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How to rescue food you've gone and oversalted

Katherine Martinelli is an internationally published food and travel writer and photographer who contributes regularly to publications on three continents. She recently released her first cookbook, Puff Pastry at Brunch: 10 Sweet and Sa...

Here's what to do when you've added so much salt to your food only the kraken would eat it

Besides the dreaded overcooking, oversalting is one of the easiest ways to ruin a delicious dish. Before you toss out a perfectly good meal (or curl up into a ball and cry over the food you've spent hours making), take a deep breath, and see if one of our de-salting tips can help.

First things first: Your kitchen fix will depend on the type of dish you are trying to save. The solution for an overly salty chili will likely be different from the ways to fix a salty brownie. Use common sense in the kitchen, and you'll be fine.

More: 3 flavored salts


If the overly salty ingredient can be rinsed off, that is a good place to start. If you've left meat in a salty brine for too long, for example, or steamed vegetables in overly salty water, then rinsing them off with cold water in a colander might help.


If your soup or stew is too salty, try adding sliced potatoes, rice or even a bit of flour. This might help to absorb some of the saltiness and bring more balance to your dish.


If your dish already has some dairy in it, or you think it would enhance your dish, mix in some plain yogurt, sour cream, or heavy cream to the dish. Or, add a dollop of sour cream or yogurt to the top of each serving.


Sometimes an aggressively salted dish can benefit from a touch of sweetness. By introducing a foil to the salty flavor, sugar or honey might counteract it. Be sure to not add too much sweetener, though!

More: 24 churro recipes that think outside the box


For soups, stews, sauces or anything that can be diluted, try adding a touch of water, stock, tomato sauce or juice. This will give the salt more volume, thus spreading it out and making the overall dish less salty.

Lemon juice

The acidity in lemon juice may just be the trick to offsetting the overly salty flavor of a dish. Try other citrus juices as well, which lend a bit of tartness and sweetness.

More: Strawberry lemonade scones recipe


You can try to mask your salty dish with a sauce. A chicken breast that has too much salt, for example, can be saved in part by a sweet or somewhat bland sauce. Try adding whipped cream or a berry sauce to a dessert that ended up with salt in it.

Updated by Bethany Ramos on 6/2/16

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