Don't Panic: 6 Ways to Fix a Meal That Tastes Like the Dead Sea

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Maybe you’ve carefully seasoned, tasting as you go. Or maybe you threw in a handful of salt at the end. Either way, it’s T-minus-zero minutes until dinnertime, but “dinner” is way too salty and completely inedible. Before you throw up your hands, toss everything in the trash and order pizza, try one of these fixes to balance out the dish.

Dilute it with water
Let’s say you made a big pot of braised chicken and the base tastes too salty. No sweat. Just add some cold water (start with ¼ cup) and bring the mixture back to a simmer. Taste your concoction and add a bit more water if it's still too salty.

Add some avocado
…Or any other fatty ingredient, like sour cream, coconut milk, heavy cream or ricotta. Creamy components change your perception of taste, making flavors taste milder. And let’s be honest, your bowl of chili will taste a lot better topped with half an avo anyway.

Stir in a tablespoon of something acidic
Lemon juice, Dijon mustard, distilled white vinegar and other acidic ingredients add extra flavor, masking saltiness. (Think: fish and chips.) Start with just a dash, or else you might end up with dinner that’s too salty and too sour.

Fall back on spuds
Starches like uncooked rice, barley, quinoa, couscous and pasta soak up salt like a sponge. Throw some into your dish and simmer for a few minutes to give them time to do their thing. If you’re making soup or curry, you’re in luck: Toss in a few chunks of raw potato, then fish them out when they’re tender.

Re-season (but not with salt)
Sugar, honey and ground spices round out a dish and can be mixed right in. Or, try sautéing other aromatics like garlic, onions and whole spices separately, then stirring them in to add a punch of (salt-detracting) flavor right before serving.

Give it a bath
Yep, it seems a little ludicrous to wash off cooked broccoli in a colander, but this trick totally works. Hey, we’re willing to try anything to restore our masterpiece to glory.

This Secret Ingredient Salts Your Food with Almost No Sodium

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Food Editor

From 2017 to 2019 Heath Goldman held the role of Food Editor covering food, booze and some recipe development, too. Tough job, eh?