Anise extract has a strong licorice flavor that is strong, spicy, yet sweet and mild. It is commonly used in baking and cooking. Anise extract can be made from tincture from anise or star anise.
The flavor of the anise extract pairs well with poultry, beef, ginger, citrus onions, nutmeg, and cinnamon. But it tends to overpower the flavors of your dishes, so use only a small amount in cooking.
Here is some other appropriate substitute you can consider.
- Licorice extract
- Licorice liqueur
- Vanilla extract
- Anise oil
- Star anise
- Anise seed
Before we go into the full list of potential substitutes, let’s learn more about this ingredient commonly used in baking.
21 Best Anise Extract Substitute
Anise extract is made from both the seeds and the leaves of the popular spice called star anise. It is the seed pod that came from the fruit of the plant called Illicium verum. This evergreen shrub traces its origins to Southwest China.
The star anise pod is named as such because it is shaped like a star. It has an average of eight points, each with a single pea-sized seed. The seeds and the pod of the star anise are used in cooking. It is sold ground and whole. [Source]
The anise seed is different from the star anise, though they are similar in taste. These two do not come from the same plant family.
Star anise belongs to the magnolia family while anise seed comes from the parsley family. Star anise seeds are larger and reddish-brown, whereas anise seeds are smaller and can be mistaken for fennel seeds.
To make anise extract, you can fill a half-pint canning jar with whole star anise, then add vodka. Leave it covered in a cool, dark place. [Source]
Some of the spices similar in flavor to anise extract are fennel, tarragon, and licorice. We believe that licorice should be at the top of the list because it is very similar to anise extract.
Licorice is our top choice because we believe it is the perfect substitute for anise extract. Licorice extract is a dark brown compound that can give a natural sweetness to your dish.
You can use it as a replacement for any kind of dish that needs anise extract, like gums, candies, and chocolates that are usually added in cocktails.
The natural sweetness of licorice also makes it ideal to replace anise extract when making ice cream, wine, and curries.
Ideally, use 1 teaspoon of licorice extract for every 1 teaspoon of anise extract on your recipe.
Licorice liqueur has the same natural sweet flavor as anise extract. There are other variations of licorice liqueur that can serve as a replacement for anise extract like French Pernot, Italian Sambuca, Spanish Pacharan, etc.
We consider vanilla extract as the second-best substitute for anise extract. It can be used in baking, making ice cream, making custard pie filling, desserts, bread pudding, and some cream sauces.
When using vanilla extract, there are no limitations as to how you can use it for cooking. You can add it to your coffee and chocolate drinks, to salad dressings, and to fruit salads. You can also add vanilla extract to sparkling water, iced tea, fruit juice, and alcoholic beverages.
Anise oil can be used instead of anise extract in cooking. Anise oil is a colorless or very pale-yellow liquid that came from anise seeds. It is usually added as flavoring to baked goods, confections, cough drops, and candies.
For every 1 teaspoon of anise extract on the recipe, use ¼ teaspoon of anise oil as a substitute.
When you run out of anise extract, but you have star anise in your pantry, you can use it as a substitute.
Star anise seeds can be used in a variety of recipes that need to have the flavor profile of anise extract.
You probably know that Pernod is an anise-flavored liqueur. It is a good replacement for anise extract. Pernod has a sweet flavor profile that can give your dessert frosts a distinct flavor similar to the flavor of anise extract.
For every 1 teaspoon of anise extract, use 1 teaspoon of Pernod for your recipe.
The famous anise seeds are commonly used to add flavor to cakes, biscuits, and liqueurs because of their strong flavor similar to licorice. It is a good match with cookies, some desserts, and savory dishes.
For every 1 teaspoon of anise extract on the recipe, use 2 teaspoons of powdered anise seeds.
Sambuca is a famous Italian liqueur that has a distinct anise flavor profile. It makes a good substitute for anise extract when mixing cocktails, making desserts, and drinking coffee.
For every 1 teaspoon of anise extract on the recipe, use 1 to 2 tablespoons of Sambuca drink.
Absinthe is an anise-flavored French spirit that can also be used in cooking, baking, etc. It is sweet and mimics the flavor of fennel. It is a pleasant combination of fragrant and sweet.
For every 1 teaspoon of anise extract, use 1 to 2 tablespoons of absinthe.
Ouzo is known as the Greek dry anise flavor digestif (aperitif). It has the same flavor profile as Sambuca and pastis.
Ouzo makes a good substitute for Pernod and Sambuca. It is usually blended with water, creating a murky white, sometimes faint blue, drink. Typically, a tiny glass is used for this with a few ice cubes.
