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How To Cut Lime Flavor From Any Dish – I Try 7 Methods

If you’ve accidentally gone overboard on the lime, there’s no need to panic!

I’ve made this mistake many times, which is one of the reasons I decided to conduct an experiment to find the quickest, easiest, and most effective ways of counteracting lime flavors in any dish.

In this article, I test 7 different methods of reducing lime flavor in any dish, be it guacamole, salsa, soups, desserts, you name it!

In a rush? here’s the short answer.

How do you cut lime flavor from a dish? The best way to reduce lime flavor is to add salt or umami to the dish. Examples of umami include soy sauce, bacon, and mushrooms. Other ways of reducing lime taste include doubling up on all non-lime ingredients, adding something sweet to the dish, or adding something fatty such as butter or dairy.

Ready? Let’s jump right in.

A note on my experiment

Too much lime can give a sour flavor to your dish. To counteract this, you need to add something with an opposite taste. 

For my test, I made a big batch of guacamole and purposely went overboard with the lime. Then I tried 7 different ways of cutting the lime flavor. I tested:

  • Diluting the guacamole with more avocado
  • Adding something sweet (honey)
  • Adding something salty (salt)
  • Adding something hot (extra chilis)
  • Adding umami (soy sauce)
  • Adding something fatty (melted butter)
  • Adding baking soda 

I tasted the guacamole after each addition and noted how effectively each one had dealt with the lime taste, as well as any flavor/texture/color changes.

My favorites were adding salt, adding umami, and diluting the guacamole with more avocado. Adding something fatty was my least favorite.

Note: although my experiment used guacamole, these methods will reduce excessive lime in any dish.

Dilute the flavor

Fancy leftovers?

Try doubling up on all the other ingredients but the lime. This will dilute the lime flavor and bring it back into proportion with the dish. 

If you’re making guacamole, add some more avocado.

If it’s a soup, add some more stock and so on.

My verdict

This method is one of my favorite options because you don’t alter the dish at all. You just make more of it. 

Of course, the downside is that it relies on you having extra ingredients, which isn’t always the case. 

Add something sweet

Sweetness works really well to cut through the acidic taste of too much lime juice. The most obvious thing to add is sugar, but this will only work if the dish is hot. 

Sugar won’t dissolve in a cold dish, so you’ll end up with a grainy texture. Honey or maple syrup are good liquid sugar substitutes that will work in hot and cold dishes. You can also make a simple sugar syrup (sugar and hot water) if you don’t have anything else to hand.

A more inventive idea that can work well in soups or stews is to add a pureed sweet vegetable into your dish.

Corn, sweet potato, beets, carrots, and winter squash are all considered sweet vegetables. 

Have you ever added grated carrot to your bolognese sauce? 

This not-so-secret ingredient works so well because the carrots add a sweetness that helps cut the acidity of the tomatoes. 

The same will be true of too much lime juice.

If you’re making a dessert, you can counteract too much lime juice with a sweet fruit like mango or lychees.

My verdict

I used honey as my sweet thing because the guacamole was cold, so sugar wasn’t an option. I was impressed with the results! 

The acidic notes of the lime had gone and were replaced with a slight sweetness, but nothing overwhelming. Be careful not to add too much because you don’t want to overdo it.

Add some salt

Chances are you’ve already added a bit of salt to your dish, but you might need to add some more! 

Salt enhances sweetness in food and reduces bitterness, perfect for cutting a bitter lime taste.

Add in a pinch at a time, stir your dish and taste it. 

Slowly does it with salt. It’s easy to add too much, and then the whole thing will just taste like salt. 

My verdict

I added a small amount of salt to my guacamole, and I could immediately notice the difference. The dish no longer tasted so sour.

What I liked about adding salt was that it didn’t really alter the taste of the dish at all apart from dulling down the lime. Most of the other options change the flavor slightly.

Add more spice/heat

This one’s a great one for Mexican food because many of the dishes already have some chili in them. 

