Fennel seed is one of the best spices you can use in your dishes.
Whether it’s fresh fennel or fennel seeds, this particular spice can elevate any dish.
One of the best things about fennel seed is its versatility.
You can use this spice in most dishes.
However, fennel seed is a spice that is not very common.
Sometimes, you might even run out of it and not be aware.
So, what do you do? Are there any substitutes for fennel seeds? The answer is yes.
We’ll be sharing the 5 best substitutes for fennel seeds in this guide.
What are Fennel Seeds?
Fennel seeds come from the flowering fennel plant.
Today, fennel seeds appear in almost every cuisine.
Whether it’s for pickling vegetables, making curries, making stock, or even delicious spread, fennel is a good option.
In regards to the taste and the smell, fennel is similar to licorice.
It has a sweet and earthy flavor and is quite powerful.
Just a few seeds in your dish can easily change the entire flavor.
These oval-shaped and tan-colored seeds can be cooked or sprinkled as a dressing.
It’s a little-known fact, but fennel seeds are not just good as an aromatic, but they have health benefits as well.
The 5 Best Substitutes For Fennel Seeds
Here are some of the best alternatives for fennel seeds that work quite well.
1 – Celery Stalk
If you can not find fennel seeds in your spice cabinet, celery stalks are a good idea as a substitute.
This is because both celery and fennel are from the same family of carrots.
Both of them have similarities when it comes to flavor.
You’ll get a sweet, salty, and earthy flavor from both.
Fennel seeds tend to be crunchy when raw and soft when cooked.
This is the same case for celery stalk as well.
So, you won’t just be getting similar flavor, but also similar textures.
All in all, the celery stalk is a great substitute for fennel seeds.
Substitute ratio- One tablespoon of grounded or whole fennel seeds is equal to one or two stalks of celery.
2 – Cumin Seeds
Fennel seeds are quite common in countries like India.
However, not everyone can find them easily.
In such cases, cumin seeds can work quite well as a replacement.
Both fennel and cumin are common spices in cuisines like Indian.
So, it’s no surprise that you can use cumin seeds as an alternative for fennel seeds.
In terms of flavor, you might not get the exact taste, but it is quite similar.
You can use fennel seeds in their whole form or even grounded form.
The same is the case with cumin seeds.
You can either put them as whole seeds or even ground them up.
Substitute ratio- You can use the exact amount of cumin seeds as you would for fennel seeds.
3 – Dill Seeds
Another great substitute for fennel seeds is dill seeds.
Most people make use of fennel seeds in curries or even as rubs for meat.
You can do the same with dill seeds.
They pair well with all sorts of curries, and the best thing is, you can even ground them up and use them as a rub.
Although dill is an amazing source of health benefits, its importance and versatility as a culinary spice are what make it very useful.
Dill seeds do not provide the exact flavor as fennel, but it comes close.
However, if you’re planning on using dill as a replacement, do it in savory dishes.
Substitute ratio- You can use dill seeds in the same quantity as fennel seeds for savory recipes.
4 – Anise Seeds
Anise seeds are easily available in almost every supermarket or grocery store.
So, if you run out of fennel seeds and you have anise seeds at home, you can use them as a substitute.
Both fennel seeds and anise seeds have a licorice-like taste and flavor.
Anise seeds tend to be thicker, but don’t worry.
The flavor is the same.
Whether it’s for savory dishes or desserts, anise seeds work as a great substitute for fennel seeds.
Here’s a tip:
If you’re planning on using anise seeds, grinding them into a powder form is a good idea.
This allows for maximum flavor.
Substitute ratio- If the recipe calls for one whole tablespoon of fennel seeds, you can use one-fourth of anise seeds.
5 – Licorice Root
People cultivate Licorice roots all over the Middle East, Asia, and Europe.
And the good news is, it is a great substitute for fennel seeds.
After all, both licorice root and fennel seeds provide the exact flavor profile.
They are both sweet and earthy.
Despite the fact that licorice roots are excellent for medicinal uses, they can also act as a spice.
If you are considering using the whole root, soaking them in warm water is a good idea to bring out the best flavor.
The longer you soak, the more intense the taste will be.
But you can always ground them up as well.
Substitute ratio- Half a teaspoon of licorice roots is the same as using one teaspoon of fennel seeds.
It happens to all of us.
We get in the mood to cook and whip something up, but we’re short of an ingredient.
If you cannot find fennel seeds or you run out of this spice, the good news is that there are several alternatives you can make use of.
No one can imagine making a curry without spices like fennel seeds.
However, fennel seeds are not very common as you think.
This particular ingredient can, however, be replaced by other common kitchen spices with the same flavor.