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What to do with oversalted food?

Salting food can be a common problem in the kitchen, even for experienced cooks. It’s not uncommon for a mistake to happen while preparing a meal, and you suddenly have a dish that is too salty to eat. Fortunately, there are several strategies you can use to “desalt” your food, or at least reduce the saltiness.


The simplest and most effective way to reduce the saltiness of food is to dilute it. If you have oversalted the soup or sauce, you can add more liquid – water, stock or even some unsalted stock. For solid dishes such as stews or vegetable dishes, you can add additional servings of unsalted ingredients to balance the saltiness.

Add potatoes

There is a widespread myth that adding raw potatoes to salty food will help absorb excess salt. Although potatoes do not absorb salt on their own, they can help dilute the saltiness by adding more bulk to food without adding extra flavor.

Acids and sugars

Adding an acidic ingredient, such as lemon juice or vinegar, can also help balance the saltiness of the food. Likewise, a little sugar or honey can help to tone down the saltiness, but be careful not to add too much and change the overall flavor profile of the dish.

Adding dairy products

When making sauces or soups, adding dairy products such as cream, yogurt, or even a dollop of butter can help moderate the saltiness.

Use of eggs

When preparing some dishes, such as cooking pasta or rice, you can use eggs to create a new layer of flavors that will help balance out the excess saltiness.

Serving with unseasoned side dishes

If the dish can’t be modified further, serve it with unflavored side dishes such as rice, pasta or bread, which can help moderate the overall saltiness of the dish.

Prevention of resalting

As the old saying goes, “prevention is better than cure”. This also applies to oversalting food. Here are some tips to avoid oversalting:

  • Use salt wisely: Always start with less salt than you think you’ll need. You can always add more, but salt cannot be taken away.
  • Regular tasting: Taste the food regularly while cooking. This way you can be sure that the salt is in the right amount.
  • Use quality ingredients: Quality ingredients are often less processed and contain less sodium. When cooking, use fresh, whole ingredients instead of processed foods, which can often be oversalted.
  • Use alternatives to salt: If you want to add flavor to your food, try using herbs, spices or citrus juices that can replace salt.
  • Choosing the right salt: Different types of salt have different levels of flavor intensity. For example, sea salt or kosher salt are less concentrated than regular salt.

It is important to remember that when seasoning food, it is better to add salt gradually and taste regularly. If you do end up oversalting your food, these methods can help mitigate the saltiness and save your culinary creations. In the kitchen, less is sometimes more, and this rule is especially important when using salt.

How can I fix an oversalted soup or sauce?

You can fix an oversalted soup or sauce by adding a liquid such as water or broth that is not salty. Alternatively, you can add more ingredients that do not contain salt to “dilute” the saltiness.

Is there a quick way to reduce the saltiness of food?

A quick way to reduce the saltiness is to add an acid such as lemon juice or vinegar, or to add sugar. These ingredients can help balance the taste.

Is it true that adding potatoes to food absorbs salt?

Adding potatoes can help expand the overall volume of the food, reducing the salt concentration, but potatoes alone do not absorb salt.

What can I do with salted meat?

You can serve salted meat with unseasoned side dishes such as rice, pasta or bread to help moderate the overall saltiness. You can also try cutting the meat and adding it to some food that is less salty.

Can oversalted food be dangerous to health?

If you’re on a sodium-restricted diet, oversalted food could be a problem. In general, a one-time consumption of oversalted food should not cause health problems for most people, but it is better to avoid such food.

Can I somehow use salted food instead of throwing it away?

You can use salted food as an ingredient in other dishes. For example, salted meat can be added to low-salt soups or sauces to balance the flavors.

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