Sodium Citrate: A Multipurpose Ingredient to Rev Up the Efficiency of Cooking
sodium citrate
Sodium Citrate Uses

Sodium Citrate: A Multipurpose Ingredient to Rev Up the Efficiency of Cooking


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How eager and open are you to experiment with meal enhancers? Well, there is no dearth of ingredients that are used as additives in the kitchen, so let’s take them one by one. Today, you will come to know what sodium citrate is and what the purposes of using this chemical for cooking are.

It is usually also known as citric or sour salt that is found naturally in fruits. The crystalline structure forms due to a chemical reaction that occurs during fermentation of citric acid. Used as a flavoring agent in energy drinks, juices and soda, the tart and salty taste is hard to go by.

Uses of Sodium Citrate in Cooking

The primary use of sodium citrate is for melting cheese. You can prepare a host delicious cheese sauces by adding sodium citrate. However, you cannot just add it in the crystalline form. First, you need to turn it into a liquid form by whisking it and blend it with the cheese. It works wonderfully to produce cheese sauce with smooth texture. Ever wondered how this ingredient works like magic and helps in melting cheese so easily that it becomes smooth and creamy? Here is how:

  • It reduces the acid content of cheese and transforms the proteins into a more soluble form, thereby preventing it from attaining a poor texture; it makes the cheese smoother and creamier.
  • The same cheese sauce can be cooled and then heated again to create slices that are used in quesos and fondues.
  • Sodium citrate is an ingredient used in modern day cooking wherein it is added to acidic liquids to helps them neutralize and turn into a gel form.
  • It lowers the calcium content in various liquids and stops them from turning into a gel form early.
  • Sodium citrate is also widely used as a preservative, emulsifier, and buffer.
  • It is an ingredient that is commonly found in club soda beverages and prevents the fat content in ice cream from merging together.

So, you are now familiar how this chemical is fast becoming one of the commonest ingredients and an integral part of the culinary domain.

Applications of Sodium Citrate in Food and Beverages

Sodium citrate is one of the most widely used ingredients in the food and beverage industry. Here is how:

  1. It is used as an emulsifying salt in processed and sliced cheese products
  2. It is combined with citric acid and used as a buffering agent for offering pH control in various food and beverage items.
  3. Sodium citrate has a slight tart flavor and is saline but it is also slightly basic and when used along with citric acid results in buffers that are biologically compatible.
  4. It is used as a flavoring and preservative agent in different food items.
  5. It lends that tart-like flavor to various commercial beverages and drink mixes.
  6. You will find this ingredient in jams, gelatin mix, sweets, processed cheese, milk powder, jams, ice-creams, wine and carbonated beverages.
  7. It acts as an emulsifying agent in the production of oils and cheese. Typically, adding sodium citrate makes the cheese melt easily but prevents it from becoming greasy and sticky.
  8. You will find sodium citrate in snacks, cereals, desserts, instant food, and ice-cream meals
  9. It is found in infant formula, dressings, sauces, and seasoning
  10. Sodium citrate in dairy confectionary products and n fruit preparations
  11. In beverages, you will find it in instant drinks, coffee, tea, alcoholic beverages, syrups, juices, carbonated soft drinks, and energy drinks.

Why Use Sodium Citrate in Food Preparation?

Sodium citrate offers multiple benefits in food preparation. Therefore, home and commercial cooks use it with equal ease:

Enhancing Smoothness and Texture of Food Items

Sodium citrate used in preparing cheese sauces and prevents it from separating and becoming greasy. So, the consistency of cheese sauces stay smooth and creamy. It also acts as an emulsifier in preparing processed cheese and prevents the water and oil components from blending seamlessly.


Sodium citrate plays a crucial role as a preservative in the food industry. Its primary function as a preservative is to extend the shelf-life of various food products by creating an environment that inhibits the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms. Here's how it works in more detail:

Acidity Regulation

  • Buffering Action: Sodium citrate acts as a buffering agent, helping to maintain the desired pH level in food products. By regulating the acidity, it creates conditions that are less favorable for the growth of spoilage-causing bacteria and molds.
  • Improved Preservation: This buffering action is particularly useful in acidic foods like jams, jellies, and preserves, where maintaining the right pH is essential for long-term preservation.

Enhanced Stability

  • Consistency Maintenance: In products like jams and jellies, sodium citrate helps maintain a consistent texture by preventing the formation of unwanted crystals and ensuring a smooth gel structure.
  • Extended Freshness: By inhibiting microbial growth, sodium citrate helps keep these products fresh for a longer period, reducing the likelihood of spoilage and waste.

