I cringe when I accidentally over-salt my food. In this post, I’ll share my tricks for what to do if you added too much salt to your meal.
From diluting the saltiness to adding an acidic ingredient to mask it, I’ll cover simple solutions.
With these fixes, I guarantee you can rescue even the saltiest dish! No need to order takeout if you overdo the salt shaker – just follow my expert tips!
Looking for what to do if you added too much salt to specific dishes like kimchi, chili, mac ‘n cheese, and beef stew? Check out the FAQ section below!
Here’s What To Do If You Added Too Much Salt
It won’t reduce the salt level in your dish, but adding lemon, vinegar, or tomato paste can neutralize the saltiness in your dish. Start with a dash, stir, and taste before more.
If you accidentally over-salted a dish and can’t add an acidic element to fix it, there are a few other remedies for what to do if you added too much salt.
Say goodbye to overly salted food.
1. Double the Recipe
What To Do If You Added Too Much Salt: Add half the amount of cooked food (without adding salt) to the salty batch of food. If the food are very salty, double the original amount of.
If you don’t have more food, stir in a little fresh mozzarella, cornstarch, potato flakes, or cooked pasta until well mixed. You may have extra food but nothing will go to waste.
2. Add Vegetables
What To Do If You Added Too Much Salt: Throw in some cooked greens like finely chopped kale or spinach.
Onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, peas, carrots, and other veggies work great too.
Veggies will neutralize the saltiness. This is also a great hack for adding more veggies to your diet.
Avocado slices (as a garnish) although not technically a vegetable, will also do the trick.
Vegetables add moisture to your pot of beans, so try sauteing your vegetables before combining them with your beans.
Here are some other veggies that you can add to salty food to help mitigate some of the salinity.
Raw broccoli soaks up salty flavor as it cooks.
- Use raw broccoli (not frozen) and only the florets.
- Chop the broccoli very finely.
- The broccoli cooks down — after about an hour — and shrinks to the point you can hardly see it anymore.
Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it!
You can also add fresh mushrooms to your bean. You can use canned or frozen mushrooms.
- Stir fry finely chopped mushrooms before adding to the food
- Or add them directly to the food and hour before they are done
Adding an acidic ingredient — like tomato or tomato paste — will further absorb quite a bit of the salty flavor.
Mix the tomato paste just before serving, in the final 15 minutes of your cooking.
Add the tomato paste, a little at a time, stirring and checking the taste.
3. Add Sour Cream or Mozzarella Cheese
What To Do If You Added Too Much Salt: Dairy can also counteract over salted food.
Choose sour cream or a low-sodium cheese like fresh mozzarella, Swiss, goat, or ricotta.
4. Add Water or Stock
What To Do If You Added Too Much Salt: The easiest way to fix salty food is to dilute the saltiness by adding more liquid.
Add some unsalted chicken or vegetable stock slowly, and then simmer. This reduces the concentration of salt in the food.
Or add milk, cream or water
Add a little milk or cream. Adding milk or cream gives richness and flavor to the food.
And while water may dilute the flavor of the food, you can always add seasoning to taste.
5. Add a Dash of Sugar
What To Do If You Added Too Much Salt: Sweet and salty are a classic pairing.
Simply add a bit of sugar, maple syrup, or honey to your pot of food and stir thoroughly over a very low heat.
Or your can also try adding a splash of lemon/lime juice to trick your taste buds. This is my favorite method of reducing saltiness in food.
Adding something sour like lemons, limes, or apple cider vinegar balances out the salty flavor of salty foods.
Try can also try adding wine or balsamic vinegar. Make sure to add a little bit at a time, and taste as you go.
6. Serve with Unsalted Starches
What To Do If You Added Too Much Salt: When ready to serve, simply add some unsalted starches like cracker, croutons, bread, or chips.
- Unsalted Crackers. Crumble a crackers and stir them into your individual serving of food. Start with 3 or 4 crackers, adding more to bring the food to your desired flavor.
- Cornbread. Add crumbled cornbread or corn muffin to your food serving and mix well.
- Unsalted Tortilla Chips. Try crushed corn chips. Add a layer of crushed corn chips into your bowl before ladling the food in. Stir to combine.
- Bread. Serve sliced bread with your plate of food to soak up some of the salty taste.
7. Add Corn Starch
What To Do If You Added Too Much Salt: If your food are too salty you can save them by adding corn starch.
- Mix 1 tablespoon of corn starch and 1 tablespoon of water to create a slurry.
- Add the mixture to the food and combine thoroughly.
- Bring your food up to a boil and let them cook for 10 more minutes.
If the food are very salty, add more slurry until you reach the desired taste.
Important! Do not add dry cornstarch or corn flour directly to the pot as this will cause clumping.
You can also substitute corn flour, cornmeal, polenta, or masa harina for corn starch. Note that corn ingredients may dilute the food’ flavor if you add too much.
Tip: Do not use coarse-grind cornmeal, it won’t dissolve properly.
8. Add A Roux
What To Do If You Added Too Much Salt: Add a roux.
Here’s how to make a roux:
- Melt 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter in a skillet.
- Add 1 tablespoon of flour. Stir while cooking until fully incorporated and the roux is browned.
- Stir the cooled roux into your food. Bring to a simmer (uncovered) and cook for at least 5 minutes.
- Adjust seasonings as needed.
