The Substitutes for Anise Extract

Updated February 21, 2017

Anise extract comes from steeping anise seeds in liquor to infuse the alcohol with a liquorice flavour. Anise flavouring is used in sweet baked goods in small amounts, but the Romans of the first century nibbled on anise seeds after meals in hopes of aiding their digestion, according to Chow. When using substitutions in recipes, make notes on the success of the anise extract replacement, according to your taste buds.

Anise Oil

Since extracts are alcohol-based, recipes take into account that some of the alcohol will evaporate during cooking. This does not happen with anise oil, often used as a candy ingredient. Lacking alcohol to burn off, anise oil has a more concentrated flavour, so use less in your recipe. Begin with 1/8 tsp of anise oil to replace each tsp of anise extract; increase the amount drop by drop until you reach the desired flavour and aroma.

Anise-Flavored Liquor

Anise flavoured liquors have less anise flavour. A long list of anise flavoured drinks from many countries offers a wide range of options. Look for French anisette, Italian sambuca, Spanish ojen, Libyan kasra or Greek ouzo. For any of these use 1 to 2 tbsp to replace each tsp of anise extract.


Replace each tsp of anise extract with 2 tsp of aniseed. Before adding the seed to the recipe, toast the seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant. This step increases the flavour from the seeds and makes them easier to grind. Crush the seeds in a mortar and pestle or small food grinder to a fine powder and add to the dry ingredients in your recipe.

Anise Powder

Preground aniseed found on the baking aisle should be a last resort to replacing anise extract. Ground spices quickly lose their flavouring after processing. Even a new bottle of anise powder could lack any taste from improper or too long storage. Smell your anise powder before using in your recipe. It should smell of sweet liquorice. Replace 1 tsp of anise extract with ½ tsp of anise powder and add it to the dry ingredients in your recipe.

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