Aniseed has a wide range of culinary applications, both sweet and savory. In the Middle East and India, anise is used in soups and stews, and various cuisines use anise in seasoning blends such as curry, hoisin, sausage and pepperoni seasonings. It is also used to compliment duck, pork or fish, either alone or sometimes in combination with cinnamon and bay leaves. All above-ground parts of the young anise plant can be eaten as a vegetable. The stems resemble those of celery in texture and have a much milder licorice flavor than the seeds.

Anise is also used whole or crushed in cakes, cookies, pastries, sweet breads and candy. Examples include aniseed balls (a favorite English sweet), Italian biscotti and Springerle, a German cookie with an embossed design which is traditionally anise-flavored.

Aniseed is also used in anise-flavored liqueurs (such as raki, arak and ouzo). Along with grande wormwood and florence fennel, geen anise is one of the main herbs in the infamous liquor absinthe, which rose to popularity in late 19th- and early 20th-century France, particularly among Parisian artists and writers. Anise is also used in less potent beverages, such as root beer.


Aniseed Balls, Springerle, and Edward Degas' famous 1837 painting "L'absinthe"