How to Fix Salty Ground Beef | Recipe Rescue


Ground beef is commonly used in many dishes and many people use salt to season it before putting it into their dish of choice. But how do you fix ground beef that has been over-salted? Luckily it’s not a hopeless case!

If your ground beef is too salty, add water, lemon juice, vinegar, or starchy foods to it. These will dilute the salt or replace it with another flavor. Make sure to taste the cooked ground beef first, just to check whether it needs correction in the first place.

Always taste the cooked beef before assuming it is too salty. Even if you added a bit more than you meant to, it may even out in the cooking process. But if it really is too salty to handle, you can always reduce the flavor by adding some extra ingredients.

How to Fix Salty Ground Beef With Water

If you have added too much salt to your ground beef, you can easily rinse it off. Just put the ground beef in a colander, run water over it, and let the water completely drain, and pat dry with a paper towel. (source)

Water is a great way to remove excess salt from cooked ground beef. Salt is water-soluble, and it will dilute the salty flavor, especially if the salt has recently been added.

On the other hand, if you have already added other spices to your ground beef, the water will rinse them off as well. If you choose to wash the beef, you will need to re-season the meat afterward. Water can also remove the moisturizing grease, leaving your beef a bit more dry and crumbly. Just keep these things in mind when you’re debating what to do.

If you have rinsed your ground beef, and it is still way too salty, you can also soak it in water for a few hours. I recommend leaving it in the water for 1-2 hours, but if it is extremely salty, leave it in there for longer. The salt will dissolve into the water. The longer you leave the ground beef in the water, the less salty it will be. However, some of the other flavors in the ground beef may also become diluted because of the water.

If you freeze the ground beef after you rinse it with water, it may become freezer burnt more quickly than normal because of the extra water content. I recommend using the rinsed ground beef immediately after rinsing and re-seasoning.

How to Fix Salty Ground Beef With Lemon or Lime

A-Lemon-Being-Squeezed

Lemons and limes both contain a lot of citric acids, and acidity cuts the flavor of salt. You will typically only need a Tablespoon of the juice, but if the ground beef is still too salty you can add more. If the ground beef is in a dish or will be put into a dish at a later date, this will also improve the flavor of the dish.

Time-saving Tip: If a dish at a restaurant is too salty, and you do not want to send it back to be remade, add lemon or lime. Your server should be happy to give you a couple of slices of lemon or lime to add to your dish.

Adding orange to ground beef is also a great way to cut the saltiness of ground beef, but oranges have less acidity than lemons and limes, so it might not work as well. Orange is also slightly more pungent than lemons or limes, so there is a stronger possibility that the orange will influence the flavor of the ground beef.

Average Acidity Level:

  • Limes have a 2.4ph acidity level
  • Lemons have a 2ph acidity level
  • Oranges have a 3-4ph acidity level

The closer to 0 the acidity level is, the stronger the acidity.

How to Fix Salty Ground Beef With Vinegar

Vinegar is acidic, so it will also cut the salty flavor of ground beef that has been over-salted. Only use 1 tbsp. of vinegar at a time because it can quickly overpower anything that it is put into. (source)

If you are adding the ground beef to a dish that already has vinegar in it, add the ground beef and let it sit for a few minutes before you add more vinegar. Check the flavor of the ground beef before you add more vinegar, just in case. It is easy to add things, but not as easy to take them away.

How to Fix Salty Ground Beef With Starch

Adding starch to your ground beef is a great way to remove excess salt. Pasta, rice, and potatoes are great for absorbing salt from other nearby ingredients. However, if you use them to remove the excess salt from ground beef, you may get some of the meat flavor into the starchy ingredient that you chose.

If you don’t want to add the meat’s flavor to the starch element, or you will not put them into a dish together, I would not recommend using starch to remove the excess salt from the ground beef.

Other Ways To Remove Salt

Brush the Salt Off:

As a general rule, salt cannot be removed, but it can be diluted (source). However, if you have just dumped too much salt onto your ground beef, and you can still see the grains of salt, then you can easily brush off the majority. After you brush off the salt, taste the ground beef before doing anything else to try and remove more salt.

You may have removed just enough salt to make the ground beef perfectly seasoned. Beef can usually absorb more flavor than we think, so it’s not a huge deal if you accidentally add a bit more than usual.

Add Sugar:

If you have tried to rinse off the salt, you can always add a little bit of sugar to your ground beef. Brown sugar will also work. The sweetness of the sugar will combat the excess saltiness. Add the sugar in 1 tbsp. increments. If you add too much sugar, your ground beef will start to taste really sweet, which no one wants. (source)

Make More:

If you added too much salt to your ground beef, you can always make more ground beef. If you make it in the same container, the excess salt will be combined with the other ground beef as well and make the rest of it taste less salty. Just be careful not to burn the already cooked ground beef, because then it will be ruined.

If your ground beef is still too salty, add it to a dish. The excess salt will be combined with the rest of the dish, so you won’t need to add as much salt in the end. If you do this, do not salt the entire dish until you have done a taste test, or you may add too much salt. After you have added your preferred seasonings, eat and enjoy!

Thanks for stoppin’ by. For more, don’t miss How to Fix Over Salted Beans (The 4 Best Ways).

Anne James

Hi, I'm Anne but my grandchildren call me Jelly Grandma. I have over 50 years of experience as a Southern cook and am a retired librarian. I love sharing what I have learned. You can find me on YouTube as well! Just click the link at the bottom of your page. I hope your visit here has been a sweet one.

Related Articles