What can I use instead of celery seed? The best substitutes for celery seed are powdered, flaked, and fresh celery, or lovage. Alternative spices include caraway, dill, fennel, and Nigella seeds.
Celery seed is the tiny dried fruit of the wild celery plant, available whole or ground. Offering a spicy warmth and crunch, celery seed is intensely grassy. Celery seed is common in pickles, like sauerkraut (German pickled cabbage), and tasty in ketchup, barbeque sauce, marinades, and rubs. Sprinkle over coleslaw or potato salad or add to vinaigrettes. Let’s look at the eight best substitutes for celery seed.
The Best Celery Seed Substitutes
The best substitute for celery seed is celery salt.
Celery salt is a popular condiment that combines ground celery seed, salt, and anti-caking agents. It has the flavor-enhancing qualities of salt and the savory warmth of celery seeds.
This versatile ingredient can edge your Bloody Mary glass. It’s delicious, sprinkled over corn, French fries, your Saturday night popcorn, egg, and potato salad.
Celery salt gives you an identical flavor to celery seed. Add it to dry rubs and wet brine for barbeque, vegetable soups, and vinaigrettes.
The challenge with celery salt is that it doesn’t give the same flavor punch as celery seeds. However, at the same time, it also adds sodium, so you will need to use it carefully.
Replace every teaspoon of celery seed and the salt in your recipe with 2 teaspoons celery salt.
Another celery-based substitute for celery seed is celery powder.
Celery powder is made from the dried and powdered leaves, stalks, roots, and seeds of the celery plant. It has a concentrated, slightly herbaceous celery flavor.
Use celery powder to replace celery salt in dry rubs, marinades, gravies, and meaty stews. Because it is powdered, it won’t add the crunchy mouthfeel of celery seed.
The flavor of celery powder is not as spicy as celery seed because it contains leaves and stalks, so you need to use more of it for the same flavor punch.
Replace each teaspoon of celery seed with 3 teaspoons celery powder.
Celery flakes make a handy substitute for celery seeds.
A herb rather than a spice, celery flakes are crushed, dried celery leaves and stalks, so they have a more floral quality than celery seeds.
Celery flakes can stand in for fresh celery and celery seeds in terms of flavor. Replace celery seeds with celery flakes in stir-fries, salad dressing, winter soups, and stock.
Celery flakes also have an affinity with cheese, so stir them into cream cheese.
Because celery flakes are dried celery, they tend to rehydrate slightly in liquid, so although they won’t give the same bite or warmth, they do add texture.
Replace celery seeds with celery flakes 1:3.
Fresh celery makes a convenient substitute for celery seed.
Although celery seed comes from the wild rather than domesticated celery plant, the fresh leaves and stalks of regular celery can add a similarly grassy brightness.
Gently cooked with onions and garlic, finely chopped celery leaves and stalks add flavor to any dish in a mirepoix in French cuisine (with carrots) or soffrito in Italian cooking (with tomatoes).
Fresh celery won’t give the same flavor intensity or texture as celery seed. Still, it will provide herbaceousness, color, and crunch to stir-fries, stews, soups, and salads.
Replace 1 teaspoon celery seed with 6 teaspoons finely diced celery, added at the beginning of cooking.
Lovage is an unusual yet delicious replacement for celery seed.
Related to parsley and celery, lovage is sometimes called wild celery. This bold-tasting plant has a herbaceous flavor reminiscent of celery but with a spicier, citrus-anise undertone.
Lovage is so similar to celery that you can substitute the leaves and stalks for celery. The seeds are sometimes mistakenly sold as celery seeds.
Generally, it is tricky to find lovage seeds, and you’re more likely to find the fresh or dried herb.
Use lovage instead of celery seeds in any recipe when you want a celery-like, savory flavor, for example, in a salad dressing, pasta sauce, meaty stews, and soups.
Replace 1 teaspoon celery seed with 1 teaspoon dried lovage leaves or seeds or 4 teaspoons fresh lovage.
For a spicy alternative to celery seeds, choose caraway seeds.
These tiny, brown, aromatic dried fruits are crescent-shaped and similarly ridged to celery seeds. They have a delightfully nutty, aniseed flavor with lemony undertones and are sold whole and powdered.
Caraway seeds are commonly used in German cuisine, and you’ll recognize their familiar flavor from rye bread. They have a particular affinity for pork and cabbage.
Caraway seeds can also be used in sweet recipes, such as traditional English seed cake and shortbread.
Caraway seed is ideal in pickles and brines of all kinds as a substitute for celery seed. They’re also delicious, added to coleslaw, pasta, and potato salads, adding crunch and rich bursts of flavor.
Use caraway seeds as a direct replacement for celery seeds, 1:1.
Another spice often used in pickling, dill seeds can replace celery seeds.
With a pungent, aniseed flavor, dill seeds come from the feathery herb dill. They are tiny, flat, oval seeds that flavor dill pickles, pickled beetroot, and even pickled cabbage.
Use dill seeds instead of celery seeds when you need an intense and aromatic flavor, not necessarily celery-like. They’re a good alternative in all pickles, salad dressings, and brines. They also taste great with fish, lamb, and chicken.
Use dill seeds in the exact quantities in any recipe calling for celery seeds, with the proviso that they will add a hint of licorice.
Similarly flavored to dill seeds, fennel seeds are a tasty alternative to celery seeds.
With a distinctive licorice flavor, fennel seeds are long, tapered, ridged seeds, pale green, and crunchy. They’re also associated with pickling but are commonly used in Italian cuisine, especially sausages and meat dishes.
Fennel seeds make a delicious replacement for celery seeds if you need texture, aroma, and warmth. They are lovely in tomato and meat sauces for pasta, dry rubs, and fragrant curries.
Replace celery seeds with the same amount of fennel seeds, noting that your dish will have an aniseed-forward flavor.
Try Nigella seeds as a replacement for celery seeds.
Also known as black cumin or kalonji, Nigella seeds are tiny, black teardrop-shaped seeds with a nutty, bitter, peppery flavor.
These seeds are an essential ingredient in North African, Asian, and Indian cuisine, adding heat and earthiness and functioning as a flavor enhancer.
Like cumin, toast Nigella seeds gently in a dry frying pan to release their flavor before use. They are incredibly delicious, with lentils, root vegetables, and rice.
Use Nigella seeds as a celery seed alternative for sprinkling over egg and cabbage salads, as a garnish for curries, or to add warmth to dry rubs, wet brines, and vinaigrettes. They will add crunch but will be visible, unlike celery seeds.
Replace celery seeds with the same volume of Nigella seeds.