Dill is a plant that can be used for flavoring through its leaves and seeds — dill weed and dill seed, respectively. Though both dill seed and dill weed come from the same source, they have different tastes, so dill weed and dill seed are not suitable substitutes for each other. But don’t fret — if you’ve run out of one or the other, both have a few suitable substitutes.
When looking for a dill weed substitute, try:
For dill seeds, substitute:
- Caraway seeds
- Celery seeds
All can be substituted for dill on a 1:1 ratio.
How Is Dill Used?
Dill leaves are the source of the herb dill weed, which is used to complement dishes such as fish, chicken, stews and potato salad. It’s commonly used as a garnish and has a strong aroma and a fresh, earthy and slightly citrus taste.
Dill seed, on the other hand, is most commonly used in the U.S. as flavoring dill pickles, but in other parts of the world, dill seed is prominent in Indian and Eastern Europe cuisine. While dill weed is more fresh and citrus-like, dill seed is more bitter and pungent.
For Dill Weed…
Tarragon is a common culinary herb and your best choice for a dill weed substitute. This herb has a taste and aroma similar to dill but can withstand high heat that dill cannot. Because tarragon holds up better in heat, you can add it to the dish earlier than when the recipe calls for. This substitute works for any recipe that calls for fresh dill weed, but especially in soups and sauces.
If you don’t have any dill weed or tarragon on hand, fennel is the next best thing. Fennel has feathery fronds that resemble dill and the two can be used interchangeably with no change in taste or appearance. Along with its fronds, you can use the plant’s stems as a dill substitute when making stews and soups.
Like dill, Rosemary is often used in French and Italian cooking, so it works as a good substitute when need be. It works particularly well as a dill substitute for dishes involving meats, sauces, salad dressings and potatoes. Rosemary has a pine-like flavor reminiscent of tea, similar to the citrus-like flavor of dill.
Thyme is a suitable dill substitute for roasting, baking or making stew. Like tarragon, thyme can handle high heat and long cooking times, so add it earlier in the cooking process than what the recipe calls for. While dill weed tends to lose its flavor as it’s cooked, thyme retains its powerful, pungent flavor throughout, so the taste of the finished dish might be more powerful than if you had used dill.
For Dill Seed…
Substitute Caraway Seeds
Caraway seeds have a strong aroma and a taste akin to anise seeds and dill seed. It’s a good substitute to use in cream-based soups and when cooking cabbage, as both have almost licorice-like notes. Caraway seeds are also a suitable substitute for cumin.
Substitute Celery Seeds
Celery seeds can also be easily used in place of dill seed. They are similar in color and earthy flavor to dill seed and won’t noticeably change the appearance or flavor of your final dish.