Common Sous Vide Problem – Over salting

Sous vide over salting

Sous vide cooking is not like any other cooking method. It is one of THE most effective ways to prepare restaurant quality food in the comfort of your own home. It involves cooking ingredients in a water bath at a consistent temperature over a longer than usual cooking time.

Over salting sous vide food

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But don’t be mistaken. It’s a super easy method of cooking as well. The results are nothing short of spectacular and once you start sous vide cooking, it is hard to stop.

Just take a look at all the sous vide enthusiasts on your social media channel of choice!

Related article: If you would like to learn more about sous vide cooking, feel free to head to our FAQ or Start Here section. 

A common sous vide problem – Over salting

Everyone has their own preferences for how they salt their meals. Some people love to season a lot. Others, just a little.

In methods other than sous vide cooking, such as cooking food on a stove top or on a grill, some of that seasoning falls off into the pan or even gets lost into the air.

But when you salt foods you’re putting in a sous vide food pouch, that salt has no where to go. It is vacuum sealed in the pouch. That means that none of the salt falls off the ingredients in your food pouch that you put in your water bath.

Salt on a spoon

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All of the salt goes into your food. So, if you salt your foods too heavily, they may come out tasting overly salty and quite frankly, pretty unpalatable!

And if you are spending 10+ hours cooking your sous vide meal in your water bath, the last thing you want is a ruined dish you can’t serve up.

Sous vide and salt

When sous vide cooking, flavors become amplified and can overpower a dish if a “normal” amount of salt is used.  But following the idea that less salt can still yield a sensational taste, experience and personal tastes will let you know when you have it right.

Some solutions for not “over salting”

Solution 1: Consider sticking with fresh spices and aromatics in your food pouch before your cook – you can always add any extra salt afterwards.

Solution 2: Don’t salt your ingredients before or after your sous vide cook at all. Just sear. You will still retain plenty of flavor in your dish. Put some salt on the dinner table so that those who really crave more saltiness can add salt if they would like to.

Solution 3: Salt differently depending on the meat that you are cooking. Sous viders rarely add salt to fish before their sous vide cooking. But for poultry and pork, they might lightly season with salt along with spices and herbs.

Solution 4: Add salt to your ingredients after your sous vide cook but before searing in a skillset, BBQ or pan.

To salt before or after sous vide cooking?

So, which method is best? Salting before you conduct your sous vide cook or after your sous vide cook? The jury is most certainly out on this one.

When it comes to vegetables many prefer to salt after their sous vide cooking. Salt tends to make green veggies turn gray. This isn’t overly appetizing when it’s on your dinner plate.

Other sous vide enthusiasts believe it really doesn’t matter either way. And to be frank, people have such personal tastes for seasonings it is going to be hard to please everyone at your dinner table.

Sous vide without seasoning or salting at all

It is perfectly acceptable to cook your meal sous vide without ANY seasoning at all. That’s right. No salt, no herbs, no sprinkled peppers or salt mixes.

salts and other seasonings

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Given sous vide cooking is, and always will be, a cooking style that takes some trial and error, you may need to mix things up a bit to find the best solution for you, your family and those you entertain with your delicious sous vide meals.

Sous vide steak salting

This is where the sous vide community becomes particularly divided. Here are two popular preferences:

  1. Salt your steaks first and let the salt soak in a bit. This alters the texture of the steak somewhat when you pull it out of your sous vide water bath. But as long as the amount of salt is low, its not too noticeable.
  2. Season your steak both before and after cooking it in your sous vide water bath. Salting the steak before will help season it inside and out while it cooks.
Raw steak and salt unsplash

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Remember though that as the fat and juices from the steak render out in the sous vide, some of that salt will wash off and remain in the rendered liquid instead of in/on the steak.

This is why many sous viders season it once again after their sous vide cook. After you remove it from your food pouch, pat it as dry as possible, then salt it once again before finishing it with your preferred method such as searing it in a cast iron grill or using a Searzall torch to give it that perfect crust.


A sous vide salting experiment

We can of course turn to the experts of all sous vide experiments, Sous Vide Everything, for their take on the best salts for sous vide cooking. If you have time, check out this video to see some different salts in action in a sous vide cooking experiment:


You are never going to please everyone’s palate. What does seem pretty clear here though is that it ,if you are new to sous vide cooking, is better to start with no salting or very little salting.

The restaurant quality sous vide meals you make in the comfort of your own kitchen will carry ridiculously amazing tastes – with or without seasoning and salting.

Want to see more sous vide machine comparisons or stay up to date with the lasted hints and tips for creating sous vide masterpieces? Join the Sous Vide Hub community.

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Further Reading

Full reddit post – Should I salt my steaks before sous vide?

Quora – If I put salt on my food before I cook it sous vide will it dry out?

Sous Vide Hub Searzall torch review

Sous Vide Hub Curated Recipe library

Sous Vide Steak

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