From the Spice Cupboard: Celery Seed

updated May 2, 2019
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

We came across this ingredient recently in a recipe for coleslaw and had to scratch our heads. We knew that celery comes from seeds, of course. It’s just that we’d just never thought about eating them. Have you?

It turns out that most commercially available celery seed does not actually come from the celery we add to our chicken noodle soup but rather from a close relative. Once dried, the tiny oblong seeds are light brown in color and pack a surprisingly powerful flavor punch. They taste like concentrated celery, earthy and grassy with a slight bitter edge.

It’s fairly common to see celery seed called for in many pickling mixes and brine recipes. It’s a way of imparting a strong celery flavor without having to chop up pounds of the vegetable itself. Celery seed is also fantastic in salad dressings, as in the coleslaw recipe we found. It adds an interesting texture along with its flavor, similar to poppy seeds.

Celery seed is actually quite common in the spice section of most grocery stores. As with all spices, the fresher the better and whole seeds are preferable to ground.

Try celery seed in these recipes:

Two-Tone Coleslaw with Celery Seed Yogurt Dressing from Epicurious – the recipe that initially tipped us off to celery seed.
Aunt Lorraine’s Refrigerator Pickles from the Kitchn
Pickled Grapes with Fennel and Celery Seed from The Food Network
Celery Seed Bread from Taste of Home
Watermelon Bloody Mary’s from Martha Stewart

How do you use celery seed in your cooking?

Related: Crunchy, Creamy, Cool: 8 Summer Recipes for Coleslaw