If it’s tough to find Angelica where you live (or if you’ve run out of it mid-recipe), there is a perfect Angelica substitute in this list and you may have it in your pantry right now.
Angelica (Angelica archangelica) is a biennial herb with a strong aroma but a sweet, delicate flavor reminiscent of mild licorice. You can use it in both savory and sweet dishes, but the root needs to be cooked to be eaten safely.
If you want to know what these Angelica substitutes are and how to use them, follow closely and keep reading to learn more about substitutes for Angelica.
Ways People Use Angelica in Cooking
Angelica (Angelica archangelica) is an herb with a unique flavor and aromatic qualities used in culinary traditions for centuries. Its various parts, including the stems, leaves, and seeds, can be utilized in different ways to add a distinct and slightly sweet flavor to dishes. Here are some ways people use Angelica in cooking:
- Candied Angelica: One of the most popular culinary uses of Angelica is candying its stems. The stems are blanched to remove bitterness, then simmered in a sugar syrup until they become translucent. These candied Angelica stems are often used as decorative elements in desserts, cakes, pastries, and confections.
- Flavoring Liqueurs and Spirits: Angelica is a key ingredient in traditional liqueurs and spirits, such as chartreuse and gin. Its earthy and herbal flavor profile complements the botanical notes in these alcoholic beverages.
- Infused Syrups: You can use Angelica stems or leaves to infuse simple syrups. The resulting syrup can sweeten cocktails, beverages, or desserts, adding a unique herbal twist.
- Pickling: Pickling is possible with the stems and young shoots of Angelica, providing a tangy and slightly sweet addition to salads, charcuterie boards, or as a garnish for savory dishes.
- Herbal Teas: You can make herbal teas using dried Angelica leaves and roots. The tea is often consumed for its potential health benefits and is known for its aromatic qualities.
- Flavoring Baked Goods: Ground angelica seeds or dried angelica leaves can be added to baked goods such as bread, scones, and cookies to impart a distinctive herbal note.
- Soups and Stews: Angelica leaves and stems can be added to soups and stews, contributing a unique flavor to the overall dish. It’s prevalent in Scandinavian cuisine.
- Seasoning for Fish and Game: Some culinary traditions use Angelica to season and marinate fish, seafood, and game meats. Its aromatic properties complement the flavors of these dishes.
- Herb Mixtures: Dried Angelica leaves and stems can be included in herb mixtures or blends, adding complexity to seasoning blends used in various dishes.
- Garnishes: Fresh or candied Angelica can be used as decorative garnishes for desserts, cocktails, and savory dishes, adding visual appeal and a mild herbal flavor.
- Flavoring Creams and Sauces: Angelica leaves or seeds can infuse creams, custards, and sauces, imparting a unique herbal essence to the final dish.
- Salads: Young angelica leaves can be used in salads to add a refreshing and slightly tangy element to the mix.
As with any herb or ingredient, the flavor of Angelica can be distinct, so it’s essential to use it sparingly and experiment to find the right balance. When using Angelica, especially for the first time, it’s a good idea to start with a small amount and gradually adjust to taste.
The flavor of Angelica
Many people describe the flavor of Angelica as complex and aromatic, with a unique combination of sweet, herbal, licorice-like, and slightly bitter notes. It has a distinct earthy and musky quality that sets it apart from other herbs. Here’s a closer look at the flavor profile of Angelica:
- Sweetness: Angelica has a natural sweetness reminiscent of licorice or anise. This sweetness is subtle and adds a pleasant undertone to its overall flavor.
- Herbal: The herb imparts a solid herbal character with mint, celery, and parsley elements. Its herbal quality is refreshing and aromatic, making it stand out in various culinary applications.
- Bitterness: Angelica can have mild to moderate bitterness, especially in its leaves and stems. This bitterness is not overpowering but contributes to the complexity of its flavor.
- Earthy: There’s a notable earthiness to Angelica, akin to the scent of the forest floor or damp soil after rain. This earthiness adds depth and a touch of rustic charm to its taste.
- Citrus and Spice: Some people detect subtle citrus and spicy undertones in Angelica. These notes contribute to its multifaceted flavor profile.
- Aromatic: One of the most distinctive aspects of Angelica is its aromatic quality. The herb emits a fragrant aroma that people often describe as floral, herbal, and slightly woody. This aroma becomes particularly pronounced when you crush the leaves, stems, or seeds.
- Complexity: The combination of sweet, herbal, bitter, earthy, and aromatic elements creates a flavor profile that is both complex and intriguing. The flavor of Angelica can vary depending on how it’s used, the specific plant part, and the preparation method.
Angelica is a culinary chameleon, adding its unique flavor to everything from traditional herbal liqueurs to confections to savory recipes.
If you’re looking for substitutes for Angelica in your recipes, consider ingredients that mimic its unique flavor profile of sweet, herbal, and slightly bitter notes. Remember that while these substitutes may not perfectly replicate the distinct taste of Angelica, they can provide similar aromatic and flavor elements. Here are some options for an angelica substitute:
- Anise Seeds: Anise seeds offer a sweet, licorice-like flavor that can bring sweetness and herbal notes to your recipes. Use them sparingly, as their flavors can be pretty intense.
- Fennel Seeds: Fennel seeds have a slightly sweet and herbal flavor with mild licorice undertones. They can provide a similar aromatic quality to dishes that call for Angelica.
- Dill Weed: Dill weed has a fresh, aromatic flavor with herbal and slightly bitter notes. It can work well in recipes where Angelica adds a unique herbal essence.
- Tarragon: Tarragon has a distinctive anise-like flavor with a touch of bitterness. You can use it as a substitute in recipes that gain from Angelica’s herbal and slightly bitter profile.
- Mint: Mint leaves can add a refreshing herbal element to dishes, similar to the aromatic quality of Angelica. Use mint sparingly to avoid overwhelming the other flavors.
- Celery Leaves: Celery leaves have a mild herbal and slightly bitter taste that can be reminiscent of Angelica. You can use them in dishes where you desire the herbal aspect of Angelica.
- Lemon Zest: Lemon zest can provide a citrusy and aromatic element to recipes, adding complexity to the flavor profile. Use it in moderation to avoid overpowering the dish.
- Basil: Depending on the recipe, basil leaves can contribute an aromatic and slightly sweet herbal quality that complements various dishes.
- Lovage: Lovage is a herb with flavors similar to celery and parsley. This potential makes it a substitute in recipes utilizing Angelica for herbal notes.
- Herbal Liqueurs: If you’re using Angelica for its role in herbal liqueurs, consider exploring alternative liqueurs with similar flavor profiles, such as anise-based or herb-infused spirits.
The bottom line
If you’re in the middle of cooking, or when angelica isn’t easy to find, sometimes you need to switch things up. If you don’t have angelica, you can use other herbs and spices to get a similar flavor. But be careful! Not all substitutes taste the same. You’ll have to experiment to find the best one for your recipe.
- Anise Seeds
- Fennel Seeds
- Dill Weed
- Celery Leaves
- Lemon Zest
- Herbal Liqueur
- To best create a flavor much like angelica, consider a combination of one, two or even three of these angelica substitutes and taste test separately before adding to your recipe.
- Use a measure-for-measure ratio where possible, but add sparingly to your recipes at first so it doesn’t overpower your dish.