Celery salt, made from a mixture of regular salt and crushed celery seeds or leaves, is a great way to add an extra dash of flavor to many recipes. When I’m cooking dishes that have a lot of onion, garlic, and carrots in them, adding a pinch of celery salt really helps them to ‘pop’.
There are circumstances when a substitute for celery salt is needed, however. Perhaps you’re cooking a meal right now and don’t have time to get to the store? Maybe you or someone you’re cooking for don’t enjoy the taste of celery, but you want something a bit more exciting than regular salt to spice up your recipe?
Whatever your reasons for hunting out a replacement, I’ve got you covered.
I’m a guy who likes to experiment a lot when cooking and I’ve tried lots of different approaches to seasoning my food. Read on to learn what you can substitute for celery salt.
What Can I Substitute for Celery Salt?
Can you effectively replace celery salt with alternative spices and seasoning? The short answer – yes, you can. However, you should know that celery salt has a unique flavor of its own. Though you can replace it, the taste is hard to exactly replicate with any substitute.
There are a few options that do come close though, and can serve as an adequate replacement if needed. Here are my top picks:
Dill Seeds & Salt
Dill seeds, also known as Dill Weed, belong to the same class or family as coriander, chervil, and of course, celery. The flavor is almost the same, whilst at the same time subtly different which can make this a good pick if you have an aversion to the taste of regular celery.
I used dill seeds for a salad the other day. I used ¼ tablespoons of dill seeds with an equal amount of salt for the process.
I ground the dill seeds to make them into a powder. The next step was to mix it with salt. I know some people prefer to mix the seeds and the salt at a 2:1 ratio. Personally, I prefer a 1:1 ratio once so that the seeds aren’t overpowering.
If you’re not so keen on preparing the mix yourself you can also find pre-made Dill Salt in the seasoning aisle of most stores.
Dehydrated Celery Seeds, Stalks and Salt
An alternative to celery salt that you can pull together is using dehydrated celery stalks and seeds.
First, you’ll need to chop the celery stalks into smaller pieces. Then, place the chopped stalks along with the seeds on a tray in a food dehydrator at 115 degrees Fahrenheit.
Leave the stalks and seeds in the machine for about 24 hours or so. Once dried out, pop the stalks and seeds into a blender, grinding them into a fine powder.
Mix the powder with salt in a 1:1 ratio and store in an airtight jar.
Using Caraway Seeds as Backup
Caraway seeds offer something quite different in terms of flavor profile, packing a sweet punch as a bonus. They can complement meat-based dishes very well and make a fine substitute for celery salt if you’re after something a bit more experimental.
However, I wouldn’t advise using caraway seeds as a replacement for celery salt in a Bloody Mary recipe at all. This is because the flavor profile will change drastically. You’ll not get the pleasant vibe from the drink anymore.
Nigella Seeds as a Substitute for Celery Salt
A bonus of using Nigella Seeds is that they have some pretty awesome health properties and can help to lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation and even help fight some cancers.
However, one thing to note is the fact that Nigella Sativa gives dishes a more “nutty” flavor.
To use this substitute for celery salt, take the black seed variety and grind them into powder. Then mix with regular salt in the desired ratio to create your seasoning.
So, what is the Best Substitute for Celery Salt?
If you want the closest match to the flavor profile of celery salt, the winner will have to be celery stalks, seeds and a bit of salt. This is the closest we can get to the flavor profile of actual celery salt without disrupting the taste of your dish.
Yes, you’ll have to dehydrate the seeds and stalks for some time. However, what you lose in immediate convenience, you gain in control over how fine you want your celery powder to be.
An added benefit to preparing your own is that it will cost you less to make a mixture at home than to buy it at the grocery.
Is It OK to Substitute Table Salt for Celery Salt?
This is a question I get a lot. We’ve got to take the usage of celery salt in mind while deciding it. Celery salt is used for seasoning or garnishing food. Ask yourself, “can table salt do all that?”
Table salt will give you saltiness as a flavor in the food. Not the peppery punch or slight bitterness that you get with celery salt. Also, overdoing it with table salt can easily ruin the balance of many dishes.
Yes, I use it when I’m in a pinch (just as dill seeds) but I wouldn’t call it a worthy replacement of the real thing.
Are Celery Salt & Celery Powder the Same?
No, they aren’t. Celery salt is a mixture of celery seeds, stalks or leaves and regular salt. You’ll have to abide by a ratio to get things just right. Celery Powder is the ground state of these items before we mix it with salt.
How to Make Your Own
If you’d prefer a more ‘do it yourself’ approach rather than buying from the store, I’ll teach you how to make a perfect blend of celery salt at home. Whilst some recipes call for the use of celery seeds, I’ve found using dried celery leaves is more to my preference.
The great news is making your own celery salt is really simple. All you need is ¼ cup of dried celery leaves and ¼ cup of kosher salt for the job. All set? Let’s get on with it.
- First, take a plate and place a single piece of kitchen paper on it. Make a single line with the celery leaves on the paper, the cover them with another piece of paper on top. Place the plate in the microwave and heat the leaves for about 30 seconds.
- Next, allow the leaves to cool for 10 minutes before crumbling them with your hands. Personally, I like to grind my leaves further to get a smooth texture before mixing them with the salt. This is down to personal preference though – you can skip this part and simply use crumbled leaves if you prefer.
- Take the kosher salt and mix together with your crushed/ground leaves.
And voila! A quick and easy way to prepare your own celery salt if none of the alternatives will do and you can’t get to the store.