11 Caraway Seeds Substitutes You Never Knew You Had Around!
Caraway seeds are a common ingredient for enhancing many dishes. But sometimes they can be hard to find. Find out the best caraway seed substitutes, so that you can always be prepared!
If there is one thing you need to be in the kitchen, it is creative and flexible. OK, so that’s two things! so be it! What we’re trying to say is that if you’re looking to add flavor to your dish but you find a key ingredient missing, are you going to abandon your menu? Or are you going to get creative?
What can you replace caraway seeds with, you’re asking? While it may seem difficult to replicate their flavor, but there are plenty of options, trust us!
The flavor profile of caraway seeds
A staple spice in African, Asian, and European cuisine, caraway seeds are quite versatile and can add flavor to both sweet and savory dishes. There’s no sauerkraut, no Tunisian harissa, no Polish sausages, no Italian meatballs without them.
Or so you’d think! But you’re no quitter! If you want to make harissa or meatballs, who can tell you not to? Not having caraway seeds around will not stop you, right? You need a sub! But what do caraway seeds taste like, so that you can mimic their profile flavor?
- Caraway has a warming, intense aroma
- Caraway seeds give a contrast of minty, piney, fresh flavors
- Caraway has a bittersweet nutty, earthy aroma
- Caraway seeds have a certain sharpness to them and a mellow citrusy vibe
- Caraway seeds have a peppery, spicy tone
- Caraway seeds have an anise and licorice undertone
Caraway seeds are amazing for giving your dish a fresh zing. They incorporate warmth and a subtle, aromatic, licorice scent to your recipe. But there are ways to replicate their whole palette of tastes and undertones. Here’s what to use instead of caraway seeds.
Try these caraway seed substitutes!
Whole or ground, caraway seeds are noticeable in your food. But they are not irreplaceable. Discover what ingredients (spices or herbs) are your best bets and how to substitute caraway seeds so that you get a similar aroma.
1. Fennel Seeds
Just like caraway, fennel is a member of the carrot family. Fennel seeds are usually added to meatballs, sausages, and anything that contains meat because of their robust aroma. That’s why this ingredient is a great substitute for caraway seeds in goulash, stews, sauces, even curries.
Fennel seeds are also known to enhance the sweet taste in dishes and particularly to boost the flavor of seafood and fish. The fact that fennel withstands prolonged heat makes them ideal in dishes that are left to simmer for a long time.
Their licorice aroma makes fennel a good caraway seed substitute in sauerkraut as well. Since their flavor is milder, somehow sweeter than caraway, you can start with equal amounts and go from there.
2. Anise Seeds
If you’re looking for caraway seeds substitutes for bread, cookies, and baked goods, anise seeds are your best choice. They have an intense licorice aroma and can easily work as a sub. Since their taste is more pungent, use half the amount of anise seeds to caraway.
3. Dill Seeds
Dill is a subtle caraway seed replacement. Dill seeds are quite similar to caraway, bringing that licorice aroma to the table, but they will also add a citrus-fresh taste. Add them in a 1:1 ratio to anything cabbage-based, yes, including sauerkraut.
Dill seeds are also great in baked goods, salad dressings with vinegar, pickles, cream soups, fish, and sauces. Dill has the amazing power of enhancing the sweet taste in foods, keep that in mind.
4. Nigella Seeds: Black Onion Seeds
Ah, yes, another fabulous caraway seeds substitute for bread: nigella seeds. They are a staple for naan bread, but they can be added to any type of savory baked good. They are also great in curries and anything sauce-based. Also, don’t be shy to add nigella seeds to your pickles, bagels, and anything containing lentils or beans. Yuuum!
They have the same licorice vibe to them, but they also have a blend of cumin, onion, and oregano undertones. Nigella also brings a hint of smokiness to your recipe. Make sure to toast or fry them to fully release their flavor.
5. Star Anise
If you’ve nothing else available, star anise is a good alternative to caraway seeds. They have that licorice flavor you’re looking for, but make sure not to overpower your recipe.
It’s ideal in jams or pickles, curry, stews, braises, and yes, mulled wine, but beware of its slightly bitter undertone. Just remember, with star anise, a little goes a long way. Start with a 1:4 ratio and adjust, if necessary.
6. Cumin Seeds
Yes, you are good to go with cumin as a substitute for caraway seeds. While they have different flavors, you can add cumin when needed.
With a warm feel, a peppery scent, and an interesting blend of earthy, nutty, and citrusy, cumin can stand in for caraway seeds, especially in stews, curries, sauces. A 1:2 ratio is your best bet. Taste the food and adjust the taste to your liking.
7. Dried Oregano
Are you browsing your spice rack for some herbs similar to caraway seeds? Well, you’ll be pleased to know that good old oregano makes the cut.
It brings a heavy, intense aroma, with a peppery vibe, so make sure to add half the amount. It’s especially recommended in soups, salad dressings, sauces, and meat marinades or rubbings. It’s a great pair for lamb, chicken, and beef.
8. Mustard Seeds
They look and taste quite similar to caraway seeds. But they bring some other flavors to your dish. Mustard seeds are earthy and provide a certain warmth to stews, pickles, salad dressings, pastries, and baked goods. They also bring a certain tartness to your dish, FYI.
9. Coriander Seeds
Another suitable caraway substitute is coriander. The seeds, to be more precise, offer a similar warmth that will remind you of caraway.
They also have that nutty, earthy, citrusy aroma that caraway has. But they lack that licorice undertone and will add a pinch of tartness. Toast them a little to benefit from their full aroma. A 1:1 ratio will do, especially in strews, curries, soups, anything with meat, and lentils.
Quite potent in terms of flavor, fragrant and spicy, cloves have an earthy, peppery vibe. If you are going to use them as caraway seeds alternatives, start with a 1:4 ratio.
Cloves work in curry, stews, sauces, anything sauce-based, and spicy desserts. You will notice they don’t offer that licorice vibe, but their bouquet will enhance the flavor of your dish.
11. Celery Seeds
You might not think so but celery seeds are a good choice as a caraway seed substitute. They have that herby, minty, fresh vibe that caraway has, and they deliver a slight hint of anise, so you’re good to go. Just like dill seeds and any flowery aromatic plant, celery seeds come with a burst of flavor. Use them in anything with veggies.
Carrots, potatoes, beet salads, coleslaws, salad dressings, and pickles can all benefit from a sprinkle of celery seeds. Add them in the same amount as caraway seeds.
So there you have it! Yes, caraway seeds are known to pack quite the punch, flavor-wise! And yes, they are a potent ingredient to make your food richer, spicier, more fragrant, and interesting. But they are not the only ingredients you have in your pantry that can be all that. You’ve got it! 11 caraway seeds substitutes you never knew you had around!