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Nerdy Science in the Kitchen

Celery Root Substitutes



Looking for celery root substitutes? We have 14 options that will work great in any dish with a few alterations.

Celery root or celeriac is a lumpy, large vegetable brown in color. It has a mildly sweet flavor with peppery notes and a creamy texture with a slight crisp once it’s cooked.

celery root substitutes

You can cook it in soups, stews, roasts, or have it raw in salads. Apart from the celery root substitutes, we have also mentioned how they taste different from celery root and how their texture and flavor will affect your recipes.

You will also know how you can adjust the flavor and what health benefits you’ll get with the alternatives.

1. Parsley Root

parsley root on leaves
Parsley root on leaves.

Parsley leaves are commonly used for garnish, but we usually miss out on the delicious roots! Their tender and crunchy texture will get a silky and creamy consistency once they’re heated.

Their taste is somewhere between celery and carrots. You can use them in sauces, roasts and soups.

You can also eat raw parsley or have it steamed, baked or boiled. If you’re looking for a more celery-like flavor, you can put in some chopped celery to alter the taste of your meal.

Parsley root is also nutritious, rich in antioxidants and good for detoxification.

2. Turnip

fresh turnips on wooden board
Fresh turnips on wooden board.

Turnips are commonly found root vegetables. They are apple-sized and easy to cook. They resemble celery roots in versatility and taste.

When raw, turnips are firm and crispy, but they become smooth once cooked. Since their flavor is similar to celery root, you can use them in several dishes that require that vegetable.

When cooked in dishes, their peppery, sweet notes turn into a nutty and earthy taste. You can eat turnips braised, roasted, pureed, simmered, cooked, sautéed and raw.

It means that you can use them in a number of dishes ranging from salads to sauces and roasted meat.

3. Fennel Bulb

fennel bulbs on rustic dark wood background
Fennel bulbs on rustic dark wood background.

Another celery root substitute is fennel bulbs. They taste similar and will be great for your recipes.

When using this vegetable, you need to use the white part and throw away the green leaves. You’ll get a sweet flavor, crispy texture, and, best of all, a celery-like aroma.

You can use it in dishes that call for celery root to overpower the rest of the ingredients. You won’t have to alter the recipe but make sure not to cook fennel bulbs as long as celery root because they can become softer a lot quicker.

This veggie contains Vitamin C and nutrients, which will boost your immune system and strengthen your bones. Due to their low-calorie content, you can use them as a healthy alternative.

4. Butternut Squash

butternut squash on wooden background
Butternut squash on wooden background.

Since butternut squash isn’t a root vegetable, you’ll have to vary the ingredients to come closer to the earthy, peppery, zesty, and herbal celery root flavor. We suggest using chopped celery, celery seeds or celery leaves to change the texture and flavor profile.

Still, when you cook butternut squash, it gets a sweet, nutty flavor and a creamy, mushy texture like celery root. If it seems too sweet to you, you can add a bit of salt to fix the taste.

This vegetable also has a different color which may be a problem if the color matters in your dish. Avoid adding too much of it, or you can put in some other veggies to get the color you want to achieve.

5. Potato

raw brown potato on sack
A raw brown potato on a sack.

Another common substitute for celery root is potatoes. Potatoes are creamy, rich, savory, starchy and tender.

You can use them in cooked dishes such as stews, soups and roasts. They are sweeter than celery and have an earthy smell.

However, they lack the herbal flavor. Still, potatoes resemble celery root in texture once they are cooked.

Potatoes are filled with vitamins, minerals and fibre, which can help control cholesterol and prevent heart diseases.

6. Rutabaga

fresh raw rutabaga in paper
Fresh raw rutabaga in paper.

Rutabaga, also known as Swedish turnip, is a root that we get from a biennial plant. It’s similar to a turnip, but it’s not as commonly used.

Most people take rutabaga for a turnip with yellow flesh, but this veggie is a cross between a turnip and a cabbage. It develops a mildly sweet and buttery flavor with hints of bitterness and pepper when cooked.

Since it gets a similar flavor profile to celery root in cooked recipes, you can use it as a substitute in most dishes, including soups, roasted meat and stews.

7. Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi on a rustic wood background
A bulb of Kohlrabi on a rustic wood background.

Kohlrabi is a vegetable linked to kale, cabbage and broccoli. In German, ‘Kohl’ means ‘cabbage’, and ‘rabi’ means ‘turnip’.

The bigger white bulbs of this veggie are fibrous and taste woody. The smaller ones are mild, sweet and tender, similar to celery root.

When cooked, kohlrabi has the texture of celery root, but the aroma is closer to a milder cabbage. This shouldn’t be a problem since this will still work great in most recipes.

You can simmer, bake, stir fry or roast kohlrabi with other ingredients. It is also full of vitamin c, fibre and potassium like celery root.

8. Jicama

raw chopped and whole jicama
Raw chopped and whole jicama.

Jicama, also known as Mexican turnip, yam bean, or Mexican potato, isn’t as common as the other options on our list, but it acts as a good celery root substitute. It resembles potatoes in shape, and it’ll give you a mildly sweet flavor and crunchy texture.

To use this in your salads, peel the Jicama and dice it by cutting it into thin sticks first. You can use this with corn, onion, avocado and lemon to end up with a delicious salad.

Even though Jicama is usually eaten raw, you can also cook it if you like. Remember to not cook it for so long that it loses its crunchy texture.

