What to do when food is too salty: Savvy tips!

If you cook often at home, it is possible that you have encountered the problem of overly salty food. Excessive salt can make your homemade meal taste unpleasant and ruin a good effort. Fear not, we have got you covered. Check out these savvy tips for what to do when your food is too salty.

1. Balance with acid

If you think that your meal is too salty to the point where it is inedible, you can balance the flavour by adding acid to the dish. A few squirts of lemon juice can cut down the saltiness in your dish. For example, if you have a homemade soup that tastes salty, sprinkle a few drops of lemon juice on top and it will balance out the salt flavour. Take note that lemon juice will only work to cut the taste of salt to a certain extent. Using too much lemon juice can make your dish sour, and you wouldn’t want that.

2. Dilute with water

If you want to reduce the salt in your dish, adding water is one of the easiest methods to use. You can dilute the salty flavour by adding a little more water to the dish. For example, if you have made a pasta dish that has too much salt, you can add water to it, and it will reduce the saltiness in your dish. However, if you add too much water, your dish could end up being too bland, so add water carefully and in small portions.

3. Add more vegetables

Adding vegetables to your dish is a great way to reduce the saltiness, and it is also an excellent way to add nutrients to your meal. Vegetables contain water, and when cooked with your food, they will absorb some of the salt, leading to a reduced salty flavour. Adding vegetables also adds texture, flavour and colour to the dish.

4. Add potatoes or starch

If you add half a potato or a little cornstarch, to your overly salty soup or stew, the starch will absorb some of the salt. Hence, this will reduce the overall saltiness in your dish. You can also peel a potato and add it to your salty broth for 10-15 minutes (until it’s cooked) and then remove it. The purpose of this is to transfer the saltiness to the potato, then discard the potato. The end result is a less salty dish.

5. Modify the recipe

If you have a recipe that repeatedly ends up too salty, it is suggested to modify the recipe by reducing the amount of salt used or use less salt-containing ingredients. For instance, replace salted butter with unsalted butter or use low-sodium versions of canned beans or tomato sauce.

6. Sweeten with sugar

Adding sugar or honey to your dish may help to reduce the saltiness. Sugar will make your dish sweet, so you’ll have to balance it out with the other flavours in your dish. Too much sweetener will make your dish taste completely different, so add it slowly and carefully.

7. Make a larger portion

If the dish you’ve made is too salty, you can make a larger portion than you initially planned. For example, if you have some leftover sauce or soup that is too salty, add more ingredients to it. This way, the excessive salt will be spread out over a larger portion, reducing the concentration of salt in each serving.

8. Use unsalted broth or stock

Most broths and stocks contain lots of salt, and if you add them to your dish and then add salt, the end product could be too salty. Using unsalted broth or stock could help to reduce the salt in your dish. Check the labels of the broth or stock when making purchases, and choose the product with the lowest sodium content possible.

9. Soak

If you’ve made something that is salty, and it’s not too practical to make again by modifying the recipe or diluting it, you can try soaking it to reduce the salt concentration. For example, put over-salted meat in water for an hour, stirring occasionally for the water to absorb the salt. You can then cook the meat as usual.

10. Add dairy or creamy products

If your food is too salty, you could add dairy or creamy products such as milk, cream, or sour cream. These dairy products will help to reduce the saltiness and add more flavour and creaminess to your dish. This method tends to work best for creamy soups or stews.


If your food is too salty, do not throw it away. Try these savvy tips outlined above, as they will reduce the saltiness of your dish and turn it back into a tasty meal. It is important to know that you won’t have to use more than one method to fix salty food. As with every cooking experiment, use your taste buds to guide you. Find which method has improved the dish to your preference and enjoy.


  • https://foodsguy.com/too-salty/
  • https://www.tasteofhome.com/article/why-your-soup-stew-or-sauce-tastes-too-salty-tips-for-fixing-it/
  • https://www.bonappetit.com/story/how-to-fix-over-salted-food
  • https://www.delish.com/uk/cooking/tips/a30942846/how-to-fix-salty-food/

FAQs about Salty Food

Here are the most commonly asked questions and answers when dealing with salty food:

  • Q: Can I add water to my dish to reduce the salt concentration?
  • A: Yes, adding water is an easy way to dilute the saltiness of your dish. Do it in small batches so that you do not overdo it and end up with a bland taste.
  • Q: Will adding sugar to my dish reduce the saltiness?
  • A: Yes, adding sugar will bring some sweetness to your dish, and it will help to balance off the saltiness. But be careful not to add too much sugar as it may end up making your dish too sweet.
  • Q: Can adding vinegar to my dish help reduce the saltiness?
  • A: Yes, adding vinegar or any other acidic food or liquid could help to reduce the saltiness. Add the acidic substance carefully as too much of it could make your dish too sour.

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