Today I’ve developed an in-depth, comprehensive list of substitutes for dill. We’ll not only discuss the best alternatives for this uber refreshing herb but also some options for its dried form as well as the seeds.
Now, you never have to run to multiple stores trying to get your hands on these. You can simply use the alternatives I’ve provided down below!
If you are looking for some ways you can use dill (or its substitutes), you have to try my Birria Quesadilla Recipe. It is packed with flavor and is extremely adjustable!
Another of my reader’s favorites is this Pasteles En Hoja Recipe (Beef And Plantain Pockets).
What Is Dill? What Does Dill Taste Like?
Dill is an extremely popular herb that is commonly used in European, Asian, and Middle Eastern cuisines. If you have no idea what I am talking about, don’t feel alone. It’s hard to find in countries where it doesn’t naturally grow.
So, what exactly is dill, and what does it look and taste like?
The plant itself looks very similar to fennel. The key difference is that the fronds (leaves) are slightly thicker and the dill has a darker saturated green color.
If you are looking for a fresh dill plant, it’s usually between 16-24 inches in height (40-60cm) and has long, slender stems and fine delicate leaves. Each leaf can be as thin as 1/32-inch wide (1mm). That’s amazing!
You can also find pre-picked fresh dill leaves still attached to their stems. These usually last a couple of days after they have been picked. But only if they were kept under the perfect cold storage conditions.
Then, you also get dried dill. As with all herbs, it’s simply the dried and chopped form of fresh leaves. Dried dill contains fewer nutrients than its fresh counterpart but is usually much more flavorful (because the flavor has been concentrated).
Unfortunately, fresh dill is often used for just that reason – it’s fresh. The flavor is different and pairs better with refreshing ingredients. Dried dill is better suited for cooked dishes.
And finally, you also get dill seeds. I would say that dill seeds have the least prominent dill flavor, but it’s definitely still there. The seeds are dried, so can also only be used in cooked dishes.
Now, what does dill taste like? It’s very herbaceous with a grassy undertone. You will also pick up some slight anise flavors (licorice) and a hint of tanginess. It’s quite a delicious herb, but its uniqueness makes it suitable for only specific flavor pairings.
Unfortunately, fresh dill is not available across the globe. And sometimes, even finding a dried version of it (or even dill seeds) seems impossible! That’s why today we will explore some amazing substitutes for fresh and dried dill.
How To Pick A Substitute For Dill
Substituting any type of herb is a very tricky process. It’s the same with spices. Each one has such an incredibly unique flavor, there won’t be many others that mimic it exactly.
So, when it comes to choosing the best substitute for fresh dill, you can pick out specific characteristics that you like.
If you like the anise flavor (licorice flavor), an alternative like fennel, aniseed, and star anise could all work. All of these have that licorice flavor.
Of course, fennel is the only one of these that can be found in fresh form. So, if you are using fresh dill in a salad or as a garnish (uncooked), fresh fennel is the best alternative.
But if you are using dried dill, dill seeds, or even fresh dill in cooked stews, soups, and sauces, you can use spices as well.
If you don’t mind not having a licorice flavor and you simply want something refreshing or fresh, your options become a lot broader. You can then choose herbs like mint, parsley, cilantro (coriander), and basil.
You get the idea! But if you are still unsure, don’t hesitate to ask me some questions in the comments below!
10 Substitutes For Dill
For all of the alternatives listed below, you can easily use the fresh or dried version, or even the seeds of these plants.
If you are unsure of which will work best in different scenarios, a good rule of thumb is that fresh herbs go well in all recipes. Dried herbs and seeds work better in cooked recipes, where they can be hydrated to help release their flavors.
1. Dried Or Fresh Alternative
I just have to include this one on the list. You can easily substitute fresh dill with dried dill and vice versa. The amounts you use will differ.
For every teaspoon of dried dill, you will need to use one tablespoon of fresh dill.
So, if your recipe calls for one cup of fresh dill, you will only need a third cup (1/3 cup) of dried dill. Remember, the flavor of dried dill is a lot more concentrated, so you need less to get the same flavor results.
If you can get your hands on some fresh tarragon, grab it! This herb is also one of those that can be hard to find depending on where you live.
Tarragon has a similar licorice flavor to dill. The biggest difference is that it is a more robust herb than delicate dill. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I would shred tarragon finely if I use it in fresh dishes (like salads). But it does incredibly well in cooked stews and soups.
You can use these in a one-to-one substitution.
Fennel screams licorice! It’s what it is best known for. But it’s accompanied by a slightly sweeter undertone than what dill has. You can also use this substitute for dill in equal parts.
If you cannot find fennel fronds (leaves), you can also use some fennel bulbs.
Parsley is pretty easy to find no matter where you are. And it’s definitely the best neutral, fresh herb you can use. Again, use a one-to-one substitution.
This herb has a more earthy taste than dill, and it lacks licorice flavors. It’s also not great for cooking, and you would be better off using dried parsley for those dishes.
You can use either flat-leaf parsley or curly parsley. It really doesn’t matter.
I know that many people despise cilantro, but I love it! It’s a flavor that is extremely common in Asian, African, and Latin American cuisines.
It’s similar to parsley but much stronger (earthier). It also has a slightly peppery taste, almost like onions.
If you use fresh cilantro, use half the amount called for in the recipe. It’s quite strong, and you don’t want to overpower your dish with this flavor.
And just like parsley, I don’t recommend cooking this fresh herb.
We all know what mint tastes like! It’s so unique, and there is nothing like it! So how does that at all taste like dill?
Well, it doesn’t. But remember, I said to choose characteristics of dill and try to match them. Mint provides a similar refreshing flavor that dill does, and that’s why it works.
And most flavor pairings for dill also work for mint, making it an easy substitute. Use only about one-third to half the amount of mint that the recipe calls for.
If you are making a very savory dish that requires cooking the dill, you can choose a robust herb like rosemary instead.
It holds up incredibly well in heat and will impart its unique savory flavor and aromas.
Again, as with the previous pungent herbs, use about half the amount of rosemary.
Basil is another herb with a sweeter flavor profile, similar to fennel and mint. It’s also incredibly refreshing. It works best in uncooked dishes and will add a ton of delicious flavors.
Dill has a more subtle flavor, despite being unique. So, if you use it as a substitute for dill, you can swap the two in equal parts.
You can use dried basil instead of dried dill in cooked dishes.
This is the perfect alternative for dried dill, especially dried oregano. It’s anyway a lot easier to find dried oregano than it is fresh.
It also has a unique flavor that isn’t anything like that of dill. But, if you use it with the right flavor pairings, it makes up for the difference.
If you initially add the oregano, only add a little. You can always increase it later. But many people tend to overdo it and end up hating what they’ve created.
10. Caraway Seeds
If you are looking for a substitute for dill seeds, caraway seeds are your best option. They also have a slight licorice flavor.
And they are quite easy to find and very affordable. You can use a one-to-one replacement for these two.
You can also use fennel seeds if you cannot find caraway seeds.