Why do anise and licorice taste so similar?

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whether you’ve ever wondered whether anise and licorice are the same plant since they taste the same, or why your herbal teas are licorice-flavored yet contain anise instead of licorice, keep reading to find out.

Both anise and licorice taste like licorice because they contain the same flavor ingredient, but anise (or aniseed) is derived from the seeds of the Pimpinella anisum flowering plant, whilst licorice is derived from the root of the Glycyrrhiza glabra plant. Licorice is not widely consumed in the United States, owing in part to health concerns. Instead, the licorice taste in black licorice sweets, drinks, and other foods is often derived from anise.

So Exactly What are Anise and Licorice?

Anise vs Licorice – Just Why Do They Taste the Same?

The seeds of a flowering plant native to Southwest Asia and the Mediterranean are known as anise (Pimpinella anisum). The fruits and seeds of anise, also known as aniseed or common anise, are produced as a spice to flavor meals and famous European alcoholic beverages like as Jgermeister (which also includes licorice), sambuca, and ouzo.

Licorice is a legume, or the root of Glycyrrhiza glabra, and may be packaged as licorice root or listed on ingredient lists as glycyrrhiza. The taste produced from the root is also referred to as licorice. Glycyrrhiza glabra, a plant native to southern Europe, the Middle East, and parts of Asia, was utilized as medicine by many ancient civilizations for a variety of diseases.

By the 13th century, licorice was being used to flavor and sweeten European breads and cakes, since the glycyrrhizin in licorice is estimated to be up to 50 times sweeter than sugar. Licorice was also turned into beer, which was drunk and used as medicinal! The contemporary kind of black licorice candy first appeared in Holland around the 17th century.

Although original black licorice sweets and other delights were prepared using licorice, they are now frequently flavored with anise.Teas and other licorice-flavored foods and beverages are often flavored with anise.

What Does Licorice and Anise Taste Like?

Anise vs Licorice – Just Why Do They Taste the Same?

When asked what anise tastes like, most people will respond licorice, or vice versa. If you haven’t tried black licorice candy before, you may start with fennel or star anise to get a sense of how anise and licorice taste. Although licorice, anise, star anise, and fennel are not related as plants, they all contain variable levels of the anethole taste component, which is responsible for the licorice flavor. Licorice contains the most anethole. Licorice has a strong, herbal, bitter taste with hints of sweetness and camphor.

Anise is a bit sweeter than licorice and has some citrus undertones, but it does taste like licorice, although with less anethole. It also has a strong scent.

If you dislike the taste of licorice or anise (or fennel or star anise), you are not alone; in fact, some experts believe that the flavor molecule in these has a similar chemistry to artificial sweeteners!

How Is Anise Used?

Anise is often used in Mediterranean delicacies, cakes, cookies such as biscotti, and breads. Anise, which is sometimes referred to as a herb but is more often referred to as a spice, is frequently combined with other spices like as nutmeg, cinnamon, and cardamom. It’s also used in alcoholic cocktails like sambuca and adds flavor to chicken, fish, and vegetable meals, where it’s often coupled with orange. Anise is also used in Middle Eastern, Mexican, Indian, and German cuisines, and it may be found in various pickles.

Anise may be purchased whole or ground. It will remain fresher if purchased whole, although ground is typically more convenient.

What Is the Difference Between Anise and Star Anise?

Despite their similar names, anise and star anise come from distinct plants. Anise (Pimpinella anisum) is a Mediterranean plant in the parsley family, but star anise is a Chinese plant whose seeds are gathered from the characteristic star-shaped pods of an evergreen tree.

Star anise (Illicium verum) is one of the five spices found in Chinese five spice and is also used in pho (Vietnamese soup) and as a spice in apple and pumpkin pies.

Cooks often replace anise and star anise for each other since they both have a licorice taste, however star anise must normally be ground before it can be used and has a little more bitter flavor than anise.

How Do You Use Licorice?

Licorice may be used in both sweet and savory dishes, such as cakes and sweets, as well as meat rubs and marinades. Licorice matches nicely with pork and game birds, and it also works well with ginger and mint. It’s also utilized in Middle Eastern cooking.

Licorice is provided in two forms: woody and powdered powder. It may also be purchased in tablets, capsules, or extracts for use as licorice supplements, and licorice extracts can be used in skin lotions where its antibacterial properties may aid in the treatment of skin injuries or disorders such as eczema.

If you can get woody licorice, soak it in water, sauces, custards, and other liquids to extract the licorice taste. Alternatively, ground licorice powder may be used directly to the recipe.

Is Black Licorice a Laxative?

Yes, if prepared with licorice root or glycyrrhiza, black licorice may function as a moderate laxative. If the black licorice includes anise for taste, it is unlikely to have laxative properties. However, for health reasons, we should limit our use of licorice root.