If you feel like it, you drink an Ouzo using a shot glass. It is often served with a plate of mezes or appetizers like olives, feta cheese, fries, or tiny fresh fish. It is a distinct licorice-like flavor that can be compared to absinthe, only ouzo has a smoother texture.
Anisette is an anise-flavored alcoholic drink that is popularly used in many Mediterranean countries. It has a strong and rich flavor with a hint of anise seeds and licorice flavors. Anisette is usually colorless. It has a mild sweet taste.
It is a good substitute for anise extract in baking. You can also use it as a flavoring for poultry, fish, or creamy sauces. It is commonly used when cooking savory dishes. You can also drink it as is, cold or hot.
Anisette would also make a good dressing for fruit compotes and ice cream. Enhance the flavor of your chocolate cake with an anisette.
For every 1 teaspoon of anise extract needed in the recipe use 2 tablespoons of anisette.
Pastis is a French aperitif spirit that makes a good substitute for anise extract because they both have the same flavor profiles.
You can use pastis as a replacement for anise extract for your marinades, sauces, and soups. It goes well with seafood, fish, and chicken dishes as it brings out a pleasant licorice-like aroma and flavor.
For every 1 teaspoon of anise extract on your recipe, use 2 tablespoons of Pastis liqueur.
Arak is a distilled Levantine spirit made from anise seeds and grapes. It has the same licorice-like flavor as anise extract. It is similar in flavor to sambuca, pastis, ouzo, absinthe, and raki.
You can use it as an anise extract replacement for soups, marinades, and rubs. Use 1 to 2 tablespoons of arak for every 1 teaspoon of anise extract on your recipe.
Herbs de Majorca
Herbs de Majorca is a popular herbal liqueur used mainly for meditation in Majorca, the largest island in the Balearic Islands in Spain. It is composed of many different aromatic plants like anise, mint, fennel, chamomile, rosemary, lemon, orange, verbena, and marjoram.
Its color is green or amber, and is typically used as a digestif after a meal.
As an anise extract substitute, it goes well with oregano to make a delicious vegetable soup. You can also use it when making meatballs, stuffing for chicken or turkey, and salads.
Aguardiente is an alcoholic drink that came from Columbia made from water, sugar, alcohol, and anise. This anise-flavored drink is similar in taste to licorice. Its flavor profile can be likened to pastis, ouzo, and sambuca.
It is an ideal replacement for anise extract when making sauces and soups. Use 1 tablespoon of aguardiente to replace every 1 teaspoon of anise extract on your recipe.
Raki is a well-known alcoholic beverage made by combining twice-distilled grapes and anise. It is an ideal replacement for anise extract in different savory dishes of seafood and meze.
Its taste is similar to pastis and sambuca. Use 1 tablespoon of Raki drink for every 1 teaspoon of anise extract on your recipe.
We added fennel seeds to the list because they can bring out a sweet, licorice-like flavor in your dishes, hence, a good alternative to anise extract. You can use it when making sauces, salads, and soups.
For every 1 teaspoon of anise extract, use ¼ teaspoon of fennel seeds.
Typically, anise spirits are less sweet than anisette and anise extract. If you want a sweeter dish, you should add a little bit more anise spirits to your recipe.
It makes a good anise extract replacement in soups, sauces, and dressings.
Chinese Five-Spice Powder
You can also use Chinese five-spice powder in place of anise extract because it has the same spicy-sweet flavor as anise. Use it as a replacement for meat-based recipes, roasted poultry, and grilled fish.
Use ½ teaspoon of Chinese five-spice to replace 1 teaspoon of anise extract in the recipe.
Mastika is a popular liqueur in Greece made from mastic, which is a resin from the mastic tree. It has a pine or cedar-like flavor. It is not only used as a culinary spice in Greece but also as a supplement because of its healing properties.
Its sweet flavor makes it an ideal substitute for anise extract when making pastries like cookies, biscuits, and bread. It is a popular ingredient of koulourakia or Greek Easter cookies.
For every 1 teaspoon of anise extract on your recipe, use 1 to 2 tablespoons of mastika.
Chinchon is another anise-based liqueur that came from Chinchon, a city in Madrid, Spain. It is made from distilled maceration of green anise seeds combined with water and alcohol.
It is sweet with a hint of dried anise seed flavor. You can also use it to replace anise extract when making sauces, dressings, and soups. Use 1 to 2 tablespoons of chinchon for every 1 teaspoon of anise extract on your recipe.