Here are 60 easy ways to substitute for celery for crunch, texture, flavor and color, plus several celery seasoning substitutes, too!
Celery doesn’t always get a good rap in the food world. It’s often used as a diet food and can therefore have a negative connotation. While it doesn’t have a ton of flavor, it can do your body good by providing fiber and as a low fat, low carb and low calorie powerhouse of essential vitamins.
Celery is also an important base ingredient to make broths and soups, it adds crunch and texture to recipes like chicken salad and can even make a healthy vessel for peanut butter and your favorite dressings.
If you are a celery lover and happen to run out, or a celery hater and need an alternative, there are several great options out there. However, because celery has so many different uses, there is no one-size-fits all replacement.
So here are the best ways to substitute for celery for texture, color and flavor.
The Best Ways to Substitute for Celery When Used for Crunch
Below, are the best celery substitutes for crunch. Use these alternatives for fresh celery in leafy and cream-based salads, dips, and more. And keep in mind, 1 medium celery stalk = ½ cup chopped.
Apple can add a great crunch to leafy salads, chicken salads, tuna salads and more. This substitute is a great way to add a little sweetness to your recipes. If you choose a red apple to stand in for celery, you can also get a nice color contrast.
Use apple as a 1 to 1 substitute in your favorite salads.
Cucumber is another great, crunchy celery substitute as it has a mild flavor and similar color. Their fresh flavor allows them to work well in many different types of salads.
Cucumbers are easy to find in grocery stores and can be used as a 1 to 1 substitute.
3. Chopped Red or Green Cabbage
Chopped red or green cabbage can add a nice crunch to cream-based salads. They can work particularly well as a celery replacement in potato salads.
Use as a 1 to 1 substitute.
4. Chopped Kale or Collard Greens
Chopped kale or collard greens are a great celery replacement for green salads. They will add crunch and a boost of healthy vitamins and minerals. These leafy vegetables do have a strong taste, so be sure you like them before using as a substitute.
Start with a little and add more if you enjoy the flavor and crunch.
5. Lettuce – any type
Any type of lettuce can be substituted for celery when you use the heart (center) of the leaves, closer to the core.
The core of lettuce is generally pretty sturdy and can stand up well to dressings and creams. They generally have a mild flavor, similar to celery, and a nice greenish-white color.
Use as a 1 to 1 substitute.
Carrots make a great, crunchy celery stand-in for fresh salads and creamy salads like potato and pasta salad. Shredded carrot is your best bet as it spreads out the more concentrated flavor. You’ll want to avoid big chunks of carrot when using as a celery replacement.
Start with half the amount the recipe calls for and add more if needed.
7. Water chestnuts
Water chestnuts are an aquatic tuber vegetable. They can stand up well to cooking in stir fry dishes and Asian noodle and rice dishes. They have very little flavor, making them a great, crunchy, celery replacement in any of these applications.
Start with half the amount the recipe calls for and add more if desired.
Jicama has a similar texture to a potato or apple, making it a great, crunchy celery stand-in. It has an unassertive flavor and can be used in fresh salads or in cream-based salads as a 1 to 1 substitute.
Cauliflower is another mild and nutritional vegetable that can add some crunch to a dish in lieu of celery. Use cauliflower as a 1 to 1 substitute in cream-based and fresh salads.
10. Sunflower seeds
Sunflower seeds may seem like an unusual substitute for celery, but they’re another easy way to add crunch to a salad. They are highly nutritious, readily available in grocery stores and work well with many types of fresh or cream-based salads.
11. Sliced or Chopped Radish
Radish can make a great celery substitute for potato salads if you enjoy their flavor. Eaten raw, they have a spicy, zesty flavor that can be a bit assertive. The creaminess of potato salad can help mitigate the strong flavor, though some people do enjoy them raw on salads.
Start with half the amount you would use of the celery and add more if desired.
12. Chopped almonds or pecans
Chopped almonds and pecans are a great salad topper. They add a creamy, nutty flavor to a dish and pack a nice crunch. Use these as a 1 to 1 substitute on your favorite salads.
13. Fennel Stalk
Fennel stalk has a very similar texture to celery and has a similar color, too. You can use fennel on fresh salads and other cream-based salads where you would celery. Keep in mind, this vegetable will add a slight licorice flavor to your dish, so make sure that works well with the other ingredients.
Use as a 1 to 1 substitute.
Texture and Flavor Celery Substitutes
Here are the best ingredients to substitute for celery to mimic its texture and flavor, especially when cooked.
