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Celery Substitute


Celery is such a versatile vegetable. You can use it in chicken salad, soups, and even juice. Below is a list of top celery substitute options for when you want a similar crunch or celery flavor but don’t have any celery available.

cutting board with sliced celery stacks

What Is Celery?

Celery is a green vegetable from the parsley family (also known as Apiaceae). It provides a healthy snack with a crunchy texture and a watery, bitter, earthy taste. When eating celery, it has a unique flavor as it is both mild and robust tasting at the same time.

This vegetable is mainly seen in savory recipes. However, there are some sweet dishes that use celery, like sorbet, compote, and cookies. It is most common to use celery stalks in cooking, as the leaves at the top have a much milder taste.

Celery Types

There are three main celery varieties, including leaf celery, pascal celery, and celeriac. The variety available in grocery stores is stalk celery/pascal in the US. You may also find leaf celery and celeriac in certain grocery stores.

Besides fresh celery, grocery stores will also offer celery seeds and celery salt. These seasonings come from an older variety of celery called smallage. These seasonings provide a celery taste so that you can use them in a pinch only for flavoring.

Best Celery Substitutes and Alternatives

Jicama

Jicama is a great celery substitute due to its crunch and similar watery taste. This vegetable is versatile, and you can use it in both cooked and raw recipes as a swap. You can use jicama in some sweet recipes like fruit salad as well.

Pros

Use this celery substitute in soups, in stir-fries, salads, and raw with dips (like celery). As popularity for this swap rises, it’s easier to find in grocery stores.

Cons

This root vegetable does not share the same color as celery. It does provide sweetness in recipes when used raw, creating a different flavor. To use jicama, you will need to peel the vegetable, adding a few minutes to any recipe.

Cooking Tip:

Use a 1:1 ratio to replace jicama with celery.

Fennel

Fennel is a delicious vegetable that mimics the flavor of celery when raw and cooked. It offers a similar color (especially the fennel fronds), also creating a similar appearance in recipes.

Pros

Use fennel bulbs in soups, stir-fry recipes, and salads for a similar texture. When raw, fennel provides a crunch, as you would find with celery.

Cons

Raw fennel also has a licorice flavor, which may turn off many people. Ensure dinner guests enjoy the taste of this vegetable before adding it to recipes.

Cooking Tip:

Use a 1:1 ratio when using this celery alternative.

Green Bell Peppers

Green bell peppers are a delicious way to substitute celery. They offer a similar green color and a delightful crunch when raw.

Pros

These vegetables have a similar taste when eaten raw and slight sweetness when cooked. Use bell pepper for stir-fries, salads, and dip.

Cons

The bitterness in green bell peppers is more potent than in celery, offering a noticeable taste difference, especially when raw.

Cooking Tip:

Use a 1:1 ratio when using this celery substitute.

Radish

If you’re looking for a replacement that provides a nice crunch when eaten, radishes are a great swap. They offer a similar watery taste to recipes that you would find in celery.

Pros

Use radishes to replace creamy salads like chicken or pasta salad and with vegetable dip.

Cons

These vegetables offer a spicy, peppery taste and bright red exterior, creating a difference in flavor and appearance in recipes. They are not a good swap in cooked dishes.

Cooking Tip:

When creating salads, start with ¾ the required amount to avoid an overly peppery flavor. Adjust as needed.

Cucumber

Cucumbers are readily available, budget-friendly, and mild in flavor. These vegetables provide an earthy, watery taste mimicking that of celery.

Pros

If the skin is left on cucumbers, they add a nice crunch when eaten, mimicking the consistency of celery. Ensure you wash the skins well to avoid dirt or debris in your dish.

Cons

These vegetables do not work well in cooked recipes due to their high-water content. They work well as alternatives to celery in raw dishes like salads and dips.

Cooking Tip:

Start with a 1:1 ratio to replace celery as a cucumber. Increase to your desired amount.

Water Chestnuts

Water chestnuts are a great way to add crunch to raw and cooked recipes as they still keep the crispy texture during the cooking process. They also provide a mild, slightly sweet taste.

Pros

Use water chestnuts for sweet and savory dishes. This swap will need to be ground into flour for sweet recipes. Water chestnuts are excellent in stir-fries and soups.

Cons

Finding this ingredient in raw form is challenging; you’ll more likely see it in a can on the grocery store shelf. This food item is white, lacking the green color that celery provides in dishes.

Cooking Tip:

Use a 1:1 ratio to replace celery with water chestnuts.

Celery Root (Celeriac)

As mentioned, celeriac, aka celery root, is one type of celery that is available. This connection makes it a great option as it will provide a similar taste to stalk celery.

Pros

For cooked and raw recipes like soup, dips, and salads, use celery root. There is also a similarity in texture, as celeriac provides a crunch to dishes.

Cons

Nuttiness will be present when using celery root substitute instead of celery. Plus, this swap may be challenging to find in grocery stores. This vegetable turns brown quickly after it has been peeled, so ensure to use it right away to avoid an unappealing appearance.

Cooking Tip:

Use a 1:1 ratio to swap celeriac for celery.

Carrots

Carrots are a widely available vegetable that provides a similar texture when cooked or raw. They are also from the same vegetable family, which explains the similarities between carrots and celery.

Pros

This option is one swap that you can also use for juice, like celery. Otherwise, carrots are excellent in soups, stir-fries, and eaten sliced plain or with a dip.

Cons

These root vegetables provide a sweeter taste than celery. They also lack bitterness and are bright orange, creating a difference in flavor and appearance.

Cooking Tip:

Use a 1:1 ratio to swap carrots with celery.

