Find a great fennel seed substitute on this list of simple ingredients that can be swapped for fennel seed in any recipe! Whether you are making soups, sauces, bread, pizza, or anything else, these options will add just the flavor you need! Just choose a fennel seed substitute from this list and let's get cooking!
Best Fennel Seed Substitutes
Have you ever been halfway through making a dish only to realize that you are missing one of the ingredients needed? While it may feel like a waste of time to finish the recipe without the needed items, sometimes having the right substitution can enhance the dish, or revamp it in a whole new way!
Below we are going to discuss choosing the best fennel seed substitute for those unexpected moments when you have none left in your pantry!
1. Star Anise
Star anise is a well-known spice that provides ample amounts of warm flavors with a hint of licorice. You can use whole or ground star anise depending on your preference. Star anise can be used in a similar ratio because it won’t overpower your dish.
Star anise is a great substitution for fennel seed because it goes well in all types of recipes such as soups, curries, marinades, and even bread!
Use star anise in a 1:1 substitution for fennel seed.
Cardamom is a flavorful spice that is used worldwide by many high-end chefs and restaurants. It is one of the most expensive spices per pound in the world, which makes it quite a delicacy.
It is warm and delicious just like fennel seed which allows it to be a great alternative. Cardamom comes in green and black, both of which are bold and delicious. Add cardamom to your pies, meat, or pasta!
Use cardamom in a 1:1 substitution for fennel seed.
3. Ground Clove
Ground clove is ultra-fragrant with a unique and bold flavor that will fill out your recipe. It has a similar vibe to fennel seed, they are both strong and subtly sweet with strong undertones of bitterness.
You can also buy clove whole and grind it yourself or use it whole. Ground clove is great when added to both sweet and savory dishes.
Use ground clove in a 1:1 substitution for fennel seed.
While cumin is a bit spicier than fennel seed, it is still a nice substitute. Cumin adds an earthy and warm layer of flavor that can help enhance your recipe when fennel seeds aren't available. Ground cumin and cumin seed are the same spice, the only difference is the texture. Add cumin to curry dishes to take them to a whole new level.
Use cumin in a 1:1 substitution for fennel seed.
5. Licorice Root
Licorice root is a great alternative for fennel seeds. Both spices have a similar taste and will add that extra layer of flavor to your dish.
Licorice root is significantly more pungent than fennel seeds which should be taken into consideration when adding it to your recipe. Licorice root is a great addition to sausage when fennel isn't available.
Use licorice root in a ½ :1 substitution for fennel seed.
6. Caraway Seeds
Caraway seeds don't have the same bold licorice flavor as fennel seeds, but they do add a soft essence that can help deepen the flavor of your recipe. They offer a complex level of flavors that include a bit of nuttiness and citrus undertones.
Add caraway seeds to your Italian dishes such as beef bolognese or extra cheesy lasagna!
Use caraway seeds in a 1:1 substitution for fennel seed.
7. Celery Seed
Celery seeds are one of my favorite things to add to salad dressings and sauces. While the flavor does differ from fennel seeds, you still get an aromatic and savory component that deepens the layers of flavors for any recipe.
Celery seed tastes very similar to celery but with a tad of bitterness. Add celery seeds whole or use ground celery seeds to your dish.
Use celery seed in a 1:1 substitution for fennel seed.
8. Dill Seeds
Dill seeds are mild in comparison to the flavor of fennel seeds, but they do add a light grassy taste with a mildly bitter undertone. They are great when added to soups, marinades, and salad dressings.
Since dill is less pungent than fennel seeds, you can use them more liberally in your recipe.
Use dill seeds in a 1:1 substitution for fennel seed.
Tarragon is a bittersweet herb that is a great replacement for fennel seed. It has a licorice flavor that fennel is known to have which allows it to give your dish a similar flavor and aroma.
Tarragon is great added to savory meat dishes and sweet bread recipes.
Use tarragon in a 1:1 substitution for fennel seed.
10. Ground Fennel
Ground fennel is essentially the same thing as fennel seed, except for the fact that it is in powder form. It is actually a great substitution because it will give you the same flavor.
It may even work better than fennel seed if you are not a fan of the texture of the seeds.
Use ground fennel in a 1:1 substitution for fennel seed.
11. Fennel Oil
While fennel seed may be what the recipe calls for, fennel oil will give you the same flavor. The only difference is that fennel seeds will provide a slight texture if they are added to the dish whole.
Fennel oil is very strong so add it in little by little until you reach your desired taste.
Use ¼ the amount of fennel oil.
Fennel seed has a bold and unique flavor that enhances many recipes, but the substitutions listed above can help balance out your dish if fennel seed is not available. If you try a fennel seed substitute from this list, we would love to know how the recipe turned out in the comments below!
Best Fennel Seed Substitute: Star Anise (+More Great Alternatives To Use In Recipes!)
Best Fennel Substitutes
- 1 teaspoon star anise (whole, aniseed, or ground star anise)
- 1 teaspoon cardamom (whole pods or ground cardamom)
- 1 teaspoon cloves (whole or ground cloves)
Best Fennel Substitutes
- Star anise comes in several forms, for baking use star anise powder (which is stronger than star anise seeds so start with less). Star anise seeds are not as potent in flavor, but can be used in a 1:1 ratio as fennel seeds.1 teaspoon star anise
- Use cardamom pods whole (and roasted) for enhancing both sweet and savory dishes. Green or black pods can be cracked and the seeds ground to make baking, chai, curry, and more absolutely delicious.1 teaspoon cardamom
- Cloves are another great spice that can be used for both sweet and savory dishes, and that is available as whole cloves or ground cloves. For the most pungent flavor, freshly grind your own whole cloves. Use as a 1:1 fennel seed substitute.1 teaspoon cloves
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!