Fennel bulb / Florence fennel, Foeniculum vulgare azoricum. (Photo by FlowerPhotos/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Food - Drink
What’s The Difference Between Fennel And Anise?
Fennel, a perennial herb that belongs to the carrot family, is often used in Italian and Mediterranean cuisine and is prized for its sweet, slightly anise-like flavor that works great in spice blends and salads. It's easy to confuse fennel for anise itself, and while these plants look and taste similar, they're entirely different species.
Anise, a member of the parsley family, is an annual herb that is native to the Middle East, eastern Mediterranean, and western Asia. Along with its ability to aid with coughs and colds, the wiry plant is used in liqueurs such as absinthe and ouzo, candies, and spice blends often used to flavor bread, cakes, and cookies.
Anise and fennel look similar, with long, slender stalks and feathery leaves that look similar to dill, but fennel also grows in bulbs that can be cooked like a vegetable, while only the seeds of anise are used. Fennel also has a sweet, delicate flavor with a hint of licorice, while anise has a stronger, more pronounced licorice flavor.