Dill is a lovely fresh herb to add to recipes and a little goes a long way. When using dill, it is important to know the differences between fresh dill versus dill weed and dill seed. This way you make sure you use the right ingredient for a recipe.
Dill is a flavorful aromatic that goes great with seafood, poultry, vegetables, and grains. My easy refrigerator pickles using leftover pickle brine are so easy and adding an extra spring of fresh dill really packs a punch. This versatile herb should be in your pantry or spice rack. If you plant a garden, fresh dill is so easy to grow. Plus it smells amazing and attracts ladybugs.
Uncover all you need to know about the similarities and differences when cooking with dill and both the fresh and dried forms. It is so good in my recipe for Creamy Lemon Dill Butter Chicken.
What is Dill & What Does it Taste Like?
Dill is a fresh herb that is in the celery family. Dill is used for more than cooking and pickling. It is a pretty & fragrant plant also used in soaps, lotions, cosmetics, and as a hair conditioner.
Dill tastes similar to a blend of other herbs. Think of it as a combination of parsley, celery, fennel, and tarragon. Everyone's taste buds are different but fresh dill is earthy, grassy, a little bit sweet, and has a slight licorice-like flavor when I eat it. It is a lovely fresh ingredient but it has a strong flavor so a little goes a long way.
Fresh Dill Substitutes
Dill can be used in a fresh or dried form. When a recipe calls for fresh dill, it is worth buying some or clipping a bit from your garden. It adds wonderful flavor and a lovely speckling of dark green color to your dish. But if you find you are in a pinch and don't have any fresh dill, you can use a substitute.
Dry Dill/Dill Weed
The best substitute for fresh dill would be to use dried dill weed. The dried herb will be more concentrated so you need to use less. See the conversion chart below so you can use the right amount of dill weed as an alternative to fresh dill.
On the other hand, dill seeds are not a good substitute for fresh dill. Dill seeds are very concentrated and have a bitter edge and an unpleasant texture even when crushed.
Think of dill seeds as those big seeds you see in your dill pickle jar. If you need to substitute fresh dill, don't use dill seeds. But if you need to substitute dill seeds, try using caraway or celery seeds.
Fresh Herbs as a Substitute for Dill
You can also use other fresh herbs as a substitute for fresh dill. Alternatives include using fresh tarragon, parsley, or thyme. The fronds of leaves of other vegetables also make a great substitute for fresh dill in cooking.
The fronds of the fennel plant not only look similar to dill but are a great substitute for the fresh herb. Fennel fronds will have a stronger licorice/anise flavor so if that is not your thing, try dried dill or another herb instead.
Carrot fronds are similar in shape and texture to fresh dill fronds. They also look almost the same. For that reason, you can use fresh carrot fronds as a substitute for dill fronds. The flavor will be different and more like parsley and carrot combined.
Celery leaves are also an ideal substitute for fresh dill. Since dill is in the celery family, the taste will be similar. Finally, chop those celery leaves and it will be a great alternative to your recipes. I love these two actually together and the flavor punch it gives homemade cream of celery soup.
Fresh Dill vs Dill Weed
Fresh dill is a herb that is grown and used in many parts of Asia & Europe. The dill plant has skinny green stems with whispy soft tender leaves. It has brown-colored seeds that are used in pickling and spice blends.
Dill is also known as Anethum graveolens. It is part of the celery family. It is packed with flavonoids, which have been shown to help reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease.
Dill weed is the leaves of the fresh dill plant. Dried dill may be labeled dill weed or just simply dill when dried and packaged. Commonly dill weed is used interchangeably with dried dill. Therefore, when you read dill weed in a recipe it typically calls for dried dill.
Dill Weed vs Dill Seed
As mentioned above, dill weed is typically referred to as the dried leaves of the dill plant. These fine green strands are used in many recipes. It is stronger in flavor than using fresh dill since it is concentrated when in a dry form.
