How to Correct Over-Salted Food

Updated February 21, 2017

Salt is a mineral commonly used in cooking to season most types of food. Salty flavour is one of the basic tastes a human's tongue can perceive. If used correctly, salt will enhance a food's taste and make it more appealing. However, if your hand slips, you get carried away applying salt or you used a poorly seasoned recipe, the food will be over-salted. Over-salting can ruin a food's flavour, making it difficult to enjoy. Before discarding the dish, try a few methods to correct over-salted food.

Rinse over-salted food in warm water, wiping the exterior with your fingers. If you are working with pasta or something small, place it into a strainer to rinse without losing any. This is the most effective method of correcting over-salted food that has no broth.

Place the rinsed veggies or meat back into their baking pan or skillet and heat until the water evaporates.

Taste the food. If it is still too salty, sprinkle a pinch of white sugar over the food. Continue to cook until the sugar crystals are no longer visible.

Try the food again. If the sugar did not correct the problem, you may need to start over. However, as a last effort, try dipping the food into a steak sauce or salad dressing to drown out the salty flavour.

Place a peeled red potato into the soup or stew's broth and simmer for 15 minutes. The potato will absorb some of the salty flavour.

Remove and discard the potato. Taste the food. If it is still too salty, place 1/8 cup white rice for every two cups soup or stew into a food processor. Add 2 tbsp water and purée. Pour the rice purée into the broth and stir to mix thoroughly.

Simmer the soup or stew for five minutes and sample a bite. If it is still too salty, add 1 tsp sugar for every 1 cup of volume. Stir to dissolve the sugar and simmer for an additional five minutes.

Sample the soup or stew. If it is still too salty for your preference, you might have to discard and start over. As a last effort, try breaking up a slice of plain white bread into the stew.


Sometimes saving over-salted food is not possible. Salt dissolves and penetrates the food's surface, combining their flavours.

Things You'll Need

  • Strainer
  • White sugar
  • Steak sauce or salad dressing
  • Peeled red potato
  • Cooked white rice
  • Food processor
  • Plain white bread
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