What Are The Best Substitute For Celery Seed

One of my favorite and regularly used seasonings is celery seed. Along with garlic powder (or salt), onion powder, celery seed is another natural flavor enhancer that I’ve always included in my cooking recipe. However, one day while my sweet pickle relish was in the making then I found out there was no celery seed left.

I was in a real dilemma. I didn’t know whether I should leave celery seed out, or use dill seed or similar seed as a substitute, or I should leave my unfinished dish there to get some from the Whole Foods store.

After chewing on it and searching information for a while, I’ve discovered several substitutes for celery seed. These alternatives are capable of maintaining the fantastic flavor of your dish when you run out of celery seed in your kitchen.


What is Celery Seed?

The Greeks have historically used celery seed, which takes its name from sedano – a Latin word, to cure health problems as well as signaling their victory. Celery seed was first used as a natural flavor enhancer by the Romans and later became a specialty for the French and Italians. Not until the 19th century did the North Americans begin to value celery seed as a pickling solution.

Nowadays, celery leaves are a common ingredient among Europeans in making soups or sauces as well as in garnishing; whereas its roots and stalks are consumed as salads and vegetables.

In Bengali, ground seeds from relative species of celery are used as food additives. In China and Southeast Asia, people use local celery leaves to enhance the flavors of many dishes.

Origin and Varieties

Celery seeds are indigenous to southern and eastern Europe and also the Mediterranean. Today, this plant is widely cultivated in such countries as India, Britain, France, Hungary, China, Japan and the USA.

These seeds are grown from the wild celery of origin. There is also a celery variety cultivated for its leaves, seeds, and stalk to be eaten. Another form of celery is celeriac whose roots are savored.

What are Health Benefits of celery seeds?

  • Celery seed helps enhance energy production as well as boost antioxidant defense.
  • Better your nighttime sleep
  • Help with forming red blood cells
  • Enhance cognitive functioning
  • Maintain your blood pressure at a healthy level
  • Strengthen your immune system to fight infections
  • Help with joint improvement

Where You Can Buy Celery Seed?

Celery seeds come in different forms, ranging from fresh to dried and powdered form. A lot of herbal food and grocery stores offer this kind of product.

You can also find celery seed in the form of capsule or tablet containing its oil extract, or juice at local specialty health shops or on some websites.

However, if you can't leave your unfinished dish at home to go out to buy some at the store, you can go for these as a substitute for celery seed.

What Are The Best Substitute for Celery Seed?

#1: Celery Stalks and Leaves​

As we all know, celery seeds come from wild celery, as known as lovage plant. They are commonly used for pickling solutions, or for enhancing the flavors of certain salads and stews. Since celery seed’s flavor is very strong, sparing use of this seed is highly recommended.

You can find that a large number of celery seeds come from India. The aroma and flavor of celery leaves and stalks are similar to those of the seeds. However, as the flavor concentrates more in celery seeds than in the other two parts, you need to add a greater portion when you go for leaves and stalks as a substitute for celery seed.

One more thing to note, differences also exist when it comes to texture and bulk. The stalks and leaves of celery plant contain lots of fibers. For that reason, you’ll find it hard to hide them in sauces or soups.

Celery stalks and leaves do not taste as strong as seeds. Therefore, in a cooking recipe, for one tablespoon of the seeds, you need to replace it with a 6-fold portion of chopped stalks and leaves: six tablespoons.

In order to make the substitutes less easy to notice, you’d better chop them very finely, say experts. When the celery leaves, full of flavor, are finely chopped, they are ready to serve as fresh dressings and sauce additives.

For those dishes that require celery seed, you can use its oil extract as an essential substitute for celery seed.

#2: Common Spices

You can see celery salt sitting proudly on many spice racks. Celery salt is nothing but a combination of celery seeds mixed with salt. So, to compensate for the amount of seed you run out of, you can add a little bit greater portion of celery salt. But, remember to accordingly lower the salt portion required in your recipe, which means the amount of pure salt eliminated should equal that of celery salt added.

To enhance the flavor of pickles, both celery and dill seed are often used. The flavor of dill seed is similar to celery seed. So, the same portion of dill seeds is capable of substituting celery seeds.

#3: Celery Flakes​

Stalks and leaves from the celery plant are dried to make celery flakes. The drying process consists of harvesting, cleaning then putting the materials in a dry and warm area to de-moisturize.

Once the plants are dried, they are crumbled into flakes, or small pieces. If there are no fresh celery seeds left, dried flakes can also do.

However, one thing to note is that dried vegetable has an intensified flavor, so just a small portion of celery flakes is enough to replace fresh celery. To illustrate, one tablespoon of celery flakes adds the same degree of flavor as two tablespoons of celery that is fresh.

#4: Exotic Spices

You can resort to some spices as a great substitute for celery seed since their flavors are quite similar to what you’re looking for.

If there are some of these in your fridge, you don’t need to go out to buy some celery seeds. The exotic spices capable of replacing the flavor of celery seed are caraway, nigella, and lovage seeds.

#5: Dill Seed

Although dill seed and celery seed differ in appearance, they bear a great resemblance to each other regarding their flavor characteristics. Dill seed is flat and wide, whereas celery seed is smaller, dark brown and oblong-shaped.

Dill seed is a wonderful replacement for celery seeds in a lot of dishes calling for celery, including pickles. When choosing dill seed to compensate for celery seed, you just need to add the same amount.

#6: Celery Powder

Making celery powder is really easy, and you can do that by yourself. All things required is only celery seed, a chopper or grinder, and a dehydrator.

#7: Other Alternatives

To substitute celery seeds in your recipe, caraway seeds are also a wonderful option. Both types of seeds are jam-packed with flavor and do wonders for potato, coleslaw salad, and other similar dishes.

Another effective spice for replacement is nigella sativa, also known as black cumin or kaloji, which is a common flavor enhancer for Indian dishes. However, except for Indian grocery stores, they're hardly any stores offering this spice.


Since celery seeds give the strong flavor of celery without affecting the texture of the dish, they are an indispensable flavor enhancer in sauces or soups. The flavor of the seeds are likened to that of leaves and stalks but much more intensified. So, you should only use a small amount of it in any recipe.

Despite being a common additive in several soups, dressings, and bread, celery seed is not as widely used as celery plant or other spices or herbs. If you’re cooking a dish that calls for celery seed in the recipe and you’ve run out of it, you can use the substitute for celery seed listed above.

There are many other foods substitutes on my blog you might care: ​coriander substitute, substitute for tarragonrosemary substitutefennel seed substitute. Enjoy 🙂

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Kevin Richard

Hi all! I’m Kevin. I spend plenty of time in the kitchen every day because I love cooking healthy and delicious foods for my family and friends. Cooking gives me a chance to be creative and fun. It’s also one of the most meaningful ways to express my love and take care of my little family.

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