Heat works as a distraction technique in food and can distract your tastebuds from an overly sour or bitter flavor.

This method’s not for everyone. If you (or your guests) can’t handle spice, then avoid it. 

But if you can, adding some extra hot sauce or diced chilis might be your answer.

My verdict

This wasn’t my favorite method because I don’t like too much spice, but it did definitely detract from the lime juice. 

One thing to consider here is that if you add something like hot sauce or chili powder, it can alter the color of the dish. I tested some chili powder, and it turned my guacamole a slightly unsightly shade of brown! But this won’t be a problem with all dishes.

Add more umami 

Umani is one of the five basic tastes, along with sweet, salty, sour, and bitter.

If your dish is too much of one (sour), adding some more of another (umami) will help balance it out.

Umami also has the added benefit of being totally delicious and moreish. Foods high in umami include:

  • Soy sauce 
  • Fish sauce
  • Worcester sauce
  • Bacon sprinkles 
  • Anchovies 
  • Mushrooms (particularly dried shiitake)
  • Shrimp paste 
  • Aged cheese (parmesan)
  • Marmite / vegemite
  • Seaweed 

As you can see, there’s a lot of choices, so you’ll be able to find something suitable no matter what your dish is. 

My verdict

I added some soy sauce to my guacamole, and it was delicious! The scrunching-face sourness was gone and in its place was a rich, savory flavor.

It added a depth of flavor I didn’t think possible for simple guacamole.

Again, there was a color issue with the soy sauce, but this won’t be a problem for everyone.

Add some fat

Fatty foods mellow out other flavors in the dish. 

If you’re making a creamy pasta sauce or something where dairy wouldn’t go amiss adding some cream, yogurt or extra cheese can go a long way to mask the sour flavors of lime.

Butter also works wonders.

You don’t even need to be able to mix the fat into your dish.

Say you’ve made some Mexican rice but overdone it on the lime, go heavy-handed with the cheese and sour cream in the burrito, and no one will be any the wiser.

For non-dairy options, you can try avocado or olive oil.

My verdict

I used melted butter for my guacamole, and although it did mellow out the lime flavor, butter and guacamole don’t go!

I’d have been much better off mixing in some sour cream which you often see paired with guacamole.

Lesson learned: pick your flavor combinations wisely.

Add a base (baking soda)

Lime is an acidic ingredient, so to chemically balance it, you can add a base (i.e baking soda)

All the other methods simply mask the taste of the lime. Adding baking soda neutralizes the lime.

The other suggestions are in no particular order, but I kept this one till last on purpose because you should only use it as a last resort. It’s more complicated than the other suggestions and has the most risk of going wrong.

Add too much baking soda, and you can end up with a soapy-tasting dish with a weird texture.

To add baking soda to your dish:

  1. Very slowly sprinkle a pinch of baking soda over your dish and stir it in. Sprinkle a fine layer over the whole dish, don’t just dump the baking soda in one spot
  2. Stir the baking soda into the dish
  3. Wait for any bubbling to subside before tasting the dish
  4. Repeat and necessary adding only a pinch at a time

The baking soda reacts with the lime in the dish and releases CO2, which is why you see some bubbles.

Tasting as you go is essential because you only need a tiny amount of baking soda to see an effect. 

An alternative to baking soda is calcium carbonate. You can purchase it online, and it works in the same way, but it doesn’t have the same soapy taste, so there’s less chance of ruining the dish’s flavor completely.

Extra tip: never add the pith of the lime to a dish

The pith is the white, spongey part of the lime that separates the zest from the fruit inside. Avoid adding this to your dish because it imparts a bitter taste.

Stick to the zest and the juice.

Adding a whole lime to your dish and leaving it cooking for a while is also a bad idea because the bitterness from the pith will leak out and ruin the flavor.

