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I made a mistake with my lastest batch of chicken soup, and it's too salty to eat. Is there any way to save it?

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The old rule with salt is: Always err on the low side.. you can put in more later, but you cannot take it out :) – txwikinger Jul 10 '10 at 4:14
possible duplicate of How to fix food that got extra salty? – Mien Feb 4 '14 at 15:26

10 Answers 10

up vote 13 down vote accepted

Peter Martin at Chef Talk suggests adding sugar or cider vinegar. He also mentions the old potato trick but says it's not effective for him unless it's only slightly too salty.

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Interesting! What is the cider vinegar supposed to do? – Elizabeth Schechter Jul 10 '10 at 2:35
cider vinegar is acidic, salt is a base. Maybe the chemical reaction is supposed to bind some of the salt and therefore neutralize its taste? – txwikinger Jul 10 '10 at 4:13
@Elizabeth -- it's a matter of balance; something that's both salty and sour (or salty and sweet) doesn't seem as overly salty. I've had reasonable luck with the potato trick, though. I used slices of a waxy potato to lots of surface area, but that I could still fish out. – Joe Jul 10 '10 at 11:59
@txwikinger: actually salt is not a base, salt is a salt. Salts are what are formed when an acid reacts with a base. – Joel in Gö Jul 14 '10 at 8:45
The reason this works is that acid tricks the tongue into perceiving less salt (or, indeed, sugar; this is why a lemon pie mixture would be unbearably sweet before you add the lemon). – daniel Aug 1 '10 at 22:50

Make a second batch of Soup and under salt it, then mix them.

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A trick that works sometimes is to put a potato in it and cook it a bit. It'll tend to absorb some salt and not give flavor out.

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Honestly I have tried this trick and it has never ever worked for me. I believe it is a kitchen myth. – daniel Aug 1 '10 at 19:17
Do you mean boiled or raw potatoes for this? – Mugen Oct 19 '11 at 6:52

Add water and/or unsalted chicken or vegetable stock...though depending upon how over-salted your soup is, you may not be able to rescue it without a significant amount of added liquid.

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Yes, or just build on it. For a chicken soup you could add almost anything: slices of (unsalted) chicken, canned tomatoes, cream, some vegetables you like, etc. – citizen Sep 27 '12 at 0:17

Make another batch with no salt added to it, then mix the two batches together. It's the only way to save soup that's two salted. Nothing else works.

If you need to thicken it up after mixing, use smash powder packet, and add accordingly.

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Smash powder? I'm not familiar with that. Can you give some information on what that is or provide a link? – Jay May 20 '12 at 22:28
Do you mean Smash potato powder? That's the only thing I can find a reference to online, and it would definitely help thicken soup. – Laura Sep 26 '12 at 19:51

Perhaps just more water, more chicken stock?

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chicken stock is usually salty, so probably just water. – Bryant Jul 10 '10 at 1:55
Canned chicken stock is usually salty. – Richard Hoskins Jul 10 '10 at 4:27

Adding a bunch of parsley to the soup and cooking it for another hour or so will usually work. Parsley tends to soak up the salt somehow, at least flavour wise. I'm not sure how it works, but it works for me. Especially if I've been using fake chicken stock powder (it's we use instead of chicken stock in my vegetarian household).

Anyway, a proper Jewish chicken soup should have parsley in it, so why not add more? That's what my granny taught me.

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Strain soup and set solids aside. Put salty stock in a lg, by at least half, pot. Add handful of parsley, couple quartered onions, celery butt (end) and heart with leaves, 2 or 3 chopped carrots, 2 med. Peeled potatoes, quartered and small chicken that you cleaned. Bring to a boil, reduce and summer a couple hours. DON'T SEASON. when meat is falling off bones, strain. Pick meat off and mix in. Freeze half th is in qt containers. Add your solid from the early salty soup. Now taste for seasoning. Should be fine now.

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I find it is easiest to: remove about 1/2 of the solids with a slotted spoon (meat, vegetables, noodles, beans etc.) place them in a strainer or colander and give them a quick rinse under warm or hot water, next remove 1/4 of the broth and replace it with water (You can save this broth if you want to use in future soups but please label it to not use alone nor with additional salt), add an additional 1/4 of the original amount of other seasonings (except no more salt, this includes no garlic salt or onion salt) add the rinsed meat and vegetables back into the pot and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes to give the flavors a chance to blend.

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I made the mistake of using all the drippings from baked ham in making soup and it was much too salty. I followed the advice from DebraMN and spooned out all the meat and vegetables from the pot, rinsed them well with warm water and drained them in a colander. I poured out half the broth and added back plain water. In tasting the vegetables before adding them to the pot I found that the rutabagas I'd used were very salty so I fished out as much rutabaga as I could and then added the meat and veggies back to the pot. I added around 2 tsp. sugar and 2 Tbsp. Cider vinegar to what was approx. 2 qts. soup. I did add two quartered raw potatoes and simmered for about an hour and that helped some but the rutabagas really seemed to have absorbed the salt and the soup did turn out tasting pretty darn good.

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