Cooking dilemmas: Too salty / too sweet

What now?!Getting the right balance of flavours in food can sometimes be tricky.  If you’re reducing any liquid on the hob, bear in mind that flavours will be intensified so be careful about how much salt you add to begin with.  To state the obvious : It’s easier to add more after reduction than it is to take away! 


Be careful particularly when making gravy  The juices left at the bottom of your roasting pan often have intense flavour, including saltiness, so extra seasoning is rarely necessary.  You may be tempted to reach for the wine (for the pan – not you!) in order to balance things out.  Don’t.  Wine tends to further emphasise saltiness. In the case of over-salted gravy, add more stock or water and some parsley to absorb the salt.  If you find your gravy then lacks flavour add one of the following: a little redcurrant jelly, butter, a tablespoon of medium or sweet sherry or even a small piece of stock cube (because commercially made stock cubes are, in themselves, salty)!


All may not be lost and depending on what you’re preparing, you have a few options: 

For soups and stews add a raw potato and continue to cook for about 15 minutes.  As the potato cooks it will absorb some of the salt and you can remove it at the end.  

White bread-crumbs, cream and parsley will all help mask too much salt.

For French dressing or any sauce that you think could take a hint of sweetness, adding a little sugar will balance out the flavours.

Conversely, if you have made a food too sweet and you think it can take it, add a pinch of salt or a dash of vinegar.


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Filed under Christmas Countdown, General house tips, What's Cooking?

4 responses to “Cooking dilemmas: Too salty / too sweet

  1. Amy Smyth

    The tip for reducing sweetness works brilliantly. I made a roast parsnip soup with maple syrup and although following the recipe to the letter it was much too sweet! More like something for dessert. So I added some white wine vinegar (just under a teaspoon) and it balanced the soup perfectly. Many thanks for the tip!

  2. angelcel

    Glad I could help Amy. 🙂

  3. sabby2011

    I have just put a marinated chicken in the oven and after 30 minutes I took the chicken out to taste it and discovered that it was very salty! I have sprinkled a little too much salt in the marinade. Would you happen to know how do I balance out the salty taste? I have unfortunately poured out the remaining of the marinade into the boiling water for the potatoes that we will be eating together with the chicken. Together with this combination I was planning to make a ready-made green pepper sauce. I don’t know if I can eat this for dinner now!

    • Jayne

      Oh my love, I feel for you! The nature of this site is that I’m not there instantly to help. I only hope that you didn’t chuck out the dinner. At it’s most basic, giving less of the over-salted food and giving more of veg, like broccoli, will disguise the one item that’s salty.

      We all make mistakes but in my experience people are so happy to eat home-cooked food that they completely miss the mistakes we make.

      PS. your ‘tatties’ needed salted water so don’t sweat about that. Whatever it was like it will be better next time. We all learn and grow from our errors.

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