How to reduce acidity in tomato sauce? (3 Tips)

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, ‘How to reduce the acidity of tomato sauce?’.

If your tomato sauce ends up more acidic than you would like it to be, there are measures you can take to make it less acidic. By balancing the pH or manipulating the taste of the sauce, you can make it less acidic.

How to reduce acidity in tomato sauce?

One of the following ingredients can help to reduce the acidity of the tomato sauce. You can use any of the elements from the following categories depending on your need and preference:

  • baking soda
  • dairy product (butter or Bechamel)
  • herbs and vegetables

Tomatoes are one of the most acidic fruit, with about 10 organic acids naturally present. In order of abundance, we have citric acid, malic acid, and ascorbic acid. Even though with plenty of health benefits, the tomato can cause GERD and ulcers, if they are more sour than necessary. Sour and acidic foods can be an unpleasant experience for some. For others, it can be unpleasant for their body as well and cause digestive distress. 

Tomato sauce can end being more acidic than it should, making it unbearably sour. The acid content of tomato sauce is variable. Store-bought tomato sauces usually have a high acid content. According to research by Clemson University, tomato paste and purees are rich in acid. Preserved tomato-based products have high acid content to prolong their shelf-life. 

If you choose to make tomato sauce at home, you have more control over the acid content.

Start with the right ingredients

The tomato sauce made at home can be mild to acidic depending on the ingredient and cooking practice. 

If you used fresh tomatoes, you would not have to worry about the acid content much. Fresh tomatoes are usually sweet and have a lower acid amount. The acid content also varies with the variety of tomatoes and the season picked in.

Also, before you start to cook, deseed the tomatoes. Removing the seeds would help to reduce the acid content of the tomato paste.

Cook the sauce longer from 2-4 hours on low flame. Stir it every 30 minutes to prevent it from burning. Cooking for long helps to even out the flavor of tomato sauce.

You can add baking soda to neutralize some of the acids. Baking soda is basic; if you add it in a suitable quantity, it will reduce the acidity of your tomato sauce.

Add Baking Soda and Butter

Use the following procedure to add baking soda to your tomato sauce.

To each cup of the tomato sauce, add 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda. You can add a little more if it doesn’t do it for you.

If you are still not satisfied with the acidity of your sauce, proceed to add butter. Add a teaspoon of butter and mix it into the sauce.

To make things healthier, you can add non-acidic vegetables to your pizza sauce. Vegetables such as onions, olives, and artichokes are non-acidic, which not only adds bulk to the tomato sauce but also increases the pH. 

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Add vegetables

To your tomato sauce, you can also add spinach, carrot, and eggplant.

However, be sure not to add pickled or canned vegetables as they are already sour and acidic. Fresh vegetables are low in acid content.

Add Fatty-Dairy Products

Fatty Dairy products also help to reduce acidity, such as butter.  Bechamel is also a good option. The lactose-containing products will not lower the pH of the sauce but help by reducing the acidic flavor.

To tone down the flavor, add a bit of sugar to your tomato sauce. However, this will not reduce the acidity but round the flavor. So you don’t have to deal with the sour taste of the sauce.

Add Sugar and Salt

Add a pinch of sugar to the pan while the tomato sauce simmers. Add either brown or white sugar, just before you let the sauce thicken. You can also taste test it to makes sure the flavor is right for you.

Adding a pinch of salt also works the same way as sugar. 

Add Herbs and Caramelized Onions

In Naples, it is common to add herbs such as basil. It also influences the sauce by making it sweet. Be sure to add it after you have thickened the sauce; otherwise, the sauce will become bitter.

Caramelized onions also work well. The flavor goes well with the tomato sauce and adds natural sweetness to the sauce.

Give it up!

If you find it hard to neutralize the highly acidic flavor, you can turn things around and change the tomato flavor to tomato cream sauce. Just stir in heavy cream to your sauce to avoid dealing with the acid conundrum. You can also choose reduced-fat milk for your tomato sauce to keep things healthier. 

In this brief guide, we answered the question, ‘How to reduce the acidity of tomato sauce?’. We considered some measures to reduce the acidity of the sauce. 

https://www.splendidtable.org/story/2013/12/26/use-baking-soda-or-butter-to-improve-bitter-tomato-sauce#:~:text=Heat%201%20cup%20of%20sauce,Usually%20this%20does%20the%20job.

https://www.livestrong.com/article/13729212-common-weight-loss-misconceptions/

https://byjus.com/questions/which-acid-is-present-in-a-tomato1-tartaric-acid2-malonic-acid3-lactic-acid4-oxalic-acid/

https://cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/5/in-a-tomato-sauce-recipe-how-can-i-cut-the-acidity

https://www.wikihow.com/Reduce-Acid-in-Tomato-Dishes#Deseeding-and-Shortening-Cook-Times

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.