How acidic is tomato sauce?

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: How acidic is tomato sauce? We will tell you how to remove acidity from tomato sauce and leave you with a delicious homemade tomato sauce recipe. 

How acidic is tomato sauce?

Tomato sauce is acidic enough to cause heartburn in some people. If you like the acidity in tomatoes, go for round tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, the latter being both sour and sweet. On the contrary, if you are running away from the acidic flavor, choose heart tomatoes instead.

When cooking, a pinch of sugar will soften the acidity of the tomatoes. But why are tomatoes acidic?

We do not believe that the presence or absence of an associated crop has an influence on the tomato acidic, except for some incompatibility due to competition or influence of the roots. 

Another factor influencing the level of tomato acidity is the temperature. In warmer conditions, the accumulation of sucrose can decrease, while that of acids (citric and malic, in the case of tomatoes) is maintained. 

If this winter-spring has been warmer in the growing area, and varieties that are not adapted to the area have been used, and irrigation has also been increased, this could be the cause. 

How to remove acidity from tomato sauce?

Tomato sauce is widely used in many cooking recipes. But when you prepare it at home, it can be too acidic. Here are our tips for removing acidity from the tomato sauce.

For pizzas, pasta, rice, meat, fish … tomato sauce is undoubtedly one of the most used sauces to accompany dishes in the kitchen. And it’s even better homemade. But did you know that if you crush your tomatoes, your sauce is likely to be sour? Indeed, once broken, the seeds of the tomato release all their acidity. If that happens, don’t panic! 

Use sugar, carrots, or dates to reduce the acidity from the tomato sauce.

You are preparing a tomato sauce for your arrabbiata penne or your margarita pizza, and like any good cook, you taste your work. But there, woe! You wince because your tomato sauce is too sour. Don’t worry, it happens even to the best. To rectify this inconvenience, add sugar to your tomato and too acidic preparations. Indeed, the sugar takes over the acidity and neutralizes it. 

But be careful not to use too much, at the risk of having a tomato sauce with a taste too sweet. Depending on the amount of your sauce, add a piece of sugar, or two to your preparation.

If you are not consuming sugar, there are other, more healthy alternatives. If it is too acidic, add a whole carrot (or two, depending on the amount of sauce) to your tomato sauce preparation. The carrot is sweet, so letting it boil with the preparation will release this sugar which will neutralize the acidity of the tomato. 

Note that a straight, hard, orange-colored carrot will be sweeter than a slightly older carrot. Likewise, the sugar level will be higher if the carrot comes from a bunch that has retained its greenery.

You can also add half a date (or a whole date, depending on the amount of sauce). It is also sweet, it will have the same role as the carrot in your preparation.

Baking soda to remove the acidity from the tomato sauce

Practical in the kitchen, in the garden, for the maintenance of the house, it also has health benefits and it contributes to animal hygiene … baking soda is our best friend!

This handyman powder neutralizes the acidity of foods with an overly acidic pH that your stomach might not take well, and which is not very palatable. Whether it’s tomato sauce, fruit coulis, or jams, you can reduce the acidity with a little baking soda. Just add a pinch or two to the tomatoes while cooking or while reducing the sauce, and voila!

Other FAQs about Sauces which you may be interested in.

Can I use crushed tomatoes instead of tomato sauce in chili?

Is bechamel sauce the same as lasagne white sauce?

What can be substituted for tomato sauce?

Other ways to reduce the tomato sauce acidity

Among the causes of tomato sauce acidity and ways to avoid it:

  • Very ripe tomatoes with a yellowish color are those that are acidic.
  • You have to wash the tomatoes very well and try to remove that slightly sticky layer because that substance is what makes them taste acidic.
  • Large tomatoes are more acidic than small ones.
  • Small tomatoes are less acidic than large ones.
  • Some tomatoes come with a bit of a stem still. That is the culprit, you have to take it off.
  • The main cause is that they are overcooked. They should be removed from the heat as soon as they are cooked and immediately removed from the water. If the heat goes out, but they are left in the pot, they overcook with the hot water and become bitter.
  • It is because they are ground with the same water in which they were cooked. You have to throw away that water and use clean water.
  • Green tomatoes are acidic by nature. Adding a teaspoon of sugar when making the sauce removes the acidity.
  • A sauce made by roasting the tomatoes will be less acidic. We can even call it sweet.

A delicious (and less acidic) homemade tomato sauce recipe

Ingredients for 4 persons :

  • 2 kg of ripe tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 onions
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 10 sprigs of parsley
  • 1 pinch of basil
  • Salt and pepper


1) Peel and slice the onions. Peel and crush the garlic. Scrape, seed, and roughly chop the tomatoes. Rinse and chop the parsley.

2) In a saucepan, heat the oil and sweat the onions and garlic for 5 minutes.

3) Add the crushed tomatoes, bay leaf, parsley, and basil. Salt and pepper and simmer for 1 hour on low heat.

4) Remove the bay leaves before serving, with a pasta dish for example.



Although sugar is your best ally in reducing tomato sauce acidity, definitely not overcooking the tomatoes is key. It is also important to add sugar and salt when heating it to reduce the acidity. Both flavors marry perfectly with the acid touch, and sugar is a great ally when it comes to reducing acidity.

What is your greatest tip for reducing tomato sauce acidity? We’d love to hear it so please let us know in the comments section below!


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.