How to Peel and Cut Celery Root (Celeriac)

How to Peel and Cut Celery Root (Celeriac)


How to Peel and Cut Celery Root: Celery root, also known as celeriac, is a versatile vegetable that is often overlooked in many kitchens. This knobby, brown root may not look appealing at first glance, but beneath its rough exterior lies a crisp and flavorful flesh. Celery root is a staple in many European cuisines and is becoming increasingly popular in other parts of the world due to its unique flavor and health benefits. This article will guide you through the process of peeling and cutting celery root, ensuring you can easily incorporate this nutritious vegetable into your meals.

What is Celery Root?

Definition and Description

Celery root, or celeriac, is a variety of celery cultivated for its edible root. It has a dense, knobby surface and a firm, creamy white interior. The flavor of celery root is reminiscent of celery stalks but with a slightly nuttier, earthier taste.

Nutritional Benefits

Celery root is low in calories and high in fiber, making it an excellent choice for those looking to maintain a healthy diet. It is also a good source of vitamins C and K, potassium, and phosphorus. These nutrients contribute to various health benefits, including improved digestion, better bone health, and enhanced immune function.

Culinary Uses

Celery root can be used in a variety of dishes. It can be eaten raw, sliced thinly into salads, or cooked in soups, stews, and gratins. It can also be mashed or pureed as a lower-carb alternative to potatoes.

Tools and Equipment Needed

Essential Kitchen Tools

To peel and cut celery root, you'll need the following tools:

  • A sharp chef's knife
  • A sturdy cutting board
  • A vegetable peeler
  • A bowl of water (to prevent discoloration)

Optional Tools

  • A mandoline slicer (for thin, even slices)
  • A food processor (for quick shredding or grating)

Selecting the Best Celery Root

Signs of Freshness

When choosing celery root, look for:

  • Firmness: The root should be firm and heavy for its size.
  • Skin: Avoid roots with soft spots, wrinkles, or significant blemishes.
  • Size: Smaller roots tend to be less fibrous and more tender.

Storage Tips

Store celery root in a cool, dark place. It can be kept in the refrigerator, wrapped in a plastic bag, for up to two weeks. To extend its shelf life, ensure it is kept dry to prevent mold growth.

Step-by-Step Guide to Peeling Celery Root


  1. Wash the Root: Rinse the celery root under cold water to remove any dirt.
  2. Trim the Ends: Cut off the top and bottom ends of the root to create a stable base.

Peeling with a Knife

  1. Place on Cutting Board: Position the root on the cutting board with one flat end down.
  2. Slice Downward: Using a sharp chef's knife, cut away the skin in downward strokes, following the contour of the root.
  3. Remove Remaining Skin: Inspect the root for any remaining skin or blemishes and trim them off with the knife.

Peeling with a Vegetable Peeler

  1. Hold the Root Firmly: Grip the celery root in one hand.
  2. Peel the Skin: Use a vegetable peeler to remove the outer skin. Rotate the root as you peel to ensure all sides are addressed.
  3. Check for Spots: After peeling, check for any dark or fibrous spots and remove them with a knife.

Step-by-Step Guide to Cutting Celery Root

Basic Cuts

  1. Stabilize the Root: Place the peeled celery root on a cutting board.
  2. Slice into Discs: Cut the root into 1/2-inch thick discs.
  3. Julienne: Stack the discs and slice them into matchstick-sized pieces.
  4. Dice: For a dice, stack the julienned pieces and cut them into small cubes.

Advanced Techniques

  1. Ribbons: Use a mandoline slicer to create thin, even ribbons.
  2. Shredding: Use a food processor fitted with a shredding blade to quickly shred the root for slaws or salads.

Tips for Safety and Precision

  • Use a sharp knife to reduce the risk of slipping.
  • Keep your fingers tucked under and use a claw grip to hold the root securely.
  • Work slowly and carefully, especially when handling larger pieces.

Culinary Applications

Raw Applications

  • Salads: Thinly sliced or julienned celery root adds a crisp, fresh texture to salads.
  • Slaws: Shredded celery root can be combined with carrots, apples, and a tangy dressing for a refreshing slaw.

Cooked Applications

  • Soups and Stews: Add diced celery root to soups and stews for a hearty, flavorful addition.
  • Purees and Mashes: Cooked celery root can be mashed or pureed with butter and cream for a smooth, rich side dish.

Innovative Recipes

  • Celeriac Fries: Cut celery root into sticks, toss with oil and seasonings, and bake until crispy.
  • Celeriac Gratin: Layer thin slices of celery root with cream and cheese, and bake until golden and bubbly.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I prevent celery root from discoloring?

  • After peeling and cutting, place the celery root pieces in a bowl of water with a splash of lemon juice or vinegar to prevent browning.

Can I eat celery root raw?

  • Yes, celery root can be eaten raw. It has a crunchy texture and a mildly sweet, nutty flavor.

Is celery root the same as celery stalks?

  • No, celery root and celery stalks come from different varieties of the celery plant. Celery root is grown for its edible root, while celery stalks are grown for their crunchy stems.

How do I know if celery root has gone bad?

  • Celery root that is soft, wrinkled, or has an off smell should be discarded. Fresh celery root should be firm and free of major blemishes.

Can I freeze celery root?

  • Yes, celery root can be frozen. Peel and cut it into desired shapes, blanch in boiling water for a few minutes, then cool and freeze in airtight bags.


Celery root is a versatile and nutritious vegetable that can add a unique flavor to a variety of dishes. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can easily peel and cut celery root, making it a valuable addition to your culinary repertoire. Whether you enjoy it raw in a crisp salad or cooked in a comforting soup, celery root is sure to enhance your meals with its distinctive taste and texture. (How to Peel and Cut Celery Root)


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