Celery seed is a spice that gives dishes a strong celery flavor, a nutty, earthy, slightly bitter taste, a satisfying crunch, and a burst of freshness. It offers a unique taste, but a celery seed substitute can come pretty close.
Celery seeds play an important role in many recipes, but they can sometimes be hard to find. If you need a celery seed substitute, you can choose from fresh celery, celery salt, dried celery flakes, fresh dill, parsley, and star anise. Or, you can also use the following seeds instead of celery seeds: dill seed, caraway seed, fennel seed, Nigella sativa seed, lovage seed, and coriander seed.
Make sure to choose the right substitute for the dish you’re making since not all celery seed alternatives are suitable for all dishes.
Table of Contents
Best Celery Seed Substitutes
1) Fresh Celery Stalk or Leaves
Fresh celery comes close to celery seed in terms of flavor and aroma, making it the best celery seed substitute. Celery seed and celery have a similar smell and taste, but that’s where their similarities end. The fresh celery leaf and stalk are bulky and have a fibrous texture, unlike the small size and crunchy texture of celery seed.
For this reason, you will need to finely chop the celery leaves and stalks if you wish to use them in place of celery seeds. As long as you do so, you can substitute celery seed with celery in almost any dish that calls for it.
However, note that celery seed has a stronger flavor than fresh celery. So, you will need to use 2 tablespoons of finely chopped celery leaves and celery ribs for each ½ teaspoon of celery seed required in the recipe.
2) Celery Salt
Celery salt is another excellent substitute for celery seeds. It’s a spice mix of salt and ground celery seed made in a 2:1 ratio. Unfortunately, you can only use it as a celery seed substitute in recipes that need salt as well. On the other hand, you can easily find celery salt in the supermarket, while celery seed can be hard to find.
Celery salt is best used as a celery seasoning in liquid recipes such as soups, casseroles, stews, and sauces. Still, you can also use it to season seafood, coleslaw, chicken salad, potato salad, and sausages.
Use 1 teaspoon of celery salt for every teaspoon of celery seed needed in the recipe and add more if you wish. To avoid an overly salty dish, remember to adjust the salt content in your recipe. Simply reduce the amount of pure salt by the amount of celery salt you add.
3) Celery Flakes or Dried Celery
Made from dried celery leaves and stalks that are crumbled into small pieces, celery flakes can be used in cooking or consumed as is. They have a stronger flavor than fresh celery, making celery flakes an even better substitute for celery seed.
You can add dried celery flakes to curry, casseroles, soups, salads, stir-fries, and even sauces. Celery flakes work best in dishes that need a long cooking time, where they can impart more of their flavor. Use 3 teaspoons of celery flakes for every teaspoon of celery seed required.
Unfortunately, dehydrated celery looks different from celery seed and will change the appearance of the dish. If the appearance of the dish takes priority, you can turn your celery flake into celery powder by grinding it. Then, simply use 1 teaspoon of celery powder for every teaspoon of celery seed needed.
4) Dill Seed
Dill seed is one of the best celery seed substitutes available. It has a mild, earthy, peppery flavor and a crunchy texture similar to celery seed. However, they don’t look alike. Dill seed has a wide, flat shape, while celery seed is compact and oblong.
Still, despite the difference in appearance, you can use dill seed instead of celery seed in salads, dressings, seafood, meats, and bread. Furthermore, dill seeds do especially well as a celery seed substitute in pickles.
When using dill seed to replace celery seed, follow a 1:1 ratio. For instance, if the recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of celery seed, use 1 teaspoon of dill seed instead. Note that dill seeds impart more aroma and flavor when heated, so you might want to try toasting yours before using them.
5) Fresh Dill
If you do not have its seeds, you can also use fresh dill as a celery seed substitute. Like dill seeds, fresh dill has a similar flavor as celery seed, except it has a slight grassiness.
In contrast with dill seed, dill weed loses more of its flavor and aroma the longer it is cooked. It turns less fragrant and acquires a bitter taste. Hence, it’s best added at the last minute of cooking.
