How To Make Pasta Less Salty: A Chef Explains

As a chef with years of experience, I know how frustrating it can be when you spend time preparing a dish, only to find it too salty.

When it comes to making pasta, it is important to get the seasoning right to avoid oversalting the dish.

One time, I cooked a pasta dish for a VIP guest, only to realize it was too salty. Instead of starting over, I saved the pasta water and added some unsalted cream to dilute the saltiness.

I also added a squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of brown sugar to balance out the flavors. The dish turned out perfectly and the guest raved about it.

Keep reading as I will share with you my tips from many years of making pasta and how to make pasta less salty!

Understand The Role of Salting In Cooking

Yummy pasta on a plate.
Yummy pasta on a plate.

Before we dive into how to make pasta less salty, it is important to understand why we add salt in the first place.

Salt is used as a seasoning to enhance the flavor of the dish. It also helps to bring out the natural sweetness and depth of the food.

However, too much salt can overpower the other flavors and ruin the dish altogether.

Cook The Pasta In Unsalted Water

One of the easiest ways to make pasta less salty is to cook it in unsalted water.

Many people add salt to the water when cooking the pasta, thinking it will give it extra flavor.

However, this can lead to oversalting the dish, especially if you are using salted butter or cheese in the recipe.

To avoid this, use unsalted water when cooking the pasta.

Save Salty Pasta Water

Another trick to make pasta less salty is to save the water you cooked the pasta in.

This salty water can be used to adjust the seasoning of the dish later on.

Simply add some of the pasta water to the sauce or dish and taste.

Keep adding it until you reach the desired level of saltiness.

Dilute With Unsalted Ingredients

If your pasta dish is already too salty, you can dilute it with unsalted ingredients.

For example, you can add more pasta and sauce to the dish to spread out the salty flavor.

You can also add unsalted cream or milk to cream-based sauces to balance out the saltiness.

Another option is to add a squeeze of lemon juice or a pinch of brown sugar to counteract the salt.

Taste Throughout The Cooking Process

Throughout the cooking process, it is important to taste the pasta dish and adjust the seasoning accordingly.

This will prevent oversalting and ensure that the dish has a balanced flavor.

When tasting, use a clean spoon or fork each time to avoid cross-contamination.


Can I Fix Salty Pasta Without Diluting It?

Yes, there are a few tricks you can try to fix salty pasta without diluting it. You can add a bit of starch, like flour or cornstarch, to thicken the sauce and spread out the saltiness. You can also add a little bit of unsalted butter or olive oil to soften the saltiness.

Can I Use Salt Substitutes To Make Pasta Less Salty?

While salt substitutes can be helpful for people looking to reduce their salt intake, they may not be the best option for fixing an oversalted pasta dish. Salt substitutes have a different flavor profile than regular salt and may not blend well with the other flavors in the dish. It is best to stick with diluting or adjusting the seasoning as needed.


In conclusion, making pasta less salty is all about understanding the role of salt in cooking and taking steps to prevent oversalting.

Whether it’s cooking the pasta in unsalted water, saving the pasta water, or diluting it with unsalted ingredients, there are many ways to fix an oversalted pasta dish.

By tasting throughout the cooking process and making adjustments as needed, you can ensure that your pasta dishes have a balanced and delicious flavor.

Did you find this guide helpful?
Norah Clark

Norah Clark

Norah Clark, the founder and editor of YummyTasteFood! She's a seasoned food writer and editor with over a decade of experience in the hospitality industry as a former pastry chef, sous chef, and barista. When not writing about food, she explores new recipes or travels the world for culinary inspiration.

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