Dill seeds are the dried fruits of the dill plant. These seeds are not a good substitute for fresh or dried dill. Dill seeds are bitter. Besides a very mild undertone of licorice, the seeds don't have a similar flavor as the plant or leaves do.
Dill is strong on pungent and is similar to caraway seeds in flavor. For this reason, if you need to substitute dill seeds in a recipe, use caraway seeds. It is not a good idea to use fresh or dried dill as a substitute for dill seeds.
Fresh Dill to Dried Dill Conversion
When cooking you may need to substitute fresh dill for dried or vice versa. Knowing the best way to use the alternate ingredient and how much is important. A good conversion rate is a 3:1 ratio. Use ⅓ less dried dill than you would fresh dill leaves. Here is an easy guide to substitute dill.
- 1 Tablespoon Fresh Dill = 1 Teaspoon Dried Dill Weed
What Does Dill Pair Well With?
Dill is not a mild herb and a little goes a long way. Therefore, pairing it with the right flavors, complementary herbs, and spices is important. Make sure you pair dill with the right ingredients and you will have amazing flavors.
Here are some ingredients that go well with fresh dill or dried dill weed. They include lovely fresh or dried herbs that make spice blends that are perfect for seasoning vegetables, poultry, and seafood.
Herbs That Go Well with Dill
Dill pairs well with other herbs in spices, especially those used in Western Asian, Mediterranean, Eastern European, Russian, or Scandinavian dishes. Pair dill with the following herbs & spices.
- Basil - a floral, citrus, & grassy tasting herb popular in Italian & Asian cooking.
- Chives - the spicy onion-like flavor is lovely with dill's grassy flavor.
- Mint - its cool flavor balances out the sweet licorice-like taste of dill.
- Parsley - the grassy mild herb is great when used in a 2:1 ratio with pungent dill.
- Tarragon - makes a lovely classic Russian combination used in many dishes.
Vegetables That Go Well with Dill
Dill is not just for cucumbers and pickles. There are so many vegetables that go well with fresh or dried dill. There is a reason why so many veggie dips have dill weed in them...it's delicious!
Here are the best vegetables to serve with dill. Add a few fresh springs after roasting vegetables or stir dill weed into a dressing. You cannot go wrong with these pairings that will ensure your side of vegetables is anything but boring.
- Green Beans
Recipes Using Fresh or Dried Dill
Here are some lovely recipes for using fresh or dried dill. All are easy to make and have the addition of dill as a sweet, earthly, & herbaceous flavor. So chop up some fresh dill or shake out some dried dill and get cooking!
FAQs - All Things Dill
Learn more about all things dill with these frequently asked questions. Cooking with dill is easy, delicious, and healthy.
Dill seed is quite different from fresh or dried dill. As explained in the section above the taste and texture is quite different. For that reason, I would not suggest using dill seed in place of fresh dill or dill weed in recipes. See above for the best alternative ingredients.
Dill seed has several different spellings and names. Anethum Sowa, are also called Indian Dill, American Dill, and European Dill ). Alternative spellings are dil seeds and dillseed.
Dill weed or dried dill and fresh dill make good alternatives for one another. When using fresh dill as a substitute for dill weed you will need to use more. See the section above on how much to use based on ratio conversions.
The fresh herb like others can be preserved to use later. Freezing is a good way to ensure fresh dill does not go to waste.
To freeze dill, wash and dry it completely. Place it in a single layer on a sheet pan that will fit in your freezer. Place it in the freezer for an hour to flash-freeze it. Once it is frozen, place the frozen dill in an air-tight Ziploc bag, and press all the air out before sealing to ensure moisture stays out.
You can also freeze fresh dill or any fresh herb in olive oil. Add chopped fresh herbs to an ice cube tray. To each cavity drizzle on olive oil until ¾ of the way up. Freeze in the freezer overnight. The next day pop out each frozen herb cube and transfer it to a Ziploc bag. Seal and store for up to 6 months.