The 13 Best Substitutes For Celery

Celery is a key ingredient in many cuisines.

If you’re not familiar with the taste of pepper, it has a very peppery flavor and tastes mildly earthy. The texture of celery is very crunchy but does soften dramatically when cooked down.

The 13 Best Substitutes For Celery

It’s a versatile vegetable that can add a delicious flavor to a recipe. Celery has been a popular ingredient within French cuisines, staring in dishes such as Mirepoix.

It’s also a staple in Cajun cuisines, referred to as part of the ‘holy trinity’ (celery, bell pepper, onion). You’ll also see celery pop up a lot in Italian cuisines, with it being a key ingredient in Battuto and Soffritto (along with onion, carrot, and necessary herbs).

Likewise, celery has been a key ingredient in British cuisines, you will often find celery used in stews and soups. While this vegetable tastes deliciously cooked, many enjoy it raw as a healthy snack.

Some eat it by themselves, while others pair dips such as hummus to enjoy alongside.

Alongside its wonderfully peppery taste, celery has excellent health benefits. It’s a great source of fiber, folate, vitamin K, and vitamin A — to name a few.

While most people enjoy celery due to its natural flavor, some like celery because it is incredibly low in calories. It is also low-fat and low-carb.

Moving on from diets, celery is known for its health benefits, that many people juice this vegetable for its healing properties. While don’t have to juice celery to get its health benefits, it does seem to prove itself a star player in the kingdom of juicers.

Now, when substituting celery, or any vegetable, it’s important to remember that you’re unlikely going to replicate the same exact taste. All vegetables have their own unique flavors. You can, however, get a very similar taste.

Maybe you opened your pantry and noticed that you’ve run out of celery. Perhaps you forgot to pick it up in your weekly shop. Or, whether you simply cannot eat celery, and you need a substitute, we’ve got you covered.

With that said, let us check out our best substitutes for celery.

The Best Celery Substitutes

The Best Celery Substitutes

Below, we’re going to discuss the best substitutes for celery, and how you can utilize them in your recipes.

Celeriac Root

The first substitute for celery we’re going to discuss is celeriac root.

Interestingly, celeriac and celery are derived from the same plant. They’re just different parts of the same puzzle. Celery is cultivated for the stalks, while celeriac is cultivated for the roots.

That’s why you’ll hear people say celeriac root/celeriac interchangeably, they’re referring to the same thing.

While they’re both derived from the same plant, they do taste slightly different. Celeriac typically has more of an earthy taste and is much stronger tasting than celery.

It’s an excellent substitute for celery for this reason, but it will mean that you should consider using less celeriac than celery, and taste-testing as you go. You can use celeriac for pretty much anything you would use celery in, such as sauces and soups.

Fennel

The next substitute for celery we’re going to discuss is fennel.

Fennel has a different flavor to celery, akin to a very pungent anise flavor. While some people eat this vegetable raw, it is too strong for others. The texture of the fennel is why it works as a great replacement for celery, as they are very similar.

Once the fennel is cooked, the flavor is much milder, so uses sparingly it will not overpower the dish. Fennel works great as a replacement in soups and stews.

While you will not get the same flavor as celery, you will get a somewhat similar taste once it is cooked down, and a very similar texture.

Celery Seeds

The first substitute for celery we’re going to discuss is celery seeds.

Celery seeds are very nifty for when you do not have any fresh celery spare. It’s a seasoning used as a spice, which can be purchased either as seeds, or grounded into a powder.

Like celery itself, celery seeds are very pepper, bitter and have a similar earthly flavor. Now, the celery that we traditionally purchase in the shop, and the celery seeds we may purchase, come from different variations of celery.

Celery seeds are from wild celery, and thus they have a much stronger flavor. They are much more bitter than traditional celery, though, so use sparingly.

Celery seeds are a great replacement for celery for recipes that call for sauces, brines, and dressings.

Bok Choy

The fourth substitute for celery we’re going to discuss is bok choy. Bok choy is a delicious vegetable, primarily used in Asian cuisine.

It has a very crunchy texture, and it has a mildly bitter taste. Once cooked, it resembles crunchy spinach. Bok choy can be eaten raw or cooked. It is usually used in stir-fry, soups, or is steamed.

Bok choy is extremely healthy, it’s full of great nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and vitamin K. Bok choy is made up of a whopping 95% of water.

It’s a very good substitute for celery, especially when used raw.

Cardoon

The next substitute for celery we’re going to discuss is cardoon.

Cardoon is a lovely little leaf vegetable. It has bigger leaves than celery, and while it has a very bitter taste, it is also a little nutty. Due to the bitterness of cardoon, you need to soak it in saltwater an hour before cooking.

You also have to ensure that you wash it properly. You can do this by giving it a good rinse and ensuring that you’ve trimmed off the ends.