Instead of celery seed, you can use fresh dill in soups, pickles, and fish dishes. Dill weed also goes well with veggies, so you can use it in a salad. For every teaspoon of celery seed needed, use 1 teaspoon of cut dill weed.
6) Caraway Seed
Caraway seed is another excellent celery seed substitute that provides a burst of flavor when used. It has a nutty, slightly bitter taste similar to celery seeds and a slightly crunchy texture. They have a similar dark color, but caraway seeds are longer than celery seeds.
You can use caraway seed as a celery seed substitute in coleslaw, soups, salads, sausages, curry, and meat rubs. It will also do well in similar recipes where celery seed is used for its earthy flavor. However, note that caraway contains hints of anise, which might not work for some dishes.
To replace celery seeds with caraway seeds, follow a 1:1 ratio. For example, use 1 teaspoon of caraway seed for every teaspoon of celery seed needed.
7) Fennel Seed
Fennel seed has a warm, sweet, and savory flavor. It tastes more like star anise than celery seed, but you can still use it as a celery seed substitute. Although they don’t match in flavor, fennel seed has the same crunch as celery seed, making sure the texture of the dish remains consistent when using it as a replacement.
You can substitute fennel seed for celery seed in casseroles, stews, soups, curries, barbecue marinades, some pickles, and some salads. Fennel seed is also highly aromatic; you’ll be able to smell the licorice flavor when you add it to your food.
To use it as a celery seed replacement, use 1 teaspoon of fennel seed for every teaspoon of celery seed required in the recipe.
8) Nigella Seed
Nigella seed, also known as black cumin, black seed, or kalonji, is another effective celery seed substitute. It comes from the Nigella sativa flower, sometimes called the "fennel flower," which leads to some confusing it with true fennel. However, Nigella sativa seeds and fennel seeds taste completely different.
The nigella seed has a slightly nutty, bitter flavor with hints of onion and oregano and a strong aroma. You can substitute celery seed with nigella seed in coleslaw, soups, stews, curries, sauces, bread, and pastries. Nigella seeds have a black color and a teardrop shape, but they won’t change the appearance of your dish too much.
To use it as a celery seed replacement in a recipe, swap every teaspoon of celery seed needed with 1 teaspoon of nigella seed.
9) Lovage Seed
Lovage, sometimes called wild celery, belongs to the same family as celery. It looks, tastes, and smells just like celery and will serve as an excellent celery substitute if you can find it. Hence, it follows that lovage seed is an amazing celery seed substitute.
You can use lovage seeds whole or ground in sauces, salad dressings, dry rubs, bread, and pickling liquids. Meanwhile, its leaves and stems can be used in soups, stews, and salads to add a celery-like flavor. However, note that lovage seed has a slight bitterness and hints of anise and lemon, unlike celery seed. It isn’t overpowering, but it may affect the taste of your dish if you plan to use a lot of it.
As a substitution, use 1 teaspoon of lovage seed for every teaspoon of celery seed needed. If you have fresh lovage, you can also use its leaves as a substitute. You will need roughly 4 teaspoons of finely minced lovage leaves for each teaspoon of celery seed required in the recipe.
10) Coriander Seed
Coriander seed is another good celery seed substitute. It has a warm, nutty, earthy flavor similar to celery and the same crunchy texture as celery seed. It’s also deliciously fragrant, smelling slightly sweet and citrusy. Appearance-wise, however, coriander seeds are rounder and a little larger than celery seeds.
You can substitute coriander for celery seed in pickles, curries, stews, marinades, and spice mixes. Or you can also replace celery seed with coriander leaves (cilantro) in salads, soups, and stir-fries if you don't have the seeds.
You will need 1 teaspoon of coriander seeds to replace each teaspoon of celery seeds called for in the recipe.
Parsley belongs to the same family as celery, so although it isn’t a seed or a celery variety, you can use it as a celery seed substitute. It has a bright, peppery, and slightly bitter taste with a hint of earthiness that resembles celery.
It may not have the strong flavor of cooked celery, but parsley can work perfectly as a substitute for celery seed in soups, stocks, sauces, and some salads. However, some may find its taste too bitter or oily. If you need an herbal flavor, then parsley will do.