Tip: You can also make a roux using corn starch. You can experiment with rice, almond, or coconut flour as well.
What is a roux?
A roux (pronounced “roo”) is also French and describes a paste created with equal parts flour and fat (melted butter, oil, or lard).
9. Add Potato Starch
What To Do If You Added Too Much Salt: In case you were wondering — yes, you can make a potato starch roux. Potato roux is delicious!
- Melt 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter in a skillet.
- Add 1 tablespoon of potato starch. Stir while cooking until fully incorporated and the roux is browned.
- Stir the cooled roux into your food. Bring to a simmer (uncovered) and cook for about 10 minutes.
- Adjust seasonings as needed.
Instant Potato Flakes
Or add a tablespoon of instant potato flakes to hot food. Stir thoroughly. Let cook for a minute. The potatoes will absorb some of the salty flavor.
Potato flakes lighten the color slightly. You can also use cooked, cubed potatoes if you have them on hand.
You get similar results with a rice flour roux. No surprise there, browned rice always tastes good.
Understanding Salt in Cooking
Salt enhances the flavor of food, helps to preserve it, and can even affect the texture of some dishes. But, adding too much salt can ruin a dish and make it inedible. Understanding how to use salt in cooking is essential for any home cook.
There are different types of salt available in the market, such as table salt, kosher salt, and sea salt.
- Table salt is the most common type of salt used in cooking, and it is highly refined.
- Kosher salt is less refined than table salt and has a larger grain size, making it easier to control the amount used.
- Sea salt is harvested from evaporated seawater and has a more complex flavor profile than table salt.
When cooking with salt, it is essential to measure the amount used accurately. Too little salt can result in a bland dish, while too much salt can make it overly salty.
It is easier to add more salt than to remove it once it has been added.
Preventing Adding Too Much Salt
Proper Seasoning Techniques
One of the best ways to avoid adding too much salt to your dish is by using proper seasoning techniques. Start by using a small amount of salt and gradually add more as needed. It’s always easier to add more salt than it is to remove it.
When seasoning with salt, it’s important to distribute it evenly throughout the dish. Sprinkle salt from a height to ensure even distribution. If you’re using a rub or marinade, make sure to massage it into the meat or vegetables thoroughly.
Taste Testing During Cooking
Another way to prevent over-salting is by taste testing your dish throughout the cooking process. Taste the dish before adding salt, then again after adding a small amount. This will help you determine whether more salt is needed or if you’ve added enough.
Learning from Mistakes
Mistakes happen, and adding too much salt to a dish is a common one. However, there are ways to learn from this mistake and prevent it from happening again in the future.
If you do make the mistake of adding too much salt, don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s a common mistake, and with practice and attention, you can improve your cooking skills and avoid it in the future.
What To Do If You Added Too Much Salt – FAQs
What do I do if I added too much salt to my kimchi?
I add shredded daikon radish or red radish in the kimchi jar to help dilute the saltiness. Taste in a few hours or the next day and your kimchi should be less salty.
What to do if I added too much salt to my mac and cheese?
Here are some ways to fix salty mac and cheese:
- Add more unsalted cooked pasta to dilute the saltiness.
- Balance out the salt with more cheese sauce or milk, but be cautious not to make it too runny.
- Counteract the saltiness with a bit of sugar, sour cream, or another creamy ingredient.
- Neutralize the saltiness with an acidic ingredient like lemon juice, vinegar, or a tomato product.
- Absorb some of the saltiness with a few pads of butter or a healthy glug of olive oil.
What do I do if I added too much salt to chili?
To fix salty chili simply add a tablespoon of vinegar. Another option is to double the amount of the chili by adding canned tomatoes or more veggie. Leftovers may be frozen.
How do I fix salty beef stew?
I easily fix over-salted beef stew by:
- Adding more water, unsalted broth, non-dairy milk, or cream to dilute the saltiness.
- Using acid like lemon juice, vinegar, or a small amount of sugar or honey to neutralize the saltiness.
- Absorbing some of the saltiness with butter, olive oil, or dairy products like milk, cream, yogurt, or sour cream.
- Masking the saltiness with fresh herbs like parsley, basil, or thyme.
What ingredients further reduce too much salt in my dish?
Most pasta cooks in 8 to 12 minutes. The following are great choices of pasta.
- Elbow macaroni
- Small shells
- Curly spirals (fusilli and rotini)
The newest use for quinoa is probably the best. Quinoa adds extra bulk and makes beans more hearty and less salty tasting.
Important! Quinoa is a “high risk” gluten-free grain for people with celiac disease. It is often grown and harvested with wheat, barley and rye.
How do you fix salty food gluten-free?
Overly salted food can be salvaged gluten-free by adding
- Cooking collagen powder
- Arrow root powder or kuzu root starch (Japanese arrow root)
- Any corn based thickener like cornstarch, masa harina, tortilla chips, polenta…
- Finely chopped raw broccoli or raw mushrooms
- Gluten-free dry noodles while beans is cooking
- Precooked onion, corn, okra, drained tomatoes
- Low-sodium cheese like mozzarella or goat cheese
- Tomato paste
How do I neutralize salt in food?
If your food ends up with too much salt, what you should do is add certain ingredients to the dish that will cut the salty flavor. For example, acidic ingredients, fatty ingredients, or extra bulk will reduce the salinity.