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Best Caraway Seeds Substitute in Bread List: We Experiment 11

Caraway seeds have a unique combination of flavors that have bittersweet sharpness, are nutty, and are a bit citrusy with a hint of pepper. These seeds are rich in natural essential oils, which also play a part in giving caraway seeds their unique flavor.

Caraway seeds are often used in baking. You may find caraway seeds in most types of soda and rye bread. They are also used in British seed cakes. The challenges come when you run out of it at the worst possible time. Here are some alternatives to tide you through temporary.

  1. Fennel Seeds
  2. Dill Seeds
  3. Anise Seed
  4. Star Anise
  5. Cumin Seeds
  6. Celery Seeds
  7. Coriander
  8. Nigella Seeds
  9. Mustard Seeds

If you are still unable to find the above mentioned alternatives, read on to find out about the full comprehensive Caraway Seeds Substitute list for your bread making.

11 Best Substitute For Caraway Seeds 

Caraway Seeds Substitute

Caraway seeds are not actual seeds, but the dried fruit of the plant. However, in the culinary world, they are commonly called seeds. If you have eaten rye bread, you must have tasted caraway seeds. 

The whole seeds of caraway are the ones frequently used in baking bread. When you want to impart the unique flavor of caraway into your baked goods without the crunch, you may use the powdered form of the seeds.

Take note that ground caraway seeds have a stronger flavor than whole seeds. If you want to use ground caraway instead of whole seeds, substitute each teaspoon of caraway in the recipe with 3/4 teaspoon ground caraway.    

Here is a list of the best caraway seeds substitute when making bread.

Fennel Seeds

Fennel Seeds

Among the caraway seed substitutes, fennel seeds are most probably your best option. Fennel has a mild flavor of licorice that is comparable to that of caraway.

The fennel seeds are bursting with flavor and also aromatic. Most people find the fennel seeds flavor to be sweeter and warmer than the seeds of caraway. 

Like caraway, fennel is a carrot family member. The seeds that are typically used in many dishes from around the world are the fennel plant’s dried fruit.

The aromatic compound, which many members of the carrot family possess, known as anethole is the one responsible for giving fennel its licorice flavor.

Although fennel and carrot are considered as relatives for being a member of the same plant family, they are still individual plants with their own unique characteristics.

Understand that fennel seeds and caraway seeds don’t have totally the same flavor. However, both of them have mild licorice notes.

You may use the 1:1 ratio when using fennel seeds as substitutes for the caraway seeds. That is to say when the recipe calls for a teaspoon of caraway seeds, you can substitute it with a teaspoon of fennel seeds.

Fennel seeds are the best substitute for caraway when you are making sauerkraut bread. You may also try anise or dill as a substitute for caraway when making sauerkraut bread.

Dill Seeds  

Dill Seeds  

When the bread you are making does not require a hint of licorice flavor, you may also try substituting caraway seeds with dill seeds.

Dill has a citrusy flavor, which other substitutes for caraway are lacking, and a hint of mild licorice. However, dill gives a bit of grassier taste than the other substitutes for caraway seeds.

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Dill seeds have tear-shaped pods that are flat and wide. They have borders that are light brown in color and centers that are oak-like.

The caraway seeds and dill seeds are members of the carrot family. However, dill seeds have a softer taste and carry an earthy flavor. They are good substitutes for caraway seeds in baked goods and a must-try when preparing bread.

Dill seeds can also be good substitutes for caraway seeds when preparing rye bread. In Eastern Europe, dill seeds are widely used in cookies, cakes, or rye pieces of bread that have the flavor of licorice. 

Between caraway and dill, the latter is the milder one. You may even use fennel and dill together as substitutes to caraway seeds. This is especially helpful when your recipe calls for intense licorice flavor with a hint of citrus. 

Anise Seed  

Anise Seed  

Anise seed or aniseed has other names – anix and anise. Like caraway, it also belongs to the carrot family. Anise seed has a much stronger licorice taste than caraway and has a sweeter flavor.

It is actually a dried fruit even though it is called a seed. However, it falls short on the caraway’s delicate flavor profile and aromatic range.

It is not a good substitute for caraway seeds when the recipe calls for a savory flavor or may be easily overpowered by the anise seed’s intense licorice taste.

You need to find a more suitable replacement for caraway seeds that fits the taste and flavor intensity of the bread or baked goods that you are trying to make.

The harvested dried fruits are part of the ingredients used in many desserts, drinks, and candies with heavy licorice flavor. Many cultures eat sweets and drink teas with anise as a digestive aid after a meal.

When making punch, you can substitute caraway seeds with anise. You can also do that in drinks and dishes that lean more on the sweet side.

You may start with half the amount of caraway seeds in the recipe when using anise seeds as a replacement. You may adjust according to your preference.

Anise seeds are also good substitutes for caraway seeds in rye bread. The seeds can help maintain the licorice-like flavor, and will not overpower the flavor of bread with a bitter or strong aroma.

Middle Eastern, German, Indian, and Italian cuisines commonly have anise seeds to help enhance the licorice flavor of the dishes. Charcuterie, Italian biscotti, and some deserts have anise seeds.

Star Anise

Star Anise

Don’t mistake star anise with anise seed or even think that both names are referring to the same thing. Star anise has nothing to with anise seed, and they don’t belong to the same family.

Star anise is a star-shaped fruit that you can gather from Illicium verum, an evergreen tree that is usually found in Asia.

The tree of the star-shaped fruit belongs to the magnolia family. Asians love to include star anise in many of their dishes. Star anise has a more potent, stronger flavor than anise seed.

