11 Anise Extract Substitutes For a Sweet and Delicious Taste

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There are many anise extract substitutes you can choose when you are in a bind. While more than eleven options are available, we wanted to offer you only the best.

In this article, you will find great ingredients that can easily take the place of anise extract. These products offer a similar taste profile and work wonders in various recipes.

Look no further if you are on the hunt for an anise extract. Here are 11 options you will want to try.

  • Sambuca
  • Agave syrup
  • Golden syrup
  • Vanilla extract
  • Licorice extract
  • Star Anise
  • Licorice Liquore
  • Anise Oil
  • Pernod
  • Absinthe

What is Anise Extract

The anise plant comes from a flowering plant native to Eurasia. It is a go to ingredient for candies, alcoholic beverages, baked goods, and other desserts.

What Does Anise Extract Taste Like?

We like to compare the flavor of anise extract to that of black licorice. It is often compared to the combination of star anise and fennel seed

This product can give a savory dish a touch of sweetness. Keep in mind that too much can overpower the other ingredients.

11 Best Substitutes For Anise Extract

Anise extract provides a unique flavor that makes many dishes taste as sweet as it does spicy. Although it offers a taste like no other, there are alternatives when you are in a pinch.

Below is a list of 11 anise extract substitutes that can add a delicious twist to popular recipes.

1. Sambuca is Ideal for Desserts

Sambuca is an Italian liquor with an aniseed flavor. This ingredient makes an excellent Anise extract substitute because it is a product of star anise.

Sambuca has similar ingredients as anise extract, including a large amount of alcohol.

You should consider using this option for mixed drinks, baked goods, or in your morning cup of coffee.

To substitute Sambuca for Anise Extract:

  • Use 1 TSP of anise extract to 1 to 2 TBSP of Sambuca.

2. Agave Syrup is a “Sweet” Alternative to Anise

Agave syrup, also called agave nectar, comes from the agave plant. This plant is the primary source of the makeup of tequila.

This syrup is commercial grade and offers a sweet flavor to many recipes. That said, it is a good candidate for a substitute for anise extract.

You have to be very careful when replacing anise extract with agave syrup. If you use too much of this ingredient, your recipe will become too sweet.

To substitute Agave Syrup for Anise Extract:

  • Use ½ to ¾ TBSP of agave syrup for 1 TBSP of anise extract.

3. Use Golden Syrup for Decadent Recipes

Golden syrup originated in England and is the product of refined cane sugar or sugar beet juice.

This is a popular ingredient many people use as a sweetener.

Golden syrup isn’t only sweet but offers a unique buttery taste. This inverted sugar syrup is around 25% sweeter than sugar.

Although this item provides a similar flavor, it is thicker than anise extract. When swapping the two options out, do so with caution.

To substitute golden syrup for Anise Extract:

  • Use ½ TBSP of golden syrup for 1 TBSP of anise extract.

4. Vanilla Extract is an Excellent Alternative

Vanilla extract is a versatile ingredient that can replace anise extract with ease. This product offers a sweet taste, like anise, and the same consistency.

To make vanilla extract, you have to soak vanilla beans in alcohol. This process extracts the flavor compounds from the bean. Pure vanilla extract has a powerful aroma and bitter taste. It requires other ingredients to bring out the sweet, natural flavor.

Like anise extract, you can use vanilla in many ways. Some of the recipes vanilla works well in include,

  • Icecream
  • Coffee
  • Fruit Salade
  • Salad dressings
  • Cooking
  • Alcoholic Beverages

To substitute vanilla extract for Anise Extract:

  • Use 1 TBSP of vanilla extract for every 1 TBSP of anise extract

5. Licorice Extract is Our Favorite Substitute for Anise Extract

Licorice extract is the best option for a licorice extract substitute. Since anise extract provides a licorice flavor, it is easy to see why the two are often interchangeable.

This product provides a natural sweet flavor with smooth, rich, and dark characteristics. You should use this product in place of anise extract in recipes such as gum, candy, and cupcakes.

To substitute licorice extract for Anise Extract:

  • Use 1 TSP of licorice extract for 1 TSP of anise extract.

