The ideal celery substitute depends on how you are utilizing the vegetable’s flavor in your dish, but there are plenty of options for you to choose from. Whether you have run out or prefer to not include celery in your dish, there are some alternatives to use.
What Is Celery?
Celery is a vegetable in the same family as carrots and parsley and is classified as a marshland plant. It has been around pretty much forever and is used for its mild flavor and is used as an aromatic in many recipes like stews, soups, and stocks.
Common Uses for Celery
- Stir fry – it is a hardy vegetable that can withstand a lot of cooking, so it stays crunchy – ideal for stir fry.
- Smoothies – it is rich in antioxidants and has a mild flavor, so you’ll often see celery in smoothies or other health juices.
- Stuffing – it is a great aromatic, ideal to use in stuffing to flavor your turkey or used in a side serving of stuffing.
- Soups, stews, and stocks – it adds a wonderful base of flavor in any stew, stock, or soup similar to onions.
- Salads or snacks – it’s often added raw to a salad for a great crunchy and peppery element, or enjoyed raw as a low-calorie snack.
How to Choose a Substitute for Celery
If you are looking to replace the crunchy celery in your stir fries, choose another crunchy vegetable to replace it like carrots, bell peppers, or bok choy.
Since you’re not using it for the flavor, but rather the nutrients when adding celery to smoothies, try replacing it with cucumber, apples, or even cabbage.
You’re looking for a great aromatic replacement when you’re making stuffing so try onions, bell peppers, fennel, or carrots.
Soups, Stews, and Stock
As a good base for any of these dishes, try using onions, bell peppers, fennel, leeks, or baby bok choy.
Salads or Snacks
Apples, cucumber, green bell peppers, and carrots are all tasty, crunchy alternatives to use in salads or snacks.
15 Best Celery Substitute Options
The Best Ways to Substitute for Celery When Used for Crunch
While apples are sweeter than celery, some savory recipes work very well with apples as a replacement for celery. Start with half the amount and add more as you’d like. Try making Lively Table’s 3-bean quinoa salad, only with apples in the place of the celery.
If you aren’t already using cucumber as a crunch element in your salad or snack plate, it’s a great crunchy alternative to celery, and due to its mild taste, it works well in almost every recipe that uses raw celery. Replace the celery in Nutrition in the Kitch’s healthy blackened salmon salad.
Cabbage has the same slightly peppery but still mild taste as celery has when it’s used raw, so it’s a great and healthy replacement for crunchy celery when sliced thin. Soupersage compares the nutritional values of both.
Carrots are best used shredded to spread out their more intense flavor, but they will still give you some crunchy goodness. Try using it in this coconut chicken salad from Lively Table since it will also add a very slight sweetness, complementing the chicken and coconut flavors.
Best Ways to Substitute for Celery When Used for Flavor
5. Celery Seeds
Celery seeds are a great alternative to celery since they will give any dish the same earthy taste as celery without going off in your fridge if you only need a little bit. It is slightly more bitter so add a little until you are happy. Try replacing the celery in Lively Table’s stuffing recipe with one teaspoon of celery seeds.
Chopped fennel bulb makes for a great celery substitute in stocks, stews, and soups since it will add an earthy taste and a hint of licorice. Try replacing the celery in Lana’s Cooking recipe for vegetable beef soup with fennel in a 1:1 ratio.
7. Onions or Leeks
If you’re cooking with celery, chances are you already have to add onions or leeks to the recipe, so you can replace the celery with more onion for a delicious result. Try making ashepherd’s pie with more onions.
Although it is not as commonly found as celery, cardoon is a vegetable that is as versatile as celery and can be used in cooking, salads, or even as a raw dipping vessel. Try making some of Tasting Table’s fried cardoons as a crunchy vessel for some yummy dips.
Best Ways to Substitute for Celery When Used as a Green Vegetable
9. Bok Choy
Greens are essential, so if you don’t like the taste of celery, try a mild substitute like baby bok choy in your stir-fries, salads, and snacks. You might get away with the taste. Soupersage compares the nutritional values of both.
You can enjoy broccoli raw or cooked in many recipes as a healthy 1:1 substitute for celery. It has a distinct flavor but works well when mixed into dishes since the flavor gets milder the more you cook it. Food Struct compares broccoli to celery, and it looks like broccoli has a lot more healthy nutrients than celery.
Kale is a very healthy green vegetable that can easily be added to smoothies for an iron and fiber boost. The flavor isn’t overpowering and works well in Nutrition in the Kitch’s healthy green smoothie.
Parsley is a healthy green that boosts your vitamin K intake, and since it is in the same family as celery, it’s a great substitute for celery greens in any recipe. Versus compares parsley to celery, so you know the benefits of using it as a celery alternative.
Celery Seasoning Substitutes
13. Celery Flakes
If you don’t have celery salt or celery seeds available, celery flakes are just as shelf-stable and will add the same celery taste to your dish. It is much milder, so you will use a lot more of it than other celery seasonings. Spiceography explains the benefits of celery flakes.
14. Dill Seeds
Although dill has a unique flavor profile, it works well as a replacement for celery seeds when making pickles and brines. Gourmet Sleuth shows you the conversion rates for celery seed to dill seed.
15. White Pepper
White pepper is similar to black pepper but slightly less peppery and much more earthy, making it a great substitute where you would use celery salt or celery seed as a seasoning agent. Try adding it to Lively Table’s french style potato salad.
Tips for Celery Substitution
- Start small – adding celery flavor substitutes is a bit trickier than just replacing it for the crunch factor. Always add little by little to your recipe.
- Test different combinations – you might be hesitant to try a sweeter replacement for celery in a savory dish, but you’d be surprised how well apples work in delicious stuffing.
- Try before you add – if you’re unfamiliar with an ingredient, taste it before adding it to your recipe to see if you like it. Just make sure you’re preparing it correctly before judging it.