How to Fix Salty Food and Save Your Meal

How to make food less salty salt jar spoon
Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay - Monofocus

Accidentally added too much salt to your meal? Lost focus for a split second and oversalted your dish? The good news is: it’s not lost. We’ll show you how to fix your salty food and save your home-cooked meal.

We all make mistakes in the kitchen. Sometimes all it takes is a slip of the hand or an overeager approach to spicing and the best homemade dishes have too much salt. Yet, minor cooking mishaps such as these are still no excuse to create unnecessary food waste. We’ll show you how to make food less salty and make your dishes edible again.

Make Food Less Salty with Water, Milk and Other Liquids

One common way to fix salty foods is to “stretch” the dish with a small amount of water. In some cases, you can also use milk or a plant-based alternative such as rice, oat, or soy drink instead. Fatty foods such as cream, sour cream, coconut milk, or butter are even better because they mask the salty taste particularly well.

Use the Potato Trick to Fix Salty Food

How to fix salty food make food less salty the potato trick
The tried-and-tested “potato trick” will show you how to make food less salty. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay - Wounds_and_Cracks)

This trick is especially suitable for oversalted soups, sauces, or stews which you may not want to further dilute with an additional liquid. Here’s how to make these foods less salty:

  1. Grate a potato or cut it into small pieces.
  2. Add them to the dish in the pot and let everything simmer for about ten minutes.
  3. If the potato does not go well with the dish, remove it before serving the soup or sauce.

The potato removes a large part of the salt from the liquid by absorbing it like a sponge. Alternatively, you can also use carrots or bread. However, you should note that bread dissolves quickly and can thus be difficult to remove from the dish. A few prunes will also do the trick. You should let these simmer for at least 15 minutes.

Utopia’s Tip: Stale Bread Recipes

Fix Your Salty Dish with Something Sweet

Honey sweeten how to fix salty foods
How can you combat an overpowering salty taste? Use sweeteners such as honey, sugar, or syrups. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay - fancycrave1)

Sweetness also helps to effectively balance out a pronounced salty taste quite well. This de-salting method is particularly suitable for dressings, marinades, or dips. Sweeten up your mixes with honey, sugar, or whole cane sugar. Additional suitable sugar substitutes and natural sweeteners are agave syrup, maple syrup, or coconut blossom sugar. However, due to their relatively large carbon footprint, we don’t recommend looking at these alternatives first.

If the food does not taste salty afterward, but a little too sweet, you can balance this out with some lemon, lime juice, or vinegar.

Reduce the Salt with Double the Portion, Half the Salt

How to fix salty dishes double the portion
This method on how to make food less salty requires a bit more work. Twice as much to be exact. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay - Pexels)

Never toss a home-cooked meal: Even if it’s a bit oversalted, there’s always a way to fix salty foods – how exactly you do this is up to you. One way is to double the portion and precook the same dish for the next few days. Prepare the dish in the same way as the first time and leave the salt out completely. Then mix it with the oversalted version and freeze parts of the food for later if necessary.

With salty sauces, you can also freeze parts of the sauce in small ice cube containers and use them later as a spicy base for other dishes.

For soups or stews, it is also a good idea to cook a large portion of vegetables, potatoes or noodles and stir it into the salted food to balance out the salty taste.

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This article was translated and adapted from German to English by Evan Binford. You can view the original here: Essen versalzen: So kannst du es noch retten.

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