8 Simple Ways To Fix Salty Chili

Adding too much salt to any dish can definitely be one of the “oops” moments. The good news is, you can usually salvage the dish! Here is how you fix with chili.

The best way to fix chili that is too salty is to make a 2nd batch of the same recipe and combine the two. The second best option if the chili is not extremely salty is to add more of 2 or 3 of the main ingredients like ground beef and beans. Either option will tone down the saltiness so that by the time we add our toppings of sour cream and cheese, we will no longer find the chili too salty.

In the following paragraphs, I will discuss in more detail each of the many ways to fix chili that is too salty.

1. Add a Second Batch of Chili


Of all the ways to fix chili that is too salty, the best way is to make a second batch of chili without salt and simply mix the two batches together. This is the best way but also the most time-consuming way to fix the issue.

You can use this method if:

  • You have time to make another batch
  • You have the ingredients on hand to make another batch.

Even though this method requires more time and effort to fix the problem of chili with too much salt, it is also the best way. This particular method can also give you leftovers to use for another meal. So, if you have the time and the ingredients to make a second batch, I would highly recommend that you fix the too-salty batch of chili by using this method. You will basically be preparing a second meal, and your time will not be wasted.

2. Add Extra Ingredients


The chances of fixing your too-salty chili by just adding one or two extra ingredients are good, especially if you have another pound of ground beef that you can quickly brown, drain, and add to the chili unsalted. This extra meat should also give you leftovers for another meal while fixing the problem of too much salt.

The same is true if you have a can of unsalted red beans or have the time to cook a pot of dry red beans without salt. Another half or even a whole can of beans, especially if your family likes a lot of beans in their chili, could fix the problem as easily as adding extra ground beef.

3. Add Toppings


If the chili is just a little bit too salty, that saltiness could possibly be counteracted by simply adding your normal toppings of sour cream, grated cheese, and chopped green onions. All types of dairy have a very neutral taste and can dilute the taste of salt, making that too-salty chili more palatable.

4. Add Sugar to Counteract the Salt


Adding a little sugar to your chili is another way to even out the flavor and counteract the too-salty taste. Here is what I would do:

  1. Add ½ teaspoon of sugar, stir, and taste.
  2. Repeat step one until the salty taste is gone.
  3. Avoid adding too much sugar at one time so that you don’t over-sweeten the chili.

Related How to Fix Too Much Salt in Baking (6 Simple Solutions).

5. Add a Raw Potato to the Pot


One of the first things suggested for fixing a pot of too-salty chili is usually to add a raw potato to the pot and give it time to soak up the excess salt. Some people say that this is a myth that will not work, and others swear that it will definitely work. 

I have tried this method, not on chili, but on another dish, and it definitely will help by soaking up some of the extra salt. But, the extent of help you can get from adding raw potato is limited, and if the pot of chili is extremely salty, you might need to try a couple of these fixes to make your chili edible.

And don’t forget, if you are using the potato method, cut the potato into large chunks to put into the chili. Do not leave it whole, and do not cut it into such small pieces that you have trouble removing the potato once it has been in the pot of chili for about half an hour. Small pieces of potato will be overcooked and will just disintegrate into the chili, making it impossible to remove the potato from the chili.

6. Add Extra Unsalted Tomatoes to the Chili


If your chili is too salty, but not extremely so, just the addition of an extra can of unsalted tomatoes or one or two very ripe fresh tomatoes cut into chunks might be enough to even out the taste of the chili and make it okay to eat, especially after the toppings have been added.

7. Add Extra Sodium-Free Beef Broth to the Chili

Another option to make your too-salty chili more edible is the addition of extra sodium-free beef broth. This option is especially good to use in conjunction with trying the potato option because adding potatoes to your chili soaks up the salt but will also result in the potatoes soaking up the broth in the chili, making it dryer than it should be. So, adding a can of beef broth that contains no sodium will replace the liquid in the chili while lowering the sodium content.

8. Add Lemon Juice or White Vinegar

squeeze lemon juice on hand for the black background

Adding just a touch of lemon juice or white vinegar may also counteract the saltiness in your chili, but lemon juice or white vinegar, like sugar, may do more harm than good if too much is added. But, a small amount of either one, when used in conjunction with one of the other methods, may help to alleviate the problem.

Along the same lines, a little wine added during the cooking process could also be used to counteract a heavy hand with the salt box.

What Can I Do To Avoid Oversalting Chili?

Because several of the ingredients used in making chili contain a lot of salt, here are several recommendations to help avoid oversalting chili:

  • Don’t add any salt to chili until it has finished cooking, at which time you can do a taste test and add any additional spices that may be needed.
  • Use sodium-free ingredients such as beef broth and tomatoes to avoid over-salting any of your dishes.
  • Serve chili with dairy toppings like grated cheese and sour cream, which will counteract the spiciness of the chili.
  • Always serve mild-flavored side dishes such as a garden salad, potato salad, or even a pasta salad with chili so that your entire meal is not highly seasoned.


Here are 6 options that can reduce the salty taste of chili and make it edible:

  1. Make a second batch.
  2. Add some more of the main ingredients.
  3. Add the usual chili toppings, including sour cream, grated cheese, and green onions.
  4. Add a small amount of sugar to counteract the salty taste. Add ½ teaspoon of sugar at a time, tasting after each addition, until you no longer notice the too-salty taste. 
  5. Add a raw potato and simmer the pot of chili for an extra half hour.
  6. Add an extra can of unsalted tomatoes to the chili.
  7. Add a can of sodium-free beef broth to the chili.
  8. Add a small amount of lemon juice or white vinegar to counteract the salty taste.

Final Thoughts

There is nothing better to warm us up on a cold day than a steaming bowl of chili. Or, how about that tailgating party with a crockpot full of chili and all the toppings on the side? But, no matter how much we like chili and look forward to eating it, what can we do if we somehow add too much salt, and it is so salty that we just can’t eat it? 

If you add too many of certain ingredients to your chili, like too much chili powder or too much oregano and cumin, you can still serve the chili, and someone will probably make the comment that it tastes perfect to them. But, if your chili is too salty, it is hard to ignore that ingredient when it is so overpowering.

But, with the suggestions that I have discussed in this article, you should be able to use one or more of the ideas mentioned to salvage your chili and serve a meal that will taste really good to your family.

Thanks for stoppin’ by!

Jelly Grandma

For more, don’t miss How to Fix Undercooked Beans in Chili (And Prevent It).

Anne James

Anne James has a wealth of experience in a wide array of interests and is an expert in quilting, cooking, gardening, camping, mixing drinks (bartending), and making jelly. Anne has a professional canning business, has been featured in the local newspaper as well as on the Hershey website, and has been her family canner for decades. Anyone growing up in the South knows that there is always a person in the family who has knowledge of the “old ways,” and this is exactly what Anne is. With over 55 years of experience in these endeavors, she brings a level of hands-on knowledge that is hard to surpass. Amazingly, she doesn’t need to reference many resources due to her vast wealth of experience. She IS the source. Anne wants nothing more than to pass on her extensive knowledge to the next generations, whether that be family or anyone visiting her website, her YouTube channel, or survivalfreedom.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Posts