The way to desalinate a dish that’s too salty? Grandma’s 4 suggestions


Ouch! You had a heavy hand and your dish is now too salty? So you wonder if it is possible to save your dish or if you will have to start all over again from the beginning. In addition, we know: sodium consumed in excess is not good for health and exposes us to cardiovascular disease. Beyond the 5 g per day recommended by the WHO, we become more at risk of having a myocardial infarction or a stroke, favored by too high blood pressure. For your health and your taste buds, don’t panic! You will discover some grandmother’s tricks that will allow you to quickly sweeten your tasty preparation when you have put too much salt. The seasoning of your small dishes will be saved as well as your recipe!

And next time, be careful not to over-salt your preparations.

The potato to save an overly salty dish

potato potatoes
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1. Peel a potato (or several potatoes for a large dish).

2. Cut it into halves or rounds about 5mm thick and add the pieces to your pan simmering over medium heat or boiling. Let cook slowly, stirring occasionally.

3. As the potato cooks, it will absorb the salt. Once the cooking is finished, you will only have to remove the pieces once your dish is ready, because this starch will not be edible.

This trick is ideal for casseroles and much appreciated by meat dishes in sauce or a stew. If you don’t have a potato, you can also use stale bread to cook your preparations.

The sugar cube technique to save your recipe

square cubes of sugar cubes
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1. Drop a sugar cube into a spoon.

2. Immerse the spoon in your preparation (if it is liquid) for a few moments taking care that the sugar does not melt.

3. Remove the sugar cube. Your dish will be a delight!

Fruit or fresh cream to make up for a dish that is too salty

fresh cream greek yogurt
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If your dish allows it, add a few pieces of fruit, especially apples. Otherwise, use ricotta or fresh cream at the end of cooking. It’s ideal in a gratin, risotto, pasta or if you don’t like salty-sweet. All you have to do is let it simmer: the taste should be softened. Coconut milk will also be ideal depending on the recipes made (rice with curry, zucchini, chicken or turkey, lentil purée, pumpkin soup, vegetable soup, etc.). Your taste buds will tell you the right choice for a delicious recipe! In any case, coconut milk and fresh cream are the solutions of choice to save an overly salty sauce or velouté.

Acidity to counterbalance excess salt

cider vinegar
Credits: iStock

To counterbalance the excess salt, you can also add acidity to the dish if the recipe allows for it. This can be cider vinegar or white vinegar, but also lemon juice which will less alter the taste of your dish.

How to save a dish that is too salty (depending on the recipe or the type of preparation)?

too much salt too much sodium
Credits: iStock

Sometimes the solution when you put too much salt when seasoning will depend on the type of dish or recipe.

How to recover pasta or rice that is too salty?

Here, the easiest way will be to change your cooking water. To do this, drain your pasta, rice or starches. Then fill the pan again, this time with unsalted water, and cook them again for the necessary time. This should be enough to remove the excess salt.

How to make up for soups or sauces?

Whether you are preparing a velouté for autumn-winter or a sauce to accompany a dish, bring a scrap of old bread. Leave it in the water for several minutes before blending, time for the crumb to absorb the excess salt. Then remember to take out your bread before it disintegrates under the effect of heat. Otherwise, it is also possible to use the potato trick explained earlier to save your preparation or by adding an unsalted liquid (milk, cream, etc.).

It is also possible to rebalance the flavors of a wine sauce whose seasoning is missing adding a square of chocolate. In addition to counteracting the excess salt, this will help bind the sauce and make it more creamy. Finally, to correct excess salt in a tomato sauce, adding sugar can be very effective.

How to make up for an overly salty mash?

As for the soup, you can bet here on the addition of milk or unsalted fresh cream, but also unsalted butter. Otherwise, it is possible to redo the puree without salt and mix the two preparations to have a more balanced result.

What to do in case of meat, fish or steamed vegetables that are too salty?

In both cases, we can rinse the piece of steak or fish fillet under running tap water. (And don’t forget to rinse the pan too!) This will remove the excess salt and allow you to adjust the seasoning to your liking. It is also possible to desalinate steamed meat or vegetables by letting them drain in a pan with a little water. As the cooking progresses, get rid of the resulting juices until the excess salt disappears. Be careful, this last method causes the vegetables to lose all their crunch and the meats may become less tender. Nevertheless, it will have the merit of saving your meal.

To succeed in your seasonings, remember that it is generally better avoid salting your dishes before or during cooking if you are unsure of the result. For example, sauces and soups can tend to reduce during cooking, which can distort the result when seasoning. Preferably add your salt at the end of the preparation and with a light hand. Then you can add more!

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