When it comes to making spaghetti sauce, some people find that the taste of tomatoes can be too overpowering. Luckily, there are several ways to balance out the flavors and make your sauce taste less like tomatoes. In this article, we will explore different techniques and ingredients that can help you achieve a delicious spaghetti sauce with a milder tomato flavor.

1. Roasting the Tomatoes

If you want to reduce the strong taste of tomatoes in your sauce, consider roasting them first. Roasting helps to caramelize the sugars in the tomatoes and adds a rich depth of flavor. To do this:

  • Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
  • Cut your tomatoes in half or quarters.
  • Toss them with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  • Arrange them on a baking sheet in a single layer.
  • Bake for about 30-40 minutes or until they are slightly charred.
  • Add the roasted tomatoes to your sauce for a sweeter and less acidic flavor.

2. Balancing with Sweetness

An effective way to counteract the strong taste of tomatoes is by adding sweetness to your sauce. Here are some ingredients that can help:

  • Sugar: Adding a small amount of sugar can help balance out the acidity of the tomatoes. Start with just a teaspoon and adjust according to your taste.
  • Carrots: Grated carrots not only add natural sweetness but also enhance the texture of the sauce.
  • Onions: Caramelizing onions before adding them to your sauce can bring out their natural sweetness and complement the tomatoes.

3. Incorporating Herbs and Spices

Herbs and spices can add depth and complexity to your spaghetti sauce, helping to mask the strong tomato flavor. Consider using these:

  • Basil: This classic Italian herb pairs perfectly with tomatoes and adds a fresh, aromatic flavor.
  • Oregano: Known for its pungent and earthy taste, oregano can help balance out the acidity of tomatoes.
  • Fennel Seeds: Fennel seeds have a slightly sweet and licorice-like flavor that can mellow out the tomato taste.

4. Adding Cream or Cheese

If you’re looking for a creamier spaghetti sauce with less pronounced tomato flavor, consider adding cream or cheese to your recipe:

  • Cream: Heavy cream or half-and-half can help mellow out the acidity of tomatoes and create a smoother, richer sauce.
  • Cheese: Parmesan or pecorino cheese can add a salty and savory element to your spaghetti sauce while also reducing the tomato taste.

5. Cooking Time

The longer you cook your spaghetti sauce, the more the flavors will meld together, which can help reduce the strong taste of tomatoes. Simmering your sauce for at least an hour allows all the ingredients to blend harmoniously, resulting in a well-balanced flavor profile.


While tomatoes are a key ingredient in spaghetti sauce, it’s possible to make a sauce that doesn’t taste overwhelmingly like tomatoes. By using techniques such as roasting the tomatoes, adding sweetness, incorporating herbs and spices, adding cream or cheese, and giving your sauce plenty of cooking time, you can create a delicious sauce with a milder tomato flavor. Experiment with these methods and find the perfect balance of flavors that suits your taste.