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Substitute for Celery Seed

Like many other exotic spices, celery seeds can be trusted to give any dish that earthy, natural flavor and aroma. These seeds are a popular spice in American, Asian, and Indian cuisine and are renowned for their strong aroma and flavor-enhancing advantages. But in some situations, you can find good substitutes for them in your recipes.

Celery Seeds- What are they?

Celery seeds are the seeds of the wild celery plant, Apium graveolens. These seeds are widely cultivated in India and many parts of Asia, but their use as a flavor enhancer dates as far back as the Greeks. Historical accounts confirm that celery seeds were a common addition to dishes in the Roman civilization and were also enjoyed by the Italians and the French. It wasn’t until the 19th century that the exotic spice grabbed American culinary specialists’ hearts and became a welcomed addition to American cuisine.

The celery seeds are dark brown, with a small, oblong shape. Many tend to confuse them with lovage seeds, which share a similar earthy aroma and warm, bitter flavor. However, celery seeds are much larger than lovage seeds and are sold separately, so the chances of mistaking one for the other at any grocery store is slim to none.

Celery Seed Uses and Benefits

Celery seeds share a similar flavor profile with many other spices from the Mediterranean and Europe. It carries a strong yet earthy flavor with a rich aroma that lifts any dish’s taste and presence. This makes it a popular addition to but main and side dishes and garnishes and dressings. Its powerful flavor enhancement properties also make it an ideal additive for food, which is one way it’s used in some parts of Asia.

Celery seeds are not just flavorful and aromatic but also beneficial to health. They’re known to help boost antioxidants in the body and the formation of red blood cells. They also provide the right compounds to maintain proper blood pressure and strengthen the body’s immune system. Celery seeds also help improve cognitive function, proper joint movement, and sleep. And its use for health improvement dates as far back as the time of the Greeks, down to the Roman times and Early Europe and Asian history.

Celery seeds are so flexible, you can find them in a wide range of recipes, including;

  • Soups
  • Stews
  • Meatloaf
  • Sauces
  • Stock
  • Salads and dressings
  • Dry rubs
  • Mayonnaise dressings
  • Brines
  • Potato dishes
  • Pickles
  • Boiled shellfish
  • Coleslaw
  • Bread
  • Shrimp en Escabeche
  • Chow Chow

Celery Seed Substitutes

If you ever run out of celery seeds in the middle of a recipe, don’t panic. Simply grab any of these substitutes to get a similar flavor enhancement. Note, of course, that each substitute works best for certain types of recipes, so you might want to stick with that thought before opting for them.

Celery Leaves and Stalks

The leaves and stalks of the celery plants also carry a similar flavor to the seeds and make great substitutes in soups, sauces, and salads. And if you don’t mind seeing them in the dish, you can use them in place of celery seeds. However, the leaves and stalks of the celery plant are more fibrous and aren’t as packed with the flavor as the seeds, so you may need to use more. The best way to get the best out of it is to finely chop the leaves and stalk, as this makes it less noticeable in soups and sauces. To get an equal amount of flavor enhancement in 1 tablespoon of celery seeds, substitute with 6 tablespoons of finely chopped celery leaves and stalk.

Dill Seeds

Dill seeds are already a popular spice in many kitchens, but not many people know it shares similar a flavor profile with celery seeds. And dill seeds are just as packed with flavor and aroma as celery seeds, making them a perfect substitute in many dishes. Though dill seeds look quite different from celery seeds, it matters little once the flavor is released in the recipe. And dill seeds can be substituted for celery seeds in an equal ratio in every recipe.

Celery Salt

Because celery salt is made from ground celery seeds and salt, it works quite well as an ideal substitute. Celery salt is also a popular ingredient found in the average chef’s spice racks, so it makes a great quick-fix alternative to celery seeds in any recipe. Some celery salts may also contain calcium silicate or silicon dioxide to prevent the mix from caking. When using celery salt to substitute for celery seeds, you should remember that the salt content will be added to the dish. So, to balance this, reduce the regular salt requirements in the recipe. The celery seed flavor in the salt is lesser, so for each teaspoon of celery seed, substitute with two teaspoons of celery salt.

Caraway Seeds

Caraway seeds are one of the most versatile popular spices in the market, and one of their numerous uses is as a substitute for celery seeds. Like it, caraway seeds are rich in flavor and aroma and promise impressive flavor enhancement levels to soups, potato dishes, salads, and other similar recipes. And since the chances of you already having a jar of it on your spice rack, caraway seeds are another easy-fix substitute for celery seeds and can be used in equal amounts.

Flat-leafed Parsley

With some finely chopped flat-leafed parsley, you can give proper flavor enhancement to your dishes in the absence of celery seeds. Also called Italian parsley, it’s best used as a substitute for celery seeds in fresh form, as the dried types are not as strong in flavor. Italian parsley has a strong aroma that’s easily welcomed in soups, sauces, and salads and blends well with meat and fish recipes. But celery seeds have a stronger flavor profile, so 3 tablespoons of finely chopped flat-leafed parsley are enough to substitute for 1 teaspoon of celery seeds.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do celery seeds go bad?

When properly packaged and stored, celery seeds don’t go bad, though they may lose their potency over time. But on a general note, celery seeds will maintain their quality for up to 4 years.

How do I use celery seeds?

You can use celery seeds whole in many recipes. You can also grind the seeds before adding them to your cooking. When grounded, celery seeds release more flavor, and unless your recipe strictly demands whole celery seeds, grounded ones will release more flavor, ergo more bitterness. You can grind them using a mortar and pestle or with your regular coffee grinder.

Is coriander seed the same as celery seed?

No, they’re not. Both are derived from different plants and are sometimes used interchangeably in recipes that wish to achieve a slightly crunchy texture. Coriander seeds are also larger, with warm hints of nut and citrus.


With a good celery seed substitute, you can always find your way around any recipe that calls for it. And knowing the best ways to put them to use is the ultimate step to getting the best celery seeds flavor profiles without celery seeds at all.