Why is Feta Cheese So Salty? (Solved!)

  • Feta cheese’s saltiness is primarily due to the brining process, which acts as a preservative and flavor enhancer
  • Salting helps in the cheese’s maturation, affecting its texture and taste
  • The salty flavor of feta is characteristic of traditional cheesemaking practices in regions like Greece
  • The salt content varies among different brands and types of feta, influenced by specific production methods and regional preferences
  • Salt not only adds to the taste but also helps inhibit the growth of unwanted bacteria, ensuring the cheese’s safety and longevity

Why Does Feta Cheese Taste of Salt?

You can’t fail to notice that whichever brand of feta cheese you buy, it always tastes salty.

This is a natural characteristic of the cheese but is not to everybody’s taste.

Let’s find out why feta cheese tastes salty and how you can get rid of it.

The number one culprit is the brining process.

After the feta has been made, the blocks of cheese are stored in barrels of brine for up to two months.

This ages the cheese and gives it a distinct, tangy, salty flavor. 

Feta is a soft cheese and is susceptible to the growth of bacteria and mold. 

The brine inhibits these unwanted invaders and ensures the cheese lasts longer. 

Feta cheese also has a high moisture content and can dissolve quite quickly.

The salt in the brine draws out some of the excess liquid, but not to the point of drying it out. 

On the downside, the salt content in the brine can be as high as 17%, which makes feta a high-sodium cheese.

This makes it a poor choice if you need to follow a low-sodium diet.

If in doubt, always consult your healthcare professional for further advice.

How to Remove the Salty Taste from Feta Cheese?

So, what if you like the underlying taste of feta cheese, but the salt is overwhelming?

Don’t worry, there is a tried and tested method of removing the salty taste from the feta.

When you purchase feta, it will still be in its liquid, the brine, so your first task is to drain it.

This is followed by continuously rinsing under a cold tap for a few minutes.

Next, immerse the feta cheese in milk for at least three hours preferably overnight.

This needs to be refrigerated at all times; otherwise, it will go off.

When ready to be served, rinse once more under cold water.

Pat dry with paper towels and enjoy your favorite dish!

It is possible to buy American Feta made from cow’s milk rather than traditional sheep’s milk.

This is less salty but doesn’t taste as good as Greek feta.

How to Rescue a Salty Dish

My Final Thoughts   

Feta cheese tastes salty because it is preserved in brine.

The salt is necessary to inhibit bacteria and mold and to prolong the life of the cheese.

This addition of a high amount of salt does make it a high-sodium cheese.

The salty taste can be removed by rinsing the feta and immersing it in milk.

Salted or not, feta is a great addition to any salad!

And talking of bacteria, what happens if you don’t refrigerate feta cheese?

Does understanding the reasons behind feta’s saltiness change how you might balance flavors or incorporate this cheese into your recipes?

Let us know in the comments below!


Q1: Why is feta cheese so salty?
A1: Feta cheese is salty because it is brined in high-salt content water (up to 17%) for up to two months. This process acts as a preservative, inhibits the growth of bacteria and mold, and helps maintain its structure and high moisture content.

Q2: How can you reduce the saltiness of feta cheese?
A2: To reduce the saltiness, you can rinse the feta under cold water or soak it in milk for a few hours, preferably overnight. This process helps to draw out some of the excess salt.

Q3: Is feta cheese always made from sheep’s milk?
A3: Traditional Greek feta is made from sheep’s milk, but you can also find American feta made from cow’s milk, which is less salty but may not have the same rich taste as the Greek variety.

Q4: Does the high salt content in feta cheese make it a poor choice for those on a low-sodium diet?
A4: Yes, the high sodium content from the brining process makes feta a high-sodium cheese, which could be a poor choice for individuals needing to follow a low-sodium diet.

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