In fact, it's?an easy fix.?Learn the best way to make gravy taste less salty, so you can confidently serve it with your mashed potatoes and turkey on Thanksgiving.

By Amy Zavatto and Betty Gold
Updated November 04, 2020
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Good gravy puts that rich, velvety finishing touch on your holiday feast—but what happens when you go a little overboard with the salt? We know just how to make food less salty, and we're here to share that knowledge with you. If your gravy is too salty, give one of these techniques a spin to get your special dinner back on track.

How to Make Gravy Less Salty

Before we get into proven methods of how to make gravy less salty, let’s first debunk one of the most commonly purported but incorrect solutions: adding potatoes to overly salty gravy or soup doesn’t solve the problem. In his tome What Einstein Told His Cook: Kitchen Science Explained, Robert Wolke, professor emeritus in chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh, conducted multiple controlled experiments with potatoes in both unsalted and overly salty water. While the potatoes absorbed the salty water, they didn’t cut the salty taste of the liquid one bit.

So now that you know what doesn’t work, let’s get down to the business of how to fix over-salted gravy.

Milk can go a long way in solving the salty gravy problem. The creaminess in milk and other dairy products desensitizes your taste buds, making the sauce taste less salty. Using dairy adds richness, too. Try stirring in heavy cream, half and half, milk, yogurt, or sour cream.

Like leftovers? Then this method to make gravy less salty is right up your alley. Simply add water or, ideally, unsalted vegetable or chicken stock to neutralize over-salted gravy. Keep in mind that while adding more liquid will fix your salty gravy, it will thin it out, too. To compensate for the added liquid and help thicken your rich, creamy, not-too-salty gravy, you can add a thickener, like flour or cornstarch.

Pureed beans are another great method used to fix salty gravy. Puree 1 cup of drained, canned low-sodium or no-salt-added white beans or chickpeas with a tablespoon or two of water until smooth, then stir the mixture into your gravy, a quarter cup at a time, adding more puree as needed. The addition will neutralize the saltiness and thicken your gravy. This is also a great hack for gluten-free gravy lovers who can’t use flour as a thickening agent.

If you’re planning on serving mashed potatoes or other sides and mains with a healthy dose of gravy, consider under-seasoning them as precautionary measure. While it won’t fix your salty gravy, it will blend in with the less-seasoned dishes on the plate (and who doesn’t put gravy on everything at Thanksgiving?).

Serving the French white wine, Vouvray, or a semi-dry Riesling with your holiday meal may not fix salty gravy, but it will distract your palate in a very pleasing way. As it does with fiery spices and bitter flavors, sweetness acts as a balancing agent on your tongue—and, in this instance, gives you two great wine pairings for your meal, too.

Acid—be it from a squeeze of lemon or a drizzle of vinegar—can nudge the flavor of salty gravy back to the land of delicious, and add a pleasant tangy zip to your gravy, too. Add acidic ingredients a little at a time and sparingly, so they don’t overwhelm the other flavors.