Let's just say I was experimenting, and now I have a pan full of diced carrots and potatoes that have been boiled and way, way over-brined. They taste like... salt. It's very bad.

  • 2
    This isn't an answer, but know that sometimes it's best to just trash it and not throw good ingredients after bad. It depends on the salt level, if you oversalted 4 potatoes and you feel like adding a fifth potato would make it palatable, go for it. But if you put 4x the amount of salt you should have, maybe just start over.
    – Dan C
    Jun 19, 2016 at 16:15

3 Answers 3


Basically dilution is the key, though a rinse and a short soak in fresh water will help a bit.

You could freeze them in small quantities and use them up in vegetable soup a little at a time. Don't forget that commercial stock has quite a lot of salt in, so reduce that accordingly.

Some thick stews could tolerate some mashed veg in them, again in fairly small quantities.

By mixing with completely unsalted veg you could make a form of bubble and squeak, but you'd have to mash/mix it more than normal to avoid having locally salty bits.

  • 1
    On the bubble & squeak approach -- there's also the Dutch stamppot (but use an unsalted meat, not bacon), or any form of hash, really. I've even had a potato salad that was made w/ mashed potatoes that was really, really good.
    – Joe
    Jun 19, 2016 at 12:21
  • @Joe, that sounds suitable. Your mention of hash made me wonder if they would work in a scrambled-egg-based hash of even a tortilla (Spanish omelette).
    – Chris H
    Jun 19, 2016 at 12:49
  • It's actually much more difficult to make a spanish tortilla with leftovers, and probably worse if they potatoes are cooked to falling apart. You need sufficient heat in the potatoes so the eggs properly bind to them. But your comment also made me think of potato pancakes (matafan, made w/ mashed potatoes, not latke style) and croquettes. Maybe even gnocchi. Or maybe even the topping for a shepherd's pie.
    – Joe
    Jun 19, 2016 at 13:25
  • @Joe, yes, lightly cooked works better
    – Chris H
    Jun 19, 2016 at 16:07

Osmosis is your friend here.

If you have not mashed them yet, drain them, cover with fresh water, wait, repeat - until the salt level is acceptable. I think that would be difficult with a mash since you'd lose vegetable with each draining. You will probably need to do this in the refrigerator to allow sufficient time for the salt to diffuse out without having spoilage. If you elevate the veg above the bottom of the container, the process works better, as the heavier brine tends to collect in the bottom.

I happen to do this with salty olives (which conveniently float, so no rack is needed to elevate them) in order to reduce the salt level to one I find pleasant. I'd suggest at least 12 hours per change of water, and then another 12 without water to let the salt left equalize unless you want a "salty center" effect.

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    You don't want osmosis. Osmosis is the movement of water from an area of low solute concentration across a membrane to an area of high solute concentration. Osmosis would cause the salty vegetables to absorb water. I suspect that what you actually want is for the salt to diffuse out of the vegetables into the water; the problem with that is that all the other flavour compounds in the veggies will also be diffusing out. Jun 19, 2016 at 18:17
  • This will wash away some of the flavors but still good solution.
    – paparazzo
    Jun 19, 2016 at 19:31

If you are making lemon Greek potatoes like I was, you can rinse them, chop them in half, then soak them in water for 3-7 minutes.

There was enough flavour left after, and it seemed to get the heavy salt out of the outer half inch of potato.

Ultimately it made the whole potato taste much better, and the salt went from unbearable to unnoticeable with a dab of tzatziki.

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