Best Caraway Seeds Substitutes

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The caraway seed is an ingredient familiar to everyone who likes to cook at home. Why? Because caraway seeds are regularly used in things like mulled wine punch, sauerkraut, and rye bread.

With their unique taste, these seeds create an equally unique flavor that is sure to spice up ordinary dishes. But if you’ve found yourself without caraway seeds in your pantry and you have a recipe calling for them, save the trip to the store and use these effective alternatives.

If you’re interested in learning the best substitutes for caraway seeds, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve compiled a list of the most suitable ingredients that you can use in place of caraway seeds.

What Are Caraway Seeds?

These seeds are the dried fruits produced by caraway plants. They are commonly used to inject flavor into various foods, including

  • Vegetables
  • Sausages
  • Liqueurs
  • Curries
  • Soups

Moreover, caraway seeds combine well in certain recipes, such as those made with cabbage, garlic, and pork. In addition, caraway seeds are essential in baking foods like British seed cakes, rye, and soda bread.

Caraway seeds present a hint of pepper and citrus. They are very aromatic, combining a mild fennel smell with subtle licorice. Thanks to the many flavors that caraway seeds possess, you can make your dishes emit a series of unique undertones.

With so many properties, is it even possible to use substitutes? Absolutely. So keep reading to learn which alternatives provide the best results.

Cumin Seeds

Cumin seeds are easily one of the very best substitutes for caraway seeds. We found this to be especially true when used with curry recipes.

The dried seeds of the cumin plant produce cumin seeds. These seeds are popular in cuisine from India, America, and the Middle East. And you can find them in both ground form and whole seed.

Cumin sports a tiny oval shape that is very similar to caraway seeds. The biggest difference, though, is that cumin seeds come in many colors. You can often find them with appearances of brownish yellow, green, black, or white.

What’s more, cumin seeds are routinely used in dishes like garam masala, chili, curry powder, and achiote blends.

Anise Seeds

Another option you can use to replace caraway seeds is the anise seeds. Often used in places like Italy, India, Germany, and the Middle East, anise seeds are regularly found in cuisines to enhance licorice flavors throughout the dish.

What’s more, anise seeds work well in biscotti, desserts, and plenty of other cooked foods. And since both caraway and anise are part of the carrot family, both also have some similarities in taste. However, the licorice flavor and dry astringency of anise seeds are stronger. And the physical characteristics make the seeds heavier, grayish, and curved.

Therefore, we recommend you use anise seeds instead of caraway seeds only in cookies and bread. When you bake bread, use a half teaspoon of anise is equal to a whole teaspoon of caraway.

Dill Seeds

Dill seeds are yet another ingredient related to carrots. These seeds serve as a fine alternative to caraway seeds, especially in food like rye bread. Dill seeds are widely used in licorice dishes in Eastern Europe, such as cookies, rye bread, and cakes.

Also, these seeds are easy to identify, thanks to their signature brown line, oval shape, and black center. Since caraway and dill seeds are in the same family, they tend to share similar tastes.

Although, dill seeds are a bit earthier and produce a softer taste, which can balance dishes. If you are making soup or bread, you have to try dill seeds.

Nigella Seeds

If your stew recipe runs out of coriander seeds, you may want to look at Nigella seeds as a substitute. Nigella seeds are sometimes referred to as Charnushka black onion or kalonji seeds.

Moreover, Nigella seeds are popular in places like Egypt, India, and Europe. They are commonly used in cuisines there, as well as curry, stew, and bread recipes.

Nigella seeds have a similar licorice flavor that’s found in caraway seeds. As such, Nigella seeds are a viable alternative. Furthermore, Nigella seeds should always be roasted first. Then you can pair them up with thyme, coriander, or allspice powder.

If you prefer a stronger, more pronounced licorice flavor, Nigella seeds are an excellent alternative to caraway seeds.

Celery Seeds

Celery seeds are quite popular. Thanks to this option, you can safely use celery seeds instead of caraway seeds. Although not in the same family as caraway seeds, celery seeds work well in providing a distinct flavor and aroma to your dishes.

You can use tomato seeds to make homemade tomato paste or mix it with rye bread slices. These seeds are known for their many health benefits. You can use celery seeds for their diuretic benefits or for treating the flu and lowering blood pressure.

Fennel Seeds

These seeds serve as an excellent substitute because they have the same root as caraway seeds. What’s more, fennel seeds are mainly found in some of the most popular dishes in Indian and Italian cuisine, such as vegan recipes or sausages.

Fennel seeds are oval-shaped like caraway seeds, and they also have the iconic licorice flavor of the carrot family. However, these seeds are slightly different in greenish-brown and meaty taste.

Therefore, using it as a substitute for caraway seeds helps preserve the taste of dishes and increase the meaty taste.

Star Anise

While star anise might seem to be a new type of seed, it is actually well known among the Chinese, who use it as both a medicine and a spice. Star anise gets its name from its unique star-like shape.

Those who have tried star anise say it is similar to fennel seeds and anise. As such, it boasts an earthy and licorice flavor and a bitter taste if the star anise is boiled in large quantities. Feel free to use star anise seeds as a caraway replacement in your cakes and breads.

Looking for More Substitutes?

Be sure to visit our food substitutes page to discover even more tasty alternatives to some of your favorite foods.

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