Celery seeds have the same aroma and astringent quality as the raw stalks of a celery plant. They’re savory, earthy, and have a fragrant bitterness that gets stronger in ground form. Celery seeds are not as common as the raw garnish itself, but they’re full of nutrition and taste amazing.
The only problem with celery seeds is that they can be tricky to acquire. Celery, on the other hand, is easily available and the first substitute for celery seeds on this list. With that being said, here’s a complete list of all the substitutes you can use in place of celery seeds.
#1. Raw Celery
Raw celery leaves, stalks, and roots are unsurprisingly the best substitute for celery seeds as a garnish. Celery has a mildly savory and bitter taste and gives a tingling sensation to food much like onions. It also has a lot of crunch, especially if you’re using the stalk part.
Raw celery is quite similar to celery seeds in taste and aroma, making it a good substitute to use in salads and stews. However, celery seeds are unquestionably more concentrated in flavor, so you cannot substitute them evenly. To make the substitution more seamless, you can finely chop the celery into tiny pieces.
1 Tbsp. Celery Seed = 6 Tbsp. Finely Chopped Celery Stalk/Roots/Leaves.
#2. Dried Celery Flakes
Dried celery flakes are simply the celery’s leaves and stalk but dehydrated and crumbled into flakes. The drying substantially increases the potency of its flavor. Dried celery flakes come closer to celery seeds in terms of the warmth and intensity it brings to a dish.
You can use dried celery flakes as a garnish on your noodles or in your salad dressing to give it more character. They are also more common than celery seeds, making them easier to spot on spice racks at the supermarket.
1 Tbsp. Celery Seeds = ½ Tbsp. Celery Flakes.
#3. Dill Weed
Dill weed is an aromatic herb that’s used widely in Eurasian cuisine like borscht, pickles, and soups to add more flavor. Its flavor profile is quite similar to celery seeds with the same tingling sensation as celery, making it one of the best substitutes.
Dill weed adds a layer of buttery warmth to a dish, with notes of lemon and anise. The grassy aroma and citrus-like taste pairs best with soups and salad dishes. It’s often combined with other herbs like basil, chives, garlic, and mint to increase the complexity of dishes.
If you’re using dill weed as a substitute for celery seeds, you can substitute them evenly. They’re two of a kind when it comes to intensity and flavor.
1 Tbsp. Celery Seed = 1 Tbsp. Dill Weed.
#4. Celery Salt
Celery salt is another near-perfect substitute for celery seeds. If you don’t see celery seeds on the spice rack at your local supermarket, you should look for celery salt. It’s a condiment that’s widely used for flavoring foods like mashed potatoes, tuna salad, ground meat, tomato juice, and even cocktails.
Celery salt tastes a lot like normal salt at first but gives you strong notes of celery on the finish. It’s basically a mixture of table salt and ground celery seeds. That’s why they taste so alike. However, if you have a recipe that calls for both salt and celery seeds, remember to lower the salt portion if you’re using celery salt.
If you’re reducing how much salt you put in, you can substitute celery salt and celery seeds evenly.
1 Tbsp. Celery Seed = 1 Tbsp. Celery Salt.
#5. Fennel Seeds
Fennel seed is a spice that’s extracted from a plant in the carrot family. It has a light anise-like sweet licorice taste and adds a warm fragrance to dishes. You can find fennel seeds on the spice rack in any supermarket.
Fennel seeds are perfect for adding to dishes like casseroles, curries, stews, and soups. If you’re using it as a substitute for celery seed, you may want to add some salt too. Otherwise, you can substitute them evenly.
1 Tbsp. Celery Seed = 1 Tbsp. Fennel Seed.
Parsley is a nutrient-rich alternative to celery seeds. It’s been known to work as a diuretic that prevents salt build-up and reduces blood pressure. Parsley has a very light and earthy taste, with just a touch of pepper.
Like celery seeds, parsley also lends herbaceousness and bitter salty notes to a dish, making it an excellent substitute. Parsley is most commonly used in European and Middle-Eastern cuisine to add more color and nutrition to a dish. Parsley goes well with sauces and salads.
The only problem with using it as a substitute for celery seeds is that it doesn’t have the same lemony or savory zing. So, you might want to top off your parsley dressing with a little bit of lemon and salt. Also, parsley is milder in taste, so you will need to substitute more.
1 Tbsp. Celery Seeds = 3 Tbsp. Parsley.
#7. Caraway Seeds
Caraway seeds have a nutty bittersweet taste, with a hint of lemon and pepper. It’s fair to say it’s close to celery seeds in flavor but lacks the aroma. Caraway seeds are most commonly used in Eastern European and Asian cuisine as a garnish. It adds more depth and intensity to dishes like salads and marinated meats.
If you’re switching celery seeds with caraway seeds, you can substitute them equivalently. They taste the same, although you may want to add some rosemary or thyme if you’re looking to give your dishes a grassy aroma.
1 Tbsp. Celery Seed = 1 Tbsp. Caraway Seed.
#8. Star Anise
Star anise has a very sweet, licorice-like taste and gives dishes a deep fragrant warmth like cloves. It’s a spice that’s most commonly used in Chinese cuisine and is part of the 5 Chinese spices.
Star anise goes well with savory dishes, but you should note that it’s a strong spice, so you want to approach it with caution. Using star anise as an alternative to celery seeds can alter the final flavor of the dish but there are some ways to tweak it back, such as adding pepper or lemon.
1 Tbsp. Celery Seed = 1 Tbsp. Star Anise.