5 Great Substitutes For Caraway Seeds

May 6, 2021 | Cooking Tips

Caraway seeds don’t really look like seeds but rain grains with the husk enveloped around them. What caraway seeds are actually, are the dried fruit of the caraway plant. If you have not been introduced to caraway seeds, you’re in the right place to meet them.

Are you looking for substitutes for caraway seeds?

Then you’re at the right place!

Caraway seeds are aromatic and have that distinctive licorice taste to them, sort of like star anise. Its real notes are citrus and slightly peppery in flavor with a hint of earth. Although not as strong as star anise when added into food, caraway seeds add that nice subtle hint of its delicate flavor into dishes.

These seeds are more commonly used in common dishes than you think. It is no doubt added to rye bread, sauerkraut and goulash.

These seeds are a gem in the cooking world but what if you don’t have any?

Here are 5 substitutes for caraway seeds.

Fennel Seeds

1. Fennel Seeds

Fennel seeds are actually the best substitute for caraway seeds on this list. They’re the closest to caraway seeds and they’re often used as THE substitute for caraway seeds.

Caraway seeds and fennel seeds are both part of the carrot family so the classification is on point. Fennel seeds don’t quite get the flavor of caraway seeds but the licorice notes are in there.

Fennel seeds make a great substitute for caraway seeds in rye bread and even pork sausages. It adds depth to the flavors of these kinds of food.

Anise Seeds

2. Anise Seeds

Anise seeds are more powerful in flavor and aroma compared to caraway seeds. If you’re using anise seeds instead of caraway seeds, make sure to cut the amount in half. You’re looking for the effect that caraway seeds create in a certain dish so you don’t want its effect to be too overpowering.

Anise seeds are the best substitute for caraway seeds in sauerkraut because it absolutely gets the vibe and flavor note that caraway seeds give.

Dill Seeds

3. Dill Seeds

Dill seeds sound quite subtle and exciting to use because of the dill herb. Dill is a delicious and aromatic pin needle-like herb that is great in eggs, salads, vinegar, dressing and sauces. Dill seeds on the other hand have a very subtle licorice aroma and flavor like caraway seeds. They are also usually used in Eastern European dishes.

Dill seeds would be the best substitute for caraway seeds for goulash or other stews that require it.

Star Anise Seeds

4. Star Anise Seeds

If we were to rate the strength in flavor of these substitutes, star anise would be the most potent. It’s very strong in flavor and smell, even stronger than anise seeds.

It makes a good substitute for caraway seeds but you must be careful with the amount you use. Use a pinch for star anise as a substitute for caraway seeds.

Nigella Seeds

5. Nigella Seeds

Nigella seeds are known to be one of the oldest spices in the world. Ancient civilizations have used this old spice and our civilization is still using. How great is that?

Nigella seeds are tiny black seeds that have a bitter taste with some notes of onion. Just like the other substitutes for caraway seeds mentioned above, nigella seeds also have licorice notes making it a good substitute.

Nigella seeds are often used in rye bread specifically in Russia and Indian naan bread. They’re also good to top over salads, garnish over plain rice and other stews.


Hey there! I'm Isabel. I love cooking, dogs, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good flavorful food, to share with family and friends.



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