6 Star Anise Substitutes

Star Anise is one of those ingredients that aren’t always easy to get hold of. There will come a time when you need to use star anise in a recipe but you just won’t be able to get hold of it. 

But don’t worry! There are a few different ingredients you can use in its place.

6 Star Anise Substitutes

When you have the knowledge of these ingredients under your belt, you won’t have to worry about any recipes that call for star anise ever again.

These substitutes will ensure that you can always make them. 

This list includes 6 substitutes you can use that are a bit more accessible and easier to get a hold of. So let’s have a look at them! 

1. Anise Seeds

Starting off we of course have anise seeds. This ingredient is probably the closest in flavor to star anise. 

Anise seeds are known for their licorice flavor, which you’re either going to love or hate. They also come in three forms: whole anise seeds, anise seed oil, and crushed anise seeds. 

It should be noted that anise seeds in their whole form are milder in taste than both anise seed oil and crushed anise seeds.

As star anise is a much more intense flavor than anise seeds, you may want to use them in their whole form rather than their other forms.

2. Allspice

Another thing you can try is allspice. You will notice that allspice does lack in a licorice flavor, but it makes up for that with its distinctive flavor and sweetness. 

Allspice is a great substitute for star anise because it is so versatile and can be used in a vast array of dishes. If you want your allspice to taste a bit more like star anise, you can add a generous amount of sugar to it. 

3. Fennel Seeds And Anise Seeds

Although this option does use anise seeds, it has its own unique place because of the fennel seeds. 

When they are mixed together, fennel seeds and anise seeds make an amazing combination that works as a great substitute for the real thing.

Fennel seeds have an even more powerful licorice taste than anise seeds, and when they are mixed together with the sweetness of the anise seeds, it gives you a taste that is a lot more similar to star anise. 

Though this is a great substitute you can use, both fennel seeds and anise seeds are less intense in flavor than star anise, even when they are combined.

So you may want to use a larger portion of this mixture to really bring out the flavor. 

4. Chinese Five-Spice Powder

Chinses Five-Spice Powder actually contains star anise in its blend, so it is a great substitute to use when all other options seem to fail. 

Also, the star anise in this blend is the most dominant flavor you will taste, the other spices can be tasted, but they are definitely more in the background. 

If you do choose to use Chinese-Five Spice Powder, make sure you use about ½ a tablespoon less than you would of star anise. 

5. Ground Cloves

Though they don’t have a licorice taste, ground cloves are also a great option to use as a star anise substitute. 

The taste of ground cloves (see also ‘5 Substitutes For Cloves‘) isn’t as powerful as star anise, but you can compensate for the milder taste by mixing them with cassia bark.

It still won’t be as powerful as the real thing, but it works great, especially if you’re making meat-based dishes. 

6. Caraway Seeds And Tarragon

And finally, we have a blend of caraway seeds and tarragon. This mix does resemble the taste of star anise because it has a subtle licorice flavor. 

One thing you do have to keep in mind is carraway seeds have a very bitter and intense taste, so don’t just throw them in and watch the quantity of the seeds you use. 

Start with a small number of caraway seeds and tarragon when you’re mixing them, gradually adding them in as you go. Perform regular taste tests until you reach your desired flavor. 

If you do decide to use this substitute, you’ll only need to use about half the amount in comparison to star anise. 


Star anise isn’t always so easy to get hold of, but luckily, there are plenty of substitutes you can use instead. 

All of these substitutes work really well when you can’t get the real thing. Though some are a bit milder than others, you can experiment with them and see which one works best for you. 

If you really want to emulate the taste of star anise, you need to make sure that whatever substitutes you use, have even the most subtle of liquorice flavors.

Any substitutes with a licorice flavor will be as close as you’re going to get! 

6 Star Anise Substitutes

6 Star Anise Substitutes

Recipe by Jenna

Are you making a recipe that calls for star anise but you don’t have any available? Well, click here to learn 6 of the best substitutes you can use!

Course: Substitutes
5 from 1 vote


  • Anise Seeds

  • Allspice

  • Fennel Seeds And Anise Seeds

  • Chinese Five-Spice Powder

  • Ground Cloves

  • Caraway Seeds And Tarragon


  • Decide on what substitute you need
  • Pick a substitute from the list above
  • Read what you need to substitute with
  • Create the recipe and enjoy
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