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What is Anise Seed Spice?

Anise Seed Spice


Anise Seed is a culinary spice from a small crescent-shaped seed from an herbaceous plant popular to Mexican, Indian, German, Italian, and Middle Eastern cuisine.

What does it taste like?

The flavor profile of anise seed is a sweet, mildly spicy, with distinct licorice notes while the scent is highly aromatic of fennel.

Anise Uses

This seasoning is pungent and only a few individual seeds are needed to impart their flavor. 

The spice provides depth to fish and meat dishes and can be used in dishes such as tea, biscuits, liqueurs, fruit fillings, charcuterie, baking, hot chocolate, and curries.

For maximum flavor lightly toast whole aniseed then grind fresh before use. 

The leaves and stems of the anise plant are also edible with a milder licorice flavoring. 

Anise Substitutes 

  • Star Anise: anise is more potent and spicy but similar in overall flavor which makes star anise a good substitute.
  • Fennel seed: similar in appearance and flavoring although less sweet. Fennel seeds can be used as a substitute for cooked dishes and charcuterie.
  • Licorice: a distinct clear likeness in flavoring, matches well in baking and slow-cooked dishes.

Compliments and Pairings 

The sweet and licorice flavoring works best with sweet products, drinks, and meats. Well-matched ingredients for anise seed include ground meat, pork, beef, sweet fruit, dough, coffee, chocolate, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, cardamom, sesame, and pear. 

Expiration and Storage

  • Seeds: store dried aniseed in an airtight container away from direct sunlight and moisture and use within one year.
  • Ground: less potent than whole seeds and best suited to baking. Store in an airtight container away from direct sunlight and moisture and use within six months.

Fun Facts

  • Historically Romans paid their taxes with anise seed due to their high value.
  • The compound anethole is found with licorice, fennel, caraway, and star anise which is the reason for their similar flavorings.
  • Anise and star anise are often confused as their names and flavors are alike but the two spices are not related. 

Where does it come from?

Native to the Middle East and a member of the parsley family. Anise also called ‘aniseed’ is the seed produced from the dried fruit of the anise plant or Pimpinella anisum. For more scientific details visit wikipedia.

Popular Recipes

  • Atole
  • Ouzo
  • Pernod
  • Biscotti
  • Pan Chuta
  • Troach drop
  • Italian sausage
  • Anise cookies
  • Old wives’ cake
  • Seychelles fish curry

Chef Max

Michelin trained professional chef with a passion for recipe writing and all things food. I have worked for over five years at top restaurants across the UK and have gained an ability to create any recipe you desire, from comfort food recipes to fine dining recipes. My experience in food writing includes a placement at Delicious Magazine which involved feature writing, recipe testing, article research, and content creation.

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