Substitute For Star Anise In Pho

If you want to put in the effort to prepare Pho at home, I advise investing the additional time and money in purchasing star anise. It plays a significant role in the recipe, and not many spices can work the way it does.

However, if you’re still debating using a replacement, my first piece of advice is to just make do without it. If you insist on using another spice instead of star anise in Pho, you can use fennel seeds, anise seed, or Chinese five spice powder.

Star Anise’s Substitutes To Use

Star anise provides many health advantages, which is another fantastic quality. Here is a list of a few of them:

  • As a result of high levels of antioxidants and vitamins A and C, star anise aids in the prevention of aging and diabetes. The significant amounts of potassium and magnesium present in it improve digestion and reduce cramping.
  • The presence of thymol, anethole, and terpineol aids in treating various common conditions like the flu, upset stomach, cough, and more.
  • An oversupply of vitamin B raises GABA neurochemical levels in the brain.

1. Chinese Five-spice Powder

Substitute For Star Anise In Pho

As one of the five spices used to make Chinese five-spice powder, the combination is always the first option for a star anise replacement. This substitute will give your cuisine a warm, spicy-sweet flavor like star anise. The powder is made up of cloves, fennel seeds, Chinese cardamom, and Schezuan peppercorns. It can be used in numerous meat-based meals, including braised and roasted fish, poultry, and chicken.

It is recommended to use Chinese five-spice powder in a ratio of 1:2 to the amount of star anise needed, but always taste your finished product to ensure the flavor is right.

2. Anise Seeds

Substitute For Star Anise In Pho

The word anise seed may sound similar to star anise; however, the two are unrelated. In contrast to anise, which grows in the West, star anise is an Asian native. In fact, anise seeds resemble fennel seeds more closely, which also makes them the ideal substitute for fennel seeds.

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But even so, anise seeds work well in place of star anise, particularly in Pho. An additional benefit of using anise seeds as a substitute for star anise is the affordability. Anise seeds can be substituted for star anise in a ratio of around 3:4, but taste the finished product to ensure success.

3. Fennel Seeds

Substitute For Star Anise In Pho

You are more likely to already have fennel seeds in your kitchen. Although fennel seeds and star anise don’t have the same flavors, fennel could be a viable alternative if you only intend to use a small amount or if you want to add just a hint of star anise.

Star anise and fennel can be substituted roughly one to four. As a result, use 4 teaspoons of fennel seeds for every teaspoon of star anise.

4. Ground Cloves

Substitute For Star Anise In Pho

Are there any ground cloves available? Ground cloves make a great alternative to star anise. Despite not having the same licorice flavor as star anise, cloves can add some delightfully sweet and bitter flavors to your food.

Ground cloves work well as an alternative to cassia bark powder. Although the flavor is not quite as potent as star anise, it is close enough. You will need more of this combination to achieve a flavor resembling star anise.

Replace the 1 teaspoon of star anise in your recipe with 2 teaspoons of powdered cloves mixed with cassia bark powder. In place of star anise, this item is suggested for meat recipes. You’ll adore the end outcome. Even when preserving your own jams, you can use the mixture.

5. Caraway Seeds

Substitute For Star Anise In Pho

Each spice and herb is unique, as is true of all of them. Caraway seeds have a robust and nutty flavor with notes of citrus, pepper, and anise (mild licorice). It is sometimes referred to as Persian cumin and Meridian Fennel. Although it has a different flavor than anise, fennel, and cumin at first, it can be used in place of all three.

Is caraway seed a viable star anise replacement in practically any recipe? It is. Expect nothing resembling a similar flavor profile, but it can be used as a substitute if nothing else is available. 1 whole star anise requires 3/4 teaspoons of caraway seeds.

6. Allspice

Substitute For Star Anise In Pho

The dried berries of the Pimenta dioica shrub are used to make this spice. It belongs to the myrtle family. It is sometimes referred to as the myrtle pepper, pimento, Jamaica pepper, or pimenta. You’ll get flavors of pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves from the taste.