The FDA recommend that whatever our age, we should not consume large quantities of black licorice at any one time and in fact, if we are over the age of 40, if we eat 2 oz of licorice a day for at least two weeks, there is a risk that we may develop arrythmia an irregular heart rhythm. This is due to the presence of glycyrrhizin in black licorice, which may induce a drop in potassium levels in the body. Potassium levels normally return to normal after people quit eating black licorice.

Eating too much licorice may also induce lethargy, fluid retention, and potentially congestive heart failure, since more than 20 grams of licorice per day can promote sensitivity to the hormone aldosterone, resulting in a condition known as pseudoaldosteronism.

Many licorice-flavored goods produced in the United States include anise rather than licorice, and most licorice root supplements are sold as deglycyrrhizinated licorice (or DGL), which implies that the glycyrrhizin has been removed.

If you wish to avoid eating licorice, be wary of traditional European licorice candy and other imported black licorice, which may include licorice root rather than anise. If so, the components will contain licorice or glycyrrhiza.

If you wish to eat black licorice on a regular basis as part of your diet or as a supplement, you should first consult with your doctor.

Does Red Licorice Contain Licorice?

Red licorice has no licorice or licorice taste. Red licorice comprises tastes such as raspberry, strawberry, and cherry, although it is generally prepared and marketed in the same manner as black licorice candy.

Which Vegetable Tastes Like Licorice?

Fennel is a vegetable that tastes like black licorice. Fennel, a member of the carrot family, grows as an above-ground bulb, and both the bulb and the leaves are delicious raw or cooked. Fennel is crisp like celery and tastes like licorice when fresh, and it may be used to green salads. When roasted with olive oil and spices, it caramelizes and sweetens. Fennel may also be sautéed and used to pastas and other dishes.

In Conclusion

Anise and licorice, as well as star anise and fennel, have a licorice taste because they contain the flavor molecule anethole. Anise may be purchased as whole or ground seeds from a blooming plant, while licorice is the root of the Glycyrrhiza glabra plant and can be purchased woody or ground.

Both anise and licorice may be used in a variety of foods and beverages, while many licorice-flavored foods and beverages now utilize anise for licorice taste rather than licorice, owing to health concerns associated with consuming too much licorice.


Why does black licorice taste like anise?

Anethole, a chemical found in licorice, anise, fennel, and other plants with similar flavor profiles, imparts a similar taste to all of these plants. Scent is often deeply associated with memories.

Why do fennel seeds taste like licorice?

The fragrant chemical anethole, which has a pronounced black licorice flavor, is produced by fennel and anise plants. Because of their similar taste profiles, amateur cooks sometimes mistake fennel with anise in the kitchen.

Is star anise used in black licorice?

When consumers try OREADTM, they often describe the flavor as “black licorice.” This is derived from star anise. However, true licorice is the root of a different plant named Glycyrrhiza Glabra, which translates to “sweet root.” We’ve returned to herbaceous, but this time as a perennial.

What gives black licorice its flavor?

Traditional black licorice taste is derived from glycyrrhizin, a molecule that is 50 times sweeter than cane sugar. “It’s quite potent-smelling,” Newton-Cheh added.

Is black licorice the only real licorice?

Real licorice, which is in black licorice candy, is made from the roots of the licorice plant, which can also be spelled liquorice. Except in name, red licorice isn’t really licorice. It’s just a red candy that may be flavored with a variety of flavors such as strawberry, cherry, raspberry, and cinnamon.

What’s the difference between black licorice and anise?

Licorice, like anise, has been used for thousands of years as a sweet flavoring component in sweets, pastries, and sweet beverages. Licorice, on the other hand, is much more intensely sweet than anise. Glycyrrhizic acid, the main ingredient in licorice root, is 50 to 170 times sweeter than sucrose (sugar).

Who should not eat fennel seeds?

Fennel seeds should be avoided by those who have asthma or other allergies. According to medical professionals, even stomach cramps might be caused by an allergic response to fennel seeds.

Does anise seed raise blood pressure?

It has been established that eating foods rich in potassium, such as anise seeds, on a daily basis may decrease blood pressure and protect against a variety of disorders, including hypertension.

Does black licorice raise blood pressure?

Consuming more than 57g (2 ounces) of black liquorice every day for at least two weeks may result in potentially significant health issues such as a rise in blood pressure and an abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia).

Who should not eat star anise?

youngsters: Taking star anise by mouth in youngsters may be hazardous. In babies and adults given star anise tea, serious adverse effects such as vomiting and seizures have been observed. Poisonous Japanese star anise (Illicium anisatum) may be included in star anise teas.

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