Difference Between Anise Seed and Star Anise (with Table)

Both anise seed and star anise receive their licorice-like flavor from a chemical called anethole, but the similarities stop there. But, the origins of these two delectable spices are extremely different.

These are the differences between anise seed and star anise:

  • Anise seed is native to the Mediterranean and southwestern Asia, but star anise is native to China and Southeast Asia.
  • Whereas anise seed is derived from a blooming, herbaceous plant, star anise is derived from a tree. Star Anise is the plant’s fruit, and anise seeds are a component of the fruit.
  • Star anise resembles brown eight-pointed stars, while anise seeds are little, greenish seeds.
  • Anise seeds have a four-year shelf life, but star anise has a three-year shelf life. To properly store spices, place them in airtight containers and keep them in a cold, dark place.
  • Both spices contain anethole, a molecule that tastes like licorice. Each spice has somewhat different tastes, but they may both be used to create a licorice flavor to a dish. Star anise has a somewhat grassy flavor, while anise seeds have a stronger flavor.
  • Both spices have historically been used in a range of culinary and medicinal applications. There are several current applications for star anise and anise seeds. These spices may be used in both sweet and savory dishes.

Difference Between Anise Star and Anise Seed

The fundamental distinction between star anise and anise seed is that they are derived from completely different plants from various parts of the globe. There are various significant distinctions between these spices.

Comparison Table Between Anise Seed and Star Anise

  Anise Seed Star Anise
Plant Anise (Pimpinella anisum) Star Anise (Illicium verum)
Plant Part Part of Fruit Fruit
Geographic Origin Mediterranean, Southwest Asia China, Southeast Asia
Flavor Type Licorice, Spicy Licorice, Herbaceous
Flavor Level Spicy Subtle
Uses Culinary, Medicinal Culinary, Medicinal
Appearance Small, Greenish Large, Brown, Eight-pointed Star

Can You Use Anise Seed in Place of Star Anise?

In certain cases, anise seed may be substituted with star anise. They both provide a beautiful licorice-like taste to your foods, adding a new depth. But, keep in mind that anise seeds have a much stronger taste than star anise. As a result, you should probably use less anise seeds than you anticipate.

It’s also worth noting that these two substances are employed in various ways, and each of these applications might result in a distinct amount of taste. Whole star anise, for example, has a more faint taste than powdered star anise, and both of these applications are more mild than intact or crushed anise seeds.

If a recipe asks for whole star anise to be eliminated later in the process, you’ll need to prepare ahead of time if you wish to substitute anise seed. To make it simpler to remove the seeds, wrap them in cheesecloth or strain them. It’s also possible that you’ll need to use less ground anise seed.

For every crushed star anise, use 2 teaspoons anise seeds. You may use crushed anise seeds for one crushed star anise. Remember that spices lose their power with time, so you may need to use more of them if they are older. In general, you should use around 1

Depending on what you want to do with it, you may use star anise for anise seed. In many circumstances, like as baking, you may wish to pulverize the star anise rather than removing the whole star. In other circumstances, such as soups or sauces, however, leaving the star anise intact is probably OK.

What is Anise Seed?

The anise plant produces anise seed. Despite its name, anise seed is a component of this plant’s fruit. This plant is related to parsley and tastes like licorice in most sections. This plant’s stem and roots are also popular culinary components. It originated in the Mediterranean and southwest Asia, but it is now grown all over the globe.

This seed’s origin is intriguing since its name is the consequence of a mix-up. The term anise is derived from the Latin word anisum, and it was given to the plant when it was misidentified as dill.

How to Use Anise Seed

Anise seed is used in a variety of Mediterranean and Asian recipes, and it also has some therapeutic properties. These seeds are often used to flavor liqueurs like absinthe.

Although anise seed may be used in both sweet and savory dishes, it is most often employed to flavor sweet foods. Baked items are a common method to employ whole anise seeds. This taste is often found in biscotti, bread, and German cookies.

You may use these seeds in a variety of different, more savory applications, such as marinades for vegetables and meat, spice mixes, and sauce flavoring. This item is often found in Italian recipes like marinara sauce and Italian sausage.

This spice is well-known for its therapeutic properties. It has a diuretic impact, for example, and may help with digestion. This spice also contains antibacterial qualities that may help prevent fungus and germs from growing. Yet, there is evidence that anise seeds may aggravate endometriosis symptoms.

For these therapeutic effects, consume anise seeds whole or powdered. Anise seed oil is also available for purchase for usage in medicine.

