Three whole star anise

Star anise

| star an-eese |

This pungent spice has a strong flavour and is popular in Chinese cooking. Learn more about star anise, how it is used, and alternatives to try instead.

Star anise is one of the central spices in Chinese cooking. It has a strong anise flavour, with a liquorice-like aroma. The dominant flavour in Chinese five-spice powder, star anise is also used to flavour alcoholic drinks such as pastis. The whole spice is an attractive eight-pointed star, but star anise is more often found ground to a powder.

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Cook it

Use ground star anise in baking or with duckling, or put the whole spice in a slow-cooking casserole.

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Alternatives

Try cinnamon.