Inside the Spice Cabinet: Star Anise

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Star anise just may be the most unique and fun-looking spice in the pantry. But it’s more than just good looks. We keep this licorice-like spice handy in the kitchen and typically use it in savory braises and broths, and when poaching fruit.

What Is Star Anise?

Taste: Sweet, bitter
Most Popular Use: Tea, soup, sauces, baked goods

Native to China and Vietnam, this dark brown star-shaped spice comes from a type evergreen tree. Star anise typically has eight pointed segments, each containing a small tough-skinned seed. The spice has a powerful licorice flavor, stronger than that of common anise.

Star anise is available and can be used whole or ground, and is best stored in an airtight container, in a cool, dry place for about year.

How To Use Star Anise

Star anise can be used whole or ground, and in both sweet and savory dishes. Use this fragrant spice whole to infuse flavor into tea, cocktails, soup broth, and even pasta sauce. The ground version can be used in baked good and is an ingredient in five spice powder.

Recipes for Cooking with Star Anise