10 Best Caraway Seed Substitutes

If you’re a fan of rye bread or sauerkraut, then you’re probably no stranger to caraway seeds. Native to Europe and Asia, these seeds have been used for centuries in a variety of cuisines. While they may be small, caraway seeds pack a powerful punch when it comes to flavor.

Caraway seeds have a nutty, anise-like flavor and are used in a variety of recipes. You can add them to homemade bread or rolls for a traditional flavor, sprinkle them on top of roasted vegetables, stir them into stews or soups for an extra dose of flavor, or use them in place of black pepper in recipes like burgers or sausage.

If you’re in a pinch and can’t find caraway seeds, there are a few good caraway seed substitutes that will give your dish a similar flavor. Although caraway seeds are a common ingredient in many European dishes, they can be difficult to find in the average grocery store. So, if you’re out of caraway seeds and need a substitution, try one of these 10 options.

10 Best Caraway Seed Substitutes

1. Anise Seed

If you’re looking for a substitute for caraway seeds, anise seed is a good option. These two seeds share a similar flavor profile, with both having a licorice-like taste.

Anise seed is commonly used in baking, so it’s likely you already have it in your pantry. Try adding them to bread, rolls, or biscuits for a traditional flavor.

Keep in mind that anise seeds are more potent than caraway seeds, so you’ll need to use less of them in your recipe. So, if your recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of caraway seed, use 1/2 teaspoon of anise seed instead.

2. Fennel Seeds

Fennel Seeds

In a pinch, fennel seeds can be used as a substitute for caraway seeds. These two seeds have a similar flavor, with fennel being a bit sweeter than caraway. Fennel seeds are a common ingredient in Italian and Indian cuisine and have a similar flavor to caraway seeds.

The small, brown seeds have a sweet, anise-like flavor and are used in many dishes, both sweet and savory. They can be used in any dish that calls for caraway seeds, such as bread, rolls, soup, or stew.

3. Nigella Seeds

If you can’t find caraway seeds, nigella seeds make a great substitute. Nigella seeds are also known as black cumin or black onion seeds or kalonji. They have a slightly bitter taste and are often used in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine.

Nigella seeds have a nutty flavor with hints of onion and garlic. They can be used as a caraway seed substitute in dishes like cabbage, sauerkraut, and rye bread. Nigella seeds can also be used in curries and spice blends.

4. Star Anise

Star Anise Substitutes

Star anise is a star-shaped, dried fruit that has a licorice-like flavor. It’s commonly used in Chinese and Vietnamese cuisine and can be found in most grocery stores.

While star anise does have a similar flavor to caraway seeds, it should be used sparingly as it is much more potent. It can be used as a caraway seed substitute in baked goods or stir-fries.

Try adding a pinch of ground star anise to your recipe or using a whole star and removing it before serving.

5. Dill Seeds

Dill seeds come from the same plant as dill weed, an herb that is commonly used in pickling. The two have a very similar flavor, making dill seeds a good substitute for caraway seeds.

Dill seeds can be used to flavor breads and other baked goods. They can also be added to soups and stews, or to top roasted vegetables, or used to make a flavorful tea.

One of the most popular uses for dill seeds is in pickling recipes. The next time you are making pickles, try using dill seeds instead of caraway seeds for a unique flavor. When substituting dill seeds for caraway seeds, use a ratio of 1:1. 

6. Dried Oregano

If you’re out of caraway seeds and need a substitution for a recipe, try dried oregano.

Dried oregano is a common herb that can be found in most pantries. It’s often used in Italian and Mexican dishes. While it doesn’t have the same flavor as caraway seeds, it can be used as a substitute in some recipes.

Oregano has a slightly sweet, earthy flavor with hints of mint and thyme. It can be used as a caraway seed substitute in dishes like cabbage, sauerkraut, pasta sauce, pizza, or soup.

