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Chili Tastes Too Tomatoey – How to Fix The Mess?

Your chili turned out a lot more tomatoey than it should be. And being a cooking enthusiast, it was quite upsetting for you. We understand how painful failed attempts are. 

After all the effort, you can only think what to do if a chili tastes too tomatoey?

Well, you can use cumin seed/ powder, bay leaf, and herbs like dried basil. Stir them into the chili. They’ll add a mild flavor. Adding onion cubes or bell pepper will soak up the tomatoey flavor. You could even add some spice with chipotle or smoked paprika. This will reduce the tomato flavor as well.

To learn how to fix your chili in detail, go through our methods below. Surely, you’ll end up thanking us for the perfect chili.

How To Know If It’s Too Tomatoey? 

You may know if your yeast is dead only by observing, but the taste of something is totally different.

To know whether the chili is too tomatoey, the only option is to taste it. But certainly, the taste differs from person to person. 

We like a sour kick in our chili with an adequate amount of sweetness. And to balance it, we add a lot of heat and spice.

So we kind of know the taste we’re looking for. But your tastebuds might be different than ours. So you have to compare the chili you made with the taste you expected. 

It can feel a little more tomatoey to you. If it feels that way, never doubt your tastebuds. Because they’re always right.

First, you’ll need to know what made the chili too tomatoey. So we’ve listed down what blunders you may have made. 

What Made Your Chili Too Tomatoey?

There can be two reasons behind your chili being too tomatoey. 

One can be that the type of tomato that you used in your chili. Another could be the amount of tomato you’re supposed to put in.

Either way, the dish will taste extra tomatoey. So let’s see where you messed up.

Types Of Tomato

When making the chili, we usually put one kind of tomato. Or a mixture of fresh, puree, and canned tomatoes. So let’s show you which might have been the culprit behind the tomatoey chili.

Canned Tomatoes

Canned tomatoes are normally sourer. The extra sourness comes from the saltwater preservative. Which makes it too acidic. 

You might have added more than 1 can of tomatoes for 4 persons serving. Then that surely is the reason behind the sourness of your chili.

Fresh Tomatoes

Some fresh tomatoes are naturally sour. The plumper ones are known as the sourest ones. 

On the other hand, cherry tomatoes are the sweet ones. For the best taste, we prefer using both types to have a balance.


But if you’ve only used the sour ones, then that might be the reason.

Tomato Paste/Puree

Among all the tomato options, tomato puree is the thickest. 

Now the taste of tomato puree differs from company to company. Some have a sweetish flavor, some are bland. And most of them are way too sour.

We normally add tomato puree when the chili is not tomatoey enough. 

For 4 people, 2 tablespoons is enough along with some fresh tomatoes. If you’ve added more than this, it’s probably the reason.

Tomato Ketchup

Now, we’ve heard of people adding tomato ketchup in their chili. Usually as a substitute for tomato puree. And they end up making a chili that’s too tomatoey. 


The mixture becomes sweet and sour. Plus, adding a huge amount, only intensifies the taste.


Now quantity is another fact. Putting too much tomato will obviously make it feel tomatoey. 

On that note let’s share our favorite combo of tomato types. We like to add 6-8 mixed tomatoes( plump & cherry) and 2 tablespoons of tomato puree to our chili.

For your ease, we’ve curated the following table to show you the perfect quantity.

Tomato Type Quantity Serving
Canned Tomatoes 1 can 4 persons
Fresh Tomatoes 5-6 tomatoes 4 persons
Tomato Paste/Puree 2 tablespoons  4 persons
Tomato Ketchup 2 teaspoons 4 persons

How To Fix The “Too Tomatoey” Flavor? 

Just like you can remove chalaza from eggs, you can fix the “too tomatoey” flavor as well.

Now that you’ve messed up the dish badly, let’s tell you how you can still fix it. Depending on the overpowering capacity we’ve curated the list of options below. 

For example, if you use cumin powder, it will add a mild flavor to the chili. So choose one according to how much you want to tame the tomatoey flavor.

Using Low Overpowering Ingredients

The following ingredients have a low capacity to bring down the tomatoey flavor. If the chili is slightly tomatoey, any one of these will do the work.

Cumin/Bay Leaf/Herbs

So cumin/cumin powder, bay leaf, and herbs like dried basil or oregano can be used altogether. Or any one of them can be used. Remember when you use all these together, it becomes more of a medium overpowering agent.

To use them, temper the ingredients in 1 teaspoon olive oil. Then add them to your chili and mix. Now taste and see the flavor has changed.

Curry Powder

Curry powder is another mild agent to reduce the tomatoey flavor from chili. For that, you’ll need 1.5 teaspoons of curry powder added for 4 persons serving. And the taste will change accordingly.

Cinnamon Powder

Whenever my mom’s making a chili, if it gets too tomatoey she uses cinnamon powder. Because cinnamon has both spicy and sweet kick to it. So adding it to your chili will help you bring down the tomato flavor.

Just sprinkle 1.5 teaspoon cinnamon powder to 4 persons serving chili. 

You’ve got the idea of what the low-intensity ingredients are. Now let us guide you through what amount to use.

Low-Intensity Ingredients Amount Serving
Cumin/Herbs 1 teaspoon 2 persons
Curry Powder 1.5 teaspoon 4 persons
Cinnamon Powder 1.5 teaspoon 4 persons

Using Moderate Overpowering Ingredients

If the previously mentioned ingredients don’t work for you, it’s time to level up. So here are the ingredients you can use for a chili that’s medium tomatoey.

