The Absolute Best Caraway Seeds Substitutes

Caraway Seeds

Typically in our cooking process, we tend to add seeds and spices which can provide a nice aroma and taste to our dish. One of those is the caraway seeds which are commonly used in many recipes.

Caraway seeds are mostly used in European dishes and are part of the parsley family. I like these seeds because they have a strong taste with nutty traces. They’re usually compared to aniseeds. Caraway seeds are important and traditional, especially for fye bread recipes.

However, if you are having trouble finding them and you are probably wondering if they can be replaced. Since they have authentic taste and aroma is there a proper substitute?

The best substitutes for caraway seeds are aniseeds, fennel seeds, nigella seeds, dill seeds, star anise, cumin, juniper berries, mustard seeds, and ajwain.

Let’s learn more about each substitute and determine which one is the closest to caraway seeds. 

Caraway Substitutes

There many types of seeds and spices that can be used in your cooking and they can serve as a perfect replacement for caraway seeds in many of your recipes.

We have a list of 9 spices and seeds which are very similar to caraway seeds. They can give a nice touch and sense to your meals.

Keep in mind that you’ll need to adjust the amount that you are substring, as some of them may have a stronger flavor than caraway seeds. 

1. Aniseeds

Anise seeds 

An ideal substitute for caraway seeds is aniseeds. They have very much in common with caraway seeds. Aniseeds have a licorice taste and make a perfect choice for cookies or bread recipes that call for caraway seeds.

They have a stronger taste than caraway seeds, so when you are substituting, adjust the amount. Use ½ teaspoon of aniseed for every teaspoon of caraway seeds. Add small amounts and increase based on your taste.

2. Fennel seeds

Fennel seeds 

A spice that belongs to the carrot family and will serve as a great replacement for caraway seeds are the flannel seeds. They’re very famous in Middle Eastern, Indian and Italian cuisine.

You use flannel seeds to replace caraway seeds in all recipes since they are similar and you’ll get the same results. Flannel seeds provide distinctive licorice notes.

they have a strong taste, so they will outstand other ingredients in your dish. Use equal amounts when replacing, since there is no risk that can have an effect on your other flavors.

3. Nigella seeds

Nigella seed

Nigella seeds or also known as black onion are a spice that dates from ancient Egyptian times. You can use Nigella seeds to replace Caraway seeds in most recipes.

They’re quite similar to caraway seeds, which is why they can be used as a replacement in most recipes. Actually, nigella seeds will fit perfectly in recipes like curries or stews.

A useful tip: before cooking, toast or fry them for better results, and this way you’ll get the best flavors and aroma in your meal. Use equal amounts when replacing.

4. Dill seeds


Dill seeds can be used to replace caraway seeds as well. They’re part of the carrot family, but they’re also very similar to caraway seeds. If you are looking for a light licorice essence, then dill seeds are something that you need.

These seeds are ideal for soups based on cream or some other dishes that have cabbage as part of the ingredients. Use equal amounts when replacing. 

5. Star anise

Star anise

Another spice that can be used as a way to replace caraway seeds in cooking is the star anise. It is actually known as a spice with a strong flavor that will add rich tones to your dish.

Make sure not to overuse, meaning keep an eye on how much you add since the potent licorice traces may be overpowering and not suitable for your meal. Use to make baking goods or other sweet dishes and desserts. 

6. Cumin


Cumin is a type of herb that can be used to replace caraway seeds in your meals. It’s a bit hotter and will fit perfectly especially if you are making spicy dishes like stews or curries.

Actually, cumin is also very healthy, so it can bring you a few health benefits. Use equal amounts to substitute in your cooking or adapt based on the recipes and the ingredients. 

7. Juniper berries

Juniper Berries

Caraway seeds can be substituted by juniper berries too. These green and fresh berries can be a good substitute in many recipes that require caraway seeds.

They have a unique taste with traces of citrus and spiciness. Use a teaspoon of juniper berries to replace caraway seeds in your recipe. 

8. Mustard seeds


Another replacement in cooking for caraway seeds is the mustard seeds. They have very similar taste and if you swap these two types of seeds you won’t have huge changes.

These mustard seeds have a mellow taste with traces of sweetness and spiciness together. You can add mustard seeds especially if you have some pickling or add on most recipes that call for caraway seeds. Substitute equal amounts in your cooking. 

9. Ajwain


A plant that is also used as a seed is the ajwain. You can easily replace caraway seeds with ajwain in most recipes. It is an Indian seed with a bitter taste and a similar aroma to oregano.

In Indian cuisine, it is used in curries and some traditional dishes. The difference between ajwain and caraway is in the background, actually the plants they come from. Ajwain is from the family Apiaceae and it’s a seed, whereas caraway is a biennial plant. Use similar amounts to substitute. 

Related Questions

Can you substitute cumin for caraway seeds?

Cumin can be milder in taste than caraway seeds but it can serve as a great substitute. Use equal amounts when replacing.

Are cumin seeds and caraway seeds the same?

Cumin seeds and caraway seeds may look similar but they are somewhat different. For instance, caraway seeds have a stronger smell and taste whereas cumin seeds are milder. You can always use them as a way to substitute them for each other. 

What is the flavor of caraway seeds?

Caraway seeds have a bittersweet and sharp taste in which you can sense nutty tones and hints of citrus. Since they have a high concentration of natural oils they will provide a unique taste to your meal. 

1 comment
  1. Thank you.
    Making a creamy Cold Slaw solution/recipe that calls for Caraway seeds. I don’t have any. Others say Cumin is not an adequate substitute for Caraway. I teacher like the milder flavor of Cumin over Caraway.
    Thanks for the tip.

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