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If you’ve been putting off making a dish that calls for fennel seeds because you don’t have any on hand, we have good news for you: there are other herbs that work well as fennel seed replacements.

Anise, dill seeds, carraway, cumin seeds, licorice, and other spices are among the options. Several of these plants are common ones that you are probably acquainted with.

We’ve compiled a list of the top fennel seed replacements that you may use if you run out of fennel feed at home.

What is Fennel Seed Used For?

Because of its sweet, warm, and earthy taste, fennel seeds are often used in savory foods. Fennel seeds are often used as spices or rubs for sausage, fish, and red meat.

Fennel seed may also be used in sweet chai tea combinations or other delicacies that call for spicy sweetness. It is ideal for baked bread or other baked goods that need a touch of sweetness.

But, despite its unique taste, many other flavorful herbs may be used as suitable alternatives for fennel seed, and they will perform well.

Let’s have a look at these herbs!

Best Fennel Seed Substitutes

1. Anise

It is one of the most common fennel seed alternatives.

Anise seeds are quite similar to fennel seeds since they both have a licorice flavor in common; this makes it an excellent option for fennel seeds if you’re seeking for something with a similar taste.

It is much smaller than fennel but much more aromatic.

Although fennel seed is often used as a vegetable in meats, anise is best utilized as a spice to enhance the zest in sweets and pastries.

The seeds may be used whole or ground, and regardless of how you want to season your foods, they will both impart a distinct licorice-like taste.

It is sometimes used for fennel in both sweet and savory dishes. In your recipe, use the same quantity of anise that you would have used if it were fennel seed.

2. Dill seeds

Dill seeds make an excellent substitute for fennel seeds. If you’ve ever seen a fennel plant, you’ll notice that the fronds at the top look just like dill.

Dill seeds have a flavor that is comparable to fennel seeds. While they are not as sweet as fennel, they work nicely in savory dishes.

While their taste isn’t as strong as fennel’s, it’s a good idea to use a bit more than you would for fennel.

They are mostly used to make dill oil and dill tea.

They are a popular flavoring choice in the United States, where many people prefer dill-flavored chips and pickles.

Surprisingly, they come in two varieties: dry and fresh. The dried ones survive two days longer than the raw ones, even when kept in the fridge.

It has a more tangy flavor, making it ideal for fish and egg dishes.

3. Caraway

Caraway seeds are another wonderful alternative if you’re looking for a replacement that tastes like anise or licorice.

4 inch long, with the appearance of fennel seeds. Despite the fact that they are called seeds, they are really little fruits, measuring around 1 inch in diameter.

Caraway has a more pronounced licorice flavor than fennel, and the flavor is more bitter than sweet.

With that in mind, if you want to replicate the earthy flavor of fennel while retaining the licorice undertone, you should absolutely try it.

The seeds are delicious in loaves of bread, cabbage recipes, and any meat preparations; use less caraway than you would fennel, but feel free to add more if desired.

4. Cumin seeds

Cumin is a characteristic spice that is often used in Mexican, South American, Indian, and other cuisines.

Despite they only have two distinct tastes, they each have distinct earthiness.

Cumin is hotter than fennel, which is why it is often combined with other spices like curry powder, fajita spices, chili powder, and taco seasoning.

Cumin is available in powdered and seed form, and depending on your recipe, either form will suffice.

You may use the same amount of cumin as fennel, but keep in mind that ground cumin is likely to be stronger than the seeds.

Cumin powder easily blends with other spices to create unique new tastes. Cumin seeds and powder are accessible all year, making them a convenient fennel seed replacement.

5. Licorice root powder

If you wish to replicate the flavor of fennel seeds, the ground form of licorice root is a good substitute.

It is more strong and tastes far better than fennel. As a result, you should use it in smaller amounts.

However, it poses health hazards. Licorice has been shown to alter blood pressure, therefore if you have heart or blood pressure issues, see your doctor before consuming any quantity of licorice.

6. Fresh fennel and fennel fronds

What better alternative for fennel seeds than the fennel itself! To add depth, composition, and flavor to your dish, roast some fresh fennel and chop it up.

You may use fennel fronds in the same manner you would use raw herbs. As previously stated, the fronds include fresh dills and may be used in the same manner to get the same outcome.

Fronds are best used as a decoration in salads or stews. Fennel that has been diced is also an excellent addition to stews and a variety of other dishes.

7. French tarragon

The French tarragon, like our beloved fennel and, of course, many other fennel alternatives that we have examined so far, has a distinct licorice taste.

Fennel is often suggested as a substitute for tarragon, so you may use it in the other direction as well. We recommend using the same amount of french tarragon as you would fennel seeds.

