked the same) or try beef boullion. With both, I barely had a sweet taste. I don't add sugar to my chili, but I had some green chili that a friend had made & oversalted then sugared to counteract the salt. It had some heat to it, but those 2T of green chili made my entire crock of chili sweet.

By Steve (Guest Post)
July 20, 20070 found this helpful

I'm no chef....however......

I have noticed that by adding just the right amount of sugar to an especially spicy chili, you get a delayed reaction from the consumer's tastebuds.

By Julia (Guest Post)
May 21, 20080 found this helpful

What started out as a simple pinto bean soup that called for sugar, turned into chili. So, to transform it I needed to take away the sweetness that clearly does not go well in chili. Borrowing the suggestion Alph shared, I used DRY MUSTARD, a little at a time and, viola...chili. I gave the unsweetened cocoa powder a thought too. I never had Chili Mole, but that's another day. I don't have the courage to press my luck on this large batch.

By Pam J. (Guest Post)
September 9, 20080 found this helpful

I got a little out of hand with the sugar trying to recreate my mom's chili. The advice for Dry Mustard really helped! I also added a tsp. more of cumin with that and I think I've cracked the recipe.Thanks.

By presto (Guest Post)
November 17, 20080 found this helpful

I put a little baking soda in my chili and I want to get rid of the acid taste from the baking soda in the chili that I made

By carol (Guest Post)
January 8, 20090 found this helpful

Would vinegar, lemon juice, or mustard also correct the "too sweet" taste in spaghetti sauce? I made my own meat sauce and then extended it with Prego sauce....too sweet!

By Karli K. (Guest Post)
January 20, 20090 found this helpful

I use brown sugar in my chili recipes because it's DELICIOUS! And I also use canned stewed tomatoes (sliced) because I find they have more flavor and are heartier than the diced tomatoes. Give it a try some time! (P.S. I usually cook the chili 8 hours in a crock pot on low)

December 1, 20170 found this helpful

I normally make my chili using lots of ketchup and mustard! The mustard adds some twang and the ketchup adds some sweetness. But last night, I was out of ketchup, so I substituted brown sugar and apple cider vinegar. The vinegar really turned me off, so I added more sugar and let it cook. When I served it, it was too sweet. I'm a little concerned about adding more vinegar back, since that's what I was combatting when I overdid the sugar. I think I'll try dry mustard instead.


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