11 Best Substitute for Ajwain – Carom Seeds Alternatives

Do you love cooking like me? Definitely you explore new recipes with new ingredients like Ajwain.

Ajwain seeds or widely known as Carom Seeds are a great way to add aromatic flavor to food. They have an aromatic, pungent taste and smell used in various dishes. Carom seeds also have several health benefits too. (source)

If you cannot find it at the grocery store or need some alternatives for carom seed, here are some.

What do you get from these Alternatives here?

  • 11 best Carom Seeds substitutes
  • All are Pantry staples so you don’t need to go anywhere
  • Easily use and don’t change the final result
  • I have details on how to use it or how much you swap

Before jumping to the substituting part, I would discuss a little detail about ajwain seeds and most importantly how to choose the alternatives.

Or, you can check the names below the box…

In a little hurry, Know the Best Substitute for Carom Seeds nemes here- Lovage seeds, Oregano, Thyme, Caraway, Fennel, Marjoram, Dill, Taco sesoning, Cumin, Anise, and Tarragon. 

What is Ajwain ( Carom Seeds)? What does Carom Seed Taste like?

Carom (Ajwain) seeds the small oval-shaped seeds that look like caraway seeds are one of the commonly used spices in Indian cuisine. Carom seeds are yellow, with little ridges running down their sides.

Also known as, thymol seedsbishop’s weed, and ajowan caraway.

Ajwain has a bold aromatic slightly bitter and peppery aftertaste. Somewhat a mixture of Caraway and Tarragon or Oregano. Carom seeds are high in antioxidants and have many health benefits.

Carom seeds are often confused with cumin, but their taste is quite different. Carom seeds have a strong flavor and smell, while cumin has a milder flavor. Carom seeds are also known as “aji jeera,” which is the Hindi name for Ajwain.

There are many ways to use carom seeds in cooking

Cooking with whole seeds directly. Just like any other whole spices, you can add them to warm oil or ghee until they “pop.” You can also add them to dishes without frying them, but cooking them first in hot oil helps release their flavors.

These seeds have a strong flavor and are often used in different recipes like naans and parathas or as tarka or chaunk pickles, chutneys, or spice mixes. 

Grinding or roasting them, and then using them in cooking. This is the most popular method of use.

Things to Remember While Choosing a Substitution for Carom Seeds

  • Choose seeds or spices that have a strong aroma like caraway, oregano, tarragon, and lovage seeds.
  • Taste is always a key matter so- Replacement must have a spicy flavor like Ajwain seeds.
  • Choose the alternatives according to your recipes where you want to replace either in recipes, or just for flavor, or naan or bread, or as Tarka because end result is important.
  • Go for available substitution so you can save time as well.

11 Best Substitute For Ajwain in cooking and Best way to Use

There are many types of seeds or spices available, you can swap them with carom seeds, I usually used these whenever I don’t have ajwain in my hand. The best part is that these are the best ajwain seeds substitute and you can use them the same way in recipes.

I have enlisted the top 11 seeds and spices, which are very similar to carom seeds, adding a great touch and fragrance to the meal.


Thyme is one of the best substitutes for Carom seeds that has a similar taste and flavor to ajwain. Thyme is a versatile herb that can be used in a variety of dishes from seasoning, enhance flavor for soup, stew, and sauces also best to make tea.

Thyme is one of the best substitutes for Carom seeds that has a similar taste and flavor to ajwain.

The best part- it’s easy to find at most grocery stores. Simply add a bit of thyme to your dish during the cooking process and enjoy the delicious results.

How to Use- 1:1 Ratio

Additionally, thyme has a number of health benefits, so you can feel good about adding it to your meals.


Caraway seeds can be used as a substitute for carom seeds in most recipes including naan, bread, tea, sauces or savory dishes.

Caraway seeds can be used as a substitute for carom seeds in most recipes including naan, bread, tea, sauces or savory dishes.
How to use- Simply 1:1 ratio

Caraway seeds have a similar flavor to carom seeds, but they are slightly less pungent. Caraway seeds can be found in most grocery stores in the spice aisle. If you cannot find caraway seeds, you can also use cumin seeds as a substitute.


Lovage seeds are a great substitute for carom seeds. Lovage Seeds can be used as digestive, carminative, and diuretic. Lovage seeds help in expelling gas from the stomach and intestine. (source)

Lovage seeds have a high oil content, which makes them excellent for use in cooking and baking. The oil extracted from lovage seeds is also used in the cosmetics industry. Lovage seeds can be used to make a tea that is said to help with digestive issues.

How to Use- 1:1 Ratio
Lovage seed is a popular substitute for ajwain
Lovage leaves

Lovage seeds are also sometimes used as a coffee substitute. The leaves can be used in salads or as a garnish. The roots can be cooked and eaten like turnips or parsnips. And the seeds can be used in baking or cooking or ground into a powder and used as a seasoning.


Oregano is a great way to add flavor to your food. It can be used in a variety of dishes, from pasta and pizza to chicken and fish. It has a similar aroma and tastes to ajwain seeds.

How much Use- 1:1 ratio is best

And it’s not just for Italian food – oregano can be used in all sorts of cuisines. So if you’re looking for a method to add some extra flavor to your meals, oregano is a great option.


Carom seeds release an anise-like flavor when they’re cooked. Fennel seeds have a similar flavor, making them a good substitute for carom seeds. Fennel seeds have less pungency and tend to sweet aftertaste.

