The time will come when a recipe will call for celery salt, but you don't have it in the cupboard. You can either buy some from the store or make your own celery salt substitute. We've provided four options that are all very easy to make and don't require a lot of "hard-to-find" ingredients.
As you'd expect, Celery salt is a seasoning that has a celery flavor; however, the taste is stronger and saltier than the raw vegetable. It works well in Bloody Marys, BBQ rubs, coleslaw, potato salad, and stews; even KFC uses it as one of their secret spices.
Common ingredients in celery salt:
Salt and celery seed, with the addition of spices like paprika and capsicum.
Table of Contents
3 Substitutes for Celery Salt
1. Dehydrate celery
Your first alternative to celery salt is to dehydrate celery. You'll get a similar flavor to the store-bought version. The stalks are rich in sodium (around 22% sodium), so fresh celery is ideal for getting that salty taste.
Celery leaves are high-alkaline, so remove them as they aren't useful. Save them for another recipe or simply eat them on their own for a snack.
To dehydrate celery, you'll need a dehydrator, an invaluable kitchen appliance that will get used all the time. If you don't have one, another option is to dry the celery in a toaster oven at 135°F until crisp. Don't have a toaster oven? I highly recommend getting one. They're like an extension of your existing oven: quick to preheat, highly efficient, and a savior when you're entertaining a crowd. Check out our review of the Breville Smart Oven Pro which is a brilliant piece of equipment.
What you'll need
- 1 bunch of celery
- Chop celery into small pieces and place in the dehydrator for 24 hours at 115°F (46°C).
- Blend celery until it is a powder.
- Use a funnel to pour your salt into a jar.
Bonus resource: check out our video showing how to cut celery to find out if you're doing it the right way to save yourself time in the kitchen.
Celeriac is another option you could use to dehydrate, although it only contains 10% sodium. This means you won't get that same salty taste, which is essential for enhancing the flavor of dishes.
Watch how to make celery salt
Tip: Keep in mind that dehydration reduces the quantity of celery substantially, so you may want to use 2 bunches of celery.
2. Dill seed and salt
Dill is an herb that comes from the same family as celery, so it's a good backup option. The flavors aren't exactly the same, as you'd expect, but dill isn't a bad choice if you're in a pinch.
If a recipe calls for celery salt, use the same quantity of dill seed and salt, and you'll get a great result.
What you'll need
- ¼ cup dill seeds
- ¼ cup salt
- Use a spice blender or mortar and pestle to crush the dill seeds into a fine powder.
- Add the salt and continue to crush until both ingredients are well combined.
- Add the replacement celery salt to a suitable jar.
3. Celery seeds and salt
What you'll need
- ⅓ cup celery seed
- ⅔ cup kosher salt
- Using a mortar and pestle or spice grinder, process the celery seeds until they're a fine powder.
- Add salt, and continue grinding. In an electric grinder, this will take 15 seconds; in a mortar and pestle, it will take a little longer.
- Pour salt into a jar and store it with your other seasoning jars in a cool, dry position.
- Place some uncooked rice in the bottom of a salt jar to absorb any moisture and stop the salt from clumping.
- Adjust the amount of celery salt you use in your recipe depending on the ratio of salt to celery powder you use in the blend.
4. Caraway Seeds
Compared to celery seeds, the caraway seed has a sweeter flavor profile. They also pack a flavor punch and make a good backup option for celery salt in meat dishes.
Caraway salt isn't advised for use in making a Bloody Mary as the taste is too far apart and it will make the drink unpleasant.
Can I substitute celery seed for celery salt?
It is perfectly fine to substitute celery seed for celery salt. The seeds have a more concentrated flavor, so use less of them than celery salt. If you use the seed, it's also recommended to add extra salt. Add a small amount, then taste test if possible; add more salt if required.
Bloody Mary Recipe
This cocktail is the best way I can think of using your newly made celery salt! It's a delicious drink, often served for breakfast or brunch. If you've ever had a big night out, this is one option to make your morning a little more bearable.
- To make a Bloody Mary, first wet the rim of a glass with lemon juice. Dip the rim into a plate of celery salt and black pepper.
- Add 1½ oz (45 ml) of vodka and 4oz (120 ml) of tomato juice to a glass, then toss in some ice cubes.
- Finally, add a stalk of celery and garnish with a wedge of lemon.
If you're trying to reduce your sodium intake, you can also use celery seed when making a Bloody Mary.
Finding a substitute for celery salt is not actually that difficult. If you have a bunch of celery in the vegetable crisper, then you're in business. Dehydrating celery stalks not only makes a tasty homemade substitute, it also allows you to reduce your salt intake.
Other decent options include using dill seeds or celery seeds. If you use either type of seed, you'll need to include salt to give it a sufficiently salty flavor.
Do you have a favorite recipe for making celery salt that we haven’t mentioned here? Let us know on our social pages. We’d love to hear from you.