How To Make Something Less Salty: Emergency Guidelines For Saving Your Over-Salted Dish

Every superb meal has balance as its hidden ingredient.

Although salt is universally acknowledged as the most important flavor in any dish, one additional tiny sprinkle can undo all your hard work. Between a meal that has the ideal quantity of salt and one that has too much salt, there is a fine line.

Sadly, we have all been there. So, don’t you believe it’s always a better idea to leave it unseasoned? However, you once more overseasoned your dinner. What now?

How To Make Something Less Salty?


You ask yourself, is there a way to rescue a dish that is too salty? Don’t panic; I am here to save your day! These few easy solutions will show you how to make something less salty in no time.

Add Water Or Any Other Liquid-Based On Your Recipe

Just adding a little water, sodium-free broth or any other liquid based on your recipe will dilute the excess salt. There is only one little problem with this method, it can thin out your soup or stew. You can easily solve that by making a roux or cornstarch slurry and adding it to your dish to make it thicker. If you are making chili or marinara sauce, add some tomato paste or crushed tomatoes to fix it. Don’t be afraid to improvise!

Add Sugar

It sounds logical to counter too much salt with a bit of sugar. Add any sweet ingredient of your choice to sweeten the pot. You can use honey, maple syrup, white or brown sugar, molasses, literally any sweet ingredient that you prefer.

Always add very small amounts at a time and taste, then repeat if needed so that way you will make sure you didn’t add too much. One more extra tip, brown sugar is perfect for darker sauces.

Rinse Or Soak

If by any chance you bought pork, ham, or maybe bacon that is too salty, soak your meat in water for a couple of hours and let the salt leach out into the water. Sometimes you can even rinse off the excessive seasoning from your salads or steamed vegetables and start over.

Just place them in a colander and wash them off with ice-cold water. Don’t forget that with rinsing off the salt, you will rinse off whatever other seasonings you’ve added, so you will need to re-season it all over again.

Double The Recipe

When in doubt, this solution is one of the best. If you have enough time and supplies, just double the ingredients from the recipe and don’t add salt at all. When a meal is cooked, taste it and season it more if needed. This method is very useful because you will have some leftovers that you can freeze in containers for later.

Look Which Are The Freezer Containers I Recommend

Add Acidic Ingredient

Often, people think food might need a bit more salt, but the answer is it only needs a little acid to enhance the flavor. A splash of lemon juice or white vinegar, for example, will add a subtle freshness to your meal and mask the saltiness.

Add Dairy

Fats in dairy are great neutralizers, it contrasts saltiness very well. Adding a creamy dairy component can make your meal’s flavor seems milder. Depending on the type of meal you are making you will choose specific dairy products.

For sauces, it is always better to use milk or heavy cream, it makes them richer, and it tones down the salt nicely. If you oversalted your mac and cheese, for example, use some low-sodium cheeses like ricotta.

Ingredients like sour cream and plain yogurt are great rescue solutions for chili, casserole, or some tasty stuffed peppers. Butter mixed with an equal amount of flour will save your over-salted gravy for sure.

See also: What Goes With Stuffed Peppers?

Add Pureed White Rice

We all heard about how putting the whole potato in over-salted soup or stew will absorb the excess salt. Well, unfortunately, that is not true. The potato only absorbs the salty liquid, while the liquid that was leftover still tastes salty, the same as it was before adding the potato.

But, adding the extra veggies, including the potato, will always help. Instead of the potato trick, try to add cooked white rice that is pureed with a bit of unsalted water. Rice is a very starchy ingredient, and that will help tame the saltiness of your soups and won’t make them watery.

Talking about rice, do you want to know how to salvage mushy rice? We got you covered.

Serve At a Higher Temperature

Did you know that a cold dish can taste saltier than a hot one? Well, neither did I! Some sources claim that serving a dish at higher temperatures will prevent your dish taste oversalted.

Smother It

Oversalted main or side dish can be saved with an underseasoned sauce of your choice. You can make a simple bechamel sauce or tomato sauce to balance things out.

Tips To Avoid Oversalting


  • Always use the type of salt that is recommended in the recipe. Don’t substitute kosher salt that has larger granules with regular table salt. If you don’t have kosher salt, you can use table salt just measure less than the recipe is asking for.
  • Try to stay away from buying and using heavily salted ingredients like store-bought stocks. Better use low-or-no-sodium ingredients so you are always able to control the amount of salt you will add.
  • It’s a good idea to lose the habit of measuring the salt or any other spices directly over the pans or pots that you are cooking in. You can easily pour out too much, and sadly it will all end up in your food. Be sure the salt shaker lid is always tight before using it.
  • Never forget to taste the ingredients that you will be adding to finish up your meal. Parmesan cheese, olives, pickles, capers, canned fish like anchovies, Worcestershire, or soy sauce, all those ingredients have a very high salt content and can easily give your food a salty punch you really want to avoid.
  • Possibly the best advice for avoiding oversalting your food is to leave it slightly underseasoned. You can always fix the lack of salt with a salt shaker on the table and allow your family or guests to season food by their own taste.

Final Thoughts

The main ingredient in every kitchen should always be patience. Yes, mishaps can happen to anyone, but they should not discourage you. Try to train yourself to always taste your food while you are still cooking so you can stop yourself from using much more spices than you should.

Never be afraid to experiment, and don’t be shy with your seasoning just because you made some mistakes back in the past. Remember that if it’s used correctly, salt is always the savior of bland and boring dishes.


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