It also takes longer to cook than celery, so you need to be mindful when using it in recipes. It works well if making a stew or a soup, but if your recipe is speedier than that, cardoon might not be the right fit for you.

Onion

The first substitute for celery we’re going to discuss is onion.

Onions are an excellent substitute, they’re an aromatic vegetable that has depths of flavor. While most recipes call for both onion and celery, if you were not planning on using onion, it’s a quick and easy replacement.

Most people have onions lying around, so it’s also generally cheaper.

When consumed raw, onions have a bitter flavor, so may work well as a substitute in salads and dressings. Cooked down, the flavor is much milder and sweeter. Onion is traditionally used in anything from sauces to stews.

Carrot

The seventh substitute for celery we’re going to discuss is carrot.

While carrot and celery are not similar in taste, they are similar in texture. In their natural form, carrots are very crunchy. If you’re looking for a textual replacement, then carrots can work just fine.

Like onions, most people have carrots lying around, so they’re an easy substitute. Carrots are actually packed with nutrients, so if you do end up using them, they’re a very good part of your 5 a day.

The carrot would make an excellent substitute for celery if you planned on using celery for snacking. Carrot is delicious raw, and very crunchy. They are also used often in stews, sauces, and soups.

Water Chestnut

The first substitute for celery we’re going to discuss is water chestnut.

Water chestnuts are a critical part of Chinese cuisine and for good reason. They’re packed with nutrients and, as the name suggests, contain a high percentage of water.

When it comes to flavor, water chestnuts and celery are not similar. Water chestnuts have a mildly sweet flavor, but it is faint due to the excess of water.

However, they are very crunchy, so if you’re looking for another textual replacement, water chestnuts could be for you.

They are ideal to replace celery in salads, stir-fries, and certain soups. When selecting water chestnut, go for fresh, rather than canned.

Jicama

The ninth substitute for celery we’re going to discuss is jicama.

Jicama is a root vegetable, also referred to as Mexican turnip. It’s a very good substitute for celery and celeriac alike.

It has a wonderfully crunchy texture, but it should not be cooked for too long, otherwise, the crunchiness will drastically decrease.

Jicama has a sweet taste, with a slightly nutty flavor. It is eaten both raw and cooked. It’s incredibly good for the health, containing a lot of vitamins and minerals. Likewise, it is also a good source of fiber.

Furthermore, it’s a good replacement for celery in sauces and salads.

Parsley

The next substitute for celery we’re going to discuss is parsley.

Many people are surprised to know that parsley and celery are also from the same family. It makes it the perfect substitute for celery as they are very similar in taste.

It should be noted that if you are looking for a textural replacement, you’re not going to find it here. Parsley is a leaf, so this is pretty much a replacement for the flavor of celery.

While parsley and celery are similar in flavor, they aren’t quite the same. Parsley has a much stronger flavor than celery, so you should use it sparingly. You can use parsley as a substitute for celery in soups, meat dishes, vegetable dishes, and sauces.

Bell Pepper

The next substitute for celery we’re going to discuss is bell pepper.

Okay, when it comes to flavor, bell pepper and celery are not quite the same. Bell peppers are usually sweet, but they do have an earthy flavor akin to celery.

They’re great if you’re looking for a substitute for the earthiness of celery, and they’re also great if you’re looking for a textual substitute.

If you want to replace celery will bell pepper, it is a good substitute in salads or if you plan on making a sauté.

Green Apple

The twelfth substitute for celery we’re going to discuss is green apple.

As I said in the introduction, people use celery for a multitude of reasons.

If you’re looking for a replacement for your snacks, or for in juices, green apple can work great. Green apples have a very sweet flavor, so it is drastically different from the bitterness of celery.

However, much like celery green apples are eaten raw, and even paired with dips such as whole peanut butter for a healthy snack. Green apples are also wonderful in juice due to their sweet flavor and wonderful health benefits.

You can also use green apples to replace celery in certain salads, due to its lovely crunchy texture. While it will give the dish a sweetness, it is often used in walnut salads. Apple is also often used in curries, so you can be creative with it.

Cucumber

The last substitute for celery we’re going to discuss is cucumber.

Cucumbers are very crunchy, so they make a great textual substitute. They work well in salads, and they also pair well in soups. If you’re looking for a snack replacement, cucumber is delicious raw and can be eaten with hummus.

Or, if you’re looking for a juice replacement, cucumber is a great option and full of nutrients.

Now, cucumbers do have a sweet taste, so you’re not going to get the bitterness of celery. However, cucumbers also contain a very high percentage of water and thus are quite absorbent to flavor.

If you wanted to include cucumber in salads for a lovely crunch, you could lightly grind some pepper on top of the cucumber, with will give it a gentle peppery aftertaste, vaguely similar to celery.

How To Select A Celery Substitute

How To Select A Celery Substitute

While I have given you twelve wonderful substitutes for celery, and discussed lightly how you could use them as a replacement, you still might be confused as to which substitute you could select.