You may use either dried or fresh French tarragon that has been carefully sliced. This works well with spicy dishes, particularly with white meat or fish.

8. Mahlab

Mahlab is a popular spice in Mediterranean cookery and is often seen in cookies. Its seeds have a subtle cherry-like scent and a taste that combines sweetness and sourness.

These are not the most effective fennel seed alternative, but they may be used when supplies are low.

Mahlab is available in seed and powder form. If you choose to utilize the seeds, they should be boiled before being added to sweet or savory dishes.

This will remove the unpleasant aftertaste while also bringing out the vivid and fruity flavor that goes nicely with a range of sweet foods.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do fennel seeds taste like

Fennel seeds have a pleasant, sweet scent and an aniseed flavor.

What are the disadvantages of eating Fennel seeds?

Although it is incredibly healthful, it does have certain drawbacks. It may trigger the uterus, it may also induce allergies, it is also a recognized cause of skin problems. It also affects breasts and might very likely react with drugs.

Is fennel seed bad for my health?

It is safe to consume entire fennel seeds in moderation, but the powerful groups of compounds included in many supplements may not be as safe. One of the principal chemicals in fennel seeds, anethole, has estrogen-like properties.

Do fennel seeds add flavor?

Indeed, fennel seed is a beautiful spice that gives your foods a warm, fragrant taste.

What does dried fennel taste like

Despite its appearance as onions and other bulbs, dried fennel seeds taste like anise or licorice.

Is it good to eat Fennel seeds daily?

Absolutely, you can consume fennel seeds on a regular basis! This is because fennel seeds are high in fiber and may help you lose weight while also suppressing your appetite. They act as diuretics and boost metabolism.

Consuming fennel seeds on a regular basis, together with balanced nutrition and enough exercise, may help you lose weight quickly.


Do you like these 8 finest fennel seed alternatives? We anticipate that you will be persuaded to try at least one of them the next time a recipe asks for fennel seeds.

There are several ways to cook successfully if you are aware of these choices for certain dishes. I hope we were able to persuade you of some of those points.


What is the closest herb to fennel seeds?


Tarragon is a bittersweet plant that is a wonderful alternative for fennel seed. It contains the licorice taste that fennel is renowned for, so it will provide a similar flavor and scent to your cuisine.

Can I substitute caraway seeds for fennel seeds?

Caraway and fennel seeds may be used interchangeably, however there will be small taste changes. So, essentially, if you’re in a hurry, go for it, but keep a separate jar of each in your cupboard.

Which is better cumin or fennel?

Fennel seeds are typically found in desserts and sweet meals, while cumin seeds are found in savory recipes. Fennel is a versatile seed that may also be used in poultry and mutton dishes. Cumin, on the other hand, pairs nicely with rice, daals, and forms the foundation of many other Indian recipes.

Is anise seed the same as fennel seed?

Fennel seeds have a softer taste and are less sweet than anise seeds. Anise seeds have a much sweeter, more intense black licorice flavor. Although fennel seeds and anise may be used interchangeably in the cooking, they have distinct traditional applications.

What is a good replacement for fennel?

Fennel replacement of choice
Celery (raw in salads) (raw in salads) What is a decent raw fennel substitute? … Yellow or white onion (cooked fennel bulb) What is the greatest fennel alternative for prepared foods, such as soups and stews? … Leek (cooked fennel bulb) … Caraway (fennel) seeds… Anise seeds (fennel seed)
Nov 11, 2020

What spices taste like fennel?

Anise seed is a parsley family member with a taste similar to fennel. It is used in baking as well as Indian cuisine.

Do caraway seeds taste like fennel?

Fennel seeds, like caraway seeds, are members of the carrot family. Fennel has a unique flavor and does not taste exactly like caraway, although it does have licorice undertones and a comparable essence. Caraway seeds may be replaced with an equivalent quantity of fennel.

Do fennel seeds and caraway seeds taste the same?

Fennel seeds are the closest substitute for caraway seeds since they are both cousins of the carrot family, albeit they are not the same plant. While these two spices do not have the same taste, they do have an essence and subtle licorice undertones.

Can I substitute coriander seeds for fennel seeds?

The perfume of ground coriander seeds is strong, powerful, and spicy. These may be used in lieu of fennel seeds, but be cautious not to overshadow the recipe. Use them in a 1:2 ratio to any dish that calls for fennel seeds and proceed from there.

Who should not take fennel?

Fennel may mimic estrogen in hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids. If you have a disease that may be aggravated by estrogen, avoid using fennel.

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