Here’s How To Fix The Bitter Taste In Tomato Sauce

If you want to know how to fix the bitter taste in tomato sauce, this article is for you.

Bitterness in tomato sauce is often caused by the same recurring factors, which you may be completely ignorant of.

It’s okay if you get it wrong once or twice. However, if this bitter taste in tomato sauce keeps happening, you need a solution.

As a result, detailed instructions on how to fix the bitter taste in tomato sauce are provided in this article. Furthermore, you will learn everything without having to discard the sauce flavor.

How to fix the bitter taste in tomato sauce

1. Add a little baking soda

You can improve the bitter flavor of your tomato sauce by adding baking soda. Simply add a pinch of baking soda to the sauce, give it a few stirs, and taste it to be sure the sauce is no longer bitter.

Repeat this process to distribute the acidity of your sauce more evenly. However, if you find that you’ve incorporated too much baking soda and removed all the acid content from your sauce, you can always add a tiny bit of lemon juice or vinegar.

These ingredients will give your dish some of the lacking acidity and a fresh note. Just remember that the vinegar will impart its flavor to the sauce, so ensure to select the product you like or one with a milder flavor.

Note: Baking soda may not always be effective, so keep looking for additional solutions to the sauce’s bitter taste.

2. Add a pinch of sugar

To balance out the bitter or unsavory flavors, like the baking soda method, you can consider adding a tiny bit of sugar to your tomato sauce.

Start by adding no more than 1/4 tsp of sugar until the sauce reaches the desired level of acidity.

However, be sure not to use your granulated sugar excessively, as a sauce too sweet can be just as bad as one that is too bitter.

3. Mix in some fat

If you’ve tried sugar or baking soda in your excessively bitter tomato sauce and still feel like it’s lacking, try adding some fat.

4. Check your sauce salt level

Salt is the first and simplest solution to try. Salt enhances the sweetness and lessens bitterness when used in small amounts.

However, it will become too “salty” in larger quantities as the savory flavors increase. Therefore, be cautious to prevent that.

See if the flavor of the sauce improves by adding a little salt. If it doesn’t, don’t keep adding salt—it may or may not help, especially if you plan to use the reduction method later.

5. Cook your sauce a little longer

It is common knowledge that cooking your tomato sauce for an extra minute will make it sweeter and more flavorful.

That is because the sauce becomes much more concentrated, or the tomato’s natural sweetness will simply be enhanced by cooking.

While some tomatoes are naturally sweet, others simply require a second reduction to become sweeter.

The more time, the better. A good sauce requires at least 45 minutes to prepare, but the best ones require several hours.

To know if your sauce has improved, try cooking it for an additional 30 minutes or so. However, do not be too assertive as this may burn or overcook it; a gentle simmer is fine.

6. Use cream or butter

Like milk or cream will help a bitter cup of black coffee, fat can also help a bitter sauce. The richness hides the bitter flavors, and the lactose’s sugar will make the sauce sweet.

Butter will saturate without being overpowering. The addition of cream will significantly alter the sauce, turning it from tomato-red to creamy orange. Choose the one that goes best with your finished dish.

Do tomato seeds make the sauce bitter?

Yes, tomato seeds can make the sauce bitter. Tomato seeds taste bitter when crushed between the teeth.

Therefore, if not ground properly before cooking to make the sauce, it may impart the sauce taste altogether.

Can butter reduce acidity in tomato sauce?

Yes, it can. Butter or any other fatty dairy commodity, such as bechamel or half-and-half, can be added to tomato sauce to reduce acidity.

However, these are more likely to remove bitter and acidic tastes from your food than to alter the pasta sauce’s pH.

Why does tomato sauce turn bitter?

tomato sauce - millenora

Some of the reasons a tomato sauce turns bitter are:

  • Because of the high levels of acid in the tomatoes.
  • Using subpar canned tomatoes or tomatoes that aren’t mature enough.

In some situations, the tomatoes themselves are more often to blame for the sourness in your tomato sauce.

If you used fresh tomatoes, they might not have reached the proper level of ripeness and can cause bitterness.

Also, if you used canned tomatoes, it’s possible that the bitterness was caused by the seeds being crushed during the canning process.


Can tomato skins make your sauce bitter?

Yes, they can. Before adding fresh tomatoes to a sauce, tomato skins should be removed because they can turn a tomato sauce bitter.

Flavonols, an antioxidant found in the skin, have a bitter taste. The flavonols in the skin impart a bitter flavor to the sauce when the skin is cooked for a long time.

Why does salt make the tomato sauce taste better?

In tomatoes, salt improves flavor and lessens bitterness. A salted tomato has a slightly more intense flavor.

On the tongue, salt also enhances the flavor of tomatoes. The tongue produces more saliva when it tastes salt, which ensures the spread of the tomato sauce’s taste to more taste receptors on the tongue.

Do carrots reduce acidity in tomato sauce?

Yes, they do. You can add grated carrots to bitter tomato sauce to sweeten it. Carrots contain a significant amount of natural sugar, which balances the tomato sauce’s acid as it cooks.

When properly combined, the carrot flavor won’t be noticeable but will give the sauce a subtle sweetness.


Acid content and tomato ripeness are the major causes of tomatoes turning bitter in a sauce. When making tomato sauce, try to use vibrant red tomatoes or whole, skin-on tomatoes from a can.

If your sauce has turned bitter while cooking, you can try adding some sugar and baking soda or use one of the other solutions in this article.

Also, if you end up with a sauce that is too watery, see a list of ingredients that can help thicken your tomato sauce.

Thanks for reading.