If you’ve ever heard of the term “mirepoix” you know it’s a cooking term used to describe a classic combination of soup base ingredients (onion, carrot, and celery), or “the holy trinity”. Without this trinity, many of our favorite recipes simply wouldn’t be the same.
You can use the substitutes below to replace celery in your mirepoix and for a similar texture and flavor when making soups, stews, and casseroles and to replace celery in salads and dips.
Texture and Flavor
14. Fennel (Fennel stalks and fennel bulbs can be used.)
I mentioned fennel above as a great way to replace fresh celery for crunch. But it can also make a great celery substitute in soups, stews, and casseroles. These veggies hold up well to cooking and can add an interesting layer of flavor.
Use as a 1 to 1 substitute.
15. Red, yellow, or white onion
If you’re cooking with celery, you’re likely already using onion as one of your other ingredients. You can double the amount of onion or simply add some in to stand in for celery. When cooked, onion has a similar texture and always provides great flavor for soups, casseroles, and stews.
Use as a 1 to 1 substitute.
A cardoon is an edible thistle plant that is found in the Mediterranean. It tastes kind of like an artichoke with a slight bitter edge. Its stalks are similar in appearance to celery and has a similar flavor profile. This vegetable can be fried, cooked in a stew, or used as a vessel for dips just like celery!
If you happen to have some in your garden or find them in a store, use as a 1 to 1 substitute.
Carrots make up the final third of the holy trinity. Again, if you’re using celery, it’s possible carrot is also called for in your dish already. Double up on the amount of carrot or add it in as a 1 to 1 substitute.
When cooked, carrots add a similar texture to a baked or stewed dish.
Shallots are a very similar celery replacement as onion. You can use shallots to substitute for celery in the same way, though they will provide a sweeter, more delicate flavor.
Garlic is a great flavor agent in many of our favorite dishes. Their taste generally works well for dishes that would include celery as an ingredient. They do have a much more powerful flavor than celery so you won’t need quite as much when used as a replacement.
Start with a clove or two of garlic per cup of celery to add a layer of flavor to soups, stews, and casseroles.
Leeks are another root vegetable with a similar color and texture to celery. They add great flavor and mouthfeel to soups, stews, stir fry recipes and casseroles. Leeks are related to garlic, chives, onions, and shallots and have a sweet oniony flavor.
These make a great 1 to 1 substitute for celery in dishes like these.
21. Bell peppers
Bell peppers of any color can stand in for celery in pretty much any recipe you may need. Green bell peppers can be a tasty and unexpected celery substitute in stuffing, for example.
Bell peppers have a similar, mild grassy flavor (though the more colorful, the sweeter).
Use as a 1 to 1 substitute.
22. Chinese Celery
Chinese celery is an Asian variety of Western celery. It is thinner with a more pronounced flavor and more abundant leaves.
Start with a small amount to see how you like the stronger flavor. You can use Asian celery as a substitute anywhere you would regular celery.
And here are some options that make a great substitute for flavor only. These ingredients will not mimic the texture of celery, but can work well in dishes where a similar mouthfeel isn’t required.
23. Celery Seed
Celery seed can add some celery flavor to a dish when texture isn’t a requirement. You’ll need far less celery seed to substitute for fresh celery.
1 teaspoon of celery seed is equal to two average celery stalks. Be careful, though, because the flavor is slightly different with a little bit of a bitter after taste.
24. Celery Salt
Celery salt can make a good substitute for recipes that don’t require a ton of celery flavor. You shouldn’t try to match the amount of celery salt to the amount of celery called for in a dish. Instead, substitute any salt in your recipe with the same amount of celery salt.
Celeriac is the celery root or celery bulb, also known as knob celery. It has a similar, but more earthy taste than the celery stalks. However, the texture is very different. You can use celeriac to add some celery flavor to a dish in cooked or raw form, but it will alter the recipe’s texture.
Use as a 1 to 1 substitute when texture isn’t important.
26. Fresh chives
Fresh chives can replace celery in dips, soups, stews and casseroles. They won’t provide quite as much texture as celery, but are a great flavor component to add depth to a dish.
Use half the amount as you would celery and enjoy a similar bright green color in your recipe.
27. Scallions or green onions
Scallions can also be used in place of celery if you don’t have yellow, red, or white onion. You’ll lose a little bit of texture, but it’s hard to notice when used in a soup or stew.
Use half the amount as you would celery.
Green Vegetable Celery Replacements (for haters!)
