Top 5 Best Star Anise Substitute


We’ve got you covered with the finest star anise substitute for your recipes. So if you find yourself without star anise or discover that you’ve run out of this distinctive ingredient while in the midst of cooking, don’t worry! 

Best Star Anise Substitute: An Overview

Prior to delving into the different star anise substitute, it is essential to understand the specific flavor profile you aim to replicate.

What is Star Anise?

Star anise is derived from the seed pod of the Illicium verum plant, an evergreen shrub that is native to Southwest China. The pod of star anise, which resembles a star with around eight points, contains small seeds, and both the pod and seeds are utilized in cooking due to their sweet and potent anise flavor. Star anise is available in whole and ground form.


Star anise is renowned for its unique flavor and is widely used in culinary applications. It is also valued for its medicinal properties. The plant is primarily cultivated in China, Indo-China, and Japan and is often referred to as Chinese star anise. In Chinese cuisine, star anise plays a fundamental role, being a key component of Chinese five-spice powder and frequently used for seasoning roast duck and other meats, as well as making star anise tea. Vietnamese cuisine incorporates star anise in the well-known soup, pho. In Western cultures, star anise is commonly used to infuse liqueurs like absinthe, sambuca, and pastis, as well as in baked goods such as cookies and cakes.


The star anise pod is harvested before it fully ripens and then sun-dried, resulting in a deep brown or rust color. The distinct flavor of star anise is attributed to anethol, the same essential oil found in anise seeds, imparting a licorice-like taste to both spices.

Health Benefits of Star Anise

Discover the incredible health benefits of star anise, which serves as both a prominent cooking spice and a medicinal remedy.

Combat aging and manage diabetes with the help of its plentiful antioxidants, vitamin A, and vitamin C content.

Assist in treating ailments like cough, flu, and upset stomach, as star anise contains beneficial compounds such as thymol, anethole, and terpineol.

Improve digestion and alleviate cramps due to the significant presence of potassium and magnesium.

Elevate GABA neuro-chemical levels in the brain through the presence of diverse B complex vitamins.

Top 5 Star Anise Replacements

If you’re a fan of the distinct taste of star anise but don’t always have it readily available, there’s no need to worry. There are a few fantastic star anise substitutes that can impart the same flavorful essence to your dish.

Star Anise Substitute: Chinese Five-Spice Powder

Chinese five-spice powder is a commonly used spice blend in Chinese cuisine. It consists of a combination of five spices, including star anise, cloves, cinnamon, Sichuan pepper, and fennel seeds. 


However, other spices like ginger or nutmeg may also be included. This powder enhances the flavor of meats, vegetables, and rice dishes. It can be used as a dry rub for meats or as a spice in baking. You can typically find Chinese five-spice powder in most supermarkets.

Star Anise Substitute: Anise Seeds

Anise seeds are derived from the fruit of the anise plant, which is originally from the Mediterranean region. The anise plant has been cultivated for many centuries and is valued for both culinary and medicinal purposes. These seeds have a sweet, licorice-like flavor and are commonly used in baking. 


They can also be used to produce various liqueurs, such as absinthe and ouzo. Apart from their culinary uses, anise seeds are believed to have several health benefits. They aid in digestion, alleviate gas and bloating, and stimulate milk production in nursing mothers. You can usually find anise seeds in the spice section of most grocery stores.

Star Anise Substitute: Fennel Seeds

Fennel seeds are the dried fruits of the fennel plant, an aromatic herb native to the Mediterranean region. These seeds have a sweet, anise-like flavor and are used as a spice in both sweet and savory dishes. They can be used whole or ground and are often used to add flavor to fish, chicken, and vegetables. 


In addition to their culinary uses, fennel seeds have a long history of medicinal usage. They have been employed to treat indigestion, gas, and cramps, and are sometimes used in home remedies for these conditions. Fennel seeds are also a popular ingredient in many commercial digestive aids. It’s important to use fennel seeds in moderation as consuming large quantities can cause bloating and flatulence.

Star Anise Substitute: Cloves

Cloves are the unopened flower buds of the evergreen tree Syzygium aromaticum, which is native to Indonesia. The buds are harvested and dried, turning them brown in the process. Cloves have a strong, pungent flavor and are used as a spice in both sweet and savory dishes. 


In addition to their culinary uses, cloves have a rich history of medicinal applications. They possess antibacterial and antifungal properties and can be used to alleviate toothache pain. Cloves are a versatile spice that adds depth and flavor to a wide range of dishes.

Star Anise Substitute: Mixing Anise Seeds and Fennel Seeds

Anise and fennel are two commonly used spices that share many similarities. Both possess a distinct licorice flavor and are often used interchangeably in baking and cooking.


However, there are notable differences between these two spices. Anise seeds are small and black, while fennel seeds are larger and brown. Anise has a sharper flavor, whereas fennel has a more mellow taste. The choice between these two spices ultimately depends on personal preference. However, many individuals find that a combination of anise and fennel seeds provides a perfect balance of flavor. Whether used in sweet or savory dishes, these two spices add a delightful touch of flavor to your meals.

Best Star Anise Substitute: Conclusion

These star anise substitutes offer a similar licorice flavor that can enhance both sweet and savory dishes. Whether you choose anise seeds, Chinese five-spice powder, fennel seeds, cloves, or any other substitute, remember to start with a small amount if you haven’t used them before. Taste and adjust accordingly to find the perfect balance that suits your preferences. Keep in mind that the flavors of your dishes are greatly influenced by the spices you use. So, be adventurous and explore the world of spices to elevate your culinary creations. 

If you’re looking to purchase star anise, star anise substitutes and other spices, consider visiting K-agriculture, where you can find a wide range of high-quality spices to elevate your cooking experience.

As a leading agricultural company based in Vietnam, they have over 25 years of experience in the industry. With certifications such as FDA, HACCP, ISO, Global Gap, Organic, and Kosher, you can trust the reliability and safety of their products.


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About author Camila Nguyen

She has 13 years experience in connecting B2B customers around the world and provide best-quality agricultural products from Vietnam to them. She would love to share her knowledge about agricultural products through the blogs. You can contact her on Whatsapp via number: +84 84 4444 867 to get the free consultancy

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