The fruits, usually used whole, have a pungent, anise-like flavor and aroma that comes from essential oils, mostly carvone and limonene. They are used as a spice in breads especially rye bread.

Caraway is also used in liquors, casseroles, and other foods, especially in Central European and Northern European cuisine, for instance, sauerkraut. It is also used to add flavor to cheeses such as Havarti. Akvavit and several liqueurs are also made with caraway.