The Everyday Ingredient That Can Salvage Salty Dishes

The Everyday Ingredient That Can Salvage Salty Dishes

Cooking novices and kitchen queens alike, listen up because we’re tackling an important topic today.

I want to talk about what to do when you accidentally over-salt your food. We’ve all done it. It’s a sucky experience. That moment where you feel your throat dry up because you’ve tasted a mouthful that resembles the ocean is one of the most unpleasant things you can go through in a kitchen. (Save for like, injuries of course.)

In my past, I would always attempt to rectify a ridiculously salty dish by adding more of everything else. More rice; more pepper; more cumin… more whatever. The end result is a dish three times the original size – that’s probably still a little too salty.

Recently, however, I’ve come across a better alternative: plain old lemon juice.


The hot tip was passed onto me by my former housemate, and I’ve got to say: it works every time. I’m not alone in this thinking, either. According to chef Giada de Laurentiis, who spoke with Brit + Co about this over-salting conundrum, lemon juice works a treat in this setting because it cuts through the saltiness. Apparently, “the acidity helps balance your dish”.

Other options I’ve found during my search on salt saviours include adding dairy (cheese, cream or milk will all work) or if you’d like to stick with the acidic vibe, white vinegar is also an option. Ellen Brown told Oprah Magazine that introducing more liquid to the mix is a good start, as is upping the number of veggies in the dish. The Kitchn, alternatively, puts its money behind using more grains or noodles to absorb the salty flavour.

Personally, I still think lemon is the way to go, but hey – it’s nice to see there are so many ways to calm down a dish that tastes like a salt slab.

What you don’t want to do is just toss out an overly salty dish before really attempting to revive it first. And remember going forward: salt is your friend, but use her with caution.


  • F.A.S.S. – Fats, Acids, Salts, Sugars. If you find you have added too much of a particular element, add more from one of the previous elements.

    Too much Sugar? Add some salt. Too salty? Add some lemon juice or Vinegar. Too acidic? Add some butter or Duck fat.

    Just remember F.A.S.S. – next time, you will be able to fix almost any meal you thought unsalvageable.

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