If we’re talking about spices that are often shoved to the back of the pantry or spice rack, we firmly believe that many recipes and people are sleeping on celery seeds as a condiment or ingredient.
Whether it is a sweet or savory dish, if you’re looking to add just a hint of bitterness into your meal, this is the ingredient that you can call on to get your flavor needs to be met.
However, partly because celery seeds are an underutilized ingredient in many recipes, it can be very hard to find celery seeds in a supermarket or store.
Not all is lost, however. If you know what flavors you need to be looking for when buying a substitute, you may find that having no celery seeds in the few times that you need them isn’t a death sentence for your planned meal.
This is why we have compiled this little guide here.
In this piece, we are going to show you a collection of different spices and ingredients that you will be able to use to get the right flavors in your cooking, as well as what qualities you should be looking for in any good celery seed substitute.
Celery Seed Qualities
So, to help give you an idea of the things that a celery seed substitute should be good for, you should probably first know a little more about celery seeds themselves.
They are a pretty obscure ingredient for many people, after all, so you may not be entirely sure what you are looking for!
Celery seeds are exactly what they sound like: the seeds from the celery vegetables that many people love for their crunchy and watery texture.
Celery seeds are collected from wild celery variants before they are then dried out into the small, hard seeds that they are known as.
Celery seeds are quite a popular condiment to use in several Asian cuisines, where the bitter flavor is a nice balance to dishes that may otherwise be a little too sweet or savory.
Taste & Texture
So, what exactly do celery seeds taste like?
Well, they carry a very similar flavor to that of celery. While they do not have the same crunchy and watery texture, they do still have that slight bitterness to them that makes them such a polarizing vegetable.
However, they also carry a slight sweetness to the, and will often smell like many types of licorice sweets.
This makes them a very aromatic spice that will be noticed in almost any recipe you add them to.
However, this also makes celery seeds a great ingredient to add to many salads and other vegetable dishes that might otherwise use celery as a main ingredient.
What’s more, celery seeds can come in a few different forms, with celery seeds being alongside celery seed powder, and even celery seed salt in some cases.
Substitutes For Celery Seeds
So, with that information out of the way, we know what we’re looking for in a good substitute for celery seeds.
They need to be:
- Aromatic to smell
- Slightly bitter to taste
- Can be found in a few different forms for cooking
- Available in many different stores.
Dried Celery Leaves/Dried Herb
If we’re talking about celery seed substitutes, we might as well start with the full-grown plant itself.
Celery is an incredibly widespread ingredient to find, so finding a dried version is going to be pretty easy to find in most stores.
Plus, with this being the plant of the seed, you can expect to find a very similar flavor in your dried celery leaves too.
Plus, they make for a fine extra to sprinkle on top of a salad, as well as a great ingredient to add towards the end of cooking a stew or soup for that flavor.
The only thing that we would note is that the dried leaves don’t pack quite as much flavor as the raw and crushed seeds do.
If you want to use this as a substitute, you’re going to need to use a lot more of it to get the same flavor.
However, if you can find it, there probably isn’t a better substitute for one celery-based product, than with another celery-based product.
The plot twist of the century, we know.
Moving on from a celery-based substitute, we have a different herb that people will likely have heard of but may not have considered as a substitute.
However, we can guarantee that, if you’re looking for another herb to replace celery seeds with, dill is a surprisingly good option.
Dill is a herb that is sold in many different stores, especially those that have ingredients for fish-based recipes, so finding it for yourself should be relatively easy.
Dill has been used as a herb across Asia and Europe for thousands of years and brings a nice herbal flavor to any dish that it is a part of, including just a little bitterness too.
A solid option to consider if you are looking for the best substitutes for celery seeds.
We have already mentioned celery salt at least once in this guide so far, it is worth covering in a little more detail.
Celery salt is exactly what it sounds like. It is celery powder or seeds that have been mixed with salt.
This produces a result that is tasty as you would expect from two quality condiments.
Plus, this isn’t a particularly hard item to source in a store, so you’ll likely always have this as a readily available option.
However, this substitute will work best when a recipe also calls for salt alongside the rest of its recipe list.
This means that, if you aren’t careful, you may find yourself with a recipe that is far too salty for your tastes, or even to be healthy!
Make sure you’re keeping an eye on how much you’re adding, and you’ll be set to go with this substitute!
In the same way that celery seeds have a more concentrated, stronger flavor to them than full-grown celery does, dill is in a similar position, where the seeds have a much stronger flavor to them.
This also means that they are an excellent substitute to use if you do not have celery seeds handy.
While they’re not exactly the most common condiment on the market (most people tend to buy dill in plant form), you may be able to find them where you cannot find celery seeds, so don’t write this substitute off just yet.
Moving away from dill and celery, fennel seeds are a popular condiment to add to recipes that need just a little more of a herbal flavor to them.
Given that fennel is a plant that is part of the same family as carrots, you may also find that there is a slightly sweet taste to it as well, alongside the herbal and bitter flavors.
This means that, while quite different in terms of flavor, they can often be used in the same recipes.
If you want to change your flavor up a little, this is a substitute that you should consider.
All you need to do now is pick just one of these ingredients to use for yourself!