9 Best Substitutes for Caraway Seeds – Top Options to Try

I was really excited to make my grandma’s caraway seed cake for Easter this year, but I realized that I was out of caraway seeds.

No problem, I thought to myself, I’ll just use a substitute.

So, I grabbed a bottle of caraway oil and got to work. Turns out, it didn’t quite have the same flavor as the caraway seeds I was used to.

It was a little too strong and didn’t taste very good in the cake.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Keep scrolling as we discuss a list of substitutes for caraway seeds that will give your dish the same aroma and flavor.

We’ll also explain the differences and similarities between each substitute so you can choose the one that best suits your needs.

Substitutes for Caraway Seeds:

  1.  Fennel seeds
  2. Dill seeds
  3. Juniper berries
  4. Ajwain
  5. Cumin
  6. Aniseeds
  7. Mustard seeds
  8. Star anise
  9. Nigella seeds

 Fennel seeds

Fennel seeds and caraway seeds are both funny-looking little things that pack a powerful taste.

These seeds are identical in structure and shape, making them a great swap for one another. Hence, when substituting, use a 1:1 ratio of fennel to caraway.

Fennel seeds are most commonly used in Italian cuisine, while caraway seeds are more popular in Eastern European cooking.

However, both of these substitutes will give you identical results.

In addition to being a great swap in the kitchen, fennel seeds also have some other benefits such as improved milk production during lactation and blood purifier.

Plus, did you know that fennel seeds can also be used as a breath mint? They help fight bad breath due to their high essential oil content.

Not to mention it’s awesome when used in Lemon Cake or Kapusta Pork.

Dill seeds

Dill seeds have a mild licorice taste and can be used as a substitute for Caraway seeds.

When substituting, use a 1:1 ratio, which means if the recipe requires 1 cup of caraway seed use 1 cup of dill seed instead.

Dill seeds are commonly used in dishes such as creamy soup and Red Cabbage Slaw.

Some benefits of using dill seeds include that they act as a bowel cleanser and promote sleep.

Juniper berries

Juniper berries make a formidable replacement for caraway seeds. These little berries pack a distinctive citrusy-spicy punch that is sure to give your dishes a boost.

Plus, they’re also diuretic and anti-diabetic. So if you’re looking for a unique flavor hit, juniper berries are the way to go.

Here are some dishes you can prepare with juniper berry substitutes:

– Spicy Juniper Berry Chicken: This dish is perfect for those who crave a little heat. The chicken is coated in a paste made from juniper berries, chili pepper, and other spices. Then it’s baked until crispy and served with a side of steamed rice.

– Juniper Berry Salmon: This healthy dish features succulent salmon cooked with juniper berries, lemon, and rosemary. It’s perfect for a light lunch or dinner.

– Juniper Berry Salad: This refreshing salad is made with mixed greens, juniper berries, feta cheese, and roasted almonds. The dressing is a simple mix of olive oil and vinegar.


Ajwain is a spice that is often used in Indian cuisine. It has a slightly bitter taste and can be used as a 1:1 replacement for caraway seeds.

Just keep in mind that they have a slightly bitter-ish flavor, so use them sparingly at first.

In addition to being nearly indistinguishable in flavor, ajwain also has some incredible health benefits.

It is an anti-fungal agent, helps soothe indigestion, and can even be used as an anti-cough remedy.

Ajwain seeds are also perfect for dishes like chutneys and pickles.


Cumin is a firey little seed that can be used as a 1:1 replacement for caraway seeds.

While the two spices share many of the same flavors, cumin has a slightly spicier kick that can add an extra layer of flavor to your dish.

Additionally, cumin is rich in iron and has been shown to promote fat reduction and help with drug dependency.

And, because it has so many benefits, it’s no wonder that cumin is also often used in skin care products.

I guarantee that cumin will take your Curried Chicken and Stir-fried Vegetables to the next level.


Aniseeds are excellent substitutes for caraway seeds. They have a similar licorice-like flavor and can be used in a 1:2 ratio.

This means that if the recipe requires 1 cup of caraway seeds use only 1/2 cup of aniseeds.

Try it in your bread, salad, or dressing recipes

Aniseeds also have some health benefits that caraway seeds do not.

For example, they have been shown to help with depression and protect against stomach ulcers.

Mustard seeds

Mustard seeds make a great stand-in for caraway seeds. They have a slightly hot, peppery flavor that is similar to caraway and can be used interchangeably in most recipes.

This spicy-sweet flavor pairs well with sauerkraut and beet soup.

Plus, they can be used in a 1:1 ratio as a replacement for caraway seeds.

Not only are mustard seeds a delicious way to add flavor to your food, but they also offer some health benefits.

Mustard seeds contain compounds that help to treat pain and keep skin looking fresh. They also help with digestion by stimulating the production of digestive juices.

Both caraway and mustard seeds are good for digestion and provide antioxidants, calcium, copper, and vitamins A, C, and K.

So whether you’re making Nann bread or German potato salad, don’t be afraid to use mustard seeds as a substitute for caraway.

Star anise

Star anise is a potent ingredient. A little goes a long way with this intense flavor.

When substituting for caraway seeds, use 1:1 or less.

Star anise is best used in baked goods and desserts. Its intense flavor will be sure to leave a memorable impact.

Additionally, star anise has antiviral properties which can help prevent the spread of colds and flu. As well as it repels insects and may relieve some menopause symptoms

So, don’t be afraid to reach for the stars and anise up your life with this powerful spice!

Nigella seeds

Nigella seeds, also known as black caraway, onion seeds, or kalonji, are a popular aromatic spice used in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine.

Though they resemble small black sesame seeds, they have a pungent, slightly bitter flavor that is often used to flavor pickles, curries, and bread.

Nigella seeds can be used as a substitute for caraway seeds in many dishes.

In addition to their similar flavor, nigella seeds also have many of the same health benefits as caraway seeds.

They are a rich source of antioxidants and have been shown to kill harmful bacteria.

Nigella seeds are also believed to protect the liver and to have cancer-fighting properties.

Just use them 1:1 in any recipe that calls for caraway seeds.

Moreover, toasting or frying them beforehand releases their flavor and makes them perfect for dishes like rye bread, cabbage, and potato salad.

Trust me, your diners will never know the difference.


Can I substitute caraway seeds for aniseeds?

Aniseeds are excellent substitutes for caraway seeds. They have a similar licorice-like flavor and can be used in a ratio of caraway seeds to aniseeds.

Can I use caraway seeds if I don’t have any?

If you do not have caraway seeds, you can substitute mustard seeds, nigella seeds, or star anise in most recipes. Just be sure to use the same measurements.

What do caraway seeds taste like?

Caraway seeds have a slightly hot, peppery flavor that is similar to mustard seeds. They are often used in bread, salad, and dressing recipes.

In Conclusion

Whether you’re out of caraway seeds or simply looking for a new flavor, these substitutes will do the trick.

Aniseeds, mustard seeds, nigella seeds, and star anise all make great stand-ins for caraway seeds.

And, they each offer their own unique flavor and health benefits.

Now that you know this secret, go forth and caraway your dishes with confidence!

Your friends and family will be sure to thank you.