I am now going to explain the considerations you should reflect on before you make your decision. This not only will ensure your recipe tastes delicious, but it will help you refine your palette, thus helping you become a better cook.

Flavor

When it comes to flavor, there are not many substitutes that give the exact same taste like celery. Celery is a unique vegetable, due to its earthy, bitter, and peppery flavor. Ideally, if you have celery seeds on hand, then you are golden.

It is the closest you are going to get to the flavor of celery. Otherwise, celeriac, parsley, and jicama is your best option.

The best substitute for celery for flavor: celery seeds, celeriac, parsley, and jicama.

Crunch

The crunchy aspect of celery is loved by many. The crunchiness is usually important when it comes to making salads, or consuming vegetables raw.

If you’re looking for a vegetable with a good crunch, you could try carrots, water chestnut, and bell pepper. If you don’t mind adding fruit to the mix, you can use green apple.

The best substitute for celery for crunch: carrots, water chestnut, bell pepper, and green apple.

Texture

If you’re trying to replace the textural component of celery, this is much easier to reach than flavor. There are a lot of crunchy fruits and vegetables that you could choose from.

While you won’t the exact flavor, you can get a somewhat similar texture. You could select fennel, jicama, bell pepper, and bok choy.

The best substitute for celery for texture: fennel, jicama, bell pepper, and bok choy.

Seasoning

When it comes to replacing celery as a seasoning, you may find it a little tricky, but we have some great options and tips for you.

The more notable selection on the list would be parsley, but if you have some extra seasonings in your cupboard, then you might find it easier to get the flavor you’re looking for.

You can use dill seed, black pepper, white pepper, smoked paprika, and even garlic.

The black or white pepper with parsley is probably the safest way to go, but keep in mind whatever you use, you should use it sparingly, as the concentration of flavor will be much higher in a seasoning.

If you have celery seeds, then you can use those, but I won’t assume that everyone has them lying around in their cupboard.

The best substitute for celery for seasoning: black pepper, white pepper, parsley, dill seed, smoked paprika, garlic, celery seeds.

Green Vegetables

If you’re looking for a substitute for a green vegetable in your dish, you have a lot of options to choose from.

You could use bok choy, kale, spinach, zucchini, broccoli, or even lettuce. While these do not have the same flavor as celery, if you’re looking to add a health boost of green vegetables, you have a lot of vegetables to choose from.

Substitutes For Celery In Cooking

If you’re cooking a specific meal, and you’re wondering what the best option is, we’ll discuss a couple of dishes below.

Substitutes For Celery In Stuffing

If you are looking to substitute celery for a stuffing dish, you have a few options. You could use celery seed, dill, celery sat, or fennel.

Substitutes For Celery In Soup

If you are looking to substitute celery in soup, you have more options than stuffing. You can use fennel, onion, garlic, carrots and, bell pepper. If you plan on using any of these vegetables, then use ½ cup for each stalk of celery.

Further Advice

Maybe you plan on ignoring everything in this article. Maybe instead, you choose to hop in your car and go buy some celery (hey, I’m not judging you). In that case, I would like to give you some advice on how to choose quality celery.

  • Ensure that the celery leaves are crispy, and they are green (avoid yellow).
  • Purchase celery that has a green stem, and upstanding stalks. To test the freshest of your celery, you can pull them. If they snap, then they are fresh.
  • Try not to chop your celery in advance. While I believe that bulk cooking is effective and a time saver if you’re looking for the best amount of nutrients possible, you should only cut the celery when you’re ready to cook it.
  • To keep your celery lasting longer, store them in an airtight container with water.
  • You can also consume the leaves of celery, they are packed with nutrients. They contain vitamin C as well as potassium.

We understand that when it comes to cooking, it can be different to know how to effectively use a substitute.

A lot of blogs on the internet do not provide themselves with a lot of genuinely useful information. We wanted to give you everything you could need to know about celery, in one useful article, so you feel more secure and confident in the kitchen.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Vegetable Can I Use To Replace The Bitterness Of Celery?

If you are looking to replace the bitterness of celery, try subsiding it with celeriac root.

Why Would You Replace Celery With Fruit?

You wouldn’t always replace celery with fruit, but it’s a good substitute depending on the dish you’re making. For example, apple is used in salads due to its sweet flavor and lovely crunch. If you’re looking for a crunchy replacement, apple could work for you.

Where Can I Buy Celery Seeds?

You can buy celery seeds in most supermarkets. If you can’t find them there, you should be able to get them in your local health store. If all else fails, you could order them online.

Summary

Well, that brings us to the end of our article on the 13 best substitutes for celery.

Whether you’re looking for a replacement for cooking, in juices, or as a raw snack, we’ve provided lots of great alternatives that you can enjoy.

Jess Smith
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