Celery is all the rage right now. Everyone seems to be promoting the health benefits of celery and drinking celery juice every morning.
It’s even been labeled as a “negative food” since it takes more calories to eat it than what it has.
But not everyone likes or can have celery.
So as much as it’s a staple ingredient in what feels like everything for those that can’t or won’t consume this horseshoe-shaped veggie, it can be a bit of a nightmare to figure out what to use instead.
So what’s a good substitute for celery?
What is Celery Used For?
Those who don’t obsess about the ingredients they put into their body may be shocked at how many recipes use celery.
Whether you’re using celery stalks, celery leaves, celery seeds, or dried celery, the possibilities are endless, and you can find them in many ingredients.
- Main ingredient: cream of celery soup, also in every soup imaginable, it seems
- Side dish: besides some chicken wings or part of an appetizer platter
- Snacks: celery with peanut butter, part of a veggie tray
- Crunch: part of tuna or chicken salad or in leafy green salads in general
- Colour: nothing brightens up something cream or brown as a bright pop of green
- Seasoning: using celery salt or celery seed in any dish
- As a base: many recipes call for the “Holy Trinity” of cooking, and that’s onions, carrots, and celery
- Drinks: You can’t have a Bloody Mary without a stick of green in it
48 Substitutes for Celery Stalk
Since celery is a versatile vegetable, there are a variety of other veggies, spices, and herbs you can use to mimic the texture or flavour profile of celery.
You can have your favourite foods without celery. The first thing you want to do is analyze why you would want to add celery in the first place.
Is your celery going to add crunch or color? Will it give your recipe more flavor?
Once you identify what you’d like your celery to do, then you can find the perfect substitute for celery.
If you’re looking to give a dish some added crunch, there are plenty of options.
If it’s crunchy and you can eat it raw, then guess what? You have an excellent celery alternative.
Some of the best crunchy celery substitutes are:
- Any leafy green veg – kale works incredibly well
- Chopped nuts
- Jicama – this is a tuber veggie that looks like a potato, except you can eat it raw
- Sunflower seeds
- Radish – also suitable for a bit of kick
- Raw onion
- Water chestnuts
If you’re looking to add something green to your recipe rather than crunch, practically anything green in the produce section works.
However, not all green things taste alike, so be careful with this substitute so it doesn’t throw off the dish’s taste. Some great color substitutes for celery are:
- Any leafy green veggie – spinach being the most neutral tasting
- Green cabbage
- Green beans
- Brussel sprouts
- Green pepper
Celery has a distinctly green flavor with a bite when raw.
When cooked, it mellows out, but it’s still noticeable like spinach. Celery is definitely a savory vegetable, and so when it comes to flavor can be a bit hard to pin down.
Celery texture is also something that can be difficult to replicate. Its distinct crunchiness is unlike almost anything else in the produce section.
Since celery has high water content, it snaps like carrots or sugar snap peas without dense fibrousness. There isn’t a veggie out there that can get stuck between your teeth like a celery can.
These are the best flavor and texture celery alternatives:
- Fennel stalks/bulbs
- Onion – best texture similar to celery when raw
- Carrots – the perfect celery substitute in soup
- Green bell peppers – great for a substitute for celery in stuffing
- Mushrooms – great for flavor but a bit too soft for raw celery texture
- Carrot leaves/parsley – excellent when looking for a celery leaf alternative
There are so many options when looking to flavor dishes that celery doesn’t even need to be on the radar.
- Dill seed
- Garlic/garlic powder
- Onion/onion powder (see substitute for onion powder)
- Chili powder
- Any herb mix that doesn’t contain celery
- Bay leaves
Note: Are You Allergic to Celery?
You can definitely be allergic to celery. It’s not a common allergy in the USA, but between 30%-40% of people  with a birch, mugwort, and Timothy grass allergy can have symptoms.
If you have an allergic reaction to celeriac or celery root, then you probably react to celery as well and should avoid both.
Symptoms of a celery allergy can vary from tingling and burning of particular body parts, such as the mouth or tongue, itching, rashes, trouble breathing, digestive discomfort, and even anaphylactic shock.
People may also be celery intolerant, where eating celery causes an upset stomach that can be mildly irritating to disablingly painful.
Being intolerant to foods means your symptoms are primarily digestive and shouldn’t cause itching or difficulty breathing.
So, it’s necessary to look for a substitute for celery.
Hidden Sources of Celery
The European Union and the UK must label their foods containing celery , but it’s not so cut and dry in America.
This means you have to read the ingredients of most processed foods or frozen meals and be diligent in making sure you don’t accidentally consume celery to avoid problems.
Things that may contain celery are:
- Canned soups
- Veggie juices
- Stock cubes
- Prepared sandwiches
- Spice mixes
- Frozen foods
- Cured bacon
- Seasoned seafood/fish
- Bloody Mary mixes
- Fry batter
If you are allergic or want to avoid it, please be careful and read ingredients lists to make sure you don’t run into problems.
Make Thanksgiving Stuffing with Celery Substitute
Don’t have celery on hand or just don’t like the flavor? You can still make your Thanksgiving stuffing with its substitute!
FAQs About Celery Substitute
Can I substitute celery seed for celery stalk?
Although it’s not as sweet and crunchy, celery seed is a good alternative to the celery stalk.
It might not work like stalks, but it’ll do in an emergency when you’re running short on celery stalk or just don’t want to buy them anymore.
How much celery seed to substitute for fresh celery?
Just add a tiny pinch at a time, this is enough for your dish.
You may like: 24 Best Celery Seed Substitutes
Is there any substitute for celery in chicken salad?
Celery is an essential ingredient when making chicken salad.
If you don’t have any celery on hand or just can’t stomach the taste of it use these other ingredients:
- Extra pecans, cranberries and onion
- Scallions or green onion
- Onion powder
- Diced carrots
- Water chestnut
- Green apple
- Bell peppers
- Fresh chives
- Lettuce — any type
What can I substitute for celery in soup recipe?
It all depends.
If you have run out of celery but want the flavor, use the celery seeds as a substitute. The flavor will last for years with proper storage techniques like drying or storing in an airtight container.
If you are bored of celery or allergic to it, but you want something that has the same slight crunch and offers up some green/vegetal flavor, why not try fresh fennel? Slicing it up to roughly your desired size – then treat them both as if they were pieces of raw vegetable in a soup!
In addition, carrots can also be a good option to substitute celery in soup.
What can I substitute for celery in potato salad?
Celery is an essential ingredient in potato salad, if you don’t have celery on hand or allergic to it, here are the substitutes for you:
- green apples
- bok choy
- water chestnuts
All of them can bring a tasty flavor for your potato salad.
What can I substitute for celery in stuffing?
You’ll be surprised how tasty green bell peppers can make when substitute celery in stuffing.
You can also substitute celery with its seeds or salt in stuffing.
If you’re looking for something a little different, then feel free to add fennel stalks.
There are so many great substitutions for celery that you should never feel deprived of the dishes you love most.
The only thing that will change is how long you shop at the grocery store because half the time, you’re squinting at small print trying to make sure there isn’t celery in the ramen you want to buy.