Home Articles 10 Substitutes for Fennel Seeds (Best Replacements)

10 Substitutes for Fennel Seeds (Best Replacements)

These substitutes for fennel seeds are the next best thing when you don’t have them!

Fennel seeds can be a great flavoring option for many dishes. 

But if you don’t have any on hand or are looking for uniquely delicious alternatives, you’ve come to the right place! 

Fennel Seed on a Wooden Spoon and Glass Jar

There are spices and herbs already found in your pantry. There are also new ingredients you can discover at your local supermarket.

There’s something here to satisfy any palate. 

So why wait? Dive in and explore these fantastic substitutes for fennel seeds.

Caraway Seeds Spilled on a Metal Teaspoon

1. Caraway Seeds

Caraway seeds, often mistaken for fennel seeds, have been unexpectedly rising to the occasion by being a legitimate substitute. 

If you’re looking for a strong anise-like flavor like that provided by fennel, caraway is your go-to. 

Plus, it’s less expensive than most other spices out there, so caraway certainly packs a flavor punch that won’t break the bank. 

It definitely deserves to be given more attention than it has in the past!

Cardamom Seeds on a Wooden Mortar and Pestle

2. Cardamom

If you thought cardamom was just for Turkish coffee and chai, think again! 

The spicy, aromatic flavor of cardamom is the perfect substitute for fennel seeds in any dish.

It brings out the earthy notes found in vegetables, legumes, potatoes, and grains. 

Unlike more potent spices like cumin or chili powder, cardamom won’t overpower a dish with its intensity.

So rejoice and give your tastebuds an unexpected surprise with this delicious alternative.

It’s both unexpected and perfectly suited to spice up all your favorite meals.

Wooden Spoon Filled With Celery Seeds

3. Celery Seed

Celery seed is the ideal substitute for fennel seeds because it has none of the problems associated with fennel. 

Fennel can be quite expensive due to its popularity, as well as being hard to find in ordinary supermarkets. 

However, celery seed is substantially more cost-effective and much easier to track down! 

Plus, you get all the anise-like flavor that you want from fennel without any of the hassles.

It’s a win-win situation for anyone looking to spice up their dish. 

Wooden Bowl of Cumin Seeds

4. Cumin

Cumin is a great alternative to fennel seeds if you’re in a crunch. 

Its subtle flavor is a lot like the licorice-like notes of fennel, and it’s perfect for adding an extra layer of flavor to dishes! 

If your recipe calls for some crunchy texture, simply toast cumin before adding it, or use roasted cumin powder.

Either way, you’ll take your dish from okay to amazing! 

Plus, with its easily recognizable deep golden hue, cumin can give any dish that extra pop of color that turns it into something special.

Dill Seeds Spilled from a Metal Teaspoon

5. Dill Seeds

If you ever find yourself in a bind and realize that you don’t have fennel seeds to complete a recipe, don’t fret! 

With dill seeds, you can solve any culinary conundrum with ease. 

Not only are dill seeds a great alternative for fennel seeds in dishes, but they actually provide many of the same flavor benefits. 

The flavor of dill is more delicate than fennel but provides subtle hints of sweetness and an earthy, mustard-like warmth. I

t pairs nicely with almost any savory dish. 

Fennel Oil on a Small Glass Pitcher Jar

6. Fennel Oil

Fennel oil is a convenient and effective alternative to fennel seeds.

Not only is it so much quicker and easier, but fennel oil packs a powerful punch in terms of flavor and aroma. 

Plus, it makes for a wonderful ingredient when added to vinaigrettes or marinades.

Its subtle sweet taste pairs well with any mix of flavors! 

So why bother with slow-roasting whole seeds when you can reap all the benefits of fennel with just a few drops of fennel oil?

Ground Clove on a Small White Bowl

7. Ground Clove

Ground clove is a surprisingly delightful substitution for fennel seeds if you’re ever in a pinch. 

Not only are their tastes remarkably similar, but the rich aroma of their warm and smoky notes never fails to make mouths water. 

Cloves can be swapped into your favorite baking and cooking recipes without drastically changing the expected flavor.

Everyone will marvel at how creative of a chef you are! 

With no fuss, ground clove is sure to save any recipe from dullness with its delightful essence.

Whole and Powdered Licorice Root

8. Licorice Root Powder

Many people might turn their noses up to the idea of licorice root powder as a substitute for fennel seeds.

But its surprising effectiveness cannot be denied! 

You see, it is naturally sweet and packs a powerful flavor profile without any strong aftertaste. 

It’s perfect for adding an extra zing to your dishes without overwhelming your tastebuds. 

On top of that, it has some therapeutic benefits, such as aiding in digestion and containing anti-inflammatory properties. 

So don’t run away from licorice root powder – embrace it instead, and discover a whole new world of flavor with every bite!

Star Anise on a Small Bowl

9. Star Anise

Star anise is the perfect substitute for fennel seeds when you can’t find any.

With its savory, licorice-like flavor and aroma, star anise brings a rich complexity to dishes without breaking anyone’s bank account. 

The spicy licorice flavor of star anise imparts much of the same sweet tang that one could expect from its sibling fennel.

It gives any dish a kick of zest without being overpowering. 

Despite its clear similarities to fennel seeds, it offers a much more robust taste at a fraction of the price.

You won’t have to worry about being overcharged for premium flavors.

Dried Tarragon Leaves on a Spice Bowl

10. Tarragon

Tarragon is an excellent stand-in for fennel seeds, as it gives your dish a flavorful, mysterious twist. 

Sometimes, fennel’s subtle licorice-like taste can be intimidating to cook with. 

Tarragon provides a more robust flavor profile that’s actually quite similar to the original ingredient.

But it’s just unpredictable enough to keep you on your toes. 

Plus, it’s a great way to add an interesting depth to any dish.

Its subtle anise notes add an amazingly bright and flavorful touch to Mediterranean dishes.

Try it with hummus, tuna steaks, tagines, and pasta sauces as well.

10 Substitutes for Fennel Seeds (Best Replacements)

Try these substitutes for fennel seeds when you don’t have any on hand. From cardamom to cumin to dill seeds, each one will work in a pinch!


  • Caraway Seeds

  • Cardamom

  • Celery Seed

  • Cumin

  • Dill Seeds

  • Fennel Oil

  • Ground Clove

  • Licorice Root Powder

  • Star Anise

  • Tarragon


  • Select your favorite fennel susbtitute.
  • Organize all the required ingredients.
  • Prep a delicious recipe in 30 minutes or less!
Substitutes for Fennel Seeds

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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