substitute for fennel seed

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fennel seeds are popular in the spices category to add to your dishes to make then tasteful. they taste little bit sweet and are easily found in all local market store but some times you don’t find them so the need of substitute for fennel seed arises to add to your dishes as it has lot of flavor and benefits to it.

here i will share lot of potential substitutes of fennel seeds which you can use in your dishes and recipes to make them tasty too. fennel seeds also taste good good if consumed directly without any thing or with little bit sugar. fennel seeds powder mixed with almond powder and white chili powder is powerful concoction to eat 1 spoon daily for healthy eyes for long term.

substitute for fennel seed

if you want to know the best of all then i would recommend you use anise seeds or licorice but other also can be used for good flavor, so checkout the popular fennel seeds alternatives right below.

Fennel seeds substitutes and alternatives

cumin seeds

cumin seeds are great alternative to fennel seeds. they have little bit spicy taste and smells like soil up to certain extent. it is easy to find in all local markets and comes at cheaper price when compared to fennel seeds. you can substitute 1 spoon cumin seeds for every 1 soon fennel seeds without any issues.


parsley can also be used as substitute for fennel seeds. you can make use of dried parsley and garden fresh parsley in dishes in place of fennel seeds but if you are using dried parsley then keep the quantity less as it has intense flavor. in general use more parsley than fennel seeds to make flavor rich dishes when you don’t have fennel seeds.

it is popularly used in soups, sandwiches, grilling marinades, salad with escarole and other similar dishes to enhance to flavor and aroma of the food.

dill seeds

dill seeds can also be used as fennel seeds alternative in many dishes to give them a good flavor. they come with mild flavor when compared to fennel seeds. so you need to add twice the quantity of dill seeds to replace fennel seeds in any dish.

caraway seeds

caraway seeds also works as fennel seeds substitute. it has mild flavor. they can be added in same quantity as fennels seeds for flavor. if you want extra flavor then adjust the quantity as per your requirement.

mahlab seed

mahlab seeds are less popular alternative to fennel seeds but some people like to use if for it sour and sweet flavor which makes your dishes like chili, soups etc. taste great always when used in right quantity. some people also use it in sweet dishes like puddings as the flavor compliments the sweet dishes nicely.

you can use 1 spoon mahlab seeds in place of 1 spoon fennel seeds in most of the food items but if you are thinking of adding it items like meat then i would recommend to avoid it as the taste wont be great, so you can choose some other fennel substitute from this post for such food items.


celery is a good alternative to fennel seeds and can be used as a replacement for them when you don’t have fennel seeds in the kitchen with you.  it can can be used in all formats including, raw, cooked, diced, chopped and shredded.

it will give good taste to your dishes after cooking. keep adding it gradually to your dish to get the best taste required from your dish and enjoy. if you are looking for celery alternatives than we have detailed post on that to use its substitutes when you don’t have celery with you.

fennel oil

if you don’t have fennel seeds than you can also use fennel oil as its prepared form seeds only. you can use it in salads and other dishes but some dishes it wont work like burgers etc. it can be used in baked food items while making the dough to give it fennel like flavor. it is intense in flavor so add it gradually to your dish to get the right flavor, too much will make oily dish so keep the quantity in mind while using the fennel oil in place of fennel seeds.

anisette liqueur

it is prepared from anise seeds and can be used in most of the dishes where fennel seeds are required. it can been bought from your neighborhood super markets and wont be costly but will make your dish delicious to eat post its addition.

it works great in making all kinds of sauces and dips like bbq sauce, tomato sauce etc. it also has little bit alcohol content in it so keep the quantity in the dishes low if you intend to serve it to kids or don’t like alcohol in general.

anise seeds

anise seeds are popular replacement for your favorite fennel seeds due to their similar flavors with each other. it is easy to find in all kinds of local markets so you can use them whenever required when you don’t have fennel seeds

they are small in size and can be used in same quantity as fennel seeds in all kinds of dishes you want them in.

licorice root powder

licorice powder has similar flavor to fennel seeds and can be used as its alternative in many dishes. the flavor intensity of this is on higher side when compare with fennel seeds so i would recommend you to replace 1/2 spoon of powder for every one spoon of fennel seeds in the dish to get the similar taste.

Frequently asked Questions

Are fennel seeds same as cumin seeds?

no fennel seeds are not same as cumin seeds but cumin seeds serves as a good alternative to fennel seeds and vise versa. cumin seeds has little bit spicy and intense flavor when compared to fennel seeds which have light and sweet flavor.

cumin seeds have light brown color and fennel seeds have little bit greenish color. the taste and flavor of both of them matches a bit but not exactly so use in moderation gradually to get the taste that your taste buds love.

What does fennel seed taste like?

fennel seeds have little bit sweet taste which will make your dish taste good after cooking. it is distinct in nature. if you want your spicy dishes to get a ting of sweetness then fennel seeds would be a great addition to them. roasting fennel seeds give little bit sour taste to them and texture would become crispy if that’s what you are looking for.

what does fennel smell like?

fennel smells like licorice and anise seeds to a great extent with mild intensity. when you compare the intensity then the top would licorice then anise seeds and then fennel seeds.

is anise seed the same as fennel seed?

both of them comes from same family plants and can be used as alternatives to each other in most of the dishes. anise seeds can be used in dishes in which you don’t want fennel like sweetness but all other things like fennel. the size of anise seeds is smaller than fennel seeds. anise seed is used as spice which can added directly in recipes or first roasted and then added to enhance the flavor a bit. anise seeds are more intense and pungent in flavor when compared to fennel seeds. they are popular in Indian and Chinese dishes.


hope you like the list of fennel seeds alternatives shared above to use when you don’t have fennel seeds in your kitchen to add in your favorite dishes to enhance the taste.

try the fennel seeds substitutes from above and let us know which works best with which dish in comments below so our readers can also be benefitted from it. if you use some other substitutes not mentioned here then also let us know below

share this post with all your friends who loves to play with different herbs and spice in different dishes to help them use these fennel seeds alternatives in recipes of their choice.

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