Use the ingredients below to replace celery when used for color in your dish and for those who simply don’t like celery and need another healthy alternative.
28. Bok Choy
Bok Choy, also known as Chinese cabbage, is a simple and healthy celery alternative with properties to fight inflammation and heart disease. This ingredient works wonderfully in stir fry recipes and soups.
Use as a 1 to 1 substitute.
We all know what broccoli is. These little “trees” are packed with nutrients and their bright green color makes them a great celery substitute for color. You can eat broccoli fresh, steamed, baked or fried.
Use as a 1 to 1 substitute in applicable dishes.
Asparagus is rich in fiber, folate and vitamins A, C, and K. You can make asparagus soup and use diced asparagus in salads, stir fry recipes and casseroles.
Substitute 1 to 1 in suitable recipes.
31. Green beans
Green beans are a great way to add extra nutrients to your diet. If you don’t like celery, try incorporating green beans into your meals as a healthy alternative. They are great steamed, sautéed, baked, and in stir fry recipes.
32. Collard Greens, Kale, Mustard Greens
Sturdy greens like collard greens, kale and mustard greens are packed with essential vitamins and nutrients. They are considered superfoods and can be added to smoothies, used fresh in salads and cooked down in sauté recipes.
Sub out celery for these greens in any of these applications to taste.
Spinach is another nutrient-rich leafy green that can take the place of celery in your healthy diet. These greens also work great in smoothies and in sauté recipes as well as fresh salads.
Use as a celery substitute to taste in any form.
34. Swiss Chard
Swiss chard is a similar celery substitute as collard greens, kale, and mustard greens. However, they do have very distinctive, colorful stalks. You can use swiss chard to make salads, stir fry and sauté recipes.
35. Beet Greens
Beet greens might be an unexpected celery substitute for health and color. They aren’t as common as some other ingredients, but they work in very similar dishes and preparations as collard greens, kale, mustard greens and swiss chard.
They are healthy and filled with vitamins and nutrients the body needs. You can sauté these greens, use them in an omelet, and to add color to warm pasta dishes.
Arugula makes a great addition to salads and sandwiches. It has a slightly peppery flavor and is an excellent source of vitamin K and a good source of vitamin A.
Use arugula to add nutrients and green flavor to your favorite dishes to taste.
Zucchini is a versatile summer squash that can add a pop of green to stir fry dishes, casseroles and soups. It has a very mild taste that makes a great canvas for herbs and seasoning.
Use as a 1 to 1 substitute in these applications.
Okra can be a polarizing ingredient. It has a mild taste, but a slightly slimy interior. It’s most often enjoyed fried, sautéed, pickled and in soups like gumbo.
It comes with lots of health benefits as it is rich in vitamins A and C and a good source of magnesium and folate.
Use it to substitute for celery 1 to 1 in stir fry and sauté recipes and in soups.
Lettuce is a very humble yet ubiquitous food ingredient. It’s used to make salads and in sandwiches and wraps. Next time you think about picking lettuce off your burger, keep it on for some extra nutritional value.
Lettuce is a good source of hydration, and can also help to improve vision and sleep. Use lettuce as a healthy food option in lieu of celery.
40. Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts are like tiny vitamin-packed cabbages. These little morsels are great sautéed, stir-fried, roasted, and baked. They are a great green to add to a healthy diet and incorporate into your weekly meals.
You can also shave fresh brussels sprouts for leafy and cream-based salads instead of using celery.
Parsley has a mild, grassy flavor, similar to celery and celery leaves. This herb works to flavor many of our favorite dishes and as a finishing garnish. It’s also very healthy as a good source of antioxidants and nutrients like vitamins A, K, and C
Celery Seasoning Substitutes (Celery Seeds or Celery Salt)
There are two common celery seasonings: celery seeds and celery salt. If you’re making a recipe and don’t have any on hand, there are plenty of great substitutes for these items as well.
Celery seeds are often used in dressings, stews, salads, and sauces. They have a similar flavor to celery, but with a slightly bitter edge. And celery salt is a mixture of ground seeds with salt, used for soups, salads, stews, and sauces.
42. Celery Flakes
Celery flakes are simply dehydrated celery. It is shelf-stable and great for adding flavor to soups, stews, casseroles, stir fry dishes, and more. You can use celery flakes to substitute for celery seeds and celery salt:
3 to 1 for celery seeds and 2-3 tablespoons for every 1/8-1/4 teaspoons of celery salt.
