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The 5 Best Substitutes for Celery Seeds

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Celery seeds are an often overlooked spice that add a lot of flavor to food.

They can be used in sweet and savory dishes and have a slightly bitter taste that pairs well with many different flavors.

Celery seeds are easy to use and can be added to whole or ground-up recipes.

They’re also healthy for you, containing antioxidants and other nutrients.

But what do you do when you’re out of celery seeds? Don’t worry; plenty of substitutes will give your recipes the right flavor.

Here are five of the best substitutes for celery seeds.

What are Celery Seeds?

what are celery seeds

Celery seeds are the dried ripe fruit of Apium graveolens, a biennial herb in Apiaceae, grown for its edible starchy seeds.

They are used as spices and seasonings.

Celery seeds are aromatic and spicy, with a taste similar to anise.

They smell almost exactly like one of those popular store-brand licorice candies (“red rope”, “black jelly beans”, etc.).

The seeds can be used as part of a blend of seasoning in sausages, cheeses, and processed meats.

These seeds are also used for cakes, cookies, bread, and crackers in the baking industry.

Celery seeds are sometimes mistakenly called by their anise-flavored counterparts’ name “aniseed”, but it is not true that they are the same thing.

Even though both spices have a similar fragrance, celery seeds and aniseeds are two different spices.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Celery Seeds

Here’s a detailed comparison of the 5 best substitutes for celery seeds, along with their key characteristics and proper ratios:

SubstituteKey CharacteristicsProper Ratio
Dried Celery Leaves or HerbDried celery leaves or herb have a similar flavor to celery seeds but with a milder intensity. They can be used as a substitute in recipes.Use an equal amount of dried celery leaves or herb as you would with celery seeds.
Dill SeedsDill seeds have a slightly different flavor compared to celery seeds but can provide a similar herbal note to dishes.Use an equal amount of dill seeds as you would with celery seeds.
Fennel SeedsFennel seeds have a sweet and licorice-like flavor that can complement dishes requiring celery seeds.Use an equal amount of fennel seeds as you would with celery seeds.
Star AniseStar anise has a distinct and strong licorice-like flavor, which can be used as a flavorful substitute for celery seeds in certain recipes.Use half the amount of star anise as you would with celery seeds.
Celery SaltCelery salt is a blend of ground celery seeds and salt, providing a concentrated celery flavor with added saltiness.Use an equal amount of celery salt as you would with celery seeds.

Now, let’s discuss each substitute in more detail:

1 – Dried Celery Leaves or Herb

dried celery leaves or herb

This is the number one substitute for celery seeds.

The flavor is very similar to celery but not as strong.

It can be found in almost every grocery store and is easy to use.

Celery leaves provide a nice green hue to soups and salads because they resemble parsley.

Moreover, the taste of dried celery leaves or herb is similar to celery seeds but not as strong.

You can sprinkle it on top of dishes, especially near the end of the cooking time.

2 – Dill Seeds

dill seeds

Dill seeds are another great substitute for celery seeds.

They are available in most grocery stores.

The flavor of dill seeds is similar to celery but also has a hint of nutty flavors.

The taste is typically stronger than parsley, so use sparingly when cooking with it.

It pairs well with fish and chicken.

Dill seeds have a milder flavor than celery seeds, so you can add a few dill seeds instead of one or two teaspoons of celery seed.

Also, you should not crush the seeds before using them in your dish.

However, cooking with dill seeds will require longer cook times because it has a different taste.

3 – Fennel Seeds

fennel seeds

It’s important to note that fennel seeds are typically available at most grocery stores.

Fennel is a plant that belongs to the parsley family.

The plant grows up to one meter in height and has feathery leaves.

Also, it produces sweet seeds similar to anise or cumin.

The taste of fennel seeds is similar to celery but not as strong.

It tastes slightly sweeter than parsley.

And it has an anise or licorice notes which are more prevalent than celery seeds.

As you can see, fennel seeds have a light green color from chlorophyll.

This is why it’s used mainly for taste rather than visual purposes.

It may be used in different dishes such as soups and stews or salads and dressings if you like the taste of celery seed.

Furthermore, it pairs well with pork and vegetables.

4 – Star Anise

star anise

Star anise is another substitute for celery seed.

Star anise can be purchased at most grocery stores.

Like fennel seeds, star anise has the taste of licorice which tastes similar to celery seed.

The taste is slightly more intense than parsley, but it produces a sweeter flavor than celery seeds.

In addition, it’s important to note that star anise is a fruit from the Illicium verum tree, which is native to China and Vietnam.

In turn, its seeds are similar in taste to anise or licorice but not as strong.

In terms of color, it has green leaves with white flowers.

As you may have noticed, star anise is dried fruit.

It must be ground into pieces to add flavor to dishes in cooking.

In particular, it pairs well with pork and chicken.

5 – Celery Salt

celery salt

The final substitute for celery seed is celery salt.

Celery salt can be found in almost every grocery store.

It has a weaker flavor than other spices mentioned above, but it’s still noticeable in food dishes.

In terms of color, celery salt is white color.

It’s made from powdered seeds, which are mixed with salt crystals.

Similar to other substitutes for celery seed, it pairs well with chicken and pork dishes.

Also, you can use it sparingly when cooking your dish because it has a slightly milder flavor comparable to parsley.

You can get creative and add celery salt to other dishes such as dips, soups, or vegetables.


Celery is an important spice that adds flavor to seed, leaves, or salt dishes.

Luckily, there are substitutes for celery seeds when they are not available.

The five substitutes of celery seed are dill seeds, fennel seeds, star anise, parsley, and celery salt.

They all have distinct flavors, making them good substitutes for celery seed.

Each of the spices mentioned above can be found at grocery stores and have a quality that makes them good substitutes for celery seed.

However, you should use sparingly when cooking your dishes to avoid overpowering them with a different taste.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Celery Seeds

Recipe by Andrew Gray Course: Substitutes


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  • Dried Celery Leaves or Herb

  • Dill Seeds

  • Fennel Seeds

  • Star Anise

  • Celery Salt


  • Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  • Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.

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