How to Use Up a Windfall of Star Anise

March  7, 2016

When Kristin Greene posted on the Hotline about a fresh stash of star anise pods and asked what to make with them, so many community members shared ideas for how to bring the spice to life—in sweet dishes, savory dishes, meats, sorbets. Whether you have a wealth of star anise pods or you've never cooked with them before, take a couple of cues from our community:

  • Simmer a pod or two in some milk and sweeten it with a bit of honey—it's a cozy drink for cold days.
  • Cav had a wealth of ideas: Toss a pod or two into the base for lemon sorbet (or grapefruit granita, says SandraJ), in the liquid for poaching fish, in the broth you boil roots (like parsnips) in for a mash, into a pile of caramelizing onions.
  • Include it with cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and other spices in a batch of chai.
  • Or skip straight to mulled wine, which welcomes anise (and other spices).
  • Use a few pods in DIY XO sauce—and then put that sauce on everything.
  • Star anise is lovely added to the liquid of whatever you're poaching, from pears (as GsR suggests) to Cornish hens. Sam1148 gives a full recipe for the latter in the Hotline post.
  • Grind a pod up with your coffee beans, à la Roby. (We like to do this with lots of spices!)
  • Bevi likes to add a pod or two to a pot of jam. Her favorite? Plum. We bet it would also bring a zip of warmth to marmalade.
  • Add a few pods to pickling liquid! We especially like these pickled apples.
  • Anotherfoodieblogger uses it in pho broth. It would be a killer addition to chicken soup, too.
  • Grind them up and use them as a rub on meats (or toss with vegetables before roasting).
  • Match them with chocolate—either in hot chocolate or in a pudding, mousse, or chocolaty crêpe cake.

What are your favorite ways to use star anise? Share your tips and ideas in the comments.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Kristin Greene
    Kristin Greene
  • Jester Goldman
    Jester Goldman
  • nancy
Writing and cooking in Brooklyn.


Kristin G. October 28, 2016
I was pleasantly surprised to stumble upon this article - so glad to see my Hotline post struck a chord! Thanks for pooling all the great ways to use this amazing spice, Caroline, and thanks again to the F52 community for the great ideas! I love this site!
Jester G. March 12, 2016
I've used star anise in my homebrewed beer and mead. Craft Beer and Brewing Magazine published my recipe for IPA with star anise and orange zest:
nancy March 7, 2016
As a Chinese one of my favourite dishes is "Tau Yew Bak" or Braised Pork Belly in Dark Soy Sauce. When I see star anise this is the dish that immediately comes to mind. This dish is a Chinese classic, and uses star anise, cinnamon, cloves and Chinese 5 spice powder. You can take a look at this recipe :