Top 10 ways to use up leftover celery

Faced with a large head of this plentiful vegetable? We've put together our top 10 ideas for using up your remaining celery, including salads, soups and stews.

Celery head with leaves at the end

As celery is usually sold as a whole head, once you’ve taken away a stick or two for your spaghetti Bolognese, there’s a lot left to play with. Its divisive nature means that while some people will happily plough through and eat it raw with dips, others find its flavour disagreeable. However, once cooked, celery proves an invaluable ingredient. It’s a great base vegetable for lots of dishes – once sweated until soft, its peppery taste can add a real savoury depth. 

How to store celery

Look for firm and tight celery with even stalks and leaves that look fresh. Make sure you wash it well and pat dry. Celery is really robust and often lasts for several weeks, although we recommend consuming it within two. Store it in the fridge and leave the stalks attached to the base until you need to use them.

If you don't want to use it up straight away, celery freezes well. You can rinse and chop up raw celery then freeze it on baking sheets for a few hours before transferring to plastic bags.  It will keep in the freezer for a few months.  Alternatively, blanch and refresh diced celery, drain thoroughly and freeze for up to 6 months.

Leftover celery recipe ideas

1. Stock

Glass of vegetable stock with chopped vegetables on a chopping board

Use celery when making vegetable, meat or fish stock. Its hardy nature means it can withstand being cooked for several hours, and it won’t leach any colour into the stock. Use the main stalks for flavour – cut them into large chunks so they don’t disintegrate – and then the thin leafy end as the base to a bouquet garni, a bundle of herbs bound together to add flavour to stocks and sauces. 

Video guide to making stock


2. Celery gratin

Celery gratin in a baking dish

Give celery its time in the spotlight by using it in a creamy baked gratin. This version has a nutty topping and uses up two heads of celery, although you can scale the recipe down depending on how much you have available – just be careful when adjusting liquid levels. 

Creamy celery gratin


3. Crudités

Grapes, cheese cubes and celery sticks in a glass

Crunchy crudités are always a winning buffet feature. So, if your celery is still fresh, chop it into chunks and serve with creamy hummus. For a healthy snack to beat mid-afternoon hunger, pair celery with iced grapes and cheddar cubes


4. Waldorf slaw

Waldorf salad on an oval dish

Celery is a key component in the classic Waldorf salad. This homemade coleslaw throws a fresh spin on the dish. It uses up four sticks of celery, plus it keeps in the fridge for three days. Pack into your lunchbox with cold cuts or pies, add to sandwiches or jacket potatoes, or serve on a buffet.

Waldorf slaw


5. Celery soup

Two bowls of celery soup topped with leaves

If you've got a big glut of celery, then there's no better way of using it up than blitzing into a smooth soup with potatoes and garlic. This simple blend makes a super-satisfying veggie lunch, served with a chunk of crusty bread.

Celery soup


6. Herby celery & bulgur salad

Bulghar salad on a plate

This recipe uses up a whole bunch of celery, but would still work if it were a few sticks short. It also makes use of the celery leaves, which are edible and can be added to salads or sandwiches. The combination of nuts, pomegranates, herbs and wheat makes this vegan salad a textural delight.

Herby celery & bulgur salad


7. Caponata

Bowl of caponata with two spoons, on colourful surface

A Sicilian vegetable stew with aubergines, tomatoes, capers and raisins – perfect served on garlicky bruschetta, or as part of an antipasti spread. Cook the vegetables down until they’re soft but not broken up.

Caponata


8. Italian sausage & pasta pot

Sausage, pasta and vegetable one-pot

While a lot of soups and sauces require only a celery stick or two, this heart broth uses up three in one swoop. Use the classic ingredients for ‘soffrito’ – the Italian name for slowly sweating celery, onions and carrots – and combine with stock, sausages and beans.

Italian sausage & pasta pot


9. Grilled steak salad with horseradish

Grilled steak and tomato salad on an oval plate

Given their matching peppery flavour profiles, celery and horseradish make natural partners. This recipe really cranks up the flavour by using celery seeds, too. Cut your stalks into thin slices and enjoy the contast between the crispy chunks and soft rare griddled beef.

Grilled steak salad with horseradish


10. Chicken with braised celery & cider

Roast chicken with celery in a roasting tray

If you have a real abundance of celery, use it as the main accompaniment to roast chicken. Nestle the celery next to the whole bird and cover with apple cider so it soaks up all the rich flavours.

Chicken with braised celery & cider

Celery – love it or loathe it? We'd love to hear your serving suggestions

Find more delicious celery recipes.

Comments, questions and tips

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ajctracey
4th Feb, 2015
Good to know that it will freeze! Now I'll always have some to hand when I'm making stock.
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sheila49
8th Mar, 2016
Celery keeps longer if you remove the plastic in which it's sold and wrap it in foil.
kirsten132
16th Apr, 2014
One of my favourite sandwich fillers is thinly sliced celery mixed with grated cheese and philli or cottage cheese
poutie
27th Feb, 2014
Love my celery and add to stir fryes thinly sliced right at the end - all the other vegetables can be a little mushy I find this way it adds crunch. Any outer sticks can be stringy I peel mine downways with a peeler to rid it of the string. Also carrying on the stri fry theme - once it's peeled cut into 1 inch pieces put in wok with a little oil chilli slices, ginger, fry a for a minute or 2 the add stock to drown bring to boil,. keep celery al dente add a few peanuts. It makes a quick side dish for any somewhat dry stir frys or satay etc.