How To Find A Fennel Seed Substitute And More!

Is the recipe you are planning to make calling for fennel seeds, but you don’t have one on hand? Fennel seeds have a very distinct flavor that you can’t leave out in a recipe so simply skipping it won’t do the trick.

You really ought to find a substitute to make sure you don’t lose the fragrance that is very typical of dishes that use this ingredient. In this article, we will be talking about fennel seed substitutes you can use and why you may or may not want to use them.


Some Background On Fennel Seeds

Fennel seed

Fennel is regarded as a perennial flowering plant that is related to parsley. The root and stalk of this plant are often cooked as vegetables while the seeds are popularly used as a spice. They are popularly used in various dishes and eating them can actually help to freshen the breath of a person after a meal.

It is extremely popular in French and Italian recipes, although it's commonly used spice in Indian and North African recipes as well. In addition, it's one of the pronounced flavors of Chinese five-spice powder. The taste of fennel seeds is usually delineated as being delicate and sweet and as being the same as that of anise or licorice.

Fennel seeds are usually light-green or caramel brown and oval in form. They’re historically employed in food sauces, sausages and numerous pork dishes in both ground and whole type. The great news is that if you're searching for a substitute to fennel seed, you have got some several choices.

How Fennel Seed May Be Used

Quantity of fennel seed may be used

Fennel seed may be used either as whole seed or ground, and are utilized in both sweet and savory recipes. If you decide to use it whole, make sure to crack the seeds lightly by using the heel of a chef's knife or the bottom of a cooking pan or pot, to unleash the aromatic oils.

Fennel seed is good for the digestive system. It's used to make tea and pills that are being used for this purpose. In certain Asian countries and even in Pakistan, fennel seed is usually roasted and consumed after a meal with a refreshed breath as an additional incentive.

It is also a common ingredient in loose tea blends, like chai and lactation teas. It may even be steeped and enjoyed on its own if you will soak it in hot water. It may also be used with other spices as dry rubs for meat and fish. Fennel seeds add a refined sweetness to sausages, pasta sauces, homemade bread, and cookies.

Fennel Substitutes You Can Use

Fennel seeds have a delicate sweetness and a refreshing aroma which you wouldn’t want to miss in your dish. While we may able to replicate the flavors and the aroma in a manner of speaking, fennel seeds have health benefits which these alternatives are in no way intended to replicate.

If you are looking for a substitute for this reason, you are definitely in the wrong place. We only recommend these substitutes purely for flavor and aroma but not for any other use. Here are our recommendations below:

1. Substitute Fennel Seeds With Anise Seed

Anise seed

An ideal substitute for fennel seeds is anise seeds, as they have a similar flavor. As compared to fennel, anise seeds are kind of smaller, and are more pungent. But both spices are often used as substitutes for each other simply by using the same amount as you normally would with the original ingredient.

Even though these seeds come from different plants, both fennel and anise seeds share a similar flavor profile. Their tastes are comparable enough that people often mistake one for the other.

We'd like to emphasize that even though anise seeds are smaller than fennel seeds, they are more pungent. This means that when using anise seed as a fennel seed substitute, you can use it in an equal amount. Like fennel seeds, you can use anise seeds whole or ground.

2. Substitute Fennel Seeds With Cumin Seeds

Cumin seeds

Cumin seeds and fennel seeds have a very slight difference in terms of flavor. Cumin seeds contain a spicy and earthy aroma. If you need a teaspoon of fennel seeds, you can replace it with an equal quantity of cumin seeds.

Although these tiny cumin seeds are rather dainty in appearance, its nutty, peppery flavor packs a punch once it comes to adding a nutty and hot flavor to chili and other Mexican and Texan dishes, likewise holding an important role in Indian and Middle Eastern cooking wherein it's a fundamental element of curry powder. Both whole and ground cumin seeds are accessible all year-round, so you won't have any problem at all using this as a substitute for fennel seeds.

Cumin seeds look like caraway seeds, being oblong in shape, lengthwise ridged, and brownish-yellow in color. This is not surprising as both cumin and caraway, as well as parsley and dill, belong to the same family.

After black pepper, cumin seeds is the most popularly used spice in the world. A flower associated with parsley originating around Egypt, its followed people around wherever they go. Cumin has a distinct flavor: it tastes earthy, musky, gamey, and spicy.

3. Substitute Fennel Seeds With Licorice Root

Licorice root

The flavor of fennel seeds is comparable to that of a licorice root. However, ensure to use a lesser amount of licorice, because it contains a stronger flavor, as compared to fennel. For instance, if you need a teaspoon of fennel seeds, half a teaspoon of licorice powder would be ample as a replacement.

Both fennel and anise taste very much like licorice root, therefore makes it a good substitute for both of them. It may be used in both savory and sweet dishes similar to anise and fennel seed.

Note that licorice root sometimes comes in the form of woody roots. If you do decide to use it in this way, you may need to steep the roots in a hot liquid and then use the liquid to flavor your dish. You’ll be able to increase the intensity of flavor by steeping for an extended time or adding additional licorice root to the fluid.

You may also use licorice powder, which contains a stronger flavor than that of fennel. If you are using licorice powder as a fennel seed substitute, use half a teaspoon for each teaspoon of fennel that the recipe asks for.

4. Substitute Fennel Seeds With Caraway Seeds

Caraway seeds

If you do not have any of the seasoning substitutes already mentioned, then you can opt to use caraway seeds. Even though caraway lacks the sweet flavor of fennel, it will give a rather similar taste.These are a member of the fennel family and have an analogous licorice flavor and will look very similar.

It's necessary to notice that with caraway seeds there are alternative flavor notes in conjunction with the licorice flavor. For starters, caraway isn't as sweet as fennel and has a somewhat nutty note; but, there are bread recipes that may be created with either fennel seeds or caraway seeds. In several dishes, it are often a suitable substitute.

5. Substitute Fennel Seeds With Dill Seeds

Dill seeds

These seeds are like caraway in flavor and may be used as a substitute for fennel seeds. Even this substitute might not be as flavorful as fennel or anise seeds. Dill seeds are yet one more fennel relative that may work as a substitute. Dill seeds have a flavor the same as that of caraway seeds and may be utilized in a lot of a similar manner.

Note that like caraway seeds, they're not as flavorful as fennel or anise seeds. You must also think about using finely chopped fennel leaves as a substitute for the seeds in some dishes, although this might not be good for all applications.

Were You Able To Find A Substitute That Will Work For You?

When it comes to substituting for fennel seeds, I have used anise seeds more often than all the others. Mostly because the taste of this is the one that is most similar to fennel seeds, and also because I have used it more frequently than all of the others so it’s easier for me to gauge how much and how to use it. Feel free to experiment with different spices so you can bring a new life to your dishes! Let us know what you think by posting your comments below.

If you have any questions or would like to share some information you think might be useful, please let us know and we are always happy to learn something new. If you would like to read other articles like this, feel to tell us and we will do our best to accommodate you. Happy reading!

Paula Hughes

I’m Paula, and I’m absolutely in love with food blogs. I’m a foodie at heart but being the mother of two small boys, it’s not always easy to keep up with fancy dinners… so I rely on the support of other blogging moms like me to help along the way.

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