8 Ways to Fix Too Much Tomato Paste in Beef Stew

Homemade beef stew is delicious, but if you accidentally add too much tomato paste, it can taste bitter. To fix too much tomato paste in beef stew you can add water, salt, cook it for longer, add caramelized onions or carrots, or add something sweet.

You shouldn’t have to put up with the overpowering taste of tomatoes when you eat your beef stew, and now you don’t have to. This article will explore easy ways to fix too much tomato paste in beef stew.

How to Fix Too Much Tomato Paste in Beef Stew

When you put too much tomato paste in your beef stew, you can reduce the bitterness and tanginess of the tomato paste.

1. Add Water

If you add a little water, maybe 1/4 to 1/2 cup or even less, then stir the stew up some and simmer it awhile, you can often get the strong tomato paste taste out of it. You can start with a smaller amount of water, stir and simmer, and then taste the stew and see if it tastes better.

f the taste is still too strong or bitter, add just a little bit of water again and stir and simmer until you get the right taste. If you want to add a little more flavor to your stew, you can always add beef stock instead of water.

2. Add Salt

If you add some salt to your beef stew, it counteracts the taste of the tomato paste and tames it somewhat. Try adding 1 teaspoon at a time, then stir it and taste it to determine if more salt is needed.

If you have a particularly large batch of beef stew, you can go up to 1 tablespoon of salt, but keep in mind that it’s best to start with small amounts and go from there. Make sure that you stir the stew and taste it each time you add the salt.

3. Add Sugar

Just like salt, sugar can offset the bitterness of the tomato paste. Sugar has to be added in small amounts because it can make your beef stew a little too sweet, which most people won’t like.

Try adding just a few tablespoons at a time at first, depending on the size of your stew mix. Always stir the stew and taste it before adding any more sugar, and after the first few tablespoons, just add 1 tablespoon at a time in between the stirring and tasting.

4. Add Carrots or Caramelized Onions

Shredded carrots or caramelized onions add just enough sweetness to your beef stew to remove some of the bitterness. Both of these ingredients also add a little more texture to the sauce, so they’re good for more than one reason.

You also don’t need a lot of onions or carrots because just a little bit will do. If you shred up one carrot or caramelize about one-fourth of an onion, you should have enough to do the trick.

5. Cook the Stew Longer

This is a good way to remove some of the bitterness of the tomato paste and doesn’t involve you adding anything to the stew. If your stew is thick, you can always add a tiny bit of water before you cook it some more, but that isn’t necessary if the stew has the right consistency.

Cover your beef stew and cook it on medium heat for about 15 minutes, then stir it well and taste it. You may need to cook it longer than 15 minutes to get the taste you want, but this is a simple solution to the problem.

6. “Dilute” the Stew

This isn’t a recommended or popular solution, but it works. All you have to do is create another batch of the beef stew but leave the tomato paste out of it, then combine the two batches together.

If you’re making everything from scratch, this might be too time-consuming to consider doing, but it does work. It also leaves you with an extra-large batch of beef stew, which means that this method doesn’t work for everyone.

7. Add Seasonings

In addition to sugar and salt, you can also add more of the seasonings you’ve used in your beef stew recipe, and maybe even some that you didn’t. Try seasonings such as basil, oregano, rosemary, and even black or white pepper.

You’ll want to add small amounts of the seasonings at a time, then stir the stew and taste it before adding anything else. If you have fresh seasonings growing in your garden, this might be the perfect time to try them out!

8. Replace Some Stock with Another Liquid

This is one of the easiest things you can do when the taste of your tomato paste seems to be overpowering your beef stew.

Take a measuring cup and simply remove some of the sauce, without picking up the veggies and other ingredients, then replace that sauce with beef stock or even wine. If you use wine, only use a small amount because wine can be bitter just like the tomato paste can.


Adding ingredients such as water, sugar, salt, seasonings, or shredded carrots to your beef stew can take away some of the bitterness when you’ve added too much tomato paste to the recipe. You can also cook it longer and replace some of the sauce with beef stock, among other things.