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It’s not quite what we’d call a perfect star anise alternative. Remember that it won’t be similar; only use it as a last resort.

Fennel seeds and a little allspice might be appropriate. The good news is that you can combine fennel seeds and allspice without the recipe tasting noticeably different because both ingredients are common worldwide.

To substitute 1 whole star anise, I would add a pinch of allspice to 1/2 teaspoons of anise seeds. Use the same ratio when replacing these spices if all you have is allspice and nothing else: 3/4 teaspoons for 1 whole star anise.

7. Anise Extract

Substitute For Star Anise In Pho

Anise extract is a different option to think about. Anise extract is made from anise seeds, as the name would imply, and is frequently used in baked items to enhance flavor.

To replace the necessary amount of star anise when substituting, use twice as much anise essence.

8. Licorice Root Powder

Substitute For Star Anise In Pho

If you want a licorice flavor, licorice root powder is the best alternative to star anise. As a sweetener, licorice root powder has become widely used in creating candies and baked goods.

9. Cinnamon

Substitute For Star Anise In Pho

A sweet and woody flavor can be found in cinnamon. It’s a component of Chinese five-spice powder, just like star anise. Even though cinnamon doesn’t have the same taste as star anise, it can nevertheless be used in place of star anise in recipes.

It could be used as a subtly additional ingredient in savory or sweet meals.

10. Chervil (French parsley)

Substitute For Star Anise In Pho

Chervil is a herb that I’m not sure many people have heard of. It is undoubtedly a lesser-known herb than parsley, rosemary, basil, dill, cilantro, lavender, etc. On the other hand, Chervil can serve as a stand-in for star anise if you happen to be in a nation where it is a common herb.

Based on how their leaves resemble one another, you might mistake Chervil for parsley. Additionally, French parsley is another name for Chervil.

Chervil tastes something like parsley but with a mild anise seed spiciness. Chervil might be great for your meals if you like more subdued anise aromas. Star anise and Chervil both contain aromatic components in common. That’s where it obtains its exquisite anise flavor from.

Of course, if you’re really interested in this refined herb but cannot locate it, you may try growing it at home if you can identify the seeds to purchase.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How Should Star Anise Be Stored?

The optimal storage environment for whole or ground anise seed is a cool, dark place. While pulverized anise seeds lose their potency more quickly than whole seeds, the best quality whole seeds will last for 3 to 4 years.

Does Anise Seeds Taste Like Star Anise?

Star anise has a significantly more robust flavor than anise seed, even though they both have a strong licorice taste.

Does Clove Flavor Resemble That Of Star Anise?

Substitute For Star Anise In Pho


No. Cloves lack star anise’s licorice flavor, just like allspice does. Cloves will only intensify the dish’s sweetness and harshness.

What Is The Flavor of Star Anise?

Due to its actual star-like shape, star anise is a simple spice to identify. However, to me, it might also resemble a lovely, little, dried flower. Actually, it is the dried fruit of a tiny oriental tree.

It also goes by other names, such as Indian anise, Chinese star anise, anise stars, and star aniseed. Licorice is the flavor and aroma of star anise. It has a bittersweet taste. It can undoubtedly be overwhelming in large doses.

There is no exception to that rule, not even Pho. 10 portions of this well-known Vietnamese meal can be made using just 3-star anise. It is a critical component of the Chinese five spice powder, mainly dependent on it.

Because of this, anise seed slightly eclipses Chinese five spice powder as one of my favorite alternatives. My favorite two are these two.

Star anise is difficult to replace because it has such a distinctive, potent flavor, but I hope I was able to provide some suitable alternatives for your recipe.

Final Verdict

In many recipes like Pho, star anise is an essential component. But occasionally, you might need to utilize a replacement. Even though they might not taste the same, these star anise replacements guarantee you’ll get a flavor close to it. Try out different combinations of the options mentioned above to find the one that best suits your tastes.

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