Anise vs Fennel: Difference and Comparison

Cooking has a lot more to it than just ingredients and presentation. The aroma is one of the most important features since it stimulates the brain cells to develop a liking for a particular food item.


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Key Takeaways

  1. Anise and fennel belong to the Apiaceae family, but anise is a Pimpinella species, and fennel is a Foeniculum species.
  2. Anise seeds have a sweet, liquorice-like flavor, while fennel seeds have a milder, slightly sweet taste with a hint of anise.
  3. Both anise and fennel have culinary and medicinal uses, but anise seeds are more commonly used in confectionery, and fennel seeds are often used in spice blends and herbal teas.

Anise vs Fennel

Anise and Fennel differ because the former is categorized as a spice while the latter belongs to the subset of vegetables. Both of these are used as condiments to enhance the dishes’ flavor further. The time of addition determines the intensity of taste. Aroma is the main attraction of anise as well as fennel. The visible differences make them hard to distinguish while cooking something in the kitchen. It is a common notion to name the containers to avoid any confusion.

Anise vs Fennel

Anise is the seed of Star Anise that comes from a bushy plant. At times, it might be light green but still looks dull in comparison to the fennel seeds.

Fennel is a condiment that is derived from the fennel bulb. It is used in raw form, cooked form, and as a means of garnish too. The common storage forms include a powder, paste, or the original variant.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonAniseFennel
AppearanceIt looks like a yellowish-green cumin-like elongated seed. It is a bright green counterpart of the spice family.
Origin The botanical name of the anise plant is Pimpinella Anisum. The botanical name of the fennel plant is Foeniculum Vulgare.
UsageIt is used in the preparation of sweet dishes and sweet plus salty combos. It is used as a mouth freshener and acts as a base for gravies.
TasteAnise is licorice and sweet, a bit pungent too. Fennel is minty in taste, with a touch of characteristic sweetness attached to it.
Common Inclusive DishesOlive salads and some wines. French dishes and bakery products.

What is Anise?

Anise is defined as a condiment having a characteristic taste. It is highly aromatic, and the taste buds perceive it as sweet. There is another variant, too – known by the name of star anise.

The texture is presumed to be woody thanks to the brown appearance, but it is much more delicate. In comparison with star anise, it tastes mild. The spark added to the dish is due to the sweet and soft aroma.

Extraction of the seed from the pod is a difficult task, but the tastefulness of the seed makes it worth all the cumbersome effort.


What is Fennel?

Fennel is less powerful than anise and lacks a nutty flavor. It is a herbaceous spice. It is sweeter than caraway, and this pungent taste is quite far from the appeal of cumin.

It acts as a good base for some sweet dishes too. In India, it is used as a mouth freshener too. In most eateries, it can be found easily as it is served as a refreshment after the meal is complete.

Flat-tasting condiments like fennel have been included in cuisines to make simple dishes taste appealing. Slices of bread and sauces are also made using it.


Main Differences Between Anise And Fennel

  1. The taste buds perceive anise as sweet, but fennel is mintier.
  2. Some of the most common dishes that compulsorily include anise are olive salads, while fennel is used in breads.
Difference Between Anise and Fennel
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