Best 10 Celery Seed Substitutes
Used in Asian cuisine and Ayurvedic medicine for hundreds of years, celery seeds have become widely available in the Western world. With a strong flavor resembling celery, they can be used in salads, dressings, brines, and dry marinades, and there are some dishes that absolutely need the added flavor.
The seeds come from wild celery. The plant is related to supermarket celery, but it has a stronger flavor so it is mainly used for the seeds alone.
The seeds, the dried fruit of the wild plant, are available as whole seeds and as ground. Ground celery seeds are easier to use in sauces and smoothies, as they easily blend into the liquid. But the grinding means the seeds lose some of their volatile oils and flavor, so it’s best to buy the seeds whole and grind them just before you need to use them.
Celery salt is another type of spice that can contain celery seeds. It is a mixture of two parts salt and one part celery seeds (or ground celery root and leaves).
Celery seeds tastes very similar to celery, and have the same flavor and astringent quality as raw celery stalks. The flavor is stronger than that of the celery root, but borrows its earthy tones from this part of the plant. The seeds also have a bitter flavor, which is enhanced when the seeds are ground.
Eaten in large amounts, celery seeds can cause a hot sensation – they must be doing you good. As far as food pairings go, celery seeds combine well with tomatoes, so they go great in classic recipes such as Bloody Marys, barbecue sauce, and homemade ketchup. The flavor is goes well in pickling spice blends, brine, and marinades, adding a certain nutty, warm flavor.
Ground celery seeds are preferred for liquid recipes, like ketchup, while the entire seeds are mostly used in dry marinades and dressings.
Celery Seed Substitutes
But what about those times when you want a Bloody Mary or any other recipe requiring celery seeds and don’t have any or what about those people who just can’t eat them? Well, check out below the most popular celery seed substitutes available.
1. Celery Stalk, Leaf, and Root
Several celery types are available worldwide and many recipes call for a certain kind. A few hundred years ago, celery was cultivated as a winter and early spring vegetable. It was used as a cleansing tonic, efficient in counterbalancing the deficiencies of a winter diet that lacked fresh vegetables. Later on, more varieties of the vegetable became available.
In North America, production is dominated by Pascal celery, grown for the stems. In Europe, the most popular variety is celeriac, grown for its bulb and leaves, while in Asia leaf celery is prevalent. Fresh celery stalks can be an excellent substitute for celery seeds.
You can find celery stalk, leaf and roots at your local market or on Amazon. The Tanimura & Antle celery is a very fresh product that has a vivid green color. It also lasts longer than other brands.
2. Celery Salt
A traditional ingredient in Bloody Mary and Cesar cocktail and rumored to be an ingredient in KFC’s secret spice mix, celery salt is a mixture of salt and ground celery seeds.
With a grassy, savory flavor, it is suitable for chicken, salads, coleslaw, sausages, seafood, and stews. McCormick celery salt (Amazon link) is an organic product made from sustainably farmed, herbicide and pesticide-free celery seeds. It is ideal for deviled eggs and potato salad, and it can be used in place of salt in soups, stew, and vegetables.
3. Dried Celery
Dried celery is an aromatic product made from dehydrated, chopped celery that can be added to food or consumed as it is. It can be added to stir-fries, salads, soups, and sauces.
Dried celery is especially useful for those who do not eat a lot of fresh vegetables and constantly have a problem with the fresh product going bad because it’s not eaten fast enough.
An aromatic herb widely used in Eurasian cooking, dill has been cultivated since 7th century BC in Egypt and Greece. It is used to flavor fish dishes, borscht and other soups, and pickles. It is a staple culinary herb in central and eastern Europe, along with chives and parsley.
Freshly cut dill leaves are used in soups or for flavoring fermented milk, a refreshing summer drink. It also pairs well with vegetables such as peas, beans, and cabbage. It is a spring vegetable, used in omelets, alongside spring onions. Reminiscent of caraway, dill pairs well with other herbs, such as basil, chervil, chives, garlic, and mint.
5. Dill Seeds
With a stronger taste compared to dill weed and a pungent, woody, and menthol flavor, dill seeds are a versatile and intense spice perfect for use in salads, dressings, bread, and seafood dishes. Dill seeds are used as a folk remedy to relieve colic pain in babies and to treat flatulence in young kids.
This effect is due to the essential oil in the seeds and its stimulating effect on the digestive system.
6. Fennel Seeds
Similar in taste to star anise, fennel is a flowering plant species of the carrot family. It is highly aromatic and, alongside anise, it is one of the primary ingredients in absinthe. Fennel seeds are widely used in Indian food, but their use is not limited to that part of the world.
Ancient Greeks and Romans also used fennel seeds both for cooking and as a medicinal herb as they were considered good for improving vision and as an antidote to poison. Happy Belly fennel seeds are perfect for adding to casseroles, curries, stews, soups, and barbecue spice marinades.
7. Star Anise
Used for cooking, baking, and tea, star anise is a licorice tasting spice. It is a common flavor in the Chinese kitchen and features in several traditional dishes.
A widely used spice and folk medicine ingredient, ginger has a sharp taste and a strong flavor, and it represents one of the basic flavors in Asian foods. It is used in a variety of forms, from young and juicy rhizomes, to mature and fibrous rhizomes, or ground ginger root, which substitutes fresh ginger with a ratio of six to one.
Often paired with ginger in many Asian-inspired dishes, turmeric is another rhizome spice that gives food a mustard-like, earthy, and pungent aroma. It also gives a golden yellow color to any dish.
Like ginger, it can be used both fresh and dried, and it is the principal ingredient in curry powder.
An herb complimentary to celery in central and eastern European cooking, parsley is often the garnish of choice for soups, salads, and other types of food. It is part of the Mediterranean bouquet garni, a combination of fresh herbs used in soups, stocks, and sauces.