How to correct too-tart tomato sauce without adding sugar or sweetener

how to correct tomato sauce without adding sugar

“Unless you are using sweet, height-of-summer tomatoes, chances are your tomato sauce will taste more tart than you might like. Many recipes call for adding a pince of sugar… but sugar doesn’t eliminate the tartness; it just makes the sauce sweeter. Nevertheless, I did that for years until my scientist husband reminded me that the way to neutralize an acid is with a base. He suggested adding a pinch of baking soda to overly tart tomato sauce.

“It works like a charm. You don’t need much baking soda to have an impact, so start with a pinch. The sauce will foam briefly as you stir it in. Let the sauce simmer for a minute or so, then taste again. Add a little more baking soda if necessary. Be careful not to add too much or your sauce will taste soapy.”

From the cookbook Four Seasons Pasta, by Janet Fletcher, p. 26.

Image source: Wikimedia


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  1. THANK YOU so much for saving a HUGE pot of tomato soup with this science “trick”….works just like you said: like a charm!!!

  2. This works!!! I had a large pot of tart sauce…….. and with a very little bit of baking soda…… I have a large pot of beautiful tasting sauce!!! Thank you!!

  3. Try adding 1/2 teaspoon of Ceylon Cinnamon powder to every 8 oz of tomato. Cinnamon is well known to makes things sweeter (it has no sugar) and tempers the acidity of the tomatoes in the sauce.

  4. I just tried the Cinnamon trick, it worked! It is Tart Adjacent, but I do Not want to add any more at the moment because I Always add my Italian Seasonings Twice, A Little at the Beginning, and in the Middle a Little More. But IF I have to add more will share. Thank You Cinnamon Vogue.

  5. Ok, I had to add more cinnamon, but I had more sauce than I thought and needed to add more. I now have Tomato Taste, but a more Tomato Taste rather than Eeek TART/SOUR Taste. Thank You So Much.

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