Sometimes I carry powdered soup mix (Knorr/Maggi) when I travel but they are way too salty. Is there an efficient and simple chemical process to lower the salt content?

I know sodium is super soluble and is hard to remove by precipitation, but is there a work around to perhaps only dissolving the salt and take them out? Thanks!

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I think this question belongs in LifeHacks SE. $\endgroup$
    – ShankRam
    Feb 5, 2016 at 17:29
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ This might get good answers at LHSE, but it might also get good answers here. It's sad to me that over time this community seems to focus on helping only academic chemists and spurning those who want to use a little chemistry in their daily lives. $\endgroup$
    – Curt F.
    Feb 5, 2016 at 17:48
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Heard that a little egg's white could help in case of too salty soups. It gets salted out binding salt. $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Feb 5, 2016 at 19:12
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ There isn't any magic way to get rid of excess salt in food. $\endgroup$
    – MaxW
    Feb 5, 2016 at 19:52
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The simplest solution is to add more water. If the soup becomes too bland just add some more other spices. $\endgroup$
    – THelper
    Jul 29, 2016 at 9:00

3 Answers 3


Peel and thickly slice several potatoes and cook these in your soup. Remove them when they have softened. They will absorb the salt while cooking.

You can use this method if you accidently add too much salt to stews or sauces (normally this becomes apparent when reducing.)

The removed potatoes can be discarded or used in another meal, maybe mashed.

  • $\begingroup$ Do you have a reference for this? I am interested in learning the mechanism behind this. $\endgroup$ Apr 5, 2017 at 16:30
  • $\begingroup$ Can it be any type of potato? I tried this once with a high starch potato and the potato fell apart during cooking. Maybe the lower starch, so called "waxy potatoes" are better suited for this application. $\endgroup$
    – J. Ari
    Apr 5, 2017 at 17:02
  • $\begingroup$ The consensus I've seen from sources that actually go to the bother of testing this (rather than blindly repeating the old wives tale) is that it doesn't work, or if it does work it's only to the extent that the water content of the potatoes dilutes the soup. - If you have a reference which actually tests and verifies this, I'd also be interested in seeing it. $\endgroup$
    – R.M.
    Apr 5, 2017 at 17:04

I think that using chemistry is the hard way to solve this problem. In my country, all foods have nutrition information which includes sodium levels. So either select low sodium dried mixes or take dried food to make your own soup.


Is there an easy way? Yes. But it will make the soup toxic, so I will not explain the details. I'm sure there are some ion exchange columns which have been manufactured so that they are suitable for pharmaceutical or food use. So, what you'd have to do is first filter the soup to remove particulates and colloids (such as oil globules) and then pass the clear liquid through the ion exchange bed(s). I'd estimate it would cost less than 100 $ per bowl of soup. As far as potatoes, they do have a water content. Perhaps cooking them with your soup would eventually decrease the salt in the soup and increase it in the potato, that sounds reasonable. I'd suggest you try low-sodium powdered mashed potato mix (if you can find it) and you could also try rice or pasta to absorb some of the salt water and improve the taste. Just some wild guesses. You really don't want to stray from various cooking or food additive processes when it comes to stuff you eat (or drink).


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.