Anijsmelk Recipe - A Traditional Dutch Drink Made with Milk, Aniseed, and Sugar


Anijsmelk Recipe - A Traditional Dutch Drink Made with Milk, Aniseed, and Sugar
Region / culture: Netherlands | Preparation time: 5 minutes | Cooking time: 10 minutes | Servings: 4



Anijsmelk is a traditional Dutch beverage that has been cherished for generations, particularly during the cold winter months. This comforting drink, made with milk, aniseed, and sugar, is known for its unique flavor and warming properties. It's often consumed before bedtime to promote a good night's sleep, thanks to the soothing effects of aniseed.


The tradition of drinking Anijsmelk dates back to the Netherlands in the Middle Ages. Originally, it was made with aniseed-infused wine, but over time, milk became the preferred base for the drink. Aniseed was valued for its medicinal properties, and Anijsmelk was consumed to aid digestion, alleviate cold symptoms, and promote relaxation.


How to prepare

  1. To prepare, tie the whole aniseed in a thin cloth and let it soak in warm milk for some time.
  2. Next, add the sugar, remove the seeds, and bring the milk to a boil.
  3. Alternatively, if using aniseed powder, just boil the milk and add the desired amount of powder.


  • For a vegan version of Anijsmelk, substitute the milk with almond milk, soy milk, or oat milk. You can also experiment with the sweetness level by adjusting the amount of sugar or using honey or maple syrup as natural sweeteners.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

For a richer flavor, use whole milk. If you prefer a lighter version, skim milk works well too. To fully infuse the milk with the aniseed flavor, let the aniseed soak in the milk for at least 30 minutes before heating. For a smoother texture, consider using a fine mesh strainer when removing the aniseed.

Serving Suggestions

Anijsmelk is traditionally served warm in a mug. It can be enjoyed as is or garnished with a sprinkle of ground cinnamon or nutmeg for added flavor. Some prefer to enjoy it alongside a small, sweet biscuit or cookie.

Cooking Techniques

The key technique in preparing Anijsmelk is the infusion of the milk with aniseed. This can be achieved by either soaking whole aniseed in the milk or by adding aniseed powder directly to the boiling milk. Both methods result in a flavorful beverage, but the soaking method allows for a deeper infusion of flavor.

Ingredient Substitutions

If aniseed is not available, star anise can be used as a substitute, though it should be used sparingly due to its stronger flavor. Similarly, if you're out of sugar, honey or maple syrup can be used to sweeten the milk.

Make Ahead Tips

Anijsmelk can be prepared in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to two days. Gently reheat on the stove or in the microwave before serving. If you've used whole aniseed, consider leaving it in the milk while storing to further deepen the flavor.

Presentation Ideas

Serve Anijsmelk in a clear mug to show off its creamy color. Garnish with a cinnamon stick or a sprinkle of ground aniseed for a decorative touch. A small, warmly lit candle on the serving tray can enhance the cozy, comforting ambiance.

Pairing Recommendations

Anijsmelk pairs wonderfully with light, sweet pastries or cookies, such as stroopwafels or speculaas. The warm, spicy flavors of these treats complement the soothing, aniseed-infused milk perfectly.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store any leftover Anijsmelk in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days. To reheat, pour the desired amount into a saucepan and warm over low heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Avoid boiling to prevent the milk from separating.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

A serving of Anijsmelk contains approximately 150 calories when made with whole milk and about 100 calories when made with skim milk. The majority of these calories come from the milk and sugar.


A serving of Anijsmelk contains approximately 15 grams of carbohydrates, primarily from the sugar and the natural sugars present in milk. This makes it a comforting choice for a sweet treat that's not too heavy on carbs.


Depending on the type of milk used, the fat content in Anijsmelk can vary. A serving made with whole milk contains about 8 grams of fat, while one made with skim milk contains less than a gram. The majority of the fat in whole milk is saturated fat.


Anijsmelk is a good source of protein, with a serving providing about 8 grams. This comes from the milk, which is a complete protein source, containing all nine essential amino acids necessary for the human body.