Green Beans

Green beans, like celery, have a crunch when raw and are softer as they cook. They’re available in grocery stores year-round and are an affordable option. Some varieties even offer a similar stringiness found in celery stalks.

Pros

Use green beans in fry recipes, soups, meat stews, and a raw snack. They provide a similar green color in dishes, like celery.

Cons

These vegetables offer a noticeable difference in flavor as they provide a grassy taste. However, you will find a similar bitterness when eaten.

Cooking Tip:

Use a 1:1 ratio to replace celery with green beans.

Broccoli

Broccoli is a good substitute for providing a similar green color to dishes that require celery. This celery replacement is another vegetable that you can use raw or cooked, making it versatile.

Pros

This replacement provides a similar earthy, slightly bitter flavor present in celery. Use this vegetable for salads, stir-fries, and cooking soups.

Cons

Because of its difference in texture, broccoli is not a perfect alternative in all recipes.

Cooking Tip:

Use a 1:1 ratio to swap broccoli for celery in dishes.

Cabbage

Cabbage is an excellent substitute for celery due to its crunch and similar green color. There are four varieties of cabbage, including Chinese cabbage, each offering a different use so you can use it in more recipes. As cabbage cooks, it softens and provides a similar sweet flavor to celery.

Pros

You can use this vegetable raw or cooked and can be cooked via nearly all methods, including frying, sauteing, steaming, roasting, boiling, and blanching. Use this cruciferous veggie as a celery substitute in soup, fish tacos, salad, stir-fries.

Cons

Some varieties of cabbage are not as easily found at the grocery store.

Cooking Tip:

Use a 1:1 ratio when replacing celery with cabbage.

Bok Choy

Bok choy provides a similar watery consistency as celery. When raw, bok choy is crunchy, and it also softens as it cooks. This vegetable provides a similar yet slightly darker green color to recipes.

Pros

Use bok choy for stir-fries and soups as a celery replacement. Bok choy offers a similar taste to celery as it provides an earthiness and mild flavor in dishes.

Cons

This alternative may be challenging to find in some areas, especially if there are no Asian markets nearby.

Cooking Tip:

Use this swap in a 1:1 ratio.

Leeks

These vegetables are another excellent alternative for celery in recipes due to their green color. Plus, you can eat leeks raw or cooked.

Pros

Use leeks for recipes like stir-fries, soups and to create a vegetable broth. Leeks share a fibrous texture with celery.

Cons

When eaten raw, leeks can offer a tough texture, making them chewy. This replacement provides an onion-like flavor not present in celery.

Cooking Tip:

Use a 1:1 quantity to replace celery with leeks.

Asparagus

Asparagus shares a bitter taste with celery. This swap provides a similar green color in recipes like most vegetable alternatives.

Pros

Use asparagus in cooked or raw recipes. This swap is excellent in stir-fries and soups. If this vegetable is not cooked for long, it will add a similar crunch to recipes. It also provides a fibrous texture, like celery.

Cons

Asparagus has a grassy flavor and generally stronger flavor, so it’s best to use a smaller quantity to avoid an overpowering asparagus taste.

Cooking Tip:

Start with ½ the required amount and add more if needed.

Apples

Apples make an unexpected celery substitute. Raw green apples add a delicious crunch to coleslaw, potato salads, and creamy salads like chicken or tuna salad. They also provide a similar pop of green color to recipes. This swap is a great option to use for sweet dishes as well.

Pros

This swap is easily found in grocery stores year-round, with more varieties available in the fall.

Cons

The flavor of apples is much different from celery. When using green apples as a replacement, you can expect a sour, slightly sweet taste.

Cooking Tip:

Use a 1:1 ratio to replace green apples with celery in dishes.

Frequently Asked Questions

What To Substitute for Celery?

Fennel stalks and fennel bulbs work well as a substitute for celery. The bulbs provide a similar crunch, though the whole vegetable offers a celery-like flavor. Other substitutes include jicama, radishes, and carrots for a similar texture.

What Is a Good Celery Substitute in Soup?

Fennel bulbs are the top option for a celery substitute in soup. Once cooked, this vegetable offers a milder taste like celery. Carrots are also a great option, as they add bulk to the soup.

Does Celery Add Flavor?

Yes, celery does add flavor. When raw, celery provides a bitter, salty, watery flavor. Once the celery is cooked, it tends to offer a sweeter taste to recipes like stir-fry dishes and stews. It’s also quite aromatic, making it a great addition to dishes.

What Can I Swap Celery With to Make Chicken Salad?

There are a few different options for substituting celery in chicken salad, including green apples and cucumber slices. Both offer a similar crunch, though apples will provide a sweeter taste. Water chestnuts and green bell pepper are great options that mimic the texture of celery.

Is Cilantro Similar to Celery?

No, cilantro is an herb, while celery is a vegetable. They both offer different flavors and aromas in recipes. If you’re only looking to add a pop of green color to dishes, cilantro works well as a garnish. However, its taste is too different to include in recipes as a celery alternative.

Summary

Now, when you’re searching for a celery substitute, you can refer to the above list, which has options for every kind of recipe.

Opt for fennel as the top replacement for cooked recipes. Otherwise, jicama and radishes make the best substitutes for celery since they create a similar texture in dishes, and provide the same watery consistency.

More Ingredient Substitutes

Natalia | Flavorful home
Natalia is a recipe developer, food photographer, and home cook. She started Flavorful Home to document her recipes and share home cooking tips. She loves creating flavorful and nutritious meals while keeping the cooking process simple and joyful!

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