Bell Pepper

You can cut 1 bell pepper into 2 cm pieces and stir fry them. Then just add it to the chili, it’ll soak up some tomatoey flavor. You can also add grilled bell pepper here.                                   


Onion Cubes

Add 1 cup of onion cubes to 4 persons serving chili. Now let the onions soak some of the tomatoey flavors. After 15-20minutes, take out the onion cubes. This way, the sourness will be balanced.


The most common thing you could add to your tomatoey chili is sugar. You’ve to add 1 tablespoon for 2 people serving. 

For getting a quick insight, go through the table. And you’ll know which alternative to go for based on the moderate intensity level.

Moderate-Intensity Ingredients Amount Serving
Bell Pepper 1(cut into 2cm chunks) 4 persons
Onion Cubes 1 cup 4 persons
Sugar 1 tablespoon 2 persons

Using High Overpowering Ingredients

The following ingredients will ensure the highest amount of kick to your chili. So that the tomatoey flavor goes down.

Chipotle/ Chili Powder/ Paprika

You can take 2 teaspoons of chipotle and add it to the chili. 

One tablespoon of chili powder or smoked paprika can also be an alternative. Now be aware not to put too much-smoked paprika into your chili. Otherwise, it will turn into a really hot meal.


Now another ingredient is veg/chicken/beef stock. Just add 1 cup of stock to your chili. Let it simmer for 5 mins and taste if the chili tastes too tomatoey still. 

If yes then add another ½ cup broth. And you’ll end up with a less tomatoey chili.


We know that you’ve already added beans to your chili. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be a chili. But when the tomato flavor gets overpowering, add some extra beans.

For that, you have to use canned beans, take half a can. Drench the beans in boiling water. Otherwise, the beans will be hard after cooking. Then add them to the chili. Stir it for 2 minutes and wait for the beans to cook properly.                             


When the meal is ready, you wouldn’t even know that it was tomatoey before.

Ground Beef

Just like beans, ground beef is another essential ingredient. And when the chili tastes too tomatoey, put some ground beef to it. 

But before putting the beef, sautee them in a pan. And when the meat is 80% cooked then add it to your chili.

To know if the beef is 80% cooked, put some on a plate and make a ball. Try to stretch the ball and separate the meat again. If you can do it quite easily but some still give a hard time, know that it’s 80% done.

You’ve got the overall idea of the high-intensity ingredients. To make things even easier, here’s a table that shows each ingredient with a serving amount.

High-Intensity Ingredients Amount Serving
Chili/Paprika Powder 1 tablespoon 4 persons
Broth ½ cup 2 persons
Beans ½ can 2 persons
Ground Beef 1 cup  4 persons

What If The Texture Changes? 

You’ve now added some extra ingredients to your chili. The texture might have changed. So if that’s the case with you, then follow the adjusting methods.


If you’ve added a little too much broth, reheat the chili. Don’t turn the heat off until it comes to your desired consistency. Reheating the dish will soak up any extra liquid. And you’ll end up with your desired chili.

Add Thickener

If the chili is too watery or runny, add some canned beans. In this case, half a can of beans will thicken the watery chili.

Here’s what we used last time our chili got tomatoey-

  1. Campbell’s Canned Beans, Pork and Beans

  2. RANCH STYLE Black Label Black Beans

If you’re not into beans that much, we got a plan for you. You can also add milk and 1 tablespoon cornstarch to thicken the chili.

Add Thinner

What if your chili has become too thick? Just add half a cup of broth. And stir. See if the consistency is perfect. If not, then keep adding broth. You’ll get a perfect consistency.

How To Prevent Chili From Being Too Tomatoey?

Well, you might be successful in bringing the perfect flavor for your chili. And we assume you don’t want to mess it up again. 

So here are some tips to help you.

Tip 1: Add Tomatoes In Portions

When making chili, we suggest you not put all the tomatoes together. Just put the fresh ones first. After adding all the ingredients, taste if it’s perfect or not.

If you think it needs some more sour kick, add the puree. Otherwise don’t. 

Tip 2: Add Salt And Pepper

Well, adding extra ingredients to your chili can fix it from being over tomatoey. However, adjust the amount of salt and pepper accordingly. 

Otherwise, the chili will taste bland. And the original flavor will be lost.

Tip 3: Adjust Sugar For Canned Tomatoes

If you’re using canned tomatoes, add 1.5 teaspoon sugar per can. It will balance out the extra sourness from the canned tomatoes. 


What can be added to tone down the tomatoey flavor of chili?

Answer: You can add baking soda to tone down the tomatoey flavor off the chili. Just sprinkle 1 tablespoon of baking soda into 4 persons serving to tone down.

What can make the flavor of chili be more intense?

You can add sugar to bring out the intensity of chili. A pinch of cinnamon powder also brings out the flavor.

How to fix a chili that’s bland?

To fix a bland chili, add chipotle and chili pepper along with cumin seeds. Stir all these ingredients on low heat. And get an instant spice up.

Bottom Line

We’ve shared every bit of knowledge on the matter of “chili tastes too tomatoey”. Now it’s your turn to put everything to work.

Before that, you’ve put the stove heat on medium-low. This will ensure a better tasting chili.

Do comment and let us know how your chili was, at the end.

We wish you good luck and happy cooking!!

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