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Substitute for Ground Fennel

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Fennel is a perennial herb that features yellow flowers and a sweet fragrance. Its native to the Mediterranean but is now found throughout the world as a culinary and medicinal plant. The plant is white and green, with feathery leaves, and both the bulb and the seeds possess a mild, licorice flavor.

But, the seeds are more potent because of their concentrated essential oils. And besides its numerous culinary uses, fennel and its seeds offer a wide array of health benefits and may provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial effects. Dried fennel seeds are typically used in cooking as an anise-like spice. And both fennels dried ripe seeds and oil are used to make medicine.

Ground Fennel Nutrition Facts

Substitute for Ground Fennel

Uses of Ground Fennel

Ground fennel seed has a licorice flavor like anise, though the latter is sweeter. And this spice is common in Italian fish and sausage recipes. This seed is also added to bread, pork, and vegetables and can be used whole or be finely ground. And both ways offer a strong anise flavor that is warm and aromatic.

Ground fennel blends wonderfully with tomatoes, seafood, and other spice. And its a delicious addition to fish or poultry dishes, cooked whole grains, pasta sauces, and many other recipes such as;

  • Fennel citrus salad
  • Sardinian lamb
  • Beef cashew vindaloo
  • Blue Berry ice cream cake
  • Porchetta
  • Aloo chaat
  • Chicken pakora
  • Spiced pecans
  • Roasted beets
  • Aloo paratha
  • Grilled pork shoulder
  • Mala fried peanuts
  • Sweet potatoes with charred lemons
  • Fall fruit galette
  • Brothy meatballs

Substitutes for Ground Fennel

Whether you dont have the spices around or want to try something new, these alternatives make excellent ground fennel substitutes.



One of the best substitutes for ground fennel is anise. Ground fennel tastes very similar to anise seeds because they both share the licorice taste. This makes it an excellent replacement for ground fennel seeds if you seek a similar semblance to the licorice-like flavor profile.

Anise is a bit more intense and smaller-sized than ground fennel. But its often used in sweet recipes but can be used in savory, too, in place of ground fennel. So, it can be swapped for the original thing in most recipes, and when using, replace it at equal amounts as ground fennel.

Dill Seeds

Dil seeds also possess a similar note of licorice in their flavor profile, making them fantastic replacements for ground fennel. But the sweetness isnt as strong, as dills factor is on the lesser side. Still, dill seeds will work well when used in savory recipes.

They are not as intense as ground fennel, so youll need more of the dill seeds when making the swap. This substitute also has more of a tangy flavor, but youll be glad about it if youre making fish dishes and egg recipes.

Caraway Seeds

A caraway is a fantastic option when you are looking for a substitute for ground fennel that will have similar anise or licorice flavor. And caraway is richer in the licorice taste, though its drawback is it also comes with a somewhat bitter hint. So, youll only need it in times when youre asked for little amounts of ground fennel, so the bitterness isnt pronounced. And its perfect for savory recipes, especially when you also seek a touch of earthiness in the dish.

Its why caraway seeds are perfect in savory bread recipes such as soda and rye bread and all meat or cabbage dishes. But practice a bit of moderation when using caraway seeds- add in little amounts, and work your way up to preference.

Cumin Seeds

Cumin is a trendy spice commonly used in various cuisines such as Mexican, South American, Indian and more. While they have slightly different flavors, their earthiness is distinct. Cumin is a bit on the spicy side than ground fennel, so it is commonly used in spice mixes and seasonings such as curry powder, fajita spices, chili powder, and taco seasoning.

You can buy cumin in powder form and seeds, and depending on your recipe, either will work. Use the same amount of cumin to replace ground fennel, but note that powdered cumin is likely more potent than cumin seeds.

Licorice Root Powder


The powder of the licorice root can also be used in place of ground fennel if you want to replicate that same taste. And you can buy licorice root powder from health stores and independent grocers. Bear in mind that its very potent and will be far sweeter than ground fennel. As such, we recommend that you only use it in sweet dishes such as cakes and pastries.

Use it in small amounts and be aware of the health risks of licorice. It is known to affect blood pressure, and so if you have heart issues or blood pressure concerns, consult your doctor before consuming licorice, even in small amounts.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is jeera a fennel seed?

Jeera, popularly known as cumin seed, is one of the main spices of garam masala and curry powders, while fennel is used as rubs for many dishes. The cumin seeds are brownish, whereas the seeds of fennel are greenish.

What’s the Indian name for fennel seeds?

Fennel seed is commonly known as saunf or Sonp in Hindi. Also called varyali in Gujarati, fennels more technical name is Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare Mill.).

Is ajwain a fennel seed?

It looks similar to fennel and cumin seeds and is highly fragrant, smelling like thyme. Its taste, however, is more like oregano and anise due to the bitter notes and strong flavor, and nothing like fennel seed.


Ground fennel is an all-rounder; its used in many ways and recipes to serve different purposes and achieve different aims. But when theres no ground fennel, or there isnt enough, you can easily acquire many other ingredients that can get you close to its licorice and anise kick. And you can still enjoy your favorite recipes that call for ground fennel and get the lip-smacking delight.


Can I use cumin instead of fennel?

While cumin is a bit spicier than fennel seed, it is still a nice substitute. Cumin adds an earthy and warm layer of flavor that can help enhance your recipe when fennel seeds aren’t available. Ground cumin and cumin seed are the same spice, the only difference is the texture.

Is ground fennel the same as cumin?

Fennel (Foeniculum Vulgare) and Cumin (Cuminum cyminum) are different plants with different growing conditions required. Fennel seeds are slightly larger in size and have a greenish tinge, whereas Cumin seeds are usually brown in color and slightly more compact.

What spices taste like fennel?

Anise seed, which is similar in flavor to fennel, is a member of the parsley family. It is used in baking and in Indian cooking.

Can I use coriander instead of fennel?

Seeds of Coriander

Ground coriander seeds have a potent, intense, and pungent aroma. They can replace fennel seeds but be careful since they can overpower the dish. Add them to any recipe that calls for fennel seeds in a 1:2 ratio and go from there.

Does cumin taste like fennel?

Fennel seeds have a sweet flavour with strong anise seed and Licorice notes. On the other hand, cumin seeds offer a smoky and earthy note with a slight bitterness. But both of them are equally flavourful and aromatic.

What is the flavor of fennel?

Fennel has a very mild anise or licorice flavor that can be enhanced or sweetened depending on how it is cooked (or not cooked). When diced and sauteed with onions as one of the first steps when making a soup or stew, fennel becomes very sweet.

Is ground fennel the same as coriander?

Fennel has a much different flavor profile than coriander. It is sweeter and has a strong anise (or licorice) flavor, but it does have some of the same earthy tones that coriander offers in a dish.

What is another name for fennel powder?

Fennel seeds are sometimes called sweet cumin or large cumin because of their resemblance to cumin seeds.

Is fenugreek the same as ground fennel?

For starters, fenugreek and fennel are completely different plants. Fenugreek is a legume (related to beans, peas, etc.) while fennel is part of the parsley or carrot family of vegetables. The seeds of fenugreek and fennel have different appearances and tastes.

Does allspice have fennel?

So, what’s the flavor of allspice? It makes sense that allspice is often mistaken for a blend like Chinese five-spice or pumpkin spice—because the flavor profile is multidimensional, featuring notes of cloves, nutmeg, star anise, fennel, black pepper, and cinnamon.

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