7. Cumin

Cumin Substitutes
Cumin Substitutes

Cumin seeds are another common caraway seed substitute. Both caraway and cumin belong to the Apiaceae family, which is also known as the carrot family.

These two spices share a similar flavor profile, with cumin being slightly more bitter than caraway seeds. Cumin seeds are a common ingredient in many cuisines, including Mexican, Indian, and Middle Eastern.

Cumin seeds are small, brown seeds and have a nutty, earthy flavor with hints of citrus and pepper. It can be used to flavor chili, cabbage, stews, curries, and spice blends. Use a ratio of 1:1 when replacing caraway seeds with cumin.

8. Coriander Seeds

If you don’t have caraway seeds, you can use coriander seeds as a substitute. These two spices come from the same plant family and have a similar flavor profile.

Coriander seeds are small, brown seeds that have a nutty, citrusy flavor. They’re often used in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine. They can be used as a caraway seed substitute in curries, soups, or stews.

9. Mustard Seeds

Mustard Seed

Mustard seeds are small, black, or yellow seeds that come from the mustard plant. They have a sharp, pungent flavor and are used in many different cuisines.

While they don’t have the same flavor as caraway seeds, they can be used as a substitute in some recipes. Try using mustard seeds in cabbage or sauerkraut for a flavorful dish.

10. Ajwain

Ajwain seeds are another great substitute for caraway seeds. They are small, black seeds and have a similar flavor profile to caraway seeds, with a slightly bitter taste and a hint of anise.

Ajwain seeds are often used in Indian cooking and can be found in most Indian grocery stores.

You can use ajwain seeds to flavor bread, curries, vegetables, or meat dishes. When substituting ajwain for caraway seeds, use a ratio of 1:1.

These are some of the best substitutes for caraway seeds. If you’re looking for a caraway seed substitute, any of these 10 options will work well. Give them a try in your next recipe!

Related Questions

What Does Caraway Seed Taste Like?

Caraway seed has a pleasantly sharp, anise-like flavor with hints of citrus and mint. It’s often used to flavor breads, including rye bread, as well as cheeses and sauerkraut.

How Do You Use Caraway Seeds?

Caraway seeds can be used in many different recipes. Try using them to flavor breads, soups, stews, or roasted vegetables. You can also use them to make a flavorful tea.

Are Cumin Seeds and Caraway Seeds the Same?

Cumin seeds and caraway seeds come from different plants, but they have a similar flavor profile. Cumin seeds are slightly more bitter than caraway seeds. These two spices can be used interchangeably in some recipes.

What Is the Difference Between Caraway Seeds and Cumin?

Caraway seeds and cumin seeds may look similar, but they have different flavor profiles that make them ideal for different dishes.

Caraway seeds have a sharp, anise-like flavor that pairs well with cabbage and other hearty greens. They are often used in European cooking, and can be found in dishes like sauerkraut and Rye bread.

Cumin seeds, on the other hand, have a warm, earthy flavor that is popular in Mexican and Indian cuisine. Cumin is often used to spice up beans and rice dishes, and can also be added to curry recipes.

When choosing between caraway seeds and cumin, it is important to consider the flavor profile of the dish you are trying to create.

What Can I Use Instead of Caraway Seeds in Rye Bread?

If you don’t have caraway seeds, you can use a variety of substitutes.

When making rye bread, it is important to choose a flavor that will complement the other ingredients. Caraway seeds have a sharp, anise-like flavor that pairs well with rye flour.

If you’re looking for a similar flavor, try using cumin seeds, coriander seeds, or fennel seeds.

Final Words

Caraway seeds are a versatile spice that can be used in many different recipes. If you don’t have caraway seeds on hand, any of the above caraway seed substitutes will work well. Give them a try in your next dish!

I’m a passionate food blogger on a journey to become a go-to person who can help others prepare delicious foods. I share recipes, food substitutes, and other cooking tips. Read more about my journey...

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