Fennel seeds are native to the Mediterranean and are used extensively in Indian, Chinese, German, French, and Italian cooking. Fennel seeds have a licorice-like flavor and look very similar to cumin seeds.
Fennel seeds are incredibly versatile and can be used in sauces (especially tomato sauces), with seafood, pork, in soups and stews, and in baked goods. You can use fennel seeds whole or ground.
Recipes with Fennel Seeds
Fennel seeds and ground fennel are so useful! Here are some of our favorite recipes with fennel seeds.
- Chinese Five Spice Blend
- Tomato and Fennel Pickles
- Pappa al Pomodoro
- Fennel and Orange Scented Challah
- Spicy Tomato Parmesan Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
- Warm Potato Salad with Bacon and Fennel
Where to Buy Fennel Seeds
You can buy fennel seeds in most grocery stores. If you’d like to buy them online from whole foods, they sell organic fennel seeds.
Substitute for Fennel Seed
If you can’t source fennel seeds, you can substitute anise, caraway, dill, or cumin seeds. Anise seeds are the most similar in flavor but cumin seeds will likely be the easiest to find.
More Spices & Spice Guides
If you like spices and spice blends, we think you’ll love these guides – as well as our unique spice guide (and recipes to use them in).