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The 5 Best Substitutes for Dill Seeds

One seasoning that can be used in many dishes and enjoyed by many is dill.

This herb comes from the same family as parsley and fennel.

It has a very distinct flavor similar to but milder than anise (or licorice).

The most common preparations of this aromatic seasoning are fresh and dried.

Dried dill is used in things like pickles, where the long cooking process will draw out most of the moisture content that the herb contains (natural oils) and turn it into a savory flavor that can be enjoyed by many different people or cultures alike.

Fresh Dill leaves are often used in dishes where the herb is added at the end or after cooking has been completed.

This allows for that delicate flavor to be experienced by the person consuming it rather than being boiled away during cooking.

When using fresh dill in a dish, it is best to add the leaves right before serving to get the most out of each individual leaf.

Fortunately, there are many substitutes for this important ingredient.

Below is a list of five possible replacements that can be used anywhere dill would normally be called for.

What are Dill Seeds?

what are dill seeds

Dill seeds are the dried seeds of the dill plant, which is a member of the parsley family.

The plant is native to Europe and Asia, although it can also be found in North America.

The planting season for dill begins in early spring and continues through mid-summer.

Dill grows best in sandy soil when it has plentiful sunshine.

Dill is self-pollinating, which means it pollinates itself – after plant blooms, seeds mature on the plant’s flower stem rather than on the plant’s stalk.

This makes dill easy to harvest, as you do not have to worry about uprooting the entire plant to collect the seeds.

Dill seeds are commonly used in Middle Eastern and European cuisine and in Russia and Scandinavia.

Dill leaves are also edible and can be added to salads or soups.

When purchasing dill, look for firm bulbs and have a fresh scent.

If purchasing seeds, look for pods that are dark brown or black.

Dill can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks or frozen for three months.

It should also be kept away from light and heat as much as possible.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Dill Seeds

For those of us who enjoy the flavor and versatility of dill but cannot find it at the grocery store, here are five great substitutes.

1 – Fennel Seeds

fennel seeds

Fennel seeds come from the Foeniculum vulgare plant.

This is a Mediterranean herb found in many sauces and spices, including chutneys and curries.

Fennel seeds have a cool and intense flavor with anise undertones.

The seeds taste similar to licorice or black licorice.

These seeds can be substituted for dill in most recipes.

However, the flavor may not come through as strongly because it’s mild.

Without a doubt, fennel seeds make for an excellent substitute.

They may even be better than the original if you find your dill seed to be too intense.

2 – Caraway Seeds

caraway seeds

Caraway seeds are the fruit of the caraway plant and come from Europe and Asia, although they grