13 Best Substitutes for Celery

Celery comes from a plant that originated in the Mediterranean and has been cultivated for over 3,000 years. Its stalk, seeds, leaves, and hypocotyl are used as ingredients for making various dishes and beverages.

Throughout the years, celery has been used as a medicine, as an aphrodisiac, and even for making bouquets presented to athletes in Ancient Greece.

There is even an official National Fresh Celery Month celebrated in the USA every April.

Today, celery is the number one ingredient in just about any cuisine. The crunchy and mildly peppery vegetable is eaten raw, used for making healthy smoothies, and even for making cocktails such as Bloody Mary.

More importantly, it is incorporated in all kinds of soups, stews, snacks, and different dishes.

Some of the most famous dishes which are made with celery include the Holy Trinity (celery, bell pepper, and onions), Mirepoix (celery, carrots, and onion), and Battutto (celery, carrot, onion, and herbs), and many more.

While the healthy plant is essential for many dishes and is a household staple, there may be times when you need to use a substitute for celery.

Here are some vegetables and other ingredients you can successfully use instead of celery to prepare many different dishes and snacks.

Best Celery Substitutes

Fennel

Fennel is a veggie from the carrot family which has a crunchy texture similar to that of celery. At the same time, its taste is stronger when consumed raw.

When you cook it, the flavor of the fennel will become milder. This makes it a great alternative to celery when you are preparing stews, soups, and other sautéed, baked, or cooked dishes.

Celeriac (celery root)

Celeriac is known as celery root and has a very similar vibrant taste to celery. In fact, it comes from the same plant – Apium graveolens but is cultivated for the roots rather than for the stalks.

While the taste of celery and celeriac is very similar, their texture is very different, which is something to keep in mind before using them interchangeably.

Its flavor is slightly earthier than that of celery, but celeriac can easily be used as a replacement for celery in different stews, soups, casseroles, or sauces.

It can be eaten raw, too, if it is sliced in very thin slices.

Bok choy

Bok Choy is better known as Chinese cabbage. It is an ingredient that is commonly used for preparing different Asian dishes.

Bok choy has a texture that is pretty similar to that of celery. It is a healthy vegetable, which is rich in fiber, minerals, and vitamins. It can be successfully used instead of celery in various dishes.

The leaves of the Chinese cabbage have a slightly bitter taste, similar to spinach. The stalks are crunchy and perfect for replacing celery for the making of different stews, soups, and stir-fries. They are also delicious when steamed.

Carrots

Carrots have a crunchy texture which is very similar to that of celery. However, they are much sweeter and taste differently.

Still, carrots can be used instead of celery for making stews, soups, and other dishes or sauces. You can also eat them fresh or in the form of healthy smoothies or juices, just like you would use the celery stalks.

Carrots are an excellent source of vitamins A and K, calcium, beta carotene, and other essential nutrients, making them a very healthy choice for young and old.

Celery seeds

Celery seeds are another part of the Apium graveolens plant, which is the celery and celeriac plant.

The seeds are used for medicinal purposes and spices for different dry rubs, salads, sauces, brines, dressings, and others.

These small brown seeds can be used whole or ground and have a taste similar to that of celery.

Still, the celery seeds have a bitterer and earthier flavor than celery, so use smaller amounts of the seeds when using them as replacements for celery.

Celery salt

This is a blend of ground celery seeds with salt and is a common seasoning for stews, sauces, tomato soups, salads, and more.

Just be careful when using it as a substitute for celery as it contains a lot of salt and can make your dish too salty.

Jicama

Jicama is a starchy root veggie from Mexico. It has a crispy texture and a pleasant nutty flavor. Jicama is sometimes referred to as Mexican turnip and can be eaten raw or cooked.

It can even be used as an alternative to celery for making different soups, sauces, or dishes. Just make sure that you cook it only briefly if you want it to maintain its crunchiness.

It is also helpful to know that only the root of this plant is edible, as the flowers and seeds are toxic for humans.

Cardoon

This is a wild thistle that grows in the Mediterranean. It looks like an artichoke with a prickly purple flower head.

Its taste is bitter and nutty, so you should soak the cardoon in water before using it for cooking as a replacement for celery.

It is tougher than celery, so you should make sure to cook it longer.

