Whether you're out of celery for a favorite recipe or simply looking to experiment with the flavor profile, I've compiled a list below of my top celery substitutes.
I've divided them into two groups: substitutes for celery texture and substitutes for celery flavor with suggestions for which replacement to use for common recipes such as potato salad, grandma's Thanksgiving turkey stuffing or homemade chili.
What is celery?
Celery is a long, thin vegetable that is often used in cooking to add flavor and texture to dishes. It is crunchy and has a slightly bitter, yet mild taste.
Celery can be enjoyed raw and with family favorite snacks that include celery such as celery and peanut butter and celery with cream cheese.
Typically used in salads, soups, stews and many main dishes, celery is considered a key ingredient in the "mirepoix" or "holy trinity," a combination of onions, carrots, and celery used as a base for many soups and stews.
What are the most common uses for celery?
- Raw Snacks - celery is often cut into sticks and served as a low-calorie snack with hummus, peanut butter, or other dips. Growing up, my mom always made celery with cheese spread and cream cheese. Delicious!
- Salads - celery can add a crunchy texture and slightly bitter flavor to salads, such as Waldorf salad or Caesar salad.
- Soups and stews - celery is a common ingredient in soups and stews, where it adds flavor and texture to the dish.
- Stuffing - celery is a traditional ingredient in stuffing for Thanksgiving or other holiday meals.
- Juicing - celery juice has become a popular health trend in recent years due to its reported health benefits.
- Garnish - celery is often used as a garnish for cocktails, especially Bloody Marys.
- Stir-fry - celery can be stir-fried with other vegetables and protein for a quick and healthy meal. Stir fries are a family favorite and we usually have celery in them and I like to use Jicama if I don't have any celery as a replacement.
Overall, celery is a versatile vegetable that can add flavor, texture, and nutrition to a variety of dishes.
Celery substitutes with similar texture
The substitutes listed in the "Similar Texture" section are chosen to mimic the crunchy texture of celery in dishes. These ingredients, such as water chestnuts, green beans, and green bell peppers, can be sliced or diced to provide a similar crunch to celery.
The flavor profiles may be a little different but can be experimented with in several recipes.
All of the substitutes listed below can be substited with a 1:1 ratio.
1. Water Chestnuts
These crunchy, juicy nuts make an excellent substitute for raw celery in salads and slaws.
Water chestnuts can typically be found in the canned vegetable aisle at grocery stores. Some specialty or international markets may carry fresh water chestnuts, but these can be harder to find and more expensive. Water chestnuts make a great alternative in stir-fries, soups, stews, and salads.
2. Bok Choy
With its crunchy texture and mild flavor, bok choy is an excellent substitute to celery in stir-fries or salads and has a similar flavor profile.
3. Green Beans
The crunchy texture of green beans makes them the perfect substutite in salads and stews.
Kohlrabi has a crisp, crunchy texture similar to celery, making it a good choice for salads and slaws. Waldorf salad tastes particularly delicious with kohlrabi.
6. Green Onions
Green Onions: The crunchy green stalks and leaves of green onions can be used as a substitute for celery in dishes like potato salad or coleslaw.
7. Fennel Stalks
Fennel Stalks: With their crisp texture, fennel stalks make a perfect substitute for celery in dishes like soups and stews.
Cucumber is a perfect substitute in salads and is always readily available in the grocery store, sometimes at a fraction of the cost!
9. Green Apple
Whether you leave the skin on the green apple or peel it off, green apples taste so good in salads!
Substitutes for celery flavor
All of the seeds listed below can be substituted with ½ teaspoon of the seed for every stalk of celery, with the exception of ground celery seed which is ¼ teaspoon for every stalk of celery.
10. Celery Seed
Available in ground form and whole form, celery seed is a good substitute for celery as it has a similar mild and slightly bitter flavor. Celery seed adds wonderful flavor to salad dressing recipes.
11. Chinese Cabbage
Also known as Napa cabbage, Chinese cabbage has a mild, slightly sweet flavor.
It would be a great option for celery a replacement and has a similar taste to celery and is a great chioice in stir-fries or any recipe calling for celery. This chicken stir fry recipe would taste delicious with chinese cabbage as a celery substitute.
12. Lovage Seed
Lovage seed is a herb that has a similar taste to celery and can be used in soups salad and stews. The leaves from a lovage plant, although a little more bitter tasting than celery tastes delicious in salads. I grow lovage in my herb garden and I often chop it up in green salads.
13. Celery Leaves
If you've run out of celery for a recipe and you have the remaining leaves from the celery stalk, you can simply substitute 1 tablespoon of finely chopped celery leaves for 1 stalk of celery.
14. Caraway Seeds
The mild, slightly bitter taste of caraway seeds makes them a great replacement for celery in dishes like coleslaw or potato salad.
15. Fennel Seeds
Fennel seeds have a distinct licorice-like flavor. Their unique flavor makes them an interesting substitute.
16. Dill Seed
Dill seed has a slightly bitter, licorice-like flavor that makes it a good substitute for celery.
17. Swiss Chard
The stalk from Swiss chard is similar to celery. It's one of our favorite subsitutes with similar flavor AND TEXTURE. It's easy to grow in a garden and with only a few plants, you would have an abundance for the entire season and not likely have to buy any celery at all!
What is a good replacement for celery seeds?
Fennel seeds - these seeds have a slightly sweet, licorice-like flavor, which is different from celery seeds, but they can be used in some recipes to add a similar depth of flavor.
What is a good replacement for celery salt?
Celery seeds - Since celery salt is made up of ground celery seeds and salt, you can use ground celery seeds as a substitute. Just keep in mind that you may need to adjust the amount of salt in your recipe if you're using plain celery seeds.
If you're looking for a replacement for celery root, parsnip is a good celery root substitute, particularily in soups.
Frequently Asked Questions
1 average-sized celery stalk equals approximately ½ cup chopped.
Fennel works well as a celery substitute because it adds an interesting flavor and texture. Jicama, bok choy and raw green beans are all great alternatives to celery in recipes.
Chopped carrots are a good substitue for celery in bolognese sauce, substituting ½ cup of chopped carrots for every medium-sized celery stalk.
Jicama is a good substitute for celery in chicken. This root vegetable has a crisp texture and a mild, slightly sweet flavor.
Carrots are a great choice. They have a sweet, slightly earthy flavor and a similar crunchy texture to celery. Parsnips are another suitable alternative.
Delicious recipes with celery that you might enjoy!
There are so many great recipes with celery. I hope you enjoy these!