If you wish to use it as a celery seed alternative, replace each teaspoon of celery seed with 3 tablespoons of chopped parsley.
12) Star Anise
Star anise is another readily available celery seed substitute. It has a pungent, mildly sweet, licorice-like taste favored in Chinese cuisine. With a unique appearance, it resembles a star with six to eight points that each contains a tiny seed.
Star anise is mainly used in savory dishes, but it can also be used in baking and making tea. Whole, you can best use it in liquid recipes to flavor soups, stews, and braising broths. Note that you must remove whole star anise before serving your dish. So, if you need to use it in other recipes, you must first grind it.
Like celery seed, star anise has a strong flavor, so remember to use less of it when replacing celery seed. To avoid overpowering other flavors in the dish, use ½ teaspoon of star anise for every teaspoon of celery seed required.
See below the best celery seed substitutes to use when cooking. Look at the notes for information on substitution tips, differences in flavor profile, and recommendations for improving taste.
|Fresh Celery Stalk or Leaves||Similar to celery seed in flavor and aroma but bulkier and has a fibrous texture.|
|Celery Salt||A spice mix of salt and ground celery seed. Replaces an equal amount of pure salt in the recipe.|
|Celery Flakes or Dried Celery||Closest to celery seed in flavor. Can be ground into celery powder if the dish's appearance is important.|
|Dill Seed||It has a similar flavor and texture as celery seed but differs in appearance.|
|Fresh Dill||It has a similar flavor as celery seed but must not be cooked for long.|
|Caraway Seed||It has a similar flavor and appearance but has hints of anise flavor.|
|Fennel Seed||Highly aromatic and tastes more like star anise than celery seed. It also has a crunchy texture.|
|Nigella Seed||It has a slightly nutty, bitter flavor and strong aroma. Best used in liquid recipes and baking.|
|Lovage Seed||Incredibly similar to celery seed, yet different. You can also use fresh lovage instead.|
|Coriander Seed||It has a warm, nutty, and earthy flavor and a crunchy texture similar to celery seed.|
|Parsley||It lacks the strong flavor of celery but will do great in soups, stocks, and sauces.|
|Star Anise||It has a mildly sweet, licorice-like flavor. If used whole, remove it before serving your dish.|
A celery seed is a small, slightly bitter seed that comes from the wild celery plant. Celery seed is mainly used as a spice and is available in two forms: whole and ground.
Whole celery seeds are mainly used in salads, brines, dressings, marinades, dry rubs, and pickles. In contrast, ground celery seed is preferred for liquid recipes such as sauces, soups, casseroles, and curries.
Celery is a superfood veggie that has three kinds: stalk celery, celery root, and wild celery. When labeled as simply "celery," it often refers to the typical celery found in supermarkets: stalk celery or Pascal celery. On the other hand, celery seeds are tiny, slightly bitter seeds that come from wild celery.
In other words, celery is a veggie with fibrous stalks and leaves, while celery seeds are small, crunchy seeds often used as a spice.
Celery seed is different from celery salt. Celery seed is a spice, while celery salt is a spice mix of salt and ground celery seeds. Thus, you can use celery seed as a celery salt substitute as long as you add salt to it. Conversely, you can also use celery salt to replace celery seed if you reduce the salt used in the recipe.
You can replace celery with celery seeds as they are arguably the best celery substitute.
One tablespoon of celery seed equals a cup of celery.
Aside from being low in calories, scientific evidence has shown that celery seed health benefits include:
• Enhancing energy production
• Boosting antioxidants and strengthening the immune system
• Acting as a diuretic
• Lowering blood pressure levels
• Lessening inflammation
• Making nighttime sleep better
• Keeping joints healthy
Yes, celery lets you sleep more peacefully at night.
The exotic celery seed substitutes in this list are caraway, nigella, and lovage. To replace celery seed with these exotic spices, simply use 1 teaspoon of caraway seeds, nigella seeds, or lovage seeds for every teaspoon of celery seed required in the recipe.
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