8 Best Fennel Seed Substitutes

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Substitutes For Fennel Seed



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If you are having trouble with putting together a recipe that requires fennel seeds, and you have been put off because you didn’t have it at home, we have excellent news for you; there are other herbs that serves as good fennel seed substitutes.

Some of these alternatives include anise, dill seeds, carraway, cumin seeds, licorice, etc. Some of these herbs are familiar ingredients that you most likely even know.

We have put together the best substitutes for fennel seeds that you can always use when you run out of fennel feeds at home.

What is Fennel Seed Used For?

Fennel seeds is often used in savory dishes due to its sweet, warm, and earthy flavor. People mostly add fennel seeds in seasonings or rubs for sausage, fish, or red meat.

Aside from that, fennel seed can also be used in sweet chai tea mixtures or other desserts that requires spicy sweetness. It works perfectly in baked bread or other baked foods that calls for a touch of sweetness.

But despite its distinctive flavor, many other tasty herbs can be used as good substitutes for fennel seed, and they will come out incredibly well.

Let’s look at these herbs!

Best Fennel Seed Substitutes

1. Anise

Fennel Seed Substitutes

It is one of the main substitutes for fennel seed you can find.

Anise seeds are very much like the fennel seed because of the licorice flavor they both have in common; this makes it an exceptional substitute for fennel seeds if you happen to be looking out for something with an equivalent taste.

It is quite smaller than the fennel, but it is more fragrant.

While the fennel seed is generally used as vegetable in meats, anise is better for enhancing the zest in desserts and pastries as a spice.

The seeds can be used either whole or ground, and no matter your preference for seasoning your dishes, it is guaranteed that would they both give a unique licorice-like flavor.

It is occasionally used in both delightful and savory recipes, all in place of fennel. Use the same amount of anise in your recipe as you would have used if it were the fennel seed.

2. Dill seeds

Dill seeds are an outstanding alternative for fennel seed replacement. If you happen to have beheld a fennel plant in the past, you will realize that the fronds at the top look exactly like dill.

In terms of taste, dill seeds are closely similar to fennel seeds. Although they are not as sweet as fennel, they function well when utilized in savory recipes.

Their flavor isn’t as potent as fennel, so it would be a nice idea to use a little more than the quantity you would have used for fennel.

They are mostly used in making dill oil and dill tea.

They are a popular seasoning option in the USA, as many people are increasingly enjoying chips and pickles made with dill.

Interestingly, they are available in two forms: dried and fresh. The dried ones last longer than the raw ones as their duration is two days, even if stored in a fridge.

It has more of a tangy zest that makes it preferred for fish dishes and egg recipes.

3. Caraway

Caraway seeds are also a good option when you are searching for a substitute that will have a similar taste to anise or licorice.

Even though they are identified as seeds, they’re tiny fruits, about 1/4 inch in length, which look a little like fennel seeds.

The licorice taste is better distinct in caraway than fennel, and the taste is more bitter than sweet.

With that in mind, if you want to reproduce the earthy taste of the fennel while maintaining the licorice undertone, you definitely should try it out.

The seeds are lovely in loaves of bread, cabbage dishes, and all meat dishes; you should use a smaller amount of carraway than you would for fennel, but feel free to add more if you choose to.

4. Cumin seeds

Cumin is a distinct spice generally employed in a variety of cuisine such as Mexican, South American, Indian and more.

While they have just two varied flavors, they both have diverse earthiness.

Cumin is spicier when compared to fennel, which is why it is frequently used in combination with other spices such as curry powder, fajita spices, chili powder, and taco seasoning.

You can purchase cumin in powdered form and seeds, and depending on your recipe, either form would function well.

You can use the exact proportion of cumin as you would use the fennel, but have it in mind that grounded cumin is likely to be stronger than the seeds.

Cumin in powder form effortlessly integrates with other seasonings to develop distinct new flavors. Cumin seeds and powder are traded all year round, making them a readily available fennel seed substitute.

5. Licorice root powder

The ground form of the licorice root will also be an excellent replacement for fennel seeds if you want to reproduce a taste that is similar to it.

It is potent and will taste much better than fennel. Therefore, you should use it in lesser quantities.

Sadly, it has health risks. It is recognized to influence blood pressure, so, if you appear to have heart problems or blood pressure troubles, you should confer with your doctor before eating licorice, in whatever amount.

6. Fresh fennel and fennel fronds

Which substitute can be satisfactory for fennel seeds than the fennel itself! You can roast some fresh fennel and cut it up to use in your recipe to add profundity, composition, and taste.

Variably, you can use the fennel fronds the same way as you would use raw herbs. The fronds have fresh dills, as I have mentioned before, so you can use them in the same way to get the same result.

Fronds function best as a form of embellishment in salads or stews. Fennel that has been chopped up is an extraordinary option in stews, too, as well as in numerous other recipes.

7. French tarragon

Very much like our beloved fennel, and of course, many other fennel replacements that we have discussed so far, the French tarragon again has a unique licorice flavor.

People often suggest the use of fennel as an alternative for tarragon, so you can utilize it vice versa, as well. We advise that you use a similar quantity of french tarragon as you would with the fennel seeds.

You can use dried french tarragon or fresh ones that have been neatly sliced. This works best for spicy recipes, especially with white meat or fish.

8. Mahlab

Mahlab is a major spice in Mediterranean cooking, it is widely used in cookies. Its seeds have a sense that incorporates both sweetness and sourness and have a subtly cherry-like aroma.

They are not the most efficient fennel seed substitute, but they can be the option when stocks become meager.

Mahlab can be obtained in seeds and powder forms. If you prefer to use the seeds, you should have them cooked before putting them in sweet and savory foods.

This will help you get rid of the harsh aftertaste as well as bring out the vibrant and fruity flavor that blends well with a variety of sweet dishes.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do fennel seeds taste like

Fennel seeds have an aniseed flavour with a warm, sweet aroma.

What are the disadvantages of eating Fennel seeds?

In as much it is very healthy, it has certain disadvantages. It may provoke the uterus, it may also cause allergies, it is also a known cause of skin diseases. It also affects breasts and can quite possibly react with medicines.

Is fennel seed bad for my health?

It is safe to eat whole fennel seeds in moderateness, but the potent classes of chemicals established in many the many supplements may not be as safe. Anethole, which is one of the main compounds in fennel seeds, has characteristics that are identical to estrogen.

Do fennel seeds add flavor?

Yes, fennel seed is a wonderful spice that adds a warm, aromatic flavor to your dishes.

What does dried fennel taste like

Even though it looks like onions and other bulbs, dried fennel seeds tastes so much like anise or licorice.

Is it good to eat Fennel seeds daily?

Yes, you can eat fennel seeds daily! This is because Fennel seeds are abundant in fiber and may support weight loss and also restrain your hunger pangs. They function as diuretics and enhance metabolism.

Eating fennel seeds daily with harmonious nourishment in place and adequate workout assists you in shedding extra pounds rapidly.


Do you relish these 8 best fennel seed substitutes? We expect that you will be convinced enough to try at least one of them when your subsequent recipe calls for fennel seeds.

There are numerous means to cook satisfactorily if you know about these alternatives for certain foods. I hope that we have convincingly put you through some of those areas.


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