Are caraway seeds and fennel seeds the same?

  • My mom always called the seeds in rye bread caraway. But they are in Italian sausage and a jar labeled fennel seeds.

    Are they the same thing?

    Note that your mom was most probably right: the seeds in a seeded rye bread are caraway, never fennel.

  • BobMcGee

    BobMcGee Correct answer

    9 years ago

    Fennel and caraway are relatives, but not the same plant. Fennel seeds have a flavor dominated by anise/licorice, where caraway is quite different, being dominated by other flavors. They also have subtle differences in appearance.

    Cumin, anise, and dill are other look-alike seeds with very different flavors. Anise and fennel have very similar flavors, and can be substituted for each other. Caraway and dill are likewise similar in flavor. Cumin has a flavor different from any of the above. I am including pictures of fennel, caraway, anise, cumin, and dill seeds so you can see how similar they are, but also how there are subtle differences in shape.

    Fennel Seed:

    Fennel seeds picture

    Caraway Seeds:

    Caraway Seeds picture

    Anise Seed: It is hard to tell from the picture, but anise seeds are much smaller than fennel. Anise Seed

    Cumin Seeds: note, these vary considerably in color Cumin seeds picture

    Dill Seeds: (note how much flatter theses are)

    Dill seed picture

    and also caraway seeds are tasty, can't say the same for fennel!

    To add to the confusion: Shahi Jeera :)

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Content dated before 6/26/2020 9:53 AM