Flavor and Color Retention

  • Preventing Degradation: Sodium citrate helps in retaining the natural flavors and colors of preserved foods by slowing down the degradation processes caused by bacteria and oxidation.
  • Quality Preservation: This ensures that jams, jellies, and other preserved foods taste as fresh as the day they were made, even after extended storage periods.

Application in Various Products

  • Wider Use: Beyond jams and jellies, sodium citrate is also used in a variety of other preserved foods such as pickles, canned fruits, and vegetables. It prevents discoloration, maintains texture, and ensures that these products remain safe and enjoyable to eat over time.

Safety and Effectiveness

  • Recognized Safety: Sodium citrate is recognized as safe by food safety authorities around the world. Its effectiveness as a preservative, combined with its buffering and emulsifying properties, makes it a versatile and valuable ingredient in food preservation.
  • Consumer Trust: The use of sodium citrate in food preservation helps build consumer trust, as it ensures the products they purchase are safe, high-quality, and have a longer shelf-life.

Used For Enhancing Flavors and Controlling Acidity

Sodium citrate lends a salty and tart-like flavor to various dishes. It acts as a buffer ad regulates the acid content of various products, improving the taste. The chemical helps in neutralizing acids and used is a culinary technique called specification.

Improving Functionality of Food Items

Sodium citrate prevents discoloration in canned fruits, especially fruits and vegetables. It is also used as an anti-caking agent and prevents the formation of clumps in powdered drinks and breadcrumbs.

Why Is Sodium Citrate Used In Recipes?

Sodium citrate is used in recipes like macaroni and cheese or fondue as it allows cheese to melt evenly. Apart from this, it is also used as an additive, flavoring agent, and as a preservative.

When buying sodium citrate online, look no further than Cape Crystal Brands, a legendary kitchen tool maker selling authentic products.


Sodium citrate is a versatile and valuable ingredient in the culinary world, offering a range of benefits from enhancing textures to preserving flavors. Whether you are a home cook looking to perfect your cheese sauce or a professional chef aiming to improve the quality and shelf-life of your dishes, sodium citrate is an essential tool in your kitchen arsenal.

Its ability to act as an emulsifier, buffer, and preservative makes it a multipurpose ingredient that can elevate your cooking efficiency and the overall quality of your meals. By incorporating sodium citrate into your culinary practices, you can achieve smoother, creamier, and more stable food products, making your cooking not only easier but also more enjoyable. For the highest quality sodium citrate, Cape Crystal Brands offers authentic products that can help you enhance your culinary creations.


What is sodium citrate?

Sodium citrate, also known as citric or sour salt is a crystalline substance formed through the fermentation of citric acid. It is commonly used as a flavoring agent, emulsifier, and preservative in various food and beverage products.

How does sodium citrate help in melting cheese?

Sodium citrate reduces the acid content in cheese, transforming the proteins into a more soluble form. This prevents the cheese from becoming greasy and helps it melt smoothly, resulting in a creamy texture.

Can I use sodium citrate in home cooking?

Yes, sodium citrate is widely used in both home and commercial cooking. It can be particularly useful for making smooth cheese sauces, preventing separation, and enhancing the texture of various dishes.

What are the benefits of using sodium citrate in food preparation?

Sodium citrate improves the smoothness and texture of food items, acts as a preservative to extend shelf-life, enhances flavors by controlling acidity, and improves the functionality of food by preventing discoloration and clumping.

Is sodium citrate safe to consume?

Yes, sodium citrate is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by food safety authorities when used in appropriate amounts in food products.

Where can I buy sodium citrate?

You can purchase sodium citrate from various online retailers. For high-quality products, consider buying from Cape Crystal Brands, known for their authentic kitchen tools and ingredients.

How should I store sodium citrate?

Sodium citrate should be stored in a cool, dry place, away from moisture and direct sunlight. Ensure the container is tightly sealed to prevent clumping and preserve its quality.

Can sodium citrate be used in beverages?

Yes, sodium citrate is commonly used in beverages to add a tart flavor, act as a preservative, and control acidity. It is found in energy drinks, carbonated beverages, syrups, and more.

What is the role of sodium citrate as an emulsifier?

As an emulsifier, sodium citrate helps blend water and oil components in food products, preventing separation and ensuring a consistent texture. It is especially useful in processed cheeses and sauces.

How does sodium citrate prevent bacterial growth in jams and jellies?

Sodium citrate acts as a preservative by creating an environment that inhibits the growth of bacteria, thereby extending the shelf-life of jams, jellies, and other preserved foods.

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