Pasta is one of the best types of foods ever created. You can do so many different things with pasta, whether you’ve got a simple or complex recipe.
You can use an array of sauces and meats or you can just add some butter and seasoning to plain noodles. The options are just about endless!
If you’ve ever over-salted noodles or perhaps noticed a heavy saltiness when you cook them, you know that sometimes they can almost be too salty. Most of the time when pasta is too salty, it is because of the sauce rather than the pasta itself.
The god news is that when you accidentally add too much salt or your sauce is simply too salty, there are options out there.
So, how do you make pasta less salty? The best way to dilute salty pasta is to cook more unsalted pasta and then combine the two. If it’s your sauce that is too salty, you can try adding sugar, starch, or water.
In this guide, we will talk about how to make pasta less salty. We’ve got several tips for you that talk about the pasta noodles, adjusting recipes, and even what you do when you’ve already added too much salt.
There are plenty of options to still make your pasta perfectly enjoyable, so stick around!
Is Pasta Always Salty?
Whether you make your own pasta at home or you use store-bought pasta, you might notice a salty flavor. It’s not that anything was made wrong, it’s just that pasta does typically have salt in it.
When you read recipes for making pasta, most of those recipes tell you to salt the water and then salt the sauce. So basically you have salt in the pasta itself, salt added to the water you cook it in, and salt added to the sauce.
That can really add up to a lot of salt if you think about it. Some sauces, like spaghetti sauce, are known to have high levels of sodium in them. So even if you leave the salt out of the water or the pasta, you still have salt in the sauce.
You might find that it’s not really the pasta itself that makes your dish salty but rather the combination of the salt paired with sauce. It is sometimes possible to use unsalted noodles, but those aren’t always easy to find.
The good news is that if you feel like your pasta is too salty for any reason, you do have some options that might help with that.
Diluting Salty Pasta
Let’s start at the beginning. When you use pasta noodles, they have salt in them. It’s an essential ingredient in homemade pasta as well as pre-made pasta.
Here’s the thing. You can always be proactive when you are making your noodles for home and just reduce the amount of salt that you add to it from the get-go.
We realize this may not always be an option, but it’s something to keep in mind the next time you make noodles from scratch at home.
When you buy pasta from the store, you can look for unsalted pasta or reduced sodium pasta and keep some of that on hand.
We’re talking about before you actually cook the pasta and you know it’s salty from past experience. However, in most cases, we’re assuming you are looking for a way to dilute salty pasta because you already over-salted the water.
The best way to dilute salty pasta at this point is to separately cook some pasta with no salt in it and then combine the two together. The unsalted pasta will help to dilute the salty pasta.
You might end up with quite a lot of pasta, but you could always try freezing the pasta or saving it for another dinner within the next few days.
How To Fix Salty Pasta Sauce
If the problem is the salt in the pasta sauce makes the dish too salty, there are options for that too.
Maybe you added too much salt to your homemade sauce. Or maybe you just feel like your favorite jar of spaghetti sauce is always a little too salty.
You again have some options for helping bring your pasta sauce back to a more flavor-friendly level.
There are three main ways to fix any dish that has too much salt in it. While it really might depend on the sauce, you can build on any of these three options.
- Add a bit of starch
- Add a bit of sugar
- Dilute the sauce
Adding additional pasta that is unsalted is one way to add some starch to your pasta sauce. This particular tip really works better for things like soup or casseroles.
However, people use the tip for pasta too. You just have to keep an open mind about it.
The best way to add a little bit of starch is to add potato. You can dice up an uncooked potato and just add it to the complete dish or you can take half of a potato and stick it in your sauce for a bit.
It will help soak up some of the salt and then you can remove it. Really, the easiest way is to dice up the potato.
You don’t have to add a lot. Half a potato will work wonders with salt pasta sauce.
The next option is to offset the salty flavor with some sweet. If you’ve ever seen pasta sauce recipes that call for sugar, this is usually why. The sugar adds just a touch of sweetness without being overwhelmingly sweet. It’s very tasty!
Depending on the type of pasta sauce you are working with, you can use either brown sugar or white sugar. You don’t need very much at all. The goal is just to offset the saltiness so a little bit will go a long way.
We recommend starting with about 1 teaspoon and adding only about 1/2 a teaspoon at a time if you feel it needs more in it.
The other option to save your pasta sauce from a salt attack is to simply try diluting the sauce. In most cases, you will just dilute it with water.
When you add water, there is more liquid ground to cover for the herbs and seasonings in the sauce to cover.
Therefore, the salt will have to spread out further. This will help reduce the saltiness just a tad. This may not always be enough on its own, so keep that in mind. It just depends on how salty the sauce is.
How To Fix Salty Pasta With Toppings
The last method for fixing salty pasta has to do with maybe a dish like a casserole or a completed pasta dish that is hard to adjust with some of these other means.
Take lasagna for example. If you realized too late that the lasagna is too salty, you’ve still got options.
These options are suitable for any type of baked pasta or pasta casserole dish where all of your ingredients are fully combined or even layered together.
In this case, you can add toppings that can help tone down the salty flavors. We recommend cheese. But not just any kind of cheese because some cheeses are salty too.
However, who can resist a bit of cheese on a pasta dish anyway? It’s like the perfect finishing touch!
Try cheese like mozzarella, mascarpone, or even some ricotta. We recommend finding soft cheeses, but you want to be careful to look for cheese that doesn’t have a high salt content.
You don’t have to use cheese, though. There are other toppings and additions to a dish that can help soak up and reduce the saltiness.
Here are a few other options:
- Unseasoned chicken
This is not an all-inclusive list, but it gives you the general idea. Add more ingredients or change up your toppings to help combat a salty pasta dish.
Last Resort Option
If you feel like you are out of options and just don’t know what else to do, you can always scrap the entire dish. We don’t really recommend this because you can almost always salvage it or adjust in some way.
The other last resort option is just to double your batch. Cook or prepare enough stuff to make a whole other dish of the same.
This time, skip or heavily reduce the salt. Once you’ve got it prepared, combine it all together and mix it well. Then, you can separate it out and have two of the same dish.
Throw the extra into the freezer and save it for a quick dinner another night.