My minestrone turned out too bitter. How can I counter it? The soup contains tomatoes, pasta, Savoy cabbage, celery, carrots, burnt sautéed garlic, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper.

Sugar seems to be a general solution, but I figured there could be better solutions for my specific case.


4 Answers 4


It may not seem intuitive but adding salt is usually a better way to reduce bitterness than adding sugar.

I would also suggest that you do not sauté your garlic until burnt as that will add a quite unpleasant bitterness. Sauté until fragrant.

  • Thanks, I'll try some salt with the next meal. (Also: I did not intend to burn the garlic.)
    – user4697
    Mar 10, 2011 at 21:45
  • 1
    Salt also works to reduce the bitterness in coffee. See this question: cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/9292/…
    – Martha F.
    Mar 10, 2011 at 23:37
  • 2
    @Tim Nordenfur: Burnt tends to impart bitter.
    – Orbling
    Mar 11, 2011 at 0:33

Carrots, always. It's what makes an authentic Italian tomato base. Grate them in and cook until dissolved or cut small and puree after or just enjoy it with the carrot chunks.

  • What do you mean? I did include carrots in the soup.
    – user4697
    Oct 31, 2012 at 9:41

To my bitter lettuce soup I added lots of carrots, some sugar, some honey, extra peas, instant mashed potatoes, cannolini beans, some mini pastas and some apples. After all of that the soup is now tasty.


I also encountered bitterness in a veg soup I made last evening. I did not intend to over cook, but I did. I added sugars, and it seems that didn't help unless I counteract the great attributes of home made soup and add a ton of sugar. Also, adding black pepper to the last would have helped me. I believe that adding garlic to the end of the sautee instead of to the first would have kept it from burning and making your soup in particular, bitter. Perhaps you could try adding butter? I know I am going to try that and maybe a good wine to mine. Best of luck to you.

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