In this article, we will list some of the possible substitutes for caraway seeds for when you need to add that missing spark to a dish.

Have you ever tried cooking something but found that you were missing an ingredient? You probably scoured the kitchen and had a difficult time figuring out what to use. If that ingredient was caraway seeds, it might be time to try one of its substitutes.

Caraway seeds are a staple ingredient in many ethnic recipes, with a strong licorice flavor, bittersweet sharpness, and a texture similar to that of crushed black peppercorn. The taste can be used as a substitute for nutmeg or parsley.

There are many different substitutes for caraway seeds. Not only are they healthy, but they also taste similar, so you can substitute them in any recipe that calls for caraway seeds. Read on to discover them.

Substitutes for Caraway Seeds

Substitutes for Caraway Seeds

1. Anise Seeds

While other spices have a licorice-like flavor, aniseed is best to substitute for caraway seeds because it has a robust licorice taste.

Anise seed’s small crescent shape makes it easy to distinguish, apart from its flavorings, which act as an extender for licorice flavor.

Aniseed is the spice of life. Its natural sweetness and distinct licorice flavor combine to create an aromatic fragrance. You can taste this flavor in everything from baked goods to liquors. The flavor profile of aniseed is strong enough for you to use half the amount of aniseed, contrary to caraway seeds.

2. Fennel Seeds

Caraway and fennel share a similar family; the carrot family. Fennel has a fresh, sweet aroma and an anise-like flavor without being too strong.

It goes well with both sweet and sour dishes, but it adds excitement to your meal when you are short on caraway seeds. Because fennel often appears in sausage recipes, the seeds taste slightly meaty to some people.

If you’ve never worked with fennel seeds, keep in mind that you will also be able to smell them when the dish is cooking. So, consider this if their distinct aroma is not something you want in your finished dish.

3. Dill Seeds

If you’re looking to boost your chicken noodle soup, then dill is a good choice.

This herb has mellow licorice flavors but tastes more like grass and is more distinctive than other caraway substitutes. Dill seeds are also part of the carrot family, just like fennel seeds. However, dill seeds tend to have a lighter licorice essence, while fennel has a stronger one.

Equal parts of dill seeds and caraway will have similar flavors. If you love Eastern European cuisine, this substitute for caraway is the perfect pantry staple!

4. Nigella Seeds

If you’re looking to swap out caraway, anise, or fennel seeds, then look no further than nigella seeds.

Just like other varieties of seeds, nigella seeds provide licorice notes. They’ve been used as food additives for centuries now, ever since the Egyptians popularized them.

The way you’ll want to use them is by grilling and pan-frying the seeds before sprinkling them into your food. You can add nigella seeds to both savory and sweet dishes or put some in spice rubs. Other spices that compliment nigella seeds include coriander, allspice, and thyme.

5. Coriander

Coriander is a herb that you can use in place of caraway when making specific recipes.

It has a citrus flavor that goes well in soups or stews. Plus, an earthy taste that will add a nutty flavor to loaves of bread. The coriander plant is a close relative to the caraway plant, and it shares some of the flavors of its relative.

The intensity of coriander flavor is somewhere in between fennel and caraway seeds. The floral notes balance the coriander’s lack of licorice flavor. However, it adds a sharp taste and color to dishes.

6. Cumin Seeds

Cumin seeds have a strong taste. If you toast the seeds, you’ll unlock a whole new flavor.

The roasting of cumin seeds exposes their complex, sweet and bitter aroma. You can add cumin seeds to nearly any dish to give it a sweet and earthy flavor.

This isn’t the right choice, if you’re looking to add a strong licorice flavour but rather to enhance the current flavors in your dish.

Final Thoughts on Caraway Alternatives

Many recipes call for caraway seeds to be used as a garnish or as part of the main ingredients. Often caraway seeds are used to flavor rye bread. Otherwise, you may find them sprinkled on top of several traditional dishes. Namely, cabbage rolls, sauerkraut, and pierogies. 

However, if you ever run short, these seeds make the best substitutes for caraway seeds to deliver a mouth-watering meal!

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