How to Reduce Sourness in Food (Soups, Salads, Sauces, Marinades)

It’s not uncommon for certain Chinese, Italian and even Western dishes and sauces to be sour. However, the addition of a tad too much of an acidic ingredient can turn something that’s delightfully sour into awfully tart!

Worry not as there are things you may do to keep your culinary rep from being tainted.

Since sweetness cancels out sourness, adding a little sugar or any other sweet-tasting ingredient can reduce sourness in food. In some instances, salt or baking soda can do a better job. Sourness in food can be reduced, too, by adding salty ingredients, such as soy sauce, fish sauce and seafood.

Don’t throw away that culinary creation of yours that’s more sour than necessary and start all over again.

Whether you are in a time crunch or you hate wasting food, this article is for you — below, you will come across some foolproof hacks for dealing with excessive sourness in whatever you are whipping up in the kitchen in order to make your family and friends smile instead of pucker up.

sour food

How to Reduce Sourness in Creamy Soup

The addition of a teaspoon of melted salted butter is usually enough to reduce the sourness in creamy soup. If necessary, another teaspoon of melted salted butter may be added. If only unsalted butter is available, adding a pinch of baking soda or salt, too, can make dealing with sourness in creamy soup easier.

What makes melted salted butter effective for reducing sourness in creamy soup is its salt content. This is exactly why using unsalted butter in reducing sourness is pointless, unless you also add a little of something salty to creamy soup.

How to Reduce Sourness in Savory Soup

Reducing sourness in savory soup is as easy as adding a pinch of salt and stirring the soup until the salt is fully dissolved. If savory soup is still a little too sour, another pinch of salt may be added. Some home cooks also swear by the addition of a pinch of sugar in order to keep savory soup from becoming salty.

Salt and sugar are known as some of the best neutralizers of excess sourness. But too much of either one can alter the taste of food, which is why adding a little of both salt and sugar is being done by some.

How to Reduce Sourness in Tomato-Based Sauce

It’s not uncommon for tomato-based sauce to taste a little too sour because tomatoes are naturally acidic. To reduce sourness in tomato-based sauce, a pinch of baking soda may be added. In some instances, more than one pinch of baking soda has to be added in order to reduce tomato-based sauces’ sourness.

Don’t be alarmed if small bubbles form on the surface of the sauce after adding a little baking soda — it’s something that happens as a byproduct of baking soda neutralizing some of the acidity in tomato-based sauce.

How to Reduce Sourness in Spaghetti Sauce

Tomato-based spaghetti sauce that’s excessively sour can be fixed with a little salt. Salt should be added one pinch at a time until the desired taste is obtained. Instead of salt, sugar may be added. There are home cooks who caramelize some onions and add them to sour tomato-based spaghetti sauce.

Some people swear by adding seafood to spaghetti sauce to reduce sourness. But if you are carefully watching your intake of sodium, you may use some of your favorite herbs instead in order to cover up sourness in spaghetti sauce.

How to Reduce Sourness in Stir-Fry Sauce

Many stir-fry sauces call for the use of rice vinegar, which can cause a noticeable sourness if too much of it is added. To reduce sourness in stir-fry sauce, adding a teaspoon of either soy sauce or fish sauce may be done. A teaspoon of brown sugar may be added instead if stir-fry sauce is too sour.

Stir-fry sauce can make stir-fry vegetables come alive. However, something that has a lot of acidity can make eating them unpleasant. Luckily, common Asian seasonings such as soy sauce and fish sauce can lend a hand.

How to Reduce Sourness in Salad Dressing

Vinegar is a staple ingredient in an assortment of salad dressings. If salad dressing is too sour, adding more water may be done, although it will cause salad dressing to become runny. When it comes to reducing sourness in salad dressing, a little salt or sugar can do the trick without affecting the consistency.

No matter if you have accidentally added too much acidic ingredient, such as vinegar or lemon juice, to your salad dressing, simply add salt or sugar pinch by pinch until the sourness is reduced considerably.

How to Reduce Sourness in Marinade

Acid is an important component of a typical marinade. A marinade that’s too sour because of vinegar, lemon juice, orange juice or wine can be fixed with a little salt. Some home cooks use soy sauce, which helps boost the color of the meat. White sugar or brown sugar can also help reduce sourness in marinade.

It’s important to add something acidic to a marinade because it helps make the meat tender and more flavorful, too. Just in case you make the mistake of adding lots of acid, just reach for a bottle of soy sauce or some salt or sugar.

sour cocktail

How to Reduce Sourness in Unflavored Yogurt

Unflavored yogurt can become more palatable for people who do not like its natural sourness and plainness. In order to get rid of sourness as well as add some flavor, a teaspoon of maple syrup or pancake syrup may be added to unflavored yogurt. Some health-conscious people use raw honey to deal with the problem.

The healthiest type of yogurt is the kind that’s plain and unflavored. However, it can also have the most unpleasant taste. Fortunately, you can make yogurt less sour and more delectable with honey or your favorite syrup.

How to Reduce Sourness in Citrus Juice

Freshly squeezed citrus juices can be particularly sour, to the point that, in some instances, drinking them is unpleasant. In order to get rid of excessive sourness in citrus juices, sugar may be added. Adding raw honey helps reduce sourness in citrus juices and also slightly boost their taste and nutritional profile.

Citrus juices are some of the healthiest drinks because they are loaded with immune-strengthening vitamin C. To make drinking freshly squeezed ones pleasing, all you have to do is add a little sugar or any other sweet syrup.

How to Reduce Sourness in Cocktail

Many professional bartenders recommend the addition of a little simple syrup to cocktails that are excessively sour because of too much lemon, lime or orange juice. Simple syrup is made by combining equal parts of sugar and water, and bringing the mixture to a boil until sugar completely dissolves.

No time to make simple syrup? No worries! That’s because you can simply count on honey or any saccharine syrup in order to reduce sourness in your favorite cocktails.

Just Before You Panic and Try to Start From Scratch

Refrain from assuming that accidentally making something in the kitchen too sour means you will have to either start all over again or learn to live with having a bad reputation as a cook.

Sourness is easily balanced out by sweetness and saltiness.

Needless to say, all you have to do is reach for some sugar, honey, salt, soy sauce or baking soda in order to make up for excessive use of a sour or acidic ingredient. Keep in mind the above-mentioned tips on how to reduce sourness in food, and you can keep everyone at the table from feeling like they’re sucking on lemons.

Related Questions

Do sour or acidic dishes and sauces go bad?

Some natural food preservatives, such as lemon juice and vinegar, have pH levels low enough to inhibit microbial growth. Despite the presence of acidic ingredients, sour foods can still go bad because not enough low-pH ingredients are added to them. Otherwise, they will be too acidic for enjoyment during meals.

Will cooking wine that has gone bad make food sour?

Whether for cooking or drinking purposes, wine that has gone bad has an unpleasant vinegar-like smell and taste. Needless to say, using wine that’s already in a bad state for cooking can make the recipe taste too acidic. This is especially true since exposure to heat concentrates the taste of the wine.

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