7 Popular Substitutes for Celery Salt
If you’re a fan of the Blood Mary cocktail, you’re a fan of celery salt! Or, if you like Chicago-style hotdogs! Celery salt is so beloved in America, it is believed to be one of the signature spices in KFC’s secret spice blend!
You will find celery salt on ingredient labels all over the grocery store. It is the primary ingredient in the popular dried seafood seasoner Old Bay, and is popular in salad dressings, coleslaws, salads, dry rubs, and more.
In its most simple form, celery salt is just that… dried celery plus table salt. It may also contain anti-caking agents as most table salts do. It may in some cases also contain garlic, onion, lovage, or pepper.
Celery salt is available in a variety of other flavors, textures and spice levels. Most people have celery salt in their spice cupboards, and some folks even use it to help reduce their salt intake while increasing their nutrition. Now, there isn’t a lot of nutrition in celery salt. Its primary ingredient is salt, so it should be enjoyed in moderation.
If you find yourself in need of celery salt but don’t have any in the pantry, here are some great alternatives!
1. Fresh Celery
The only thing better than celery salt is fresh celery. If you’re a celery lover, that is!
Fresh celery is affordable and those who like it tend to like it a lot. Fresh celery is one of the primary ingredients in soups, stocks, and sauces because it is one of three ingredients in a traditional mirepoix—the French trilogy that is in just about everything!!
Along with carrots and onion, celery is used to season meats, poultry, fish, and other vegetables and has also become popular for an afterschool snack because it is high in fiber and low in fat. Celery has a great crunch to it too (and we heard it goes great with peanut butter!)
Either way, if you need celery salt, you can certainly add fresh celery (including leaves) to recipes when it works. You will also need to add salt to whatever you’re making as fresh celery contains none.
2. Dill Seed or Dried Dill
Although dill and celery are quite different, they are often found in the same dishes, meaning dill will make a fine substitute for celery salt in most cases. Dill is especially great in salad dressings, on potatoes and vegetables, with fish, or in butter or cream sauces.
Dill is very popular in fresh cuisine, as well as in many European cultures because of its robustness and long growing season. Dill seed is a primary ingredient in pickles and many dips and spreads, so it is often an easy ingredient to find and can certainly be used as a replacement for celery salt.
3. Dried Mustard
Now you may be thinking that mustard and celery don’t have much in common, but they do! They are both incredibly high on the bitterness scale!
Mustard (seeds or prepared) is an excellent ingredient to use in small amounts for salad dressings, dips, spreads, sandwiches, and sauces.
It is not uncommon to add both mustard and celery salt to the same dishes such as potato salad or coleslaw, so if you have one but not the other, folks might not know what they’re missing! Dried mustard is often just ground mustard seeds so you will need to adjust the salt to your liking.
4. Celery Seeds
Celery salt is typically made from dried celery seeds blended with salt, so if you have dried celery seeds, you can make your own at a pinch! You can also add dried celery seeds whole (with some extra salt) into certain recipes and it will add a nice crunch to your recipe.
This is especially true for salad dressings. If you want to, you can also grind your own celery seeds into a fine powder (a coffee grinder or very high-power blender works best for this) and add salt, to make a quick celery salt of your own. Store in an airtight container.
Note that table salt will be the best bet for salt because it often contains the anti-caking agent you’ll need to combat clumpiness!
5. Old Bay Seasoning
If you open your cupboard, you will likely find a tin of Old Bay Seasoning somewhere. Old Bay Seasoning has developed a serious reputation for being the best spice blend to use for seafood, but as any Old Bay fan knows, you can use this magical ingredient for just about anything!
Old Bay is described as “versatile and not overpowering” and is most famous for its use in crab salad. One of its primary ingredients is celery salt, so using Old Bay as a replacement for celery salt is a no-brainer! You can use this to substitute celery salt 1:1.
6. Fennel Seeds
Fennel and celery are both slightly bitter as seeds, but very fresh and vibrant before they are dried. Fennel has a slight licorice flavor which, like celery, is something you either love or can’t stand.
If you love fennel, then feel free to use it as a replacement for celery salt. You can use the seeds whole, or grind them up fine (again, in a coffee grinder) and add salt.
You will want to use 1 part salt for every 5 parts seed. You can then use this salt on potatoes, eggs, salads, meats, cheese spreads, and more. Fennel is an underrated seasoning, and like celery salt, it will elevate just about anything you are cooking to the next level!
7. Make Your Own Celery Salt
Unlike some spice blends which are closely guarded secrets, making your own celery salt is actually quite easy. First, you’ll need some fresh celery… more specifically, some celery leaves. This is actually a great way to use up those leaves that would typically get tossed.
Gather them up and put them on a cookie sheet. Do not add anything, and bake in a 200 °F oven for about 25 minutes or until the leaves are very crispy (but not browned!)
Let them cool, and then grind them in a spice blender. You can then measure this powder out. For every 1 tbsp of celery powder, you will want to add ½ tsp table salt. Blend well. You can store this in an airtight container for several weeks, but we think once you make it, you will use it up quickly!
This homemade version has a vibrant green color and certain freshness that you just can’t find with the store bought version.
Have you ever been in a situation where you’ve got guests over for brunch, and you’ve just promised everyone a Bloody Mary, but when you go into your pantry, you can’t find the celery salt?! Well… have no fear! You now have 7 different ways to solve your celery salt problem. Now, not all of these will work in a cocktail but many of them will.
You might even find a new favorite way to use your Old Bay seasoning! We encourage you to try any number of substitutions for celery salt on their own or in combination with each other the next time you find yourself out of celery salt!