Thyme is a great dill substitute, and it’s likely that a home-chef will have some thyme on-hand. Thyme also lacks the distinct anise flavor of dill, but it contains a similarly strong flavor that will be a good addition to many of the same dishes.
There you have it! 5 herbs that you can substitute for dill in a pinch. Each herb has its own unique mix of flavor and texture, and each substitute brings something different to the table. In fact, it will be a mostly subjective decision as to which substitute is the best.
The only problem with tarragon is that most people are rather unlikely to have fresh tarragon on hand! But if you do, it might just be the best dill substitute there is.
Dill is known for its distinct flavor, but this flavor is also determined by how you buy the dill, be it fresh, dried, or in seed form, which we’ll examine next.
A close runner-up is tarragon. Tarragon also shares many similar flavor profiles to dill, including the classic “anise” flavor. And as a bonus, it doesn’t lose flavor when heated.
If we had to pick the best dill substitute, we’d have to give it to fennel. Fennel and dill share the same strong notes of anise, and similar taste profiles overall.
It’s not the perfect dill substitute, but you can use it in much the same way you would dill weed, and it definitely adds a noticeable flavor to any dish.
Dill seed is not a good substitute for fresh dill weed because of the difference in flavor strength but it does depend on the recipe. The seed has a camphorous, slightly bitter flavor, and the weed has a delicate flavor. The differences are like night and day.
If you must substitute, see below:
Do you know how much dill seed is equivalent to one head of fresh dill?? I am going to make pickles, and fresh dill is not available. Thanks in advance for your help. – Judith Cartwright (8/22/01)
3 heads dill = 1 tablespoon dill seed
1/2 ounce dill seed = 1/2 cup fresh dill
3- to 5-inch sprig of fresh dill = 1/4 teaspoon of dried dill weed.
Dill weed is sometimes also referred to as dill leaves. It’s the bright green, feathery fronds of the dill plant. It’s highly aromatic, and tastes of caraway or anise, with a bit of citrus thrown in.
Substituting fresh dill for dried dill (or vice versa) is easy to do. Just stick to these proportions, and you’ll get great results:
Substituting Other Herbs
When fresh dill is being used to flavor a recipe (as it is in pickles, soups, and sauces), use fresh tarragon in its place. To make the proper substitution, use an equal amount of fresh tarragon for the fresh dill, or dried tarragon for the dried dill. You can also use dried tarragon as a stand-in for fresh dill weed, but you’ll need to adjust the quantities, as it has a more intense flavor. Use one teaspoon of dried tarragon for every tablespoon of fresh dill called for in a recipe. Tarragon works well as a substitute for dill in seafood dishes and in salad dressings.
If dill weed is being used as a garnish for a dish, use fennel fronds instead. They look very similar. Fresh parsley can also be used as a garnish. It looks a bit different, but will still add that pop of green. If you don’t have either, just leave the garnish off, or get creative with whatever you have on hand.
Dill is incredibly easy to grow, so consider adding it to your garden. It’s an annual, but it reseeds readily. Just allow some of the flowers to go to seed at the end of the season, and it should come up on its own next year.