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Tomatoes are one of the most important ingredients to always have stocked in a kitchen. They find themselves used in so many different recipes and can be used in a variety of ways. Tomatoes can also be used in recipes for meals at all different times of the day such as breakfast, lunch, and dinner. One of the main uses of tomatoes is making tomato sauce which can be used in a lot of Italian dishes as a sauce for the pasta. While the ingredient is important and flavorful, it also brings a lot of acidity to the dish which some people are not a fan of. Learning how to cut the acidity in tomato sauce is very important if you intend on making the dishes it is used in.
Table of Contents
- Why Is A Tomato Such A Common Ingredient?
- Cutting The Acidity Out Of Tomato Sauce With Sugar
- How To Cut Acidity Without Sugar
- Tomato Sauce Substitutes
Why Is A Tomato Such A Common Ingredient?
Tomatoes are so popular as they have a great taste, are really healthy, and are as versatile as onions. Chopped tomatoes can be added to salads or wraps, canned tomatoes can be used as the base for a lot of different sauces and foods such as chili, and tomato paste or tomato puree can be used as a flavoring ingredient in a lot of dishes.
Tomatoes have a compound in them known as umami which is also found commonly in meat. Therefore, tomatoes are great at adding a depth of flavor to anything they are added to similar to how chicken stock or beef stock work when added to soups and stews. Tomatoes are also naturally sweet which means they can contrast and balance out other ingredients when trying to perfect a sauce. Despite being sweet, they are also quite acidic which is something some people do not like about them. The natural acidity of tomatoes can easily be cut out if you know how it works.
For anyone who may love cooking inspiration, try and use tomatoes as the main ingredient in your next dish after reading this article. Also, if you give making your own tomato sauce a go, you will need to know the best pan to make it in.
Cutting The Acidity Out Of Tomato Sauce With Sugar
Due to how acidic it is, tomato sauce can cause heartburn and ulcers if it is eaten too regularly. This is because of the high acid content from acids such as citric acid, ascorbic acid, and malic acid. To reduce the taste of the acids, you can either get rid of them significantly, or you can mask the flavor entirely. By far the best ingredient for this is sugar.
Adding sugar is great for reducing acidity as it will not mess with the flavors of the entire dish too much. How much sugar you use will depend on how much tomato sauce you used, however, one tablespoon is most likely enough. The natural sweetness of sugar is great for this and sugar has a long shelf life so it is likely you will always have some on hand.
Sugar will most likely sweeten the dish a bit but it will not be to an irreversible degree. When the dish is too sweet, you can add herbs and spices to help balance it back out. The best time to add sugar is when your sauce is over medium heat and is at a simmer.
How To Cut Acidity Without Sugar
If you are not wanting to use sugar as an ingredient, then there are plenty of other ways you can cut the acidity out of tomato sauce. Some of the ingredients are better used in certain situations, while others are more versatile. Nevertheless, you will be happy to know that sugar is not your only option.
Cutting Acidity With Baking Soda
It is possible to cut the acidity in tomato sauce with baking soda. It will help reduce acidity a lot and will be easy to add while the dish has been left to simmer. Despite how easy it is, baking soda will also take away from the overall flavor of your dish. To counteract this, add more flavorings than you normally would. Be careful when adding this as the more baking soda you add, the harder it will be to bring all the right flavors back.
Cutting Acidity With Potatoes
Another great way to reduce acidity in your dish is to add potatoes. They will absorb a lot of the acidity in tomato sauce once they are cooked. All you have to do for this is to peel the potatoes, quarter them and add them to the tomato sauce while it is cooking. After cooking for 30 minutes you can then remove the potatoes. They will now also taste very similar to vinegar as they have absorbed a lot of the acidity.
Cutting Acidity With Carrots
Thanks to the natural sugar they contain, carrots are also great for getting rid of the acidic flavor of the tomato sauce. Fresh Tomatoes and carrots can both be added to a dish and will enhance each other. This will make the sauce taste a lot nicer and less acidic. This is similar to adding sugar to the sauce, but will not make it as sweet or ruin the flavor as baking soda does.
Cutting Acidity With Vinegar
If you’re thinking ‘does vinegar cut acidity?’ then you will be disappointed to know that it will not help. Vinegar itself is incredibly acidic as an ingredient and this will not only be unhelpful but will also make the acidic flavor of the dish worse.
Cutting Acidity With Dairy Products
Fatty dairy products such as butter and milk will help reduce the acidity of your fresh tomatoes. This is because butter and milk have a PH level of roughly 7 which makes them great neutralizers, this will neutralize and mask the acidic tomato flavor that you are experiencing. It is best to use them cautiously as they could also mess with the dish and its entire flavor. If you are lactose intolerant or under a dairy-free diet then this will not be as effective as dairy-free milk and butter are not as good at lowering the PH level of acidity.
Tomato Sauce Substitutes
If you want to keep the flavors in your dish the same without changing the recipe too much or adding something entirely new, you can always substitute the tomato sauce for something that will act and taste quite similar.
Ketchup is incredibly popular and is used all over the world as a condiment. Ketchup is made by adding a lot of sugar to tomatoes. Despite this, the end result is not actually too sweet. This makes it perfect for being used as a 1:1 substitute for tomato sauce as the flavors are a slight bit different but the umami and tomato flavor is still very much present, which is noticeable.
Similar to ketchup, this is a slightly sweeter alternative but is still not so sweet to the point of it being noticed in the dish. Tomato soup is still very strong in the tomato flavor and the umami compound yet it lacks a lot of the acidity in tomato sauce and also has a similar texture and consistency, which makes it a great substitute as it will not ruin or change your dish at all.
No More Acidic Tomato Sauce
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to cut the acidic flavor out of tomato sauce. Some of them are more convenient than others such as sugar, but will ultimately affect the flavor or consistency of the dish. It all depends on how you are using the tomato sauce and in what dish. For a spicy dish that uses tomato sauce, you will want to stay away from the dairy products as they will also get rid of the spice. Baking soda is efficient and easy to use, but will also lessen the flavor of the entire dish if you are not careful. Potatoes are quite a hassle to add but they are certainly effective and do not mess with the balancing of the dish as much as sugar does. If you are going for a vegetable-heavy dish then adding carrots will stay on the theme while also getting rid of the acidity. Another great ingredient is caramelized onions as they are very sweet.