Although star anise is not related to the carrot family, it shares one common thing – the anethole. Star anise has a sharp licorice flavor. It is also often used as a substitute ingredient in certain liqueurs and licorice candy due to its flavor and cheap price.

Star anise is a good substitute for caraway seeds. When you are in a hurry and all you have is star anise, you can use it as a substitute.

Star anise is sweet, and you can use it in sweet drinks and desserts. It is important to start with a small quantity when you are using it as a substitute or concocting a new recipe, and adjust the taste according to your preference.

Cumin Seeds

Cumin Seeds

Cumin seeds have graced many Mexican dishes, and people who love Mexican food will likely recognize these seeds immediately.

However, cumin seeds are still a bit uncommon for the rest of the world. Cumin seeds have a slightly earthy scent and full of flavor.

They are a fantastic addition to your collection of spices, although some may think that the flavor of cumin seeds is not as good as caraway seeds. 

When it comes to appearance and flavors, cumin seeds and caraway seeds bear close similarities. Cumin seeds are perfect substitutes for caraway seeds when your recipe is particular about the  appearance of the finished product, such as seed-crusted bread, 

They have similar flavors and the same appearance. No one will know the difference, except when the one sampling the seed-crusted bread is particular about the taste.

Indian and Middle Eastern dishes usually have cumin seeds that add the right flavor. You can use a 1:1 ratio when substituting caraway seeds with cumin seeds.

If your bread recipe needs a tablespoon of caraway seeds that you don’t have at that moment, you can simply use a tablespoon of cumin seeds as a substitute. You can’t simply leave it out for it may affect the entire taste of the bread. 

Celery Seeds

Celery Seeds

You can use celery seeds as substitutes for caraway seeds if and only if the recipe needs the caraway seeds to add aesthetic appeal or appetizing look to the bread or baked goods.

Many people thought that it is fine to use celery seeds as replacement for caraway seeds just because both seeds have a similar shape. How about the flavor?

Understand that the two seeds have different flavor profiles. Caraway seeds have bittersweet sharpness and nutty taste.

The seeds have hints of pepper, citrus, and mild licorice. Celery seeds, on the other hand, taste grassy and earthy with a bit of bitter edge. 

If the recipe calls for the flavor of caraway, you may need to try the other substitutes that closely resemble caraway seeds’ flavor profile.



The coriander has a flavor that is somewhere between cumin and fennel. The tartness of coriander can replace the citrusy flavor of caraway seeds, and its earthiness imitates the nuttiness of caraway.

The only thing that coriander can’t copy is the licorice or anise flavor in caraway seeds. However, coriander has nice floral notes that may work well with some baked goods.

If the recipe does not require the anise or licorice taste of caraway seeds, coriander is the suitable substitute. Try to use a bit of coriander to replace the caraway seed and then adjust accordingly.

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You may follow the amount stated in the recipe when you use coriander instead of caraway seeds if it fits your taste.

Nigella Seeds

Nigella Seeds

Nigella seeds, which are black in color, and caraway seeds have similar shapes and sizes. They are also called kalonji, black onion, or charnushka.

Ancient Egyptians were already using the nigella seeds back then. The nigella seeds have licorice notes similar to caraway, fennel, and anise.

The flavor of nigella seeds, appearance, and size make them a worthy substitute for caraway seeds.  

Nigella seeds blend well with other spices, like allspice, thyme, and coriander. A dash of nigella seeds provides a wonderful flavor to Indian naan and Russian rye.

You can use them in homemade bread and other baked goods. You can use the ratio 1:1 when substituting caraway seeds with nigella seeds.

Mustard Seeds

Mustard Seeds

Mustards seeds can give a flavor that closely resembles caraway seeds. Just like caraway seeds, mustard seeds can add a hint of earthiness and warmth to your baked goods.

The mustard seeds look like small beads with deep yellow color, while caraway seeds look like grains of rice with brown color.

Mustard seeds may not be the best substitute if the recipe requires coating a loaf of bread with caraway seeds. If the recipe only requires the taste that caraway seeds provide, mustard seeds are good substitutes.

You may use the 1:1 ratio when substituting caraway seeds with mustard seeds.



Cloves work well with sweet and savory dishes and can easily grab the top spot in your collection of spices. Some cooks usually only use cloves for holiday baking.

Cloves can be a decent substitute for caraway seeds. However, they don’t have the licorice flavor notes that caraway seeds and most substitutes have.

Cloves may not be the best choice if you want to incorporate the licorice flavor of caraway into your dish. However, cloves are your best option when you want a substitute for caraway seeds that can also help enhance the flavor of your dish. 

Cloves are fairly easy to find in most places where you buy spices, and they are a nice addition to your spice collection. You may substitute each teaspoon of caraway seeds with 3/4 teaspoon of cloves.

You can adjust according to your preference. You may also choose to grind the cloves if you don’t want any crunchy clove pods.

Dried Oregano

Dried Oregano

Mediterranean and Italian dishes usually include dried oregano, which is easy to find in grocery stores. It is also a good substitute for caraway seeds.

Dried oregano has some peppery undertones but lacks the licorice flavor. It is not the best substitute for caraway seeds if your recipe requires licorice flavor. But, it can help bring out the best in dishes.

If you want to preserve the look of caraway seeds on the finished product, dried oregano may fall short in that department.

Dried oregano and caraway seeds don’t share an ounce of similarity in appearance. It is also important to take note that you should avoid using too much dried oregano for it can overpower any dish.

You may use a half tablespoon of dried oregano to replace 1 tablespoon of caraway seeds.