tomato sauce with garlic and basil in wooden bowl. horizontal

When you make a sauce using certain acidic ingredients, the most common being tomatoes, it can taste bitter and unpleasant at first. Adding your standard seasonings may help, but in most cases you need to add additional ingredients to the sauce to reduce the acidity so that it can be delicious and savory, yet balanced.

Prepare your ingredients for the sauce. If making a tomato sauce, which is the most common situation where you'll have an acidic taste, chop up the tomatoes and meticulously remove all of the seeds before you blend them. Tomato seeds are highly acidic.

Cook your sauce as usual. Add your oil, seasonings, and fat drippings (if required by your recipe). Mix the sauce and allow it to simmer for about five minutes on medium heat.

Add 1/4 tsp. baking soda to your sauce. Mix the sauce thoroughly.

Allow the sauce to cook on medium heat for about five more minutes, then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for an hour or more. The longer you let the sauce simmer, the better the ingredients will mix together.

Taste the sauce to assure that the acidic taste is gone about halfway into the simmering time. If not, add another 1/4 tsp. baking soda to the pot and stir it again thoroughly.

Add Parmesan or Romano cheese to your sauce as an alternative or supplemental solution (if this is a tomato sauce). The calcium in the cheese may help neutralize the acid as well.


  • You can add sugar to your sauce to get rid of the bitter taste as well, but keep in mind that this only masks the bitterness. It does not effectively eliminate the acid.

  • Consider trying a low to moderate acid tomato in your tomato sauces. Grosse Lisse, Ponderosa Pink, Cherokee Purple and green tomatoes usually have low acidity. See "References" for more tomato varieties.