What is Star Anise?

Star anise is a dried fruit from a tree native to China and Southeast Asia. It is used to season food and as a medicine. This fruit appears like an eight-pointed star, thus its name. These fruits have dry seeds within.

The precise origin of star anise is a little complicated. Because of its taste similarities to anise seed, it is known as star anise in English. This spice is called as bjio in Chinese, which means “eight horns,” and this name aptly fits the spice’s look.

How to Use Star Anise

Star anise may be used in a variety of ways in the kitchen. It is popular in a variety of Asian cultures, including Vietnamese and Chinese cuisine. Star anise may be used in both sweet and savory recipes. Star anise is a spice that may be found in Chinese five-spice mixes and certain garam masala blends.

Depending on what you’re creating, you may put it whole to a meal and then scoop it out before eating. You may also ground the star anise before using it in your meal. The whole spice is often used in mulled drinks and at the start of sauces and stews, although the ground form works well in baked products.

When it comes to adding depth to savory foods, star anise is a popular option. This is because the tastes of this spice complement the fatty and savory flavors found in meat-based recipes. This spice may be used in stews, pho soup, braises, and marbled tea eggs.

Although this spice was historically employed in savory foods, it also has a number of popular sweet uses. Star anise is a common spice in mulled wine and other spicy drinks like chai. Star anise is used in a variety of desserts, including cookies, poached pears, and ice cream.

This fruit is also known to have a variety of therapeutic properties. It generates shikimic acid, a component of the flu-fighting drug oseltamivir. Traditional Chinese medicine employs star anise to treat respiratory infections and stomach disorders. The spice is soaked in warm water with other therapeutic plants in these therapies.

The Verdict

Both of these spices are excellent for imparting a licorice-like taste to a dish or beverage. They may originate from separate countries, but their tastes are eerily similar and work well in soups, stews, and desserts. If you want to experiment with classic tastes and add new flavor aspects to your dish, try these spices.

Although they both have their own set of applications, you can simply substitute one for the other in a hurry. Just be sure you use these spices in the correct proportions. You could even wish to experiment with utilizing them medicinally.


How much anise seed equals one star anise?

Since star anise is stronger than anise seed, if using anise seed as a substitute for star anise, use 12 teaspoon of anise seeds in lieu of one entire star anise.

How much anise extract equals 1 tablespoon of anise seed?

Conversion of Anise Extract to Anise Seed

When replacing star anise with anise seed, use twice as much anise seed. For example, 1 teaspoon anise extract may be used for 2 teaspoons pulverized anise seed.

What is the difference between anise and anise seed?

Whereas anise seed is derived from a blooming, herbaceous plant, star anise is derived from a tree. Star Anise is the plant’s fruit, and anise seeds are a component of the fruit.

Can I substitute anise for anise seed?

The two plants are unrelated, yet they both have a similar black licorice taste finish. Use the following replacement ratio: 12 teaspoon anise seeds equals 1 entire star anise.

How many seeds are in a 2 star anise?

The star anise pod contains an average of eight points, each carrying a single pea-sized seed and is fashioned like a star (thus its name). Both the seeds and the pod, which contain the sweet, powerful anise taste, are used in cuisine.

Which is stronger anise seed or star anise?

The main difference in taste between anise and star anise is that anise seed is more strong, with an almost peppery flavor, whilst star anise is gentler. These may be used interchangeably in recipes, but the proportions must be modified to account for the Asian ingredient’s mildness.

Can I substitute regular anise for star anise?

Can you use Anise and Star Anise interchangeably? When ground, they may be used interchangeably. Remember that Star Anise has a considerably stronger taste than anise seed. When substituting Aniseed for Star Anise, use twice as much Aniseed.

Is anise seed the same as whole star anise?

Anise seed and star anise are two distinct plants with origins in various regions of the globe. Since they both contain the essential oil anethole, their taste characteristics are similar, albeit star anise is regarded more bitter and herbaceous.

How much anise seed should I use in cooking?

Both whole and powdered anise seeds are often used in baked products and savory recipes. When it comes to texture, whole seeds are the way to go. When your recipe asks for another, you’re stuck with one. One teaspoon intact anise seeds equals to one teaspoon crushed anise seeds.

What are the two categories of anise?

Aniseed is a member of the parsley family, and anethole (produced from the seeds of both plants, and to a lesser extent star anise) is the oil that accounts for the sweet licorice flavor, whereas star anise is a member of the magnolia family.

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