How To Cut Lime Flavor From Any Dish

If you’ve accidentally gone overboard on the lime, there’s no need to panic!
I’ve made this mistake many times, which is one of the reasons I decided to conduct an experiment to find the quickest, easiest, and most effective ways of counteracting lime flavors in any dish.
In this recipe, I outline 7 different methods of reducing lime flavor in any dish, be it guacamole, salsa, soups, desserts, you name it!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 0 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Course Ingredient
Cuisine All
Servings 1 person
Calories 100 kcal

Ingredients
 

  • 1 portion overly limey dish

Instructions
 

Dilute the flavor

  • Try doubling up on all the other ingredients but the lime. This will dilute the lime flavor and bring it back into proportion with the dish.
    If you’re making guacamole, add some more avocado.
    If it’s a soup, add some more stock and so on.

Add something sweet

  • Sweetness works really well to cut through the acidic taste of too much lime juice. The most obvious thing to add is sugar, but this will only work if the dish is hot.
    Sugar won’t dissolve in a cold dish, so you’ll end up with a grainy texture. Honey or maple syrup are good liquid sugar substitutes that will work in hot and cold dishes. You can also make a simple sugar syrup (sugar and hot water) if you don’t have anything else to hand.
    A more inventive idea that can work well in soups or stews is to add a pureed sweet vegetable into your dish.

Add some salt

  • Salt enhances sweetness in food and reduces bitterness, perfect for cutting a bitter lime taste.
    Add in a pinch at a time, stir your dish and taste it.
    Slowly does it with salt. It’s easy to add too much, and then the whole thing will just taste like salt.

Add more spice/heat

  • Add some hot sauce or diced chilis to your dish.
    This one’s a great one for Mexican food because many of the dishes already have some chili in them.
    Heat works as a distraction technique in food and can distract your tastebuds from an overly sour or bitter flavor.

Add more umami

  • If your dish is too much of one (sour), adding some more of another (umami) will help balance it out.
    Umami also has the added benefit of being totally delicious and moreish. Foods high in umami include: soy sauce, fish sauce, worcester sauce, bacon sprinkles, anchovies, mushrooms (particularly dried shiitake), shrimp paste, aged cheese (parmesan), Marmite / Vegemite, and seaweed.

Add some fat

  • If you’re making a creamy pasta sauce or something where dairy wouldn’t go amiss adding some cream, yogurt or extra cheese can go a long way to mask the sour flavors of lime.
    Butter also works wonders.
    You don’t even need to be able to mix the fat into your dish.
    Say you’ve made some Mexican rice but overdone it on the lime, go heavy-handed with the cheese and sour cream in the burrito, and no one will be any the wiser.
    For non-dairy options, you can try avocado or olive oil.

Add a base (baking soda)

  • Lime is an acidic ingredient, so to chemically balance it, you can add a base (i.e baking soda).
    All the other methods simply mask the taste of the lime. Adding baking soda neutralizes the lime.
    The other suggestions are in no particular order, but I kept this one till last on purpose because you should only use it as a last resort. It’s more complicated than the other suggestions and has the most risk of going wrong.
    Add too much baking soda, and you can end up with a soapy-tasting dish with a weird texture.
    To add baking soda to your dish:
    – Very slowly sprinkle a pinch of baking soda over your dish and stir it in. Sprinkle a fine layer over the whole dish, don’t just dump the baking soda in one spot
    – Stir the baking soda into the dish.
    – Wait for any bubbling to subside before tasting the dish.
    – Repeat and necessary adding only a pinch at a time.
    The baking soda reacts with the lime in the dish and releases CO2, which is why you see some bubbles.
    Tasting as you go is essential because you only need a tiny amount of baking soda to see an effect.
    An alternative to baking soda is calcium carbonate. You can purchase it online, and it works in the same way, but it doesn’t have the same soapy taste, so there’s less chance of ruining the dish’s flavor completely.

Nutrition

Serving: 100gCalories: 100kcal
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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