Soup Too Salty? 5 Tips for Fixing It & Making Sure It Doesn’t Happen Again

updated Jun 5, 2019
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Maybe your stock was unusually salty, or too much water boiled off, or you simply added one pinch of salt too many — however it happened, it’s happened: your soup is too salty. What’s the best way to fix it? And how can you prevent it from happening next time?

Here are some strategies for fixing an overly salty soup:

Dilute it: The easiest fix is to add more water or stock, if your stock isn’t too salty in the first place. Add a little at a time, tasting as you go. This works best for soups that are brothy rather than thick and creamy.
Distract the tongue: Acids like vinegar or lemon juice can cut through the saltiness, as can a small amount of sugar. This works best for soups that are just a little too salty and need some balancing.
Add some starch: Starchy ingredients like noodles and rice will absorb some of the excess salt as they cook and help thicken up the soup, so you can add a little more water to further dilute it. And although some people swear adding a potato to a salty soup and pulling it out after some of the salt has been absorbed, others say it doesn’t work. (I’ve never tried it myself.)

To prevent overly salty soups in the future, remember these tips:

Season gradually: Soups become saltier the longer they boil, as water evaporates away, so wait to adjust your seasoning toward the end of cooking. A soup that is perfectly seasoned as it comes to a boil will be far too salty after 30 minutes of cooking.
Taste and adjust, taste and adjust: This is important not only for avoiding overly salty soups, but for making great-tasting soups in general. Don’t be afraid to keep tasting and adding salt a little at a time toward the end of cooking, until the flavor is just right. (A splash of acid also helps take soups from good to great.)

Do you have any tips for fixing or preventing overly salty soups?

(Image: Jiri Hera/Shutterstock)