Star Anise

Native to China, this star-shaped pod is a commonly used spice and tea flavoring in Asian cuisines. Although its flavor is derived from anethol, the same essential oil in anise seed, the two spices are unrelated. Star anise, a member of the magnolia (not parsley) family, imparts a stronger, slightly more bitter, licorice taste.

Star anise is a ground ingredient in the traditional Chinese five-spice powder, which also contains cinnamon, cloves, fennel seed and Szechuan peppercorns. In Western cultures, star anise is widely used to flavor liqueurs (most notably Galliano) and baked goods.


Star anise was not known in the United States until 1971, the year the government lifted the ban on imported spices from Mainland China.

Buying Tips

Star anise is available at Asian markets and some specialty stores. The stars are available whole or ground to a delicate red-brown powder. For optimal flavor, it's best to buy star anise in small quantities and grind it yourself as needed.

Storage Tips

Store whole in an airtight container for up to one year. When ground, it should be kept for no more than three months.

Usage Tips

  • Add to recipes whole, in pieces or ground.
  • Use in small amounts—a little goes a long way.
  • Place in the cavity of duck or chicken before roasting.
  • Use to flavor holiday cakes, cookies and homemade ice cream.
  • Place in a bowl for a fragrant home potpourri.

Substitution Tips

  • One crushed star anise = 1/2 teaspoon crushed anise seed %20 a pinch of allspice.
  • Chinese five-star powder.
  • Anise extract.

Try one of our favorite star anise recipes

Ted's Basic Thai Stock
Chicken Poached with Star Anise
Pears with Ginger

Suggested Pairings

duck, eggs, fish, leeks, pastry, pears, pork, poultry, pumpkin, shrimp, tarragon