Celery Salt Substitutes

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Celery salt is beloved by home cooks for its grassy, peppery flavor with a salty kick.

Its flavor is essential in many dishes like Chicago-style hot dogs, deviled eggs, and Bloody Marys (or Caesers – EH!)– not to mention adding a delicious zing to breaded pork chops!

But what do you do if you need celery salt and don’t have any in the spice drawer!? I’ll dive into this tasty topic and explore great celery salt alternatives and teach you how to make your own celery salt at home!

Celery salt with label.

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What Is Celery Salt?

Celery salt is a versatile seasoning that can elevate any dish with its unique flavor profile. It adds a savory depth to soups, stews, and salads, and can also be used to season meats, poultry, and seafood.

This aromatic seasoned salt is a staple in many kitchens and its versatility and distinct flavor make celery salt a must-have ingredient in any cook’s pantry.

Commercially, celery salt is generally made of ground celery seeds and table salt, but it may also contain lovage seeds – which is a related plant with a similar flavor profile. Sometimes dried celery is an ingredient as well.

Did you know? Sodium Nitrate is produced naturally by celery and many food producers use celery salt to help prevent spoilage without listing sodium nitrate on the ingredient list.

Celery salt in a vintage spoon.

What Does Celery Salt Taste Like?

Celery salt is characterized by an earthy, slightly bitter undertone. Initially, the flavor is salty, but as the saltiness subsides, the celery comes to the front of the palate.

The flavor is often described as grassy, mildly celery-like with a hint of bitterness. It packs a punch that is more complex than regular table salt.

Two bloody mary drinks.

Best Alternative: Homemade Celery Salt

Your best bet when it comes to substituting celery salt is to use my homemade celery salt recipe.

Making homemade celery salt is a great way to ensure you’re getting the most flavorful seasoning, as both the seeds and dried celery are the most potent when they’re fresh.

There are a couple of ways to make homemade celery salt. Use each of these as 1:1 replacement in any recipe that calls for celery salt.

Celery Seed + Salt

If you’ve got celery seeds from making half-sour pickles, you’re in luck! Combine one part celery seed and 2 parts of coarse sea salt in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle and grind until it you reach your desired consistency.

Alternatively, you can grind the seeds into a powder and add to fine salt, mixing 1 part ground celery seeds to 1 part fine ground salt.

Celery seed in a bowl.

Dried Celery + Salt

Combine dried or dehydrated celery leaves and stems and coarse salt in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder in a 3:1 ratio and grind until it reaches desired consistency.

You could also grind the leaves and stems into celery powder and mix one part ground celery together with one part fine ground salt.

Dehydrated celery in a gold measuring cup.

How To Store Homemade Celery Salt

Regardless of the style of celery salt made, it should always be stored in an airtight container, in a dry, dark place.

All spices lose their potency over time and this occurs much faster once ground. For best results, I recommend using your homemade version within a month or two, but it will last for at least a year, even if the flavor diminishes over time.

More Flavored Salts To Try

More Great Celery Salt Alternatives

If you don’t have celery salt or the ingredients to make your own in the spice cupboard, you’re likely to have one of the following spices or combinations to make that recipe a success!

Regular Salt

If you’re in a real pinch, regular salt can be an alternative. Though it doesn’t offer the herbaceous aroma, it will absolutely work.

Garlic Salt

Garlic salt also misses the grassy flavor of celery and has a much stronger taste, but it can stand in as a recipe booster! If you don’t have garlic salt on hand, mix up some garlic powder and salt in a 1:2 ratio.

Onion Salt

Onion salt is another salt that lacks the herbaceous boost that celery salt gives, and in fact, is a bit sweeter on the tongue, it will help to add some extra flavor. To make your own onion salt, mix up salt and onion powder in a 2:1 ratio.

Fresh Celery

Fresh celery is a great option to add that celery flavor to your dish. That said, the flavor of fresh celery is much milder than that of concentrated seeds.

Fresh celery can be added to certain recipes, but not all. For example, it’s great in soups and potato salads, but it’s not acceptable in seasoning rubs or dry recipes.

Dehydrated Celery

I am a big fan of dehydrated foods and celery is one of them! Dehydrated celery can be added to salt to make celery salt OR it can be ground up on its own into a powder and added directly to recipes.

Dill

Although they have different flavor profiles, dill can make a great stand-in for celery. These two plants are in the same family and share earthy undertones, though dill is a bit more citrusy and lacks the pepperiness of celery seed.

Dill seed can be ground with salt just like celery seed to make dill salt. Use the same 2:1 salt-to-seed ratio as celery salt. Dried dill weed can be crumbled and added to fine salt in a 1:1 ratio and used in the same quantities as celery salt in your recipes.

Fennel or Caraway Seeds

Bothe caraway and fennel seeds can be an excellent substitute for celery seed, again, the flavor profile is slightly different – a bit of anise and licorice, but they share herbaceous pepperiness with celery seed.

Make caraway salt the same way you’d make celery salt, 2 parts salt to 1 part seeds, and grind until it reaches your desired consistency.

Caraway seeds have a stronger pungency than celery seeds, so opt to reduce the amount used by at least a quarter.

Notes From The Crave Kitchen

Celery salt’s ubiquitous flavor is synonimous with many recipes, don’t let that hold you back from experiementing with those recipes if you don’t have celery salt on hand.

Before chosing an alternative, consider the recipe at hand and make sure to substitute celery salt with something that makes sense in that context. Don’t be afraid to use fresh celery in a soup, stew, or salad, but a dressing, dip, or sauce would be better served by using a dry, ground alternative.

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Celery salt in a vintage spoon.

Homemade Celery Salt Substitute

Allyson Letal
This DIY celery salt substitute recipe is a game-changer if your spice cabinet is coming up short. This homemade blend adds a zesty and savory flavor to your dishes. It's perfect for seasoning meats, soups, salads, and more.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Elevated Ingredients
Cuisine American
Servings 8
Calories 3 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tablespoon celery seed optional
  • 2 tablespoons coarse sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons dried celery stems and leaves

Instructions
 

Celery Seed + Salt

  • Add 1 tablespoon celery seed and 2 tablespoons coarse sea salt to a mortar and pestle or spice grinder.
  • Grind until desired consistency.

Dried Celery + Salt

  • Add 3 tablespoons dried celery and 1 tablespoons coarse sea salt to a mortar and pestle or spice grinder.
  • Grind to desired consistency.

Notes

how to store homemade celery salt

It should always be stored in an airtight container in a dry, dark place.
All spices lose their potency over time and this occurs much faster once ground. For best results, I recommend using your homemade version within a month or two, but it will last for at least a year, even if the flavor diminishes over time.

Recommended Equipment + Ingredients

1 Cast Iron Mortar & Pestle with Pour Spout

Nutrition

Serving: 20gCalories: 3kcalCarbohydrates: 0.3gProtein: 0.1gFat: 0.2gSaturated Fat: 0.02gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.03gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.1gSodium: 1745mgPotassium: 11mgFiber: 0.1gSugar: 0.01gVitamin A: 0.4IUVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 14mgIron: 0.4mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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