Parsley

Unlike celery which is considered a plant, parsley is an herb. But leaf celery and parsley look very much alike, and their leaves have a similar texture. In fact, they come from the same botanical family.

Then again, parsley is used raw or added as a seasoning and is considered an herb with a strong aroma and taste. At the same time, celery leaves are vegetables that can be eaten either raw or incorporated into different dishes.

Still, you can use parsley instead of celery when making different sauces, soups, ground meat mixtures, and veggies.

Onions

Onions are the number one ingredients for most savory dishes, and they come in a wide variety of types. Depending on your preferences and the recipe you are preparing, you can use some types of onions as celery substitutes. Onions go well with celery and carrots and will add flavor and texture to any stew, soup, or other meal.

Water chestnut

Water chestnut is a not-so-common plant that grows under the water in Africa, Asia, and Australia. Its flavor is sweet and tart and is quite similar to that of an apple or coconut.

Still, when it is stir-fried, grilled, sautéed, roasted, or fried, it can successfully be incorporated in some dishes which call for celery, replacing it altogether.

Cucumber

If you have run out of celery and are making a dip, salad, or dressing, then you can easily replace it with cucumber.

Cucumbers are fresh, crunchy, and can be sweet or sour. This makes them excellent alternatives for use for any recipe which requires the use of fresh and crunchy veggies.

Bell peppers

Bell peppers are one of the three key elements, along with celery, when preparing the Holy Trinity, which is the base used for preparing many Cajun and Louisiana Creole dishes.

Bell peppers are crunchy, and depending on their type, can be sweet, bitter, earthy, or other.

The green bell peppers have the closest texture and flavor to that of celery.

How to Substitute Celery

The right way to use another veggie as an alternative to celery depends on what you are preparing. Mostly, it depends on whether you want to achieve similar flavor, texture, seasoning, color, or the nutritional benefits of celery.

Flavor

Celery has a unique flavor. To achieve a flavor that is as close as possible to it, you can use celeriac, leek bell peppers, green onions, scallions, shallots, other onions, carrots, or other alternatives.

Texture

If you are going for the texture of celery, then the best alternatives to use include fennel, onions, bok choy, bell peppers, leeks, or scallions which will give the dish a similar texture.

Seasoning

If your recipe calls for using celery as a seasoning, then you can replace it with celery seeds, celery salt, parsley, onion powder, white pepper, or cilantro.

Green vegetable

When looking for a celery substitute for a dish that requires the use of the plant as a healthy green vegetable, then you can use Bok choy, Brussels sprouts, zucchini, green beans, kale, or similar veggies.

Celery Substitute in Soup

When preparing a soup that calls for celery, you can safely use fennel, onion, carrots, or garlic instead. Add about half a cup of any of these alternative vegetables for each stalk of celery that you would typically use.

Celery Substitute in Stuffing

When making a stuffing that has celery as an ingredient, you can go ahead and replace it with celery seeds, celery salt, celeriac, or fennel stalks.

Additional tips

Here are some tips for making the best out of celery:

Choose celery which has strong, straight, and green stalks which snap easily when pulled.

Pick celery which has green and crispy leaves.

Chop the celery right before adding it to the dish so that it keeps as many of its healthy nutrients as possible.

By steaming the celery, you will be able to recover most of its nutrients and its flavor.

The leaves are rich in potassium, calcium, and vitamin C, so make sure you eat them too.

Make sure that you use the celery in the next 1-2 days after buying it.

You might ask

When cucumber is a good substitute for celery?

A crunchy cucumber can be used as an excellent alternative to celery when preparing fresh salads, dips, or dressings.

What vegetable is closest to celery?

Celeriac tastes like celery the most, but fennel, green bell peppers, and Bok choy are the closest when it comes to texture.

How to use parsley instead of celery?

When using parsley in the place of celery, you should use lesser parsley because it has a stronger taste and aroma than celery.

How to use celery seed instead of celery?

If you are using celery seeds instead of celery, you should use about half the amount of ground celery seeds for each part of minced celery.

Final thoughts

Hopefully, we have helped you find the best alternatives for celery for every dish and need.

We have included veggies and herbs suitable for every need and taste, so enjoy experimenting with old and new dishes and recipes with our top recommendations for the best substitutes for celery.