6. Star Anise Spice For a Similar Flavor Profile

Star anise is a pear shaped fruit pod that has an aniseed flavor. This ingredient has a similar flavor profile as anis extract but is not as easy to get. This product is often dried out and turned into a fine powder, creating a spice.

This product is a perfect option when looking for an ingredient to add to Asian cuisine. It is also a little spicy with a warm undertone, which we compare to cinnamon and clove.

Because of the pungent feel, it is not the best alternative for sweet recipes.

To substitute star anise for anise extract:

  • Use 1 TBSP of star anise for 1 TBSP of anise extract.

Learn more: Top 10 Star Anise Substitutes You Can Try

7. Licorice liqueur

Like licorice extract, licorice liqueur provides a black licorice flavor in many recipes. This item is a fantastic substitute for anise extract but has a high alcohol content.

You will often use this ingredient when putting together an adult beverage. It can also b or while cooking for a sweet and spicy twist.

To substitute licorice liquor for anise extract:

  • Use ½ TBSP of licorice liqueur for 1 TBSP of anise extract.

8. Anise Seed is Great For Savory Dishes

Anise seed has a subtle sweetness to it with a similar flavor profile as fennel seeds and star anise. Along with a sweet undertone, you will also find a spicy kick. This flavor combo is often compared to licorice.

You can use anise seed instead of anise extract in savory dishes and popular desserts. If you run low on anise extract but have the seeds on hand, you can use them in things like,

  • Sausages
  • Soups
  • Stews
  • Marinades
  • Cookies

To use anise seed in place of anise extract:

  • Use 2 TBSP of anise seed for 1 TBSP of anise extract.*0

9. Anise oil Has a High Flavor Concentration

Anise oil has the same licorice flavor as anise extract and is almost colorless. You can use this product to make recipes such as candies and baked goods.

Anise oil and extract can interchange with ease in most recipes. Albeit, anise oil has a higher concentration of flavor compared to extract.

Anise extract also has a never ending shelf life, making it easier to store.

To use anise oil  in place of anise extract:

  • Use ¼ TBSP of anise oil for 1 TBSP of anise extract.

10. Pernod

Pernod is a popular, anise flavored liquor. This product can take the place of anise extract for cooking, baked goods, and other desserts.

This ingredient pairs very well with seafood and is a base for many dishes in this genre. We are fans of using Pernod instead of anise extract in this spicy spiked hot chocolate recipe.

To use Pernod in place of anise extract:

  • Use 1 TBSP of Pernod for 1 TBSP of anise extract.

Learn more: What is a Good Substitute for Pernod? Top 8 Options To Try

11. Absinthe is a Watered Down Version of Anise Extract

Absinthe has a similar taste to fennel seed and can take the place of anise extract when cooking or baking. This is a French spirit with an anise flavor that is often enjoyed all on its own.

This particular product offers a lovely, sweet, delicate flavor but isn’t as strong as anise extract.

To use Absinthe in place of anise extract:

  • Use 1 to 2 TBSPs of Absinthe for 1 TSP of anise extract.


If you find yourself without anise extract right in the middle of a recipe, relax. Luckily, there are many substitutes you can try.

You should check your cupboard for one of the abovementioned ingredients. You might not have to rush off to the grocery store after all.


Can I use Anise Extract Instead of Vanilla?

Anise extract is sweet and will make an excellent substitute for vanilla. Remember that anise has a licorice flavor that vanilla doesn’t offer.

Can You Make Anise Extract at Home?

You can make an anise extract using an anise seed or star anise. You will need to soak the anise in vodka for 2-3 months. Remember to shake it a few times a day for the first week, then once a week after that.

Where Can You Buy Anise Extract?

If you prefer to buy anise extract rather than make it, go for it.  This product is usually available in most grocery stores in the spice aisle. You can also order it online through many vendors.

How Much Anise Extract Should I Substitute For 1 Teaspoon of Anise Seed?

You can interchange anise extract with anise seed. A good rule of thumb is to substitute 1 TSP of anise extract for 2 TSPs of anise seed.

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Up Next: Your Top Guide For All Food Ingredients Substitutions!

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