How would you call something that tastes sweet, salty, sour, all at the same time? And in an unpleasant way?


I didn't like her cake. I didn't like its [...] taste.

I could only think of the word over-complicated, but I think it doesn't fits food very well. Maybe muddled?

  • You could always go with a slightly sarcastic expression: "This cake is way too complex for my palate."
    – Jim
    Commented Mar 19, 2015 at 4:47
  • Are you really looking for a verb (in the title) or an adjective (in your fill-in-the-blank)?
    – Jim
    Commented Mar 19, 2015 at 4:54
  • 2
    You might refer to a cacophony of [competing] flavors
    – Jim
    Commented Mar 19, 2015 at 4:55
  • I've heard of dishes that are a jumble of flavors referred to (especially on cooking shows) as muddled.
    – Gnawme
    Commented Mar 19, 2015 at 5:04
  • @Jim Oh, you're right. I meant adjective.
    – wyc
    Commented Mar 19, 2015 at 5:41

5 Answers 5


If its sweet, salty, sour, all at the same time.

assorted adj

consisting of various kinds mixed together; miscellaneous: assorted sweets.

  • I didn't like her cake. I didn't like its [assorted] tastes.
  • Assorted requires a plural noun: I didn't like its assorted tastes
    – Jim
    Commented Mar 21, 2015 at 17:41

You can probably use any negative adjective and then add explanation.
I didn't like its foul taste because it was sweet, salty and sour at the same time.


‘Overwhelming to the senses’. Meaning that there’s just too much going on.


I suppose it depends what you’re expecting - the link recommends you ‘Brace your taste-buds for an onslaught...!


I don't think there is any word that specifically means simultaneously sweet, salty and sour.

The general term that comes to mind for food is overseasoned. However, this is a bit strange to you with cake, since you don't "season" it. One option would be say over-flavor. (Still, sour cake?!? I think in the context of cake, saying "This case is too sour" is a perfectly good quip.)


I don't think there is a word for what you are trying to describe: the one that most closely describes the complex mix of flavours you mentioned is probably umami, but that is a term for a pleasant savoury flavour.

The reason for the lack of such a word is probably that — except in the relatively unusual context of being taught how to cook — few people expend much effort on analysing precisely in what way what they're eating tastes terrible.

For most, it's normally enough to say "This tastes awful!"; maybe some might even exclaim "Too much salt!"

  • 3
    Umami is a different flavor from salty, sour, sweet and bitter, that is also sensed by the tastebuds. It's not a combination. Commented Mar 19, 2015 at 14:46

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