43. Celery Stalks and Leaves
As listed above, celery stalk and celery seeds/salt can be used as substitutes for each other. You will need a lot more celery to stand in for these seasonings.
See #23 above for the conversions.
44. Dill Seed
Dill seed can be used in place of celery for pickle recipes, brines and dressings. They don’t have a very similar flavor, but they are often used in the same applications, making dill seed a suitable replacement.
Use as a 1 to 1o substitute. Add a pinch of salt if replacing celery salt.
45. Dill Weed
Dill has a very particular and unique flavor, but it goes well with similar dishes celery seasoning is often used for like potato salads, pickles, dressings, and marinades.
Use as a 1 to 1 substitute. Add a pinch of salt if replacing celery salt.
46. Caraway Seed
Caraway seeds also work in similar recipes where you’d find celery and celery seasonings. It has a similar anise flavor to dill. Use it as a 1 to 1 substitute in cream-based soups, dressings, and salads.
If you can’t find any other herbs or seasonings to stand in for your celery, you can always add a splash of lemon to create a depth of flavor. Lemon is bright and tart and can work well in dressings and marinades.
Use to taste and add in a dash of salt if needed.
48. Black Pepper
Black pepper adds a kick of flavor and mild heat to a dish. It can be used as a seasoning for an endless number of recipes and cuisines. If you’re missing celery seasoning for your dish you can add in a few dashes of pepper for added flavor.
Start with a little and add more if desired along with a pinch of salt.
49. White Pepper
White pepper comes from the same plant as black pepper. They have a similar taste and can be used in the same way to substitute for celery seasoning.
50. Garlic & Garlic Powder
Garlic and garlic powder are very common seasonings used in many of our favorite dishes. They make a great replacement for celery seasonings because these flavors generally blend well with the kind of dishes you’d use celery for.
For garlic powder, use as a 1 to 1 substitute and add a pinch of salt if desired. For fresh garlic, mince finely and start with 1 clove per 1 teaspoon celery seed or celery salt and adjust to taste.
51. Onion Powder
Onion powder is a very similar celery seasoning substitute to garlic powder. While the flavor is different, they are typically used hand in hand. Use onion powder the same way you would garlic powder to stand in for celery seasonings.
Parsley works well to substitute for celery in cream-based salads, soups and stews. They have a similar flavor profile and parsley can be easily found in stores.
Use 3 tablespoons, chopped flat-leaf parsley per teaspoon of celery seasoning, and add salt if desired.
Cilantro is a very divisive herb. You either love it or hate it. But, it can stand in for celery seasoning in cream-based salads, soups and stews just as parsley.
Use 3 tablespoons, chopped cilantro per teaspoon of celery seasoning, and add salt if desired.
54. Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper has a moderate heat level and is made from dried and ground red chili peppers. It’s a great seasoning for soups, stews, marinades, dressings, dips and more.
Start with a couple dashes, along with salt if desired, and add more to taste.
Paprika is a similar celery substitute as cayenne pepper. It’s a popular spice made from red peppers. Use paprika to stand in for celery seasoning the same way you would cayenne.
56. Exotic Spices
If you have any exotic spices lying around like cumin, turmeric, saffron or galangal, you can add these to a dish for an additional layer of flavoring. Be sure to taste the spice first to make sure it works with the dish.
Start with a dash or so with salt, if desired, and add more to taste.
57. Celery Powder
Celery powder makes an excellent substitute for celery seasonings, but it can be very hard to find. Most grocery stores carry the seeds and salt, but not the powder or flakes.
If you happen to have some on hand or can make your own with a dehydrator, you can use as a 1 to 1 substitute with added salt if needed.
58. Star Anise
Star anise has a sweet, licorice flavor and is often used in Asian cuisines and to make five-spice powder. These pods can be used to flavor broths, brines, and marinades.
A couple of pods go a long way so used in moderation and be sure to remove them before serving your dish.
59. Fennel Seed
Fennel seed can stand in for celery seasonings in dry rubs for meat and fish, in sauces, soups, stews, and sausage.
Use as a 1 to 1 substitute and add a dash of salt if desired.
60. Nigella Sativa
Nigella Sativa, also known as black cumin can make a great celery seasoning substitute for dry rubs, marinades, soups and stews. It has a sweet and caraway-like taste. It is popular in Indian cuisine, but not widely available.
If you happen to have some on hand, use as a 1 to 1 substitute along with a few dashes of salt if desired.
Recipes with Celery
Here are some easy recipes that are great for celery. Use these to try out your favorite way to substitute for celery above.