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How to Fix Salty Food — Yes, it Really Can Be Done

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 gone and oversalted your food

It may seem like oversalting food is the kiss of death in the kitchen, but there actually are ways to salvage a dish that has been doused in sodium.

Don't meltdown and toss your meal in the garbage before trying these trusty de-salting tips. The method you pick will depend greatly on the kind of dish you are trying to save — the solution for an overly salty chili will likely be totally different from the best way to fix a salty brownie, for example.

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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!

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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.


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.

Before you go, check out our slideshow below:

Here's what to do when you've gone and oversalted your food
Image: Brandi Bidot/SheKnows

Updated by Sarah Long on 2/6/17

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