Caraway seeds are an ingredient that can be used to improve the taste and aroma of your meals. Aside from this, it is a great addition to dishes that aren’t all about the fancy taste, rather, about the medicinal goodness of the meal.
They have a distinct taste and can make recipes more flavorful and invigorating. If you like using them in your cooking or if you’re not so sure about it yet, it’s good to know the caraway seeds substitutes that resemble its benefits and presentation.
Check out the best caraway seeds substitutes we found
- Fennel seeds
Fennel seeds share a lot of similarities to caraway. They both belong to the same carrot family, share resemblances in appearance, and have flavor notes that can work for the same recipes.
This spice is a tasty addition to just about any dish. Use them in sausage mixtures, place on cheeses, spread on bread, or mix on salads. They are also good for a variety of baked goods. These seeds are popular in European, Middle Eastern, Indian, and Chinese cuisine.
Fennel seeds possess a sweet, warm aroma. Their taste makes them a closer relative of aniseeds than caraway. Its flavor is distinct but still gives licorice notes, spice, and sweetness to your meal much like caraway.
- Anise seeds
The next and if not the best substitute for caraway seeds is anise seeds. It’s unsurprising since these seeds belong to the same carrot family as caraway seeds. Both can give your dishes similar results in flavor and aroma.
Anise seeds are best used in baked goods like cookies, biscotti, and bread. It can also be paired with seafood, meat, fruit, and chocolate. You can find it in most Italian, German, Middle Eastern, Indian and Mexican cuisine.
Anise seed is sweet and has a strong licorice flavor. It tastes similar to caraway seed, but stronger. You can use anise seed in recipes that call for caraway seeds, but you should start with small amounts, as anise seed has a more intense taste.
- Dill seeds
Dill seeds are great substitutes for caraway seeds, since, as you may have guessed, they also belong to the carrot family.
In Mediterranean cooking, dill seeds give a fresh flavor to acidic dishes such as pickles. It’s also an ideal ingredient for cabbage-based recipes, creamy soups, salad dressings, and bread.
Dill seeds are similar in taste to caraway but a lot milder. Some cooks describe it as having a subtly bitter flavor, which makes it distinct from other seeds.
- Nigella seeds
Nigella seeds are black, teardrop-shaped seeds that add texture and a mild flavor to savory dishes and baked goods. They are great as a substitute for caraway seeds bringing its own unique taste to the table.
Like caraway seeds, nigella seeds can be used to improve the aroma, texture, and flavor of baked goods such as naans and pita breads. They also go well with stews, rice pilafs, chicken or lamb braises, and curries. Topping them on salads would also make the dish more appetizing.
Nigella seeds are traditionally used in Indian, Middle Eastern, and North African dishes. This ingredient has a broad flavor profile that goes from peppery to slightly bitter, a little nutty and sweet, and has a faint hint of licorice. Some would also compare its distinct tang to cumin, oregano, or onion.
- Star anise
Star anise is a lot like anise, but it has a more potent flavor and aroma. You can substitute it for caraway seeds if you’re in a bind.
Widely used in Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian, and Middle Eastern dishes, star anise is quite a popular spice to add in savory recipes, particularly those with meats. It is also often an ingredient added to soups, stews, broths, and braised dishes.
Star anise is a fragrant spice with a licorice flavor. It’s often used as a replacement for caraway seeds, as it has a gentle peppery bitterness and great aroma. Like other spices, star anise can be used to add more zing to your recipes.
- Dried Oregano
Dried oregano can spice up your dish much like caraway seeds. It has a subtle balance between sweet and spicy with a slight bitterness to it. This is much more concentrated in flavor compared to fresh herbs so be careful when adding it to your meal.
This spice goes great in soups, sauces, stews, and meat dishes. It is widely used in Italian, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean cuisine.
Most grocery stores have dried oregano so it’s a convenient option to replace caraway seeds when not available. It will be an effective flavoring for your dish, adding an aromatic and peppery taste that will bring out your appetite.
Sometimes called Chinese parsley, coriander is an herb and a spice that can kick up the flavor of a dish. It’s far from the taste palate of caraway but it shares the same culinary purposes.
Coriander is a popular spice to use in Mexican, Latin American, and Indian dishes. It can also be used with some European dishes. This herb works well with strong-flavored or hearty meals like chilis, sauces, soups and curries.
Coriander has a warm, citrusy, and floral flavor with a hint of nuttiness and can be used in many recipes. Although it doesn’t have the licorice notes, coriander still adds a dash of flavor that can improve many recipes that need caraway.
What Do Caraway Seeds Taste Like?
Caraway seeds have a bittersweet, nutty flavor with hints of pepper, citrus, and licorice. It’s a popular ingredient often used in Europe, Western Asian, and Northern African cuisine.
These seeds are frequently used in baking, producing aromatic and tasty goods like rye bread, biscuits, and cakes. Overall, it is a versatile ingredient that you can use to sprinkle over roasted meats and veggies, add in soups, stews, and sauces, or mix in salads and dips.
Can you substitute cumin for caraway seeds?
Yes, and no. Cumin is an alternative to caraway seeds in certain recipes. Although the two spices have similar appearances, cumin has a unique flavor that does not fully replicate the taste of caraway seeds.
The two seeds share a very similar appearance with cumin seeds being lighter in color and a bit bigger and fuller in size. In terms of taste, cumin has a spicier, nuttier taste that gives an intensely musky and earthy flavor to recipes. It doesn’t have a hint of anise or licorice taste like caraway.
If you’re using cumin to substitute caraway for savory dishes and meats, it can work. However, if you’re using it for lightly flavored recipes or those that need caraway to complete its taste, then cumin will not work so well. It has a pungent flavor that may overpower the flavor of recipes like baked goods that need caraway.
The best caraway seeds substitutes in baked goods like rye bread are fennel, dill or nigella seeds. If you’re looking to replace caraway in cooking savory dishes like curry, you can use coriander, star anise, or cumin.
Consider which recipe you’re trying to make or which cuisine it belongs to so you can spice up your dish with the closest and most appropriate alternative for caraway.