Skip to Content

The 10 Best Substitutes For Carom Seeds

Are you looking for a way to add flavor and texture to your dishes without using carom seeds?

Carom seeds, also known as ajwain or bishop’s weed, are popular in Indian cooking.

They have a pungent aroma and taste that can be used in everything from curries to breads.

But if you don’t have access to these little gems, there are plenty of other ingredients that can substitute for them.

From spices like cumin and fennel seed to herbs like thyme and oregano, there is an abundance of options available.

In this article, we will explore 10 of the best substitutes for carom seeds so you can still enjoy the flavors they bring while keeping your meals healthy and delicious!

What Are Carom Seeds?

Carom Seeds

Carom seeds, also known as ajwain, are small and oval-shaped seeds that come from a plant in the Apiaceae family.

These tiny seeds have an intense flavor profile with notes of thyme, oregano, and citrus when consumed fresh.

When dried, they become even more aromatic with pungent hints of bitterness.

Carom seeds are popularly used in Indian cuisine to add depth to curries and dals.

They can be used whole or ground into powder form to season dishes such as biryani or paratha.

Other than being added to savory dishes, carom seeds can also be used for baking breads or cookies because of their earthy flavor and aroma.

They are usually available at specialty grocery stores or online retailers in both forms – either whole or grounded into powder – depending on what you need them for in your recipes!

The 10 Best Substitutes For Carom Seeds

Carom seeds are a common ingredient used in many Asian dishes.

However, it can be hard to find carom seeds outside of certain regions.

Fortunately, there are plenty of substitutes that offer similar flavors and textures as carom seeds.

Here we look at the ten best alternatives:

1. Dried Thyme

Dried Thyme

Dried thyme is a popular herb that has been used in cooking for centuries.

It has a strong, earthy aroma and flavor that pairs well with many dishes.

Thyme can be added to soups, stews, sauces, marinades, and more.

It also makes a great addition to roasted vegetables or grilled meats.

When substituting dried thyme for carom seeds, it’s best to use half the amount of thyme as you would carom seeds since its flavor is much stronger.

The herb should be added at the beginning of cooking so its flavors can develop over time.

For an extra punch of flavor, try adding some fresh thyme leaves near the end of cooking.

2. Caraway Seeds

Caraway Seeds

Caraway seeds are an aromatic spice with a distinct flavor that is often associated with rye bread.

These small, crescent-shaped seeds have a mild, slightly sweet taste and can be used to add depth to dishes such as soups, stews, and salads.

They are also commonly used in baking for their nutty flavor and crunchy texture.

Caraway seeds can make a great substitute for carom seeds in recipes.

The two spices have similar flavors but caraway has a more intense aroma and stronger taste.

When using caraway instead of carom, it’s best to reduce the amount called for in the recipe by half since it is more pungent than its counterpart.

3. Marjoram


Marjoram is a fragrant, sweet-tasting herb that has been used for centuries in both cooking and medicine.

It is related to oregano but has a milder flavor with notes of citrus and pine.

The leaves can be added fresh or dried to soups, stews, salads, sauces, and marinades for an extra layer of flavor.

Marjoram pairs well with other herbs like thyme, basil, sage, and rosemary.

It also works great as a substitute for carom seeds in recipes calling for Indian spices.

Ground marjoram can be used as a seasoning on its own or combined with other seasonings such as garlic powder or onion powder to create your own unique blend.

For the best results when using marjoram as a substitute for carom seeds, add it at the end of cooking so that its delicate flavors are not lost during the cooking process.

4. Mexican Oregano

Mexican Oregano

Mexican oregano is a unique herb that has an earthy, slightly citrus flavor with hints of mild licorice.

It’s often used to season Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes, such as tacos, enchiladas, and salsa.

The leaves are dried and then ground into a powder for use in cooking.

If you’re out of carom seeds but still want to add some flavor to your dish, try substituting Mexican oregano instead.

It can be used in place of carom seeds in curry dishes or added to soups and stews for extra depth of flavor.

This versatile herb can also be used as a rub on meats before grilling or roasting them for an extra layer of flavor.

5. Fennel Seeds

Fennel Seeds

Fennel seeds are a versatile spice with an unmistakable licorice-like flavor.

These small, oval-shaped seeds have a mild sweetness and subtle notes of aniseed that make them ideal for adding depth to savory dishes.

Fennel can be used in its whole form or ground up into a powder and sprinkled over salads, soups, stews, curries, and more.

When substituting fennel for carom seeds in recipes, it’s important to note that the flavor will be slightly different due to their distinct profiles.

Fennel has a sweeter taste than carom seeds and is best used when cooked as opposed to raw.

