Star anise is native to northeast Vietnam and Southwest China, and is therefore found in many Chinese dishes and is especially popular to use on pork and chicken. Star anise has a lightly sweet licorice flavor and pairs well with cloves, cinnamon, fennel and Sichuan peppercorns.
Substitute for Star Anise
Although star anise and anise seed sound very similar, they’re actually not related, but do share a similar flavor, which makes anise seed a great substitute for star anise. You can also use ground star anise in place for whole star anise, but take into consideration the texture of the ground spice vs the whole spice, especially in things like mulled cider or tea infusions. Here are a few more alternatives you can use when you don’t have star anise on hand.
Common Star Anise Substitution Questions
What Does Star Anise Taste Like?
Star anise is a delicate spice that adds a sweet richness to dishes, usually described as being similar to black licorice.
What is Star Anise Good For?
Star anise is great for pickling and brines along with marinades and infusing teas and ciders. Consider adding star anise in milk when making ice cream to add an unexpected sweet flavor that people will have a hard time putting their finger on.
Is Star Anise the Same As Anise Seeds?
Star anise and anise seeds are not the same, although they do share similar flavors and essential oils. Star anise is stronger than anise seed, so if using anise seed as a substitute for star anise you’ll want to use ½ teaspoon of anise seeds in replacement for one whole star anise.
Is Star Anise the Same as Cloves?
Cloves are not the same as star anise, but the two spices work well together. Cloves can be used to replace star anise because they also provide a sweetness along with bitter flavors to dishes. Use less cloves than you would star anise, and they have a stronger flavor.