What Does Anise Taste Like? A Unique Flavor For Spice Hunters


Anise is a flowering plant that is native to the Mediterranean as well as to Southwest Asia. This herbaceous plant can actually grow all year round. It can produce a fruit known as an aniseed and was prized in ancient times not for its flavor but for the medicinal properties that it is said to have.

Today, this plant is prized simply for the flavor it can impart to different dishes, desserts and even beverages. Anise has a very unique flavor which can sometimes be overpowering when it is not used properly. It also has a distinguished aroma, which is why it is also used today in making exotic liqueurs.

With its rich, deep flavor and aroma that is unlike any other, the aniseed should definitely be on any spice hunter’s list if he or she wants to look for something out of the ordinary. So if you’ve been wondering what does anise taste like, read on and see why it is a key ingredient in many dishes worldwide.

What Does Anise Taste Like? A Unique Flavor For Spice Hunters

Where Does Its Flavor Come From?


The flavor of the aniseed mainly comes from its essential oil known as anethole. This essential oil is also available in spices that are related to the plant. Aside from providing the plant with flavor and aroma, its essential oil is what many people are after since it is known to have medicinal properties.

Anise is very different from Star anise in terms of appearance, but it is closely related to it, as well as to the licorice in terms of flavor. Anise is known to have a milder flavor with subtle notes of sweetness. Star anise on the other hand, actually contains more anethole, this is why it has a stronger flavor and aroma.

In ancient times, the flavor of anise was said to be an aphrodisiac. Since Anise has European roots, it was used mainly to flavor wines, to make cakes, and also to enhance baked dishes. But today, its flavor has been widely used and recognized and its flavor is now a must-have in many international cuisines.

What Does Anise Taste Like?


You have to understand that the word “anise” is not just the name given to the plant, but it also refers to the unique flavor that it can provide. Anise basically tastes like star anise or licorice. Some people will also describe its taste as something very close to fennel or even tarragon.

Anise is not spicy or sour, it has a distinct sweet flavor that you will either love or hate. In order to recreate its flavor, some people suggest that you combine fennel, star anise and even licorice so you will fully understand its complexity in terms of flavor. Anise can also be used whole or ground.

Do you know cloves have a distinct sweet flavor too? Click What Does Cloves Taste Like to figure it out.

anise tea

When used as a digestive, anise is typically made into teas or tisanes. Doing so can help release its oil and of course, its aroma. Much like other spices, anise is used not just to flavor a dish or beverage, but also to enhance its smell. The anise has a subtle sweet and herbal aroma that adds a lot to its flavor.

Anise also has a smoky flavor, when too much is used, it can create an overpowering bitter, herbal taste. But when used in the right proportions, it can create a slightly earthy flavor to your dishes. Anise is also known to taste like black licorice and its flavor is also present in black jelly beans.

Anise In Unique Dishes

anise liquor

Since anise has a distinct taste and aroma, it is used all over the world in order to create unique dishes. In Britain for example, it is used to make aniseed balls and it is also used to make aniseed wheels in New Zealand. Anise is also made into digestive dishes in India and champurrado in Mexico.

If you like the German Jägermeister or the Italian Sambuca, you should know that these liquors are made with the help of anise. You will also know its true flavor potential when used in beverages, know that it is used to make Virgil’s root beer in the U.S. and quite possibly the French Chartreuse.

anise dish

Anise is often incorporated into baked goodies such as breads, pastries and even cookies. But it can also be used to complement meats and even seafood. It can be used to make oysters Rockefeller, sausages and even marinades. Anise can also be made into sweets such as caramels, pudding and other desserts.

The aniseed can easily stand its ground when combined with other spices. This is why it is popularly used in making fajitas, balancing the flavor of lemon when making salmon dishes. Since it is very versatile, you can also find anise being used to make Asian barbecue and even in Southern barbecue recipes.



Anise has earn the respect of many chefs and food aficionados all over the world simply because it is able to provide something unique to both food and drinks. Its versatility in the kitchen is highly praised because it can be found in simple soups, exotic main courses and of course, desserts.

The flavor of anise can be described as something similar to licorice, star anise, fennel or tarragon. But in truth, these descriptions cannot justify its own distinct taste. If you truly want to taste it for yourself, you can try making anise tea, or better yet, try breads and pastries made with anise.

For those who love to drink, anise can be found in the humble root beer and in expensive liquors all over the world. This is exactly why I highly recommend that if you are a spice hunter or if you want to surprise your taste buds, then you should definitely try to taste anise at least once in your lifetime. If you want to know more about other natural ingredients for the kitchen, take a look at this list of Extended Glossary of Herbs and Spices for more really interesting information.

Have you ever tried tasting or cooking with anise? Share your experience with us in the comment section below.

About the Author Emily Taylor

My name is Emily Taylor, gardening is my passion and I’m looking forward to sharing it with everyone. I know that there are millions of people out there want their backyard and garden be attractive just like their front yard, so I am here to help you create your own backyard paradise.

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