Fennel seeds have a rich history. They were used as an ancient spice in the Mediterranean by the Greeks. Over time, the use of fennel as a spice made its way east and north, and fennel is now part of Northern European and East Asian cooking. It is a main component of Chinese Five Spice Powder, as well as in many Greek and Asian dishes.

Things You'll Need

Select the amount of desired fennel seeds to be toasted.

Heat a small, ungreased sauté pan over high heat. Once warm, place fennel seeds in pan.

Move or shake the pan briskly back and forth to stir and agitate the seeds so they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan or burn. Or use a wooden spoon to constantly stir the seeds.

Cook the fennel seeds for 3 to 4 minutes, or until they become fragrant and slightly darker brown.

Turn off the heat and remove pan from the stove top. Place the seeds in a small bowl or scattered on a baking sheet to cool.

Store toasted fennel seeds in a tightly sealed jar.


  • Toasted fennel seeds have a nutty flavor and can be used in bread dough, to add crunch to salads and as an ingredient in trail mix and granola.

References and Resources

Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare Mill.)