Anise oil is a pure essential oil that is extracted directly from the herb anise; anise extract is a small amount of that essential oil mixed with other ingredients to create a flavoring solution for recipes. Anise oil is much stronger than anise extract. Although both substances are used in cooking for flavor, anise oil is also used in aromatherapy and by natural healing practitioners.
In recipes, 1/4 teaspoon of anise oil is equivalent to 1 teaspoon of anise extract. Extracts are created particularly as flavoring ingredients and work well in recipes. Ingredients like alcohol and water dilute the flavoring oil in the extract without affecting recipes when used in small quantities. Flavoring oils are pure oils and sometimes affect how recipes work. It is best to use only a few drops of a flavoring oil to avoid changing the consistency of the final product. Anise-flavored liqueur and ground aniseed are also acceptable anise-flavored substitutes in recipes. Two tablespoons of liqueur or 2 teaspoons of ground aniseed replace a teaspoon of anise extract.
Anise has a sweet taste and a rich fragrance similar to licorice. It is often used to flavor biscotti, cookies and other baked goods. Anise oil is added to soaps and lotions for its scent.