Bitterness is one of the essential flavors in our taste palette, and lots of bitter foods are especially healthy. However, you might find bitter tastes off-putting or have a dish that you accidentally added too much bitterness to. Don't worry, you’re in luck! There are lots of tricks and strategies to mask or counteract bitter flavors and help you enjoy whatever meal is in front of you.


Balance out bitterness with some fat.


Cover the flavor with sweetness.

  1. Again, think about coffee—there’s a reason we like sweetening it a bit. The sweetness naturally covers bitter tastes. Throw a pinch of sugar or some honey into bitter foods and drinks to enhance the flavor a bit.[3]
    • Pairing bitter tastes with sugar or chocolate also makes a unique dessert flavor.
    • Don’t overdo it with the sugar! The American Heart Association recommends having no more than 25-36 g of sugar per day for good health, so watch how much you’re using and don’t exceed that limit.[4]

Sprinkle some salt over your food.

  1. The saltiness naturally counteracts the bitterness, so don’t be shy about using a bit of salt in meals that are too bitter.[5]
    • This is an especially good trick if you’re cooking bitter vegetables, like with roasted broccoli or brussels sprouts. Toss them in some olive oil and salt before cooking to introduce new flavors.[6]
    • Just like with sugar, you have to watch your salt intake to maintain good health. The recommended salt intake per day is 2,300 mg, or just about 1/2 tsp.[7]
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Squeeze in some vinegar or lemon juice.


Add some spice to your foods.

  1. Spices mask bitter flavors, so don’t be shy. Add some spicy peppers or powders to your cooking, or sprinkle some onto your dishes for a little bit of extra heat.[11]
    • Black pepper in particular has compounds that counteract bitterness.
    • Some other great spices include cayenne, red pepper, paprika, and chili powder.

Chill the food to reduce bitterness.


Mix bitter ingredients into larger dishes.

  1. Make dishes with lots of different ingredients and only add in a little bit of the bitter ones. This should mask the bitter flavors while still allowing you to get all the health benefits from bitter foods.[14]
    • Some non-bitter foods include beans, carrots, corn, eggplant, lettuce, and potatoes. Try hiding some bitter foods in a dish with these ingredients.[15]
    • This trick works well with salads. You could mix bitter ingredients like arugula with more neutral tastes like romaine. Top the salad with a lemon vinaigrette to mask the bitterness even more.
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About This Article

Marrow Private Chefs
Reviewed by:
Private Chefs
This article was reviewed by Marrow Private Chefs. Marrow Private Chefs are based in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. It is a chefs’ collaborative comprised of an ever-growing number of chefs and culinary professionals. Though regionally influenced primarily by coastal, traditional southern, cajun, and creole styles and flavors, the chefs at Marrow have a solid background in all types of cuisine with over 75 years of combined cooking experience. This article has been viewed 237,037 times.
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Co-authors: 8
Updated: October 22, 2023
Views: 237,037