Celery salt vs. celery seed: how do they compare?

celery salt vs. celery seed
Both celery salt and celery seeds have a similar flavor, yet celery salt is saltier and has a finer texture. In contrast, celery seeds have a crunchier texture and a slightly more complex flavor profile. Celery seed is often used in pickling or as a seasoning in soups, stews, and salads. Celery salt can be a seasoning for Bloody Mary cocktails, potato salad, meats, and veggies.

What is the difference between celery salt and celery seed?

Celery salt vs. celery seed
Celery salt vs. celery seed

Celery salt and celery seed are two different ingredients used in cooking, and they have different flavors and saltiness.

Celery salt is a seasoning made by combining celery seed with salt. It has a salty flavor with a hint of celery and is commonly used to season dishes like Bloody Mary cocktails, potato salad, and coleslaw. Celery salt is much saltier than celery seed since it contains both salt and celery.

Conversely, celery seed is a spice extracted from the wild celery plant (called lovage). It has a warm, slightly bitter, nutty flavor with a strong celery aroma. Celery seed is a flavoring agent in soups, stews, pickles, and dressings, but it is less salty than celery salt (because it doesn’t have extra added salt).

Celery salt has a saltier flavor profile, whereas celery seed has a nuttier and more herbaceous flavor.

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Comparison Table

Celery seedCelery salt
OriginCelery seeds come from the flowers of the celery plant (Apium graveolens)Celery salt is a seasoning that combines salt with ground celery seeds or celery seed extract
AppearanceTiny, dark brown seeds often used as a whole or ground spiceA fine, pale greenish-yellow powder usually mixed with salt
FlavorHave a strong, distinct celery flavor with a slightly bitter, warm, and aromatic tasteHas a salty, slightly bitter taste with a celery-like aroma
ApplicationsGreat as a spice in pickling, salads, coleslaw, marinades, dressings, and vegetable dishesA seasoning for various foods, such as soups, stews, meat rubs, and Bloody Mary cocktails
Shelf lifeCelery seeds can last up to 2 years if stored in an airtight container away from heat, light, and moistureHas a slightly longer shelf life than celery seeds due to the addition of salt (about 2-3 years)
FormAvailable in whole or ground form and can be used in their raw state or toasted to enhance their flavorCelery salt is usually sold as a dry mixture of salt and celery seed powder

Which is better – celery salt or seeds?

It’s all a matter of preference. Celery salt and celery seeds are both wonderful additions to your cooking and have high nutritional value. They’re also incredibly similar. However, let’s see what dishes make the most use of each:

ColeslawCelery seeds can add a depth of flavor to coleslaw dressing
Potato saladUse celery seeds in potato salad dressing to enhance the flavor
Homemade picklesCelery seed is a key ingredient in many homemade pickle recipes
Chicken saladCelery seeds can add a nice crunch and flavor to savory dishes
Seasoned vegetablesCelery seeds can be sprinkled over roasted or grilled vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, and squash

Recipes that call for celery salt include:

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Bloody MaryCelery salt is a classic ingredient in a Bloody Mary cocktail
Chicago-style hot dogCelery salt is a must-have topping on a Chicago-style hot dog
Barbecue rubCelery salt can be a key ingredient in a dry rub for meats like ribs and brisket
Deviled eggsA sprinkle of celery salt can add a nice flavor to deviled egg filling
PopcornSprinkle celery salt over popcorn for a unique flavor twist

How much celery seed should I use in a recipe?

Celery seeds can be overpowering if used too much, particularly in recipes with delicate flavors. The amount of celery seed to use in a recipe depends on the specific recipe and your taste preferences.

A good starting point is to use 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of celery seed per 1 cup of ingredients. However, you may need to adjust the amount based on the other flavors and ingredients.

Homemade celery salt recipe

Even though you can find celery salt in most grocery stores, you can make your own. Here’s how.


  • 1 cup of celery seeds
  • 1/2 cup of sea salt (table salt will do)


  1. Preheat your oven to 250°F (120°C).
  2. Spread the celery seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes. Stir the seeds occasionally to ensure they cook evenly and don’t burn.
  3. Remove the celery seeds from the oven and let them cool completely.
  4. Once the celery seeds are cool, grind them using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle until they form a fine powder.
  5. Mix the ground celery seeds and sea salt in a small bowl until well combined.
  6. Store the celery salt in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.
  7. Use the celery salt to season meats, soups, stews, and other dishes as desired.
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If you don’t have celery seeds, you can also use fresh celery stalks. Simply chop the celery stalks into small pieces and dry them in a dehydrator or low-temperature oven until completely dry. Grind the dried celery pieces into a fine powder and mix with sea salt.

How to store homemade celery salt?

  • Transfer the celery salt to an airtight container. Glass jars with tight-fitting lids are a good option because they are non-reactive and won’t absorb any flavors or odors.
  • Store the celery salt in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Exposure to heat and light can cause the spices to lose their flavor and potency over time.
  • Label the container with the date you made the celery salt to track how much time has passed.
  • Use the celery salt within 6 months. After that, the flavor can degrade, and it may be time to make a fresh batch.

Best Celery salt and seed substitutes

Celery salt substitutes include:

  • Regular table salt
  • Other types of salt (salt flakes, Himalayan salt)
  • Celery powder
  • Onion salt
  • Dill salt
  • Various spice blends and condiments

The best substitutes for celery seed include:

  • Celery powder
  • Dill seeds
  • Caraway seeds
  • Fennel seeds
  • Celery flakes
  • Celery leaves
  • Celery root
  • Coriander seeds


Alexandra is a passionate writer with a deep appreciation for food - not just as nourishment but as an expression of culture, a reflection of history, and a celebration of life. She knows that everything in life requires a little spice - and gets a kick (get it?) every time she achieves the perfect combination of heat and depth.

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