11 Best Substitutes for Caraway Seeds When You’re in a Pinch


Wondering what substitutes can be used to replace Caraway Seeds? 

Here are some great alternatives to Caraway Seeds When You’re in a Pinch!

So without further ado, let’s get rolling. 

Best Substitutes for Caraway Seeds

1. Fennel Seeds

Like Caraway seeds, Fennel seeds also belong to the carrot family, which, naturally, makes them the best substitute for Caraway seeds.

Fennel Seeds have an extremely strong aroma and are known to enhance the sweet notes of your dishes.

However, they’re added to meatballs and seafood as well to help bring out their flavors.

How to Substitute

You may substitute this in a 1:1 ratio since their tastes and aromas are quite similar.   

Here’s how to cook with Fennel Seeds –

2. Dill Seeds 

Dill seeds are popularly used in baked goods and have a ton of uses that make them an excellent substitute for Caraway seeds.   

They have a more subtle taste that is similar to Caraway seeds, however, they also have hints of a fresh and citrusy flavor.

They go great with anything that is cabbage-based or has a vinegary, tarty base.  

How to Substitute

You can make the replacement in equal amounts.  

Here’s how to cook with Dill Seeds –

3. Anise Seeds

These come from the same family as carrots, parsley, and celery. Anise Seeds come from a flowering plant that is native to the Mediterranean region and Southwest Asia. 

These seeds are the best substitute for Caraway seeds if you’re looking to add them to a baking recipe. They have the same licorice aroma and pungent taste.

How to Substitute

Anise Seeds have a more spicy and pungent flavor than Caraway seeds so it is recommended to use half the amount for substitution.   

Here’s how to cook with Anise Seeds:

4. Star Anise

Though un-intuitional, Star Anise is not the same thing as Anise Seeds. It’s a spice that is mostly grown in Vietnam and China. 

If nothing else is available to do, Star Anise can replace Caraway seeds just fine because they have the same pungent, licorice taste and aroma.   

How to Substitute

Because a little Star Anise can go a long way, add in ¼  of the initial amount of Caraway seeds needed and adjust from there.

Here’s how to cook with Star Anise:

5. Nigella Seeds

Also known as black cumin or black onion seeds, Nigella seeds are indigenous to North African and Indian cuisine.    

These have the same pungent notes but with a hint of oregano, cumin, and onion.

This is what makes them a great addition to Naan and any other savory baked dish.  

How to Substitute

You can use a 1:1 ratio for replacement.

6. Coriander Seeds

We all know the world-famous garnish that adds a lovely freshness to our dishes but what we don’t know is that its seeds make for a great alternative to Caraway seeds.

Coriander Seeds add great warmth to your recipe and have a lovely, earthy, and citrusy aroma.

How to Substitute

Toast them a little to bring our their wonderful flavor before substituting them with Caraway Seeds in a 1:1 ratio.  

Here’s how to cook with Coriander Seeds:

7. Mustard Seeds

Mustard seeds are tiny, round, and black in nature but have a wide variety of uses in many cuisines, Indian especially. 

Along with being a quick-growing plant, mustard seeds have a nutty, slightly bitter, but earthy flavor that adds an unmatched depth to your cooking, much like Caraway seeds.

How to Substitute

You can replace Caraway Seeds with Mustard Seeds in an equal amount but keep in mind that adding too much can ruin the taste of your food by turning it bitter.  

Here’s how to cook with Mustard Seeds:

8. Cumin Seeds

Cumin is a spice we all know and love. Cumin Seeds can be the same.   

When you cannot find any other alternative to Caraway Seeds, Cumin seeds can be a slightly more accessible option for you.

These have a lovely earthy and peppery flavor that goes great in spicy dishes.

How to Substitute

You can start by using half the amount of Cumin Seeds compared to the amount of Caraway Seeds needed and adjust from there.  

Here’s how to cook with Cumin Seeds:

9. Dried Oregano

Oregano is an herb we’ve used in our cooking a lot by now, even though it’s especially famous for the way it pairs so well with Italian Cuisine. 

If you lack a spice alternative to Caraway Seeds, oregano can do the trick. It has notes of a peppery taste that pair extremely well with soups and stews.  

How to Substitute

Start by using half the amount of Oregano as its strong flavor can quickly become overpowering. 

Here’s how to use Dried Oregano: 

10. Cloves

While Cloves have gained a lot of popularity for having multiple health benefits that help treat the common cold, they’re also a fantastic fill-in for Caraway Seeds.

Cloves have a certain licorice aroma and spicy, intense flavor that can complete a depth the taste of your dish might lack without Caraway seeds.   

How to Substitute

Because Cloves have an extremely intense taste and smell, it’s safe to start with a 1:4 ratio and go from there. 

Here’s how to cook with Cloves:

11. Celery Seeds

If you’ve never heard of these, don’t worry. They basically look like tiny, dried, pale watermelons, and you can easily find them in an online store.

Celery seeds have a strong minty, citrusy, herby taste that doesn’t pair well in everything but, when chosen correctly, can fix the lack of Caraway Seeds.   

How to Substitute

You can use a 1:1 ratio here but keep in mind that Celery Seeds might do more harm than good in some specific dishes.

Here’s how to cook with Celery Seeds:


Are Caraway Seeds and Cumin Seeds the same thing?

Definitely not. To understand why we have to cover all the aspects. Let’s start with the physical appearance first. Cumin seeds have a slightly lighter brown color and are much less curved compared to Caraway seeds.

When we analyze the taste, we get to know that while Cumin seeds are earthy, peppery, and quite pungent, Caraway seeds have more of a licorice vibe and citrusy notes of flavor.

We can’t really describe exactly what Caraway seeds taste like because they have a wide flavor profile. However, we can reach the definite conclusion that Cumin and Caraway seeds are not the same.

Do Caraway Seeds taste like licorice?

Yes and no. As I said, we can’t describe the exact taste of Caraway seeds but let’s try. They do have a licorice scent and hint of that flavor, but there’s a variety of other notes as well.

Citrus, pepper, and anise, to name a few. So if you’re skeptical or scared of using Carway Seeds because you’re not a big fan of licorice, I would recommend that you try using them before you judge their taste.

Bottom Line

So, the next time you are in a bind and don’t have any caraway seeds, there is no need to worry.

There are plenty of substitutes that will do the trick.

And if you want to know how to use them, we’ve got you covered there too.

Just be sure to share this article with your friends and family so they can be prepared for their next recipe challenge too!

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About Irene Clark

Irene is a supermom of 4 kids who always has a smile on her face. She's an amazing dancer - you should see her moves! - and she loves to eat, especially with wine. She also loves pop music and travels across the country with her family and friends.

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