This vegetable is full of minerals, vitamins and fibre. It’ll help you improve your digestion and lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

9. Daikon Radish

daikon radish whole and chopped
A daikon radish whole and chopped.

Daikon Radish has a dense-fleshed white tuber. It resembles carrots in its looks, but it’s white in color.

Unlike regular radish, Daikon radish doesn’t have a strong peppery taste but a mild flavor. It’s crunchy and smooth, making it an excellent replacement for celery root.

You can eat this veggie raw or cooked, but it’s best to use it in salads or fried recipes. Daikon Radish will also give your roasted meat a unique flavor and texture.

However, since the aroma is slightly peppery, you can add a bit of coriander or celery to tone down the smell. Besides, it’s packed with vitamin C, potassium, phosphorus, and calcium, which helps at reducing the risk of gallstones and improves the digestion of fats.

10. Chopped Celery

green chopped celery
Raw green chopped celery.

Still can’t find a good substitute for celery root? Why don’t you try… celery?!

Chop up some celery and add it to the recipes that call for the roots. It will give you the same thickness and juiciness.

You will also get an earthy and salty flavor with a crispy texture. Chopped celery has a strong peppery aroma, and the leaves are watery, unlike the creamy, rich texture of celery root.

You’ll have to use a thickener to alter the consistency of cooked meals. You can add parsley roots, carrots, potatoes, parsnips or cornstarch.

If you don’t want to use them in soups, you can try adding them to sauces and salads for the flavor.

11. Celery Seed

raw celery seeds in a bowl
Raw celery seeds in a bowl.

What is a better celery root substitute than celery seed?

They come from wild celery plants and taste similar to celery and celery stalks. However, they have a stronger flavor, so we recommend that you use fewer than the number of celery roots you will replace.

You should use one teaspoon of seed for every two average-sized roots. Remember that these won’t work if you’re looking for the creamy celery root texture, but you will get the earthy flavors.

12. Celery Salt

celery salt seasoning
Celery salt seasoning.

We recommend using celery salt if you just want the celery flavor and not the consistency. It replaces two ingredients, namely celery root and salt.

However, use it in a moderate amount as it can easily overpower your recipes. What’s better is that you can make this yourself!

Follow these steps to make celery salt:

  • Get some celery leaves or stalks.
  • Roast them and leave them to cool down.
  • Grind them with a food processor, mortar and pestle or spice grinder.
  • Add salt
  • Store your celery salt in a jar.

You can use this in celery-based recipes instead of salt.

13. Parsnip

raw parsnip on a cutting board
Raw parsnip on a cutting board.

Parsnip resembles celery root in flavor. However, its smell stands out.

Parsnip is smooth and crunchy and makes a great celery root substitution for salads, stews, and soups in terms of texture. You can use them in the same amount as you would use celery roots but ensure that you peel them beforehand.

Keep in mind that parsnip becomes slightly sweeter than celery root once it’s cooked, so use your ingredients accordingly. You can add a bit of salt to balance the flavor.

Parsnip is packed with Vitamin C and Vitamin E, and it’ll help your immune system get stronger. It also helps control blood pressure and lowers the risk of developing kidney stones.

14. Carrots

carrots on black wood background
Carrots on black wood background.

One of the most easy-to-find celery root substitutes is carrots. Carrots are cheap, and they’re perfect for you if you are making a soup.

They have the same sweet flavor as celery root, but they’ll give you a different aroma. In case the fragrance is one of the main parts of your meal, you chop up some celery and put it in.

The same goes for color. If you’re pureeing your soup, carrots will change the way it looks.

If you are looking to substitute celery root in a salad, carrots will provide you with the same crunch. However, the texture will be different.

In terms of nutrition, carrots are rich in Vitamins, antioxidants and minerals.


Can you use celery stalk instead of celery root?

Yes, celery is one of the best celery root substitutes out there. With chopped celery, you’ll get the same thickness and juicy bite.

Their taste is milder than the root, so you can add them to adjust the flavor. Remember that the stalk is watery, unlike the creamy and mushy root.

Can you substitute parsnip for celery root?

Yes, parsnip is a great choice for substituting celery root. They have the same texture, taste and shape as celeriac.

However, they have a stronger aroma which means that you’ll have to use them accordingly.

What is the flavor of celery root?

Celery root or celeriac has an earthy taste similar to that of a turnip.

When you cook it, the flavor becomes sweeter. Raw celery root has a crunch while the cooked one is creamier.

What does celery root look like?

The stalks and leaves of celery root resemble celery.

The root resembles a lumpy tuber. In simple words, celery root looks like a hairy softball!

What can I substitute for celery root in soup?

Celery root has a mushy texture and slightly sweet flavor. It gives soups a creamy feel while maintaining a slight crunch.

If you don’t have celery root for your soup, you can use the following substitutes:

Parsnips: Parsnips are similar to celery roots in texture and taste, although they are sweeter and have a stronger smell. You can use the amount accordingly.

Carrots: Carrots have the same flavor profile and texture as celery root, so they can be an excellent substitution. The only downside is that carrots can dominate your soup due to the orange color.

Final Words

Obviously, none of these options will taste exactly the same as celery root, but the flavors can come pretty close if you use the right ingredients to add with each substitute. Even if you don’t like celery root, you can use the options to experiment and achieve the texture and flavor that you like.

Kitchen Professor author
About the Author: Adeena Tariq

Adeena is a freelance content writer and cooking enthusiast from Pakistan. She is currently a business student, and when she wants a break from her studies, writing on her favorite topics and cooking yummy dishes are her favorite things to do.

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