Celery salt is a versatile spice that you can use for many savory dishes and even a few cocktails. It is essentially a concentrated form of the celery herb combined with salt and is a great way to add its flavors to your food or to a Bloody Mary. Its benefits are significant enough that you should try to keep this spice on hand at all times; however, even the best cooks run out of essential ingredients on occasion. What do you do when there is no celery salt in your spice cabinet? Below, we have some celery salt substitutes that you can try.
Your best bet: Celery seed and salt
Celery salt consists of two ingredients: celery powder and salt. Its simplicity makes it easy to make your own by combining the two spices as long as you remember that you should combine them in roughly equal amounts. Blends in stores may have as much as 2:1 ratio of salt to celery seed, so a 1:1 ratio gives you a lower sodium blend with a stronger celery flavor. You can make your own celery powder by grinding celery seeds in a spice grinder. This should make your celery salt more flavorful than if you were to use pre-ground celery powder.
Adjust the amount of celery salt you use in your recipe depending on the ratio of salt to celery powder in the blend.
A decent second choice: Celery stalks and leaves
The celery seed used in celery salt is actually harvested from a celery relative called lovage, which has a stronger celery flavor. That flavor is also present in the stalks and leaves, making those parts of the plant good substitutes for the celery seed component of celery salt. The biggest difference when using this alternative will be the texture. Celery stalks and leaves are fibrous and have much more bulk when compared to celery seed, which means that they may not be a good substitute in all applications. For example, celery leaves and stalks may not be a good replacement for celery seed in a meat rub or salad dressing but may be used in a soup or similar dish.
Consider blending or finely chopping the stalks to make them more closely resemble the celery seed. Note also that the flavor in the leaves and stalks is less concentrated than in the seeds, so you will have to use more of them to achieve the same flavor profile.
In a pinch: Dill salt
Dill seed comes from the dill herb, which is sometimes referred to as dill weed. The herb belongs to the same family as celery and a number of other well-known herbs including chervil and coriander. Dill seed has a similar enough flavor profile to celery seed to make it an effective substitute. You can combine pre-ground dill seed powder with salt in the same ratio as in the celery salt blends above and use that as your celery salt substitute. A dill seed salt can be an effective alternative in most celery seed applications including barbecue rubs, salad dressings and potato salad. Use exactly the same amount of your dill salt that your recipe requires for celery salt.
Instead of using celery seed, you can add the essential oil from the seeds along with salt to your dish. The oil is used mostly for aromatherapy, but can also provide the flavor you want.
Caraway seeds are sweeter than celery seeds, but are very flavorful and can stand in for them in some dishes. They are best suited for meat dishes where their pungency can help to cut through the fat.