15 Spices that Go with Fennel

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Are you trying to turn your fennel into a three-dimensional, flavorful dish?

Using one spice by itself isn’t usually enough to do so. However, by combining fennel with other spices, you start to flesh it out into a more robust taste.

We’ll help you decide what to use with it in our list of spices that go with fennel. Additionally, we’ll tell you why we recommend each spice below…

1. Anise

Anise pods     

The reason we recommend anise with fennel is simple: both have sweet elements to them. Initially, fennel is bitter, but it leaves behind a long-lasting sweetness. With anise’s licorice-like flavor, you can emphasize that sweetness and take it to new heights.

Read more about it in our guide to what anise tastes like. 

2. Basil

Fresh basil on chopping board

If you don’t like when things are too sweet, you’ll love using basil with your fennel. Basil has some traces of anise in it, but it’s shadowed by elegant hints of mint and pepper. What you’ll get from this combination is a full-bodied and well-rounded flavor.

3. Chervil

Chervil French parsley

A theme in the first few spices on our list is that there are highlights of anise in them, which is true with chervil, as well. Chervil also brings some parsley and pungent pepper to the equation, though, which will give your fennel some bite.

4. Chives

Chives bundle chopped

Breaking our streak of semisweet spices, we have chives. Their flavor is reminiscent of onions, with a strong aroma and slight burn. Expect them to lend heat to your fennel.

Read Also: Where to Buy Chives in the Grocery Store

5. Cinnamon

Cinnamon powder and bark

Don’t restrict yourself to the belief that cinnamon is only for pastries! It’s a highly aromatic and warm spice that will give your fennel an even more bracing quality.

6. Cloves

Cloves jar

The flavor of cloves is slightly fruity, underscored by some heat. It will give your fennel’s flavor some additional complexity.

7. Coriander

Coriander seeds and herb

Due to its sophistication, coriander is a well-loved spice when it comes to curry. Its peppery bite and bright citrus notes will lighten up the sweetness of fennel.

Related Article: What Does Ground Coriander Taste Like?

8. Cumin

Cumin ground

If you cook with cumin, rest assured your whole kitchen will fill up with its pleasant spicy odor. It will also underscore the initial bitterness of fennel with its own bitter taste.

9. Fenugreek

Fenugreek seeds

Although it may smell sweet, fenugreek has a surprisingly bitter flavor. It will temper the sweetness of fennel, drawing out those initial bitter notes.

10. Mint

Mint leaves on bowl

Feel like your breath might smell bad? Mint is known for its cooling and freshening quality, which is why it’s a popular addition to breath fresheners.

Fennel is used similarly in India. Combining both fennel and mint will result in a stimulating taste that will leave your palate feeling cleansed.

You May Also Like: What Does Mint Taste Like?

11. Mustard Seed

Mustard seeds on bowl

There are a few different types of mustard seed out there, and you can use each variation for a new result. Yellow seeds have their own sweetness that will accentuate your fennel’s. Black seeds are much spicier and will offset the sweetness.

12. Oregano

Oregano dried

Go with a little dried oregano if you want a more laid-back spice that won’t necessarily kick you in the tastebuds. Like fennel, this spice has just a trace of sweetness, so combining them will bring that taste to the forefront.

13. Parsley

Parsley on chopping board

Pick parsley if you’re looking for a way to give your fennel-laden dish a bit of a green and peppery kick. Because of parsley’s fresh, zesty flavor, it’s perfect for balancing out fennel’s bittersweet taste.

14. Thyme

Thyme bundle

The taste of thyme is deeply earthy with bright herbal notes. Because it’s related to mint, it will also give your fennel a level of invigoration.

15. Turmeric

Turmeric ground

Like the tanginess of mustard, but want to try something different? Try mixing your fennel with a little turmeric. Its citrusy remnants will brighten up the sweet taste and prevent it from being overwhelming.

Spices that Go with Fennel