How to Compensate for Too Much Salt in Cookies

Salt is used to bring out the flavor of many foods, including sweet cookies. Some recipes call for the addition of a pinch or half-teaspoon of salt to cookie dough. However, if you put too much salt in the cookie dough before cooking it, there are ways to remove excess salt or adjust its overall concentration in the dough. Once the cookies are baked, you cannot remove excess salt from the mix. Sweet icing or a glass of milk may reduce the salty taste of baked cookies.

A mother and daughter are baking cookies.
Credit: Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Blend Images/Getty Images

Typical Cookie Ingredients

You can make pretty much any variety of cookies, including dairy-free or egg-free versions. However, some cookie recipes call for a combination of sugar, flour, butter or margarine, eggs, baking soda and a small quantity of salt. To this basic mixture, you can add anything from chocolate chips to nuts, dried fruit, peanut butter or flavorings such as vanilla.

Function of Salt in Cookies

In any food, salt acts as a flavor enhancer by bringing out the natural flavor of the food without adding a specifically "salty" taste. Even though cookies are sweet, their sweet flavor is enhanced by the presence of a small quantity of salt in the dough mix. Certain types of cookie contain salt in their extra ingredients. For example, salt is present in bittersweet chocolate chips or in peanut butter. If you use salted butter in your cookie mix, you may not need to add extra salt to the dough.

Salt Solution 1: Change Quantities

If you accidentally add too much salt to the cookie mix, one solution is to increase the quantity of the other ingredients to reduce the concentration of salt in the mixture. For example, if you mixed together 3 cups of sugar, 2 cups of butter, 4 eggs and 4.75 cups of flour in your cookie mix, an appropriate quantity of salt would be half a teaspoon. If you accidentally added a full teaspoon of salt to this mix, you can double up the quantities of sugar, butter, eggs and flour to correct the salt concentration. Alternatively, adding extra sugar may counteract the additional salt. If you have significantly over-salted the cookie dough -- for example, adding a half cup of salt instead of a half teaspoon -- you can't fix this and will need to discard the dough or use the cookies as crackers.

Salt Solution 2: The Potato Trick

Raw potatoes have salt-absorbing properties and are often used as a quick fix when a soup or stew is too salty. This trick can also be applied to over-salted cookie dough. Slice a potato and let it sit in the mixture for a few minutes. Once the potato has absorbed the excess salt, remove and discard the potato slices. Taste the cookie mix to check whether it is still too salty. If necessary, use another sliced potato to absorb more salt.

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