Fennel seeds have a similar flavor, making them a good substitute for carom seeds.

Fennel is best used in place of carom seeds in pickling recipes and mouth fresher.

Fennel is a versatile spice often used in Indian and Chinese cuisine. It has a bit of a sweet, anise-like flavor and can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. Fennel is available year-round, but it is in peak season from October through February.

How much use- 1/2 tablespoon of Ajwain= 1 tablespoon of fennel seeds

Fennel can be utilized in various dishes, including soups, stews, curries, and vegetable dishes. It is also a popular ingredient in many Indian and Chinese dishes. Fennel can be used fresh, dried, or ground. When using fennel, be sure to remove the tough outer layer before using.

Fennel is a good source of fiber, potassium, and vitamin C. It also contains a compound called anethole, which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties.

Check More- 7 Best Substitutes for Fennel Bulb in soup and salad


One common substitution that can be made in cooking is to use cumin in place of carom seeds. This substitution is helpful in most of the recipes you want to prepare.

Cumin has a similar flavor to carom seeds but is slightly sweeter and less pungent.

How much use- You can start by using 1 teaspoon of cumin for every 1/2 teaspoon of carom seeds called for in your recipe.

If you find that the cumin is too strong, you can adjust the amount to suit your taste.


Anise can be utilized as a substitute for bishop’s weed in cooking. Anise can be used in savory dishes as well as sweet dishes. Add anise to spice up your next dish! If you don’t have any anise then use these instead.

Anise can be utilized as a substitute for bishop's weed in cooking. Anise can be used in savory dishes as well as sweet dishes. Add anise to spice up your next dish!
How much use- 1/2 amount of anise

Anise has a similar flavor to carom seeds but is more potent. Use less anise than you would carom seeds if you are looking to replicate the flavor of carom seeds exactly.


Dill is another superb choice for Carom seeds. It has a milder flavor than carom seed but adds a nice pop of flavor to dishes like dals and curries, pickles, soups, and salad dressings.

How much use- 1/2 amount 

Dill goes exceptionally well with cucumbers, potatoes, and fish.


Tarragon is another amazing alternative to ajwain. It has a more subtle flavor, so it won’t overpower your dish.

How much use- 1:1 ratio works well
Tarragon is a popular alternative for ajwain

Tarragon is a slightly different flavor profile but still has similar notes of anise and licorice as found in ajwain – making it suitable to replace ajwain in most recipes such as Indian-style curries, soups, and marinades.


Marjoram is another suitable replacement for carom seeds. Marjoram is milder and slightly less pungent than ajwain, so it won’t overpower other flavors if you are using it to season a dish.

How much use- 1/2 amout of Marjoram

Start by adding just a pinch of marjoram, then taste and adjust as needed.

You can use it in place of carom seeds when making bread, cakes, cookies, and even some savory dishes. It also has many of the same health benefits as ajwain, including its ability to ease digestion.


Do you have taco seasoning? Great! Substitute it for carom seeds—

Taco seasoning is more widely available than ajwain and has a similar flavor profile that works well in many dishes. you can use taco seasoning instead of carom seeds in a variety of dishes, including curries, dals, stir-fries, and stews.

Taco seasoning adds a bit more of a zing to your dish. It is a great way to add extra flavor to your meal!

How much use- 1/2 amount of taco seasoning

The flavor will be slightly different due to the other ingredients in taco seasoning, such as paprika, cumin, and chili powder. However, the overall effect will be similar and still delicious.

If you don’t have taco seasoning, you can also substitute it with chili powder, cumin, paprika, and garlic powder. These spices will give your dish a similar flavor profile as taco seasoning.

Check More- Best Substitutes for Gochujang paste;The Korean Red Chili

Caraway / Ajwain substitute in samosa

  • Caraway
  • Cumin
  • Anise
  • Oregano
  • Thyme

Check More- Ideal Substitute for Star Anise

FAQs Related to Ajwain or Carrom Seeds substitutes

Q1. Can we use ajwain instead of oregano?

Ajwain is a spice often used in Indian cuisine, so there are plenty of recipes out there that are sure to tickle your taste buds.

Ajwain has a flavor similar to oregano, but it is slightly more pungent. Therefore, ajwain can easily go with any dish that calls for Oregano.

The best way to eat ajwain is by sprinkling it over bread or meats. You can also use it in curries, but remember to use it sparingly as it can easily overpower a dish.

Q2. Can I use cumin instead of ajwain?

Yes, cumin can be used to substitute for ajwain in traditional recipes. While cumin is not a direct replacement for ajwain in many dishes, you might still be able to use it in a pinch.

Cumin is one of the fundamental ingredients in curry powder, which can flavor dishes in the same way that ajwain leaves are used.

Q3. Are cumin and ajwain the same?

NO. Both Cumin and Ajwain are spices from different tastes, textures, appearances, and sources.

Q4. Is ajwain the same as fennel?

Ajwain and fennel are actually two different spices. Ajwain is a seed with a strong, pungent flavor, while fennel is a sweet-tasting herb. Both can be used to flavor food.

Q5. Are carom seeds the same as caraway seeds?

No, but they are relatively the same.

Both Carom seeds and Caraway seeds are used in cooking to add flavor to various foods like cabbage, meats, cheeses, and bread.

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