Celery Stir Fry

Japanese-style stir-fry, thin batons of celery, stir-fried with chili-infused oil and soy sauce.

We found the best way to julienne the celery is to slice off the root end and any part of the celery beyond the main stalk. Cut the stalks in thirds, or if they are very long, quarters, and then cut each of those pieces in half lengthwise. This gives you a manageable, flat surface to slice into matchsticks.

Nancy's original recipe calls for using a high quality rapeseed oil (another name for canola oil) and/or light sesame oil. We added a little dark sesame oil at the finish which was just lovely, so you might want to try that too.

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 as a side dish


  • 2 Tbsp high quality canola oil, rice bran oil, or other high smoke point cooking oil
  • 3 small dried chile peppers, broken in half (can sub a 1/8 teaspoon of red chili flakes)
  • 4 cups julienned celery (cut into pieces about 2 inches long)
  • 1-2 Tbsp soy sauce (to taste)
  • A few drops of dark sesame oil (optional)


1 Heat the oils and chiles in a wok or frying pan over high heat for 90 seconds, or until the chiles become fragrant and the seeds sizzle.

celery-stir-fry-method-1 celery-stir-fry-method-2

2 Add the celery and stir-fry for 3 minutes. Add the soy sauce and stir-fry one more minute. Drizzle with dark sesame oil if using. Serve hot or at room temperature.

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  1. Greedy Traeller

    This looks great. Very easy and healthy too. I thought I was alone in being a celery fan! One question, what kind of things would you serve it with?

    It would be a great side for Asian dishes, of course. Or just a side for chicken or steak. Anything that tastes good with soy sauce and sesame. ~Elise

  2. Greedy Traeller

    Good idea – some chicken and brown rice will join this recipe! Thanks again!

  3. amy

    Yum! This would be really pretty done with the stalks from rainbow chard!

  4. Kate

    Great timing! I noticed I had celery in my fridge this morning left over from a previous recipe, and I was wondering what to do with it. I was already going to cook salmon tonight with an asian marinade, so this will work perfectly for a side.

  5. Emily

    In the “linked” recipe for Stir-Fried Celery with Meat Sauce the celery is peeled. Did you do that on this recipe? If not, did you notice the strings?

    Hi Emily, Sometimes when you work with large, tough, outer ribs of celery, it helps to peel the outer side of them to remove the strings. I don’t remember doing that with this celery, probably because we had already used the outer ribs for some other dish. ~Elise

  6. rebecca

    Could you do this with just oil, salt and pepper? I love celery, but I can’t eat it raw. This would be a great side to meat if it would work.

    Sure, you can cook celery this way. It won’t have the extra flavor of the soy sauce and sesame though. If you try it plain like you suggested, please let us know how you like it. ~Elise

    • shoquie

      I stir fried two stalks , with leaves – after removing the strings as shown in Youtube-following your recipe but added a pinch of anise seeds- instead of soya sauce- with the celery. It tasted good.

  7. sandy

    When I was small, my Mom would sometimes fix creamed celery for supper–just chopped celery, cooked in water (salted, no doubt) with a white sauce stirred in. It was very good.

  8. Judy

    I’m guessing that it’s not the dark sesame oil that you are using in this, right? Thanks for the recipe – it looks delish!

    Nancy uses either high quality rapeseed oil (canola oil) or a light sesame oil. I think that we used rapeseed oil and then added a little dark sesame oil at the finish, just to get a little more sesame flavor. ~Elise

  9. Mother of Pearl

    Just an interesting factoid about celery – This is the beginning of Amish wedding season in central PA and celery is a major part of the celebration. Several dishes with celery will be served with dinner and the house and tables are decorated with vases of leafy celery. So, not everyone takes celery for granted!

  10. geg

    Did you really mean 2 tbsp of soy sauce? Seemed salty when I made it tonight

    Hmm. Soy sauce can really be variable in its saltiness. I’ll adjust the recipe to say 1 – 2 Tbsp (to taste). Thank you for the feedback! ~Elise

  11. Beth Sullivan

    I got my copy of the cookbook after you mentioned it here and it is beautiful! I love all your recipes and it especially nice of you to share this one as well! Delicious! Thank you!

  12. Lee

    My mother used to make a braised celery dish. As I remember it, she would combine chicken stock, minced garlic, celery, and parmesan. Bake and you’ve got a great side dish.

