How to Save an Overly Salty or Spicy Dish

by Rachel Baker on April 2, 2014

Here are some great tips from Food52 for saving salty or spicy dishes from being too over the top either way.


We’ve all been there. You’re expecting guests at any moment, you’ve just popped open a bottle of wine, and you turn your slaved-over soup down to a simmer. You dip in your finger for a quick taste test, and then recoil. You’ve gone way overboard on the salt, and your tongue tastes like you just jumped, open-mouthed, into an oncoming wave. Or maybe your eyes tear up, heat rises to your cheeks, and you start fanning yourself before finally sticking your mouth under the kitchen faucet. After the initial shock comes confusion, regret, and then, finally, panic. The doorbell rings as your first guest arrives. (Who gets to a party on time, anyway?)


Overseasoning is a tragedy, and it can happen to you. In fact, it’s an issue that’s been floating around our hotline for years, in one form or another. But if you follow these emergency guidelines, you can resuscitate a meal on the edge of death — and turn a near-tragedy into a victory.

All great meals are about balance. The five tastes — sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami — should all complement each other, without any specific one hogging the limelight. When one of those tastes becomes too strong, the dish will taste off. Obviously, depending on the desired finished product, certain tastes will be more dominant — but they must be kept in check.

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