Fennel Seed Substitute: What Can I Use Instead of Fennel Seeds?

Packed with health benefits, like breath freshening, blood pressure reduction and aiding weight reduction.

Fennel is also an ingredient in many dishes.

With an intense, sweetly liquorice flavour, it’s used in exotic cuisines like Indian and Iranian.

But sometimes, for some reason, fennel seeds aren’t available.

So what can you use as a fennel seeds substitute if the need arises?

There are quite a few substitutes, actually.

Here’s a list…

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  1. Carraway Seeds: These have a similarly liquorice-like flavour, with a more bitter undertone. Use as a fennel substitute in savoury dishes.

  2. Aniseeds: These are a bit more pungent, but will work well in both sweet and savoury dishes.

  3. Cumin Seeds: These have a more savoury taste and can substitute for fennel in savoury dishes.

  4. Dill Seeds: The flavour isn’t as strong as fennel, but they will work in savoury dishes.

  5. Fresh Fennel: Roast and chop fresh fennel and use as directed for fennel seeds.

  6. Liquorice Root Powder: If you have some of this, you may use instead of fennel

  7. Tarragon: This is another handy fennel replacement.

Fennell Seed Substitutes: A Few FAQs

Let’s look at some frequently asked questions about fennel seeds and their substitutes.

Are fennel seeds same as cumin?

They are two different types of seeds, with cumin having the more savoury flavour.

Can I substitute caraway seeds for fennel seeds?

As already mentioned, carraway seeds can be substituted for fennel seeds in more savoury dishes.

Can I leave out fennel seeds?

Fennel imparts a sweetly liquorice flavour to both sweet and savoury dishes.

If you don’t add the fennel seeds, something will be missing.

So it’s better to use a substitute, whether sweet or savoury.

I don’t like fennel, so what can I use instead?

If you don’t like the taste of fennel, you might prefer to leave it out completely.

Most fennel substitutes have a similar flavour, in greater or lesser intensity.

Can I use star anise instead of fennel?

Star anise is not related to aniseed, yet it has a similar liquorice-type flavour.

When ground as a powder, the two can be used interchangeably.

However, it’s a bit more potent so you might prefer to use less quantity.

What’s another name for fennel seeds?

Foenicumum Vulgare is the Latin name for the plant on which it comes.

In north India, fennel seeds are known as ‘saunf’.

Can I use fresh fennel instead of fennel seeds?

Yes, that’s entirely possible. 

A little roasted, chopped fresh fennel is a perfect substitute for the fennel seeds in case you haven’t got any available with you.

What’s the best fennel seed substitute?

It all depends on whether you’re looking for a substitute for fennel for sweeter or more savoury dishes.

What’s The Best Fennel Seed Substitute?

Overall, it would seem that fresh fennel, once roasted and chopped, it the perfect fennel seed substitute.