  13. Natika33

    @ geg – Japanese soy sauce is substantially lighter than Chinese soy sauce (which is more common), so that could potentially be the reason yours turned out too salty. Kikkoman is a Japanese brand sold widely outside Japan, or look for soy sauce meant specifically for sushi. Or just dilute/use less if you are using a Chinese soy sauce. (^_^)

  14. Denise

    What a great idea Elise. Celery is like parsley, the overlooked deliciousness lurking in the kitchen. I love gnawing on celery sticks but have never thought of cooking it as you did. Now that I see this recipe, I remember my grandmother making a spicy celery side-dish with soy and garlic. Must make ….

  15. Vicki

    My favorite cooked celery side is to simply saute in olive oil and sprinkle with old bay seasoning.

  16. Caroline

    What a great recipe! I made this tonight and it was fantastic. Who knew that celery could be exciting after all? Thanks for posting! I will definitely make this often.

  17. Rachel

    This was so good…I made this tonight with italian chicken and it paired well. This was easy to make and I did not have the asian chili’s required and just had canola oil…I used red pepper flakes. Turned out FAB! Definitely a keeper! Thanks Elise!

  18. jb

    Been doing this for awhile; love me some sautéed celery. I cut em a lil fancier, though. I cut them horseshoe-style, but on an angle, so it’s like an elongated horseshoe. We likey :)

  19. Shannon of Arkansas

    Are the toasted grasshoppers optional?

    I do think it’s weird that some people look at what to me is obviously a photo of a red chili and see it not as a chili, but as an insect. The chilies are not optional. That said, they do grow and sell chili roasted grasshoppers in Oaxaca, Mexico which are quite delicious, in a crunchy, spicy way. Feel free to add those if you have them. Me, I’ll pass. :-p ~Elise

  20. fabiola

    Oh my gosh, you are soooo right on here. So so true. I love celery, but it is never a star of my veggie sides, just a team player. And there isn’t anything wrong with that, but I have never made it a star. I will have to do this. Thanks, Elise, such a great idea!

  21. Victoria Hollywood

    i absolutely love ur blog! and I LOVE celery. I once ate celery soup everyday for a week straight! I have a stalk of celery in the fridge now I’m totally making this recipe for dinner tonight.

  22. Cassandra

    Hi Elise,
    looks like a great recipe! Would it work if I used fresh chili peppers instead of dried ones?

  23. Bill Andersoot

    Great recipe! Also excellent done with cucumbers, as served at Little Szechuan in St. Paul, MN. If you like it spicy, a little hot chili oil at the end does the trick. Just make sure you get the kind that’s made from sesame oil and not the stuff made from cottonseed or other lower-quality oils.

  24. Claire

    I believe you misspelled grape seed.

  25. Cherie

    Thank you so much!
    I had relatives unexpectedly stay for dinner and my only fresh vegetable for sidedish was celery. One head nicely served 6 with second helpings. This recipe is yummy, crisply textured, and presents nicely. I will serve it again.

    Instead of chilis, I had some chili oil (contained flakes and seeds) from the last time I had Chinese take-out. Worked great–about 2 t gave a light heat but complemented the sesame and soy flavors. Thanks for the rescue!

    Also, I didn’t know that canola was another name for rapeseed. Great info.

  26. ali

    Thank you for this easy dish! My hub bought celery on sale And we do not eat celery like that! This is definitely a yummy dish for just straight celery, and there is no soapy celery taste. Yum.

    • judy

      The “soapy” taste that you mention is common with non-organic celery.
      Buy organic! Delicious difference.

  27. Donovan

    This was really great, thanks for sharing! I modified it slightly and used chili garlic sauce instead of dried peppers and added peanuts – I liked the more balanced flavor and crunch from the peanuts. Also, if I were to make it again, I might go with shorter matchsticks as the longer ones can be difficult to chew.

  28. Jenn

    Great recipe to work with. I went1/2 soy sauce 1/2 oyster sauce. I diced the celery and made up version. Then I used it as a filling for lettuce wrap sprinkled with hemp seeds :) one of those nights using what I have available.

  29. Swetha

    Great recipe….totally loved it
    Thanks for sharing

  30. Swetha

    I sautéed celery with green peppers and onions with the red pepper flakes
    And served it with brown rice …it was delicious