What Is Celeriac? (And How Do You Cook with It?)

If you've ever encountered a knobbly brown root at the grocery store, chances are it's celeriac. It's not beautiful, but this root vegetable is easy to store and easy to cook with.

There are probably a handful of root vegetables in your grocery store that have you wondering, what is that thing? I suspect one of these unusual vegetables might be celeriac, or celery root. This hairy, knobbly root isn’t much to look at, but it’s delicious and quite versatile. We love it in stews, soups and even eaten raw.

What Is Celeriac?

Simply put, celeriac is the root of a celery plant. It has an earthy taste with a slight hint of celery flavor. The texture is close to a turnip or potato.

Celeriac isn’t just tasty, it also has some great health benefits. It’s high in fiber and various vitamins and minerals. It’s also low in carbs, making it the perfect alternative to potatoes in something like a creamy root veggie soup.

Where to Buy Celeriac

Celeriac is likely available year-round at your grocery store, but look for it during cooler months. (It’s also an easy vegetable to grow at home.) Sometimes you’ll find it with the stalks and leaves attached. Either way, to choose the best one, you’ll want to be sure it’s nice and heavy. Look for a celery root that is as smooth as possible because it will make the root easier to peel.

Store the celeriac in a cool, dark place. The best method is to wrap it loosely in a plastic bag in your refrigerator. If there is dirt on the skin, do not wash the celeriac before storing. Simply brush off the dirt and then store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use. And if the celery root comes with stalks, cut them off and store them separately from the root. Learn more about how to store root vegetables.

How to Cook with Celeriac

Celery root can be prepared in a surprising number of ways. We find that celeriac works well individually or combined with other ingredients to add an extra burst of celery flavor.

Celeriac & Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Simply combine celeriac, potatoes and garlic in a large pot of boiling water and cook until fork-tender; about 15 minutes. Drain and mash with butter, milk, salt and pepper before serving. See the full recipe for Celeriac & Garlic Mashed Potatoes.

Crispy Celeriac Fries

Preheat your oven to 475°F. Peel one large celeriac root and cut it into matchsticks; then lay them out on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with garlic powder, chopped rosemary, pepper and salt and bake for approximately 40 minutes, tossing halfway through.

Roasted Celeriac with Bacon

Preheat your oven to 450°F. Peel and cube one medium celeriac root and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast on a sheet pan for 20-25 minutes; then add cooked bacon and fresh thyme and roast for an additional 20 minutes.

Next time you’re at the grocery store and come across one of these hairy, brown roots, don’t be afraid to pick it up. Celeriac has so many delicious possibilities.

Next up: Learn how to cook with parsnips!

April Preisler
April is a food and travel lover, wine enthusiast, ice cream obsessed and the vision behind the blog, Food n' Focus. Her favorite cuisine is Italian and loves to cook international recipes.