It can also be used as an alternative for baking applications such as breads or cakes where carom seeds would normally be included.

6. Cumin


Cumin is a popular spice with a warm, earthy flavor and aroma.

It is commonly used in Indian, Mexican, and Middle Eastern cuisine to add depth of flavor to dishes.

The seeds are usually ground into powder form for use in recipes or as a garnish.

When substituting cumin for carom seeds, it’s important to remember that the former has a more intense flavor than the latter.

For this reason, you should start by using half the amount of cumin as you would carom seeds before adjusting according to taste.

Cumin pairs well with other spices like coriander and turmeric, making it an ideal addition to curries and stews.

It can also be used in marinades or sprinkled over roasted vegetables for added zest!

7. Taco Seasoning


Taco seasoning is a flavorful blend of spices that can be used to add a Mexican flare to any dish.

It typically contains chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, and paprika.

The combination of these spices creates an earthy flavor with just the right amount of heat.

Taco seasoning can be used as a replacement for carom seeds in recipes such as tacos or burritos.

It also works well when sprinkled over roasted vegetables or mixed into ground beef for burgers.

For those looking to reduce sodium intake, taco seasoning is an excellent alternative to store-bought mixes which are often high in salt content.

With its rich flavor profile and versatility, it’s easy to see why taco seasoning has become such a popular pantry staple!

8. Dried Tarragon

Dried Tarragon

Dried tarragon is a versatile herb that can be used to add flavor and aroma to many dishes.

It has a sweet, anise-like flavor with hints of licorice and lemon.

Tarragon is commonly used in French cuisine, but it can also be used as a substitute for carom seeds in Indian cooking.

When substituting dried tarragon for carom seeds, use about half the amount called for in the recipe since tarragon has a stronger flavor.

The herb works well with fish, chicken, vegetables, eggs, salads, soups and stews.

It can also be added to sauces or dressings to give them an extra kick of flavor.

Dried tarragon adds depth and complexity to any dish without overpowering other ingredients – making it the perfect substitute for carom seeds!

9. Aniseed


Aniseed is a fragrant and flavorful seed that has been used in cooking for centuries.

It has a sweet licorice-like flavor with hints of fennel, making it an ideal substitute for carom seeds.

Aniseed can be found whole or ground, so you can use whichever form works best for your recipe.

When using the whole form, toast them lightly before grinding to bring out their flavor.

The seeds are often used in baking as well as savory dishes like curries and stews.

They can also be added to drinks like tea or coffee for a unique twist on traditional flavors.

When substituting Aniseed for Carom Seeds, keep in mind that they are slightly more pungent than carom seeds and should be used sparingly to avoid overpowering other ingredients in the dish.

10. Basil


Basil is a fragrant herb that can be used to add flavor to dishes.

It has a sweet, slightly peppery taste and pairs well with other herbs like oregano and thyme.

Basil leaves are best when freshly picked, as they lose their flavor quickly after being harvested.

When substituting basil for carom seeds in recipes, it’s important to remember that the flavors will be different – basil is much milder than carom seeds.

Basil can be added directly into dishes or used as a garnish for soups, salads, sauces, marinades, and more.

It also makes an excellent addition to pestos and other Italian-inspired dishes.

With its unique aroma and flavor profile, basil is sure to bring something special to your cooking!


Carom seeds are a delicious and flavorful ingredient used in Indian and other Asian dishes.

However, if you don’t have access to this ingredient, there are plenty of substitutes to choose from.

Dried thyme, caraway seeds, marjoram, Mexican oregano, fennel seeds, cumin, taco seasoning, dried tarragon, aniseed, and basil can all be used to provide similar flavors and textures to dishes that normally use carom seeds.

With these options, you can enjoy the same delicious flavors without having to go out of your way to find carom seeds.

Carom Seeds

The 10 Best Substitutes For Carom Seeds

If you're out of carom seeds, or just looking for something a little different, then this article is for you! I'm going to share my top 10 best substitutes for carom seeds, so you can still get the flavor and texture you're looking for. Whether you're making a savory dish or a sweet dessert, I'll provide a variety of options – from familiar pantry staples to unique ingredients – that you can use to create a delicious meal.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Substitutes
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people
Calories 61 kcal


  • Dried Thyme
  • Caraway Seeds
  • Marjoram
  • Mexican Oregano
  • Fennel Seeds
  • Cumin
  • Taco Seasoning
  • Dried Tarragon
  • Aniseed
  • Basil


  • Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  • Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
CEO at Happy Muncher | | Website | + posts

Hi, I'm Benjamin. I love cooking, long walks, and my girlfriend! Here you’ll find simple and delicious recipes that you can make in 30 minutes or less.