Vitamins and minerals

Milk is a rich source of calcium, vitamin D, and phosphorus, all of which are present in Anijsmelk. These nutrients are essential for bone health. Milk also provides vitamin B12, which is important for brain health and the formation of red blood cells.


The primary allergen in Anijsmelk is milk. Those with lactose intolerance or a milk allergy should avoid this beverage or consider using lactose-free milk as a substitute.


Anijsmelk is a comforting, warm beverage that provides a moderate amount of calories, carbohydrates, and fats, along with good amounts of protein and essential vitamins and minerals. It's a nutritious choice for a bedtime drink, especially during colder months.


Anijsmelk is a traditional Dutch beverage that offers warmth and comfort, especially on cold nights. Its unique flavor comes from the infusion of aniseed in milk, sweetened with a touch of sugar. This recipe is not only a treat for the senses but also provides nutritional benefits, making it a wholesome choice for a bedtime drink. With options for customization and variations, Anijsmelk can be enjoyed in many forms, catering to different dietary needs and preferences.

How did I get this recipe?

I remember the excitement I felt when I first saw this recipe for Anijsmelk. It was handed down to me by my dear old friend, Mrs. van der Berg, who was a Dutch immigrant and a fantastic cook. She had learned how to make Anijsmelk from her own grandmother, who had brought the recipe with her from the Netherlands.

Mrs. van der Berg used to make Anijsmelk for me whenever I came to visit her. The warm, comforting drink was a staple in her household, especially during the cold winter months. Anijsmelk is a traditional Dutch beverage made with milk, sugar, and anise seeds. The sweet and aromatic flavor of the anise seeds combined with the creamy milk was simply divine.

I was always intrigued by the process of making Anijsmelk, and Mrs. van der Berg was more than happy to teach me her family recipe. She explained that the key to a delicious Anijsmelk was to infuse the milk with the anise seeds for a long time, allowing the flavors to meld together perfectly.

To start, I would pour a generous amount of whole milk into a saucepan and bring it to a gentle simmer. Then, I would add a handful of anise seeds and a sprinkle of sugar to the milk, stirring gently to help the flavors combine. Mrs. van der Berg always emphasized the importance of patience when making Anijsmelk – the longer the milk simmered with the anise seeds, the richer and more flavorful the drink would be.

As the Anijsmelk simmered on the stove, the kitchen would fill with the warm, comforting aroma of anise. It was a scent that always brought me back to Mrs. van der Berg’s cozy kitchen, where we would sit together sipping our cups of Anijsmelk and sharing stories of our families and memories.

Over the years, I have made Anijsmelk countless times, each batch reminding me of Mrs. van der Berg and the special bond we shared. I have passed the recipe down to my own children and grandchildren, hoping to keep the tradition alive for generations to come.

One particularly memorable occasion was when my granddaughter, Sarah, came to visit me for the weekend. She was always curious about my recipes and loved to help me in the kitchen. As soon as she saw the Anijsmelk recipe, her eyes lit up with excitement.

Together, we gathered the ingredients and began to make the Anijsmelk just as Mrs. van der Berg had taught me. Sarah was a quick learner, and she carefully stirred the milk as it simmered on the stove, inhaling the sweet scent of anise filling the air.

As we sat down to enjoy our cups of Anijsmelk, I watched with pride as Sarah took her first sip, her face lighting up with delight. It was a special moment, passing on a family recipe to the next generation and sharing a piece of our heritage with my granddaughter.

As I look back on all the recipes I have learned over the years, Anijsmelk holds a special place in my heart. It is not just a drink to warm the body on a cold day, but a reminder of the cherished memories and friendships that have enriched my life.

I am grateful for Mrs. van der Berg and her generosity in sharing her family recipe with me. The simple act of making Anijsmelk has brought me closer to my heritage and the loved ones who have shaped my life. And for that, I will always be grateful.


| Anise Seed Recipes | Dutch Beverages | Dutch Recipes | Milk And Cream Recipes |

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