12 Star Anise Substitutes

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Here is the ultimate guide to all possible substitutes you can use instead of star anise in your recipes. 

So, let’s dive right in. 

12 Best Star Anise Substitutes

1. Anise Seeds

Anise seeds offer similar but milder flavors than the star anise and can be used in more or less all the same recipes.

It can be used as whole seeds, powdered, or even in essential oil form.

Depending on the recipe, you can choose the alternative that fits best.

How to Substitute? 

You will need about twice the measure of anise seeds or powder to replace star anise. But if you are using anise seed essential oil, you will need only half the measure. 

Check out this video for a rusk recipe with anise seed – 

2. Chinese Five Spice Powder

Another popularly recommended alternative to start anise is the Chinese five-spice powder.

This is because one of the ingredients in this spice mix is star anise.

So, this is best used in recipes where you are not working with other spices.

How to Substitute? 

Only half the measure of Chinese five-spice powder will be needed to replace star anise in your recipes.

To make Chinese five-spice powder at home, check out this YouTube tutorial – 

3. Fennel Seeds 

Although different in flavor, a small pinch of fennel seeds can give you the licorice taste you are looking for.

You could mix it with some anise seeds to get the perfect blend of flavors that you are looking for.

It works well in many recipes, from sweet to savory.

How to Substitute? 

A quarter measure of fennel seed and proportionate anise seeds will work just as well as a whole measure of star anise in your recipe. 

4. Cloves 

Whole or ground cloves also work as a good replacement for star anise in your recipes.

It is warm and sweet and blends well with both sweet and savory recipes.

Although it doesn’t have the same licorice hint of flavor, it adds some flair to the recipe.

How to Substitute? 

You can use more or less the same measure of cloves as star anise in your recipe but be sure to experiment with the flavors to see your preference. 

5. Carraway Seeds

For soups and meat dishes, carraway seeds in small measures can go a long way. It has the same licorice hint of flavor that you are looking for and, when mixed with tarragon, works just like star anise. 

But remember that carraway seeds have a bold bitter note to their flavor.

How to Substitute? 

You will need half the measure of caraway seeds or less to replace star anise in your recipes and it works best with tarragon in equal measure. 

Here is a caraway seed cracker recipe that you can easily try at home – 

6. Allspice

If you aren’t a fan of the licorice flavor and want to replace star anise in your recipes, especially your desserts, then allspice is a perfect solution.

It is a powdered berry with warm and spicy notes of flavor that can elevate any dish.

How to Substitute? 

You can use the same measure of allspice as you would have used star anise in your recipe and it should turn out just as great. 

7. Cassia Bark Powder

From desserts to meat dishes, cassia bark powder, in small measures, can transform your dish just as well as star anise.

Although it won’t do great as the main spice, recipes in which star anise is needed in small pinches is where cassia bark powder can shine through. 

How to Substitute? 

You can use a 1:1 ratio replacement in case of small measures but otherwise add not more than a pinch and build on it as you see fit. 

8. Anise Extract

Although not an easy find, you can use anise extract to replace star anise in recipes where small spice measures are required.

It is especially great for baking recipes or desserts. It has the same licorice flavor and is milder. 

How to Substitute? 

Double the amount of anise extract should work as well as star anise in your recipe. But you might want to tweak the measure to get the balance you like. 

9. Licorice Root 

Licorice root or licorice root powder is a great alternative to star anise in your recipes, especially if you love its taste.

It is perfect for desserts and baking. But keep in mind that pregnant women might want to avoid it due to certain compounds it contains.

How to Substitute? 

You can use more or less the same measure of licorice root or root powder as star anise in your recipes. 

10. Licorice Liqueur or Sambuca 

If you don’t mind the burn of alcohol, then sambuca is a great alternative to star anise in your baking and cooking.

It is a much sweeter and bolder substitute in terms of flavor and leaves you feeling warm. Small amounts of sambuca can also be used for stews.

How to Substitute? 

Because of how strong it is and the burn it can leave, you will want to start with really small portions of sambuca and add more later if you prefer. 

11. Pernod 

Pernod is another alcoholic alternative to star anise in your recipes, like sambuca. It is also quite high in sugar content and works more or less like sambuca.

It is perfect when used in small measures and be used for baking or cooking. 

How to Substitute? 

Start with small portions of Pernod and then add more to your recipe if you prefer. But remember that is high in sugar content and you might have to adjust the recipe accordingly. 

12. Cinnamon

If you are in a pinch and you have some cinnamon in stock, then you can make do with it instead of star anise in your recipes.

It is best used in sweet recipes, though it can work just as well in savory ones. It is also a great choice if you are not a fan of the licorice flavor. 

How to Substitute? 

You can use more or less the same measure of cinnamon as star anise but be sure to play around with the flavor to find the balance you prefer. 

Bottom Line 

I hope this article has helped you find the right alternative to use instead of star anise in your recipes. 

Do you have a favorite star anise substitute? Share your experience with us! And don’t forget to share this article with your friends and family.

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About Betty Ellis

Betty is a food researcher who spends most of her time analyzing the nutritional aspects of various foods. She also researches methods to enhance taste, as well as how to store certain types of foods. She enjoys cooking for herself and her three dogs even though she doesn't have a lot of free time outside work.

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