Do Italians Put Sugar in Spaghetti? The Answer Below

The Italian Way of Cooking Spaghetti

Sugar is necessary for sweetening some foods, such as pastries, but do Italians put sugar in spaghetti? No, they do not. However, to counteract the acidity of tomato sauce, they occasionally add sugar. 

Also, Italians simply season spaghetti with salt, pepper, and olive oil. This article dispels the myth that Italians sweeten spaghetti and answers other queries about it.

Spaghetti Bolognese

Why Do People Put Sugar in Spaghetti?

You may have noticed a few people sneaking sugar into their tomato sauce or tasted an unexpected sweetness in spaghetti and wondered why they had to add sugar to tomato sauce or spaghetti sauce at all. Sugar balances the flavor and makes the sauce more palatable. 

However, sugar is not usually necessary in spaghetti sauce. For those who dislike the bitter taste of canned, unripened tomatoes, this is one common way to cut through the acidity and neutralize the taste.

Do Italians Put Sugar in Spaghetti?

No. It is fair to believe that Italian spaghetti contains a significant amount of sugar, although sugar traditionally has no place in Italian spaghetti. Sugar in spaghetti sauce, on the other hand, is feasible.

Southern Italians added sugar to their spaghetti sauce because they frequently used end-of-season uncooked tomatoes. They did this to counteract the bitterness and acidity of the tomatoes.

Sugar Substitutes in Spaghetti

The tomatoes’ acidity level, whether canned or raw, is the primary reason for adding sugar to spaghetti sauce. Because putting sugar in spaghetti sauce is not the best for some people, here are a few alternatives for reducing the acidity of tomato sauce.


Carrots are a natural option if you don’t want to add sugar to your spaghetti sauce. This not only sweetens and reduces acidity but also thickens and adds complexity to the sauce.

Baking Soda

In spaghetti sauce, a pinch of baking soda can help mask the tomatoes’ bitter taste. It can also enhance the flavor and consistency of spaghetti sauce.


Melting some butter into the spaghetti sauce is another sugar substitute. This cuts through the acidity and neutralizes the bitterness of raw or canned tomatoes.

Authentic Spaghetti Sauce

There are numerous ways to create spaghetti sauce, but if you want an authentic Italian experience, you must do a few things. Begin with high-quality virgin olive oil, then add the chopped onions and garlic and cook until softened. Add tomato sauce and crushed tomatoes, then thin it out with water if necessary. Finally, you can season to taste with salt, pepper, and basil.

You should then allow the sauce to simmer for at least an hour to meld all the flavors. Serve with your favorite spaghetti and a sprinkle of grated parmesan cheese on top. 

How to Make Spaghetti Sauce Less Sweet

It is possible to produce spaghetti sauce that is too sweet; nonetheless, these simple solutions will come in handy in making your sauce less sweet.

Add More Spice

Add extra salt and other spices to the tomato sauce to balance the sweetness. Ensure not to over-spice the sauce, or it will taste differently. Also, taste the sauce frequently to determine when to stop adding more spices.

Increase The Quantity

This is one effective method for reducing the sweetness of spaghetti sauce. Increasing the volume or quantity of the sauce will diminish its sweetness. Gradually add more canned tomatoes to your liking to balance out the sweetness.

Add Acidity

Lemon, lime, and vinegar are excellent sweetness neutralizers readily available in the kitchen. Remember that a little goes a long way, so don’t add too much to the spaghetti sauce, or it will change the flavor.

Veal spaghetti bologna

Does Sugar Belong in Spaghetti?

For many years, sugar has been a contentious issue. Some people believe sugar is necessary in our diet, while others say it harms our health. There are arguments, but deciding to include sugar in your diet is a personal preference.

Spaghetti might not be the greatest place to start if you’re attempting to reduce your sugar intake. Compared to other foods, a typical dish of spaghetti has roughly 0.1 ounces (3 grams) of sugar. However, if you consume multiple servings of spaghetti or other sugary foods throughout the day, those 0.1 ounces (3 grams) can quickly add up.

Furthermore, some brands of spaghetti sauce contain added sugars, so read the label before purchasing. Also, if you don’t mind a little sugar, pasta with sauce might not be a horrible idea. 

Pasta’s complex carbohydrates provide long-lasting energy, while the sauce contains minerals such as lycopene and vitamin C. But always remember that excess sugar can lead to weight gain and other health issues.

How Much Sugar to Put in Spaghetti Sauce

Like most people, you may not think about how much sugar goes into your spaghetti sauce. After all, it’s only a tiny amount, isn’t it? Wrong! The sugar content in your sauce can significantly impact its flavor. 

Too much sugar can make your sauce cloying and sticky, while too little sugar can make it flat and lifeless. So, how do you strike the right balance? Here are a few pointers:

  • Begin with less sugar than you believe you require. If necessary, you can always add more afterward.
  • As you continue, taste your sauce and adjust the amount of sugar as needed.  
  • Add lemon juice or vinegar to balance out the sweetness of your sauce.  
  • Remember that the longer your sauce simmers, the longer the flavors must mingle and develop. This implies that if your sauce tastes good just after you add the sugar, it may be overly sweet after a while. Begin with less sugar than you think you’ll need, then boil away!

How Much Sugar Does Spaghetti Sauce Have?

We are all aware that excess sugar may be terrible for us. We should avoid it as much as possible, especially in our diets. But just how much sugar is in spaghetti sauce? It’s frequently on ingredient lists. So, the next time you shop, read the labels carefully.

You might wonder how much sugar your diet contains. Spaghetti sauce is one of those dishes that they can load with sugar without you even realizing it. 

Some popular brands of spaghetti sauce contain up to 0.3 ounces (8 grams) of sugar per serving, which is about 2 ounces (56 grams)! That’s more than one can of soda. Better yet, make your sauce from scratch with fresh ingredients. You’ll know exactly what’s in it and will be able to limit the amount of sugar.

Where Does Sugar in Spaghetti Come From?

Sugar was added to spaghetti in the early 1900s to make it more appealing to children. Sugary pasta originated in Northern Italy when sweeter meals were more popular. 

Sugar was also essential for balancing the acidity of tomatoes, which were growing more popular in pasta sauces. However, sugaring spaghetti is now an old-fashioned technique, but some still do it.

Does Authentic Italian Pasta Sauce Have Sugar?

No, true Italian pasta sauce contains no sugar. There are various kinds of true Italian pasta sauce, but they all have one thing in common: they are all savory, not sweet. If you find a recipe for “authentic” Italian pasta sauce that includes sugar, it is most likely not authentic.

Spaghetti Carbonara

We’ve Got You Covered

Saying that Italians put sugar in their spaghetti is completely false; their three main components are salt, pepper, and a generous amount of olive oil. However, Southern Italians prefer adding sugar to tomato sauce to lessen the acidity of the tomatoes.

Some people still use sugar in their spaghetti sauce, but if that bothers you, you can substitute it with carrots, baking soda, and butter, as this article recommends.