17 Best Substitutes for Fennel

Substitutes for Fennel
Photo by Mike Jones on Pexels

Fennel has a lengthy history and has been used for various things over the years, including cooking, magic, and medicine.

In the Middle Ages, people hung fennel in doorways to frighten away evil spirits.

Many people question, “What does fennel taste like” because it has a distinctive flavor. Fennel is a sweet, aromatic seed that tastes a lot like anise.

It was used medicinally and to ward off evil spirits in ancient times. But what are the substitutes for fennel?

There are numerous substitutes for fennel today, and they can be found in sausages, biscotti, and Kashmiri foods.

Want fresh, locally-produced fennel substitutes on hand for a future occasion?

1. Dill

Dill is first on our list of substitutes for fennel and resembles fennel quite a little and smells very similar.

Unlike fennel, which has a strong anise flavor, it has a moderate flavor.

If the aroma is a key component of your dish, using dill as a fennel alternative may work best.

You won’t regret trying these substitutes for fennel with foods like seafood, eggs, and carrots. Equal quantities of dill can be used in place of fennel.

2. Celery

Celery is also one of the substitutes for fennel. Celery’s structure and texture are comparable to the fennel bulb’s.

So, if you don’t like the flavor of fennel bulbs in general, celery can be a fantastic alternative. 

Use it in vegetable stir-fries or egg or tuna salads. The food would undoubtedly taste good because of the crisp texture. Use celery in place of fennel in an equal ratio.

3. Hoja Santa Leaves

Hoja santa leaves have a flavor akin to fennel’s anise flavor. These leaves are the finest substitutes for fennel if you want to add a peppery flavor to your food.

They are easily accessible in any grocery store’s Mexican food area.

Add them to scrambled eggs, soups, and stews, or use them to wrap fish, pork, and tamales. The same amount of fennel can be used with them.

4. Cabbage

In savory dishes, you can use bok cabbage as a substitute for fennel.

Although it has a texture similar to fennel, its flavor is a bit more potent. It is frequently referred to as white cabbage in Asian cuisine.

You may use it raw and consider incorporating it into everything from stir-fries to soups.

You can replace one pound of fennel with one pound of bok choy. If you have fennel seeds, add a teaspoon of them.

5. Mexican Avocado Leaves

Mexican avocado leaves are also on our list of substitutes for fennel.

It’s intriguing that toasting these Mexican avocado leaves and using them instead of fennel can give your dish a mild, slightly creamy flavor.

Make sure they are pesticide-free if you intend to use it, though. You may season your soups, broths, and even grilled meats with it in both dry and fresh forms. Combine these leaves with fennel in an equal amount.

6. Parley

Fennel leaves can be replaced with parsley because of its cool flavor. You can readily find it because grocery stores and supermarkets have more access to it.

Just substitute something else if you’re replacing fennel seeds because parsley lacks the anise-like flavor and scent.

7. Pernod

In substitutes for fennel, pernod has a stronger flavor. Some claim that it also has a stronger aroma, which may or may not be advantageous depending on the recipe.

It has licorice undertones and a sophisticated herbal bite. Use less Pernod to achieve the required flavoring; otherwise, the dish will have a strong anise flavor.

8. Tarragon

However, tarragon is a herb that has a strong anis flavor. You may be familiar with it from traditional French cooking, which uses it frequently. 

It is known as estragon in French. It has delicate, thin leaves that are a soft bright green and emit a strong perfume with an anise undertone. It’s one of the great seasoning substitutes for fennel. 

9. Thailand Bali

Basil definitely isn’t the first herb that comes to mind when considering substitutes for fennel.

But Thai basil is distinct. It has a clear anise scent and a stronger, more peppery flavor. 

Thai basil differs greatly from common basil in appearance. The plant has tall stems with thin, triangular-shaped leaf crowns. Surprisingly effective as a fennel replacement.

Because of their strength, the leaves will cook more successfully than some of the alternatives.

These leaves are easy substitutes for fennel since they have a flavor that is comparable to licorice

10. Caraway

Persian cumin and Meridian fennel are other names for caraway. Although it resembles dill somewhat, it is uncommon to find it as a fresh herb. 

However, caraway seeds work well if you need to replace fennel seeds in a recipe for pickling, for example. The scent and appearance are quite similar to dried fennel seeds.

If you want caraway seeds instead of fennel seeds, look for them in an Asian or Oriental grocery.

11. Cilantro Leaves

The flavor of cilantro leaves is bright and lemony. They are thus a fantastic addition to any recipes that benefit from the flavor of lemon or lime.

Add a small amount of fennel or anise seeds for a stronger fennel flavor.

Cilantro can occasionally have a soapy flavor to it. If you don’t like cilantro or are unsure of your guests’ tastes, different substitutes for fennel might be preferable.

Since cilantro is a fragile herb, it must be conserved and added just before serving. They will lose flavor if you include them too soon.

12. Thyme

Fennel can also be substituted with thyme, another herb that pairs nicely with fish dishes and dill.

These substitutes for fennel are referred to as the “all-purpose spice” and have numerous culinary applications.

Fennel can be replaced with thyme in the same manner. Though thyme has a slightly different flavor and perfume than fennel, its sophisticated and upbeat aroma will elevate your meals instead of fennels!

13. Anise Seeds

Fennel and anise seeds taste like licorice, but anise seeds are far more potent. This means you should use half as many fennel seeds as you normally would.

Because anise seeds are so potent, handling them with caution is advisable. If you can substitute caraway seeds for anise seeds, do so.

14. Artichoke Heart

Still of those fantastic substitutes for fennel, artichoke hearts are also highly high in antioxidants and, therefore, a very healthful food.

Artichoke hearts can be baked, braised, boiled, or grilled, but steaming them gently is the best way to bring out their robust fennel flavor.

Make a fantastic dish by replacing the same amount of fennel with artichoke hearts.

15. Onion

Onion is one of the greatest substitutes for fennel in cooked stews and soups. While fennel does give soups a unique flavor, you may also use onions. 

Feel free to add some fennel seeds and onions if you have any on hand. As a general guideline, you can replace one fennel bulb with a medium-sized to large onion.

16. Licorice Root Powder

It is no surprise that licorice root powder can effectively replace fennel seeds. Like fennel seeds, licorice root can be used in sweet and savory meals.

Depending on how much work you want to put into your dish, you can buy it as a woody root or a powdered form.

One benefit of licorice roots is that they can be steeped in hot water for an extended period of time to increase the flavor’s strength.

Add that water to your recipe after that. Naturally, you may anticipate that the licorice flavor in licorice root powder will be stronger than the licorice flavor in fennel seeds.

17. Mahlab Seed

Mahlab seeds, utilized in numerous Mediterranean recipes, including bread and biscuits, are last but certainly not least.

These substitutes for fennel have a distinctive cherry scent and blend a sweet and tart flavor. 

They can act as a respectable fennel replacement if you don’t have many other options.

But remember that to avoid drastically altering the recipe’s flavor, you must be creative in how many seeds you use in your dishes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like