Is your gravy too salty? I feel for you! You’ve worked for hours on the perfect roast only to fall at the final hurdle. Don’t throw in the towel just yet. You can fix salty gravy with the addition of one or two everyday ingredients. By the end of this article, you’ll have a range of food staples in your arsenal to help reduce the saltiness of your jus, gravy, or reduction.

Watch a 90-second video for the answers

First, let’s dispel one myth before it spreads too far through the internet. There is talk that placing potato cubes into the gravy lessens the salt content. I tested this method twice; on both occasions, the potato reduced the liquid. However, what remained was still unpleasant to eat. Why waste delicious potato when you can ​use other methods that work?

Now that we know what not to do, let’s look at some useful hacks that will work.

5 ingredients that will fix overly salty gravy

1. Sugar

Salt and sugar are two opposing forces. Each of them is ready to come to your aid if you mess up using too much of either. If you have an overly sweet dessert such as caramel ice cream, a hint of salt works wonders to provide some relief.

Brown sugar in a jar
White or brown sugar helps balance the salty flavor.

The reverse also applies. Take that wicked gravy that’s had a sodium overdose, then add sugar. Go easy, adding a little at a time. I suggest adding no more than half a teaspoon then stirring through well. Before adding more, you need to do a taste test.

Some argue that sugar gives an unpleasant taste to the gravy. That’s usually only the case when too much gets added.

2. Dairy

If your gravy recipe uses dairy, then dial up the dairy component. A dollop of cream, yogurt, or a couple of tablespoons of milk will help to neutralize the high salt content.

Milk splashing
Dairy products help offset the saltiness.

3. Unsalted stock

Adding stock will help by diluting the salt. It’s crucial that you use unsalted stock; otherwise, your efforts will be wasted. All you’ll do is create a more atrocious gravy that will, no doubt, end up down the drain.

Stock in a bowl
Use unsalted stock to dilute the gravy.

4. Acid

Adding acidic ingredients like lemon juice or apple cider vinegar is an excellent option. The same rule applies as it does sugar. Add it very slowly and continuously taste test so that you don’t overdo it.

Acidic ingredients
Ingredients high in acid counteract the salt.

5. Roux

A roux combines equal parts of butter (or margarine) and flour which is mixed together and then cooked in a saucepan until it starts to brown. You can then whisk this starchy mixture into your gravy to help counteract the salt. If your sauce is already sufficiently thick before adding the roux, you’ll need to add more unsalted stock or water.

Flour and butter on a counter
Make a roux by cooking equal parts flour and butter.

Other potential problems with gravy

Too runny?

A tablespoon of butter whisked in will give your gravy a deliciously silky texture and more body. If you want a less calorie-laden option try this: whisk equal parts of water and cornflour together then whisk that mixture (it’s called a slurry) into the gravy. As the cornflour cooks off the liquid will thicken nicely.

It’s flavorless!

Start seasoning with salt, a little at a time. Needs something else? Add a splash of Worcestershire sauce and see how that helps. Add more if needed.

Too lumpy?

This one’s easy. Use a stick blender or food processor to process the liquid. The lumps will disappear in seconds. If you’re feeling energetic, whisk the gravy to create a smooth texture.

Gravy in a jug
Use a blender or whisk to fix lumpy gravy.

3 tips to avoid salty gravy next time

  1. Take an approach of under seasoning your sauces until it is close to ready. Perform a quick taste test then add more at the end if needed.
  2. Make sure the lid of the salt shaker is securely in place. More than once, I have shaken half a jar of salt into gravy by accident. Don’t let that be you.
  3. Stop adding high-sodium ingredients like salt and stock cubes. It is an extreme option which I couldn’t do personally. But if you want to eat healthily, then this idea makes sense. Those on a low-salt diet always tell me how their tastebuds quickly adjusted to less salt. The best part is you’ll never have to eat salty gravy again.

Related reading:
Demi-glace vs. gravy – what’s the difference between these sauces?

Final words

That’s all there is to fixing gravy that’s too salty. Choose one of these methods and run with it. If I were to choose the best option, I’d recommend adding sugar or adding some unsalted stock. There’s nothing to stop you from getting creative and combining these tips. For example, add the unsalted vegetable stock with a minimal amount of sugar, then whisk the liquid into a roux.

Would you like to learn more about balancing flavor? Find out how the different tastes of ingredients work together by checking out our handy article on the flavor profile.

Experiment with flavor and texture. Don’t be afraid to fail because it’s the best way to learn. You should also check out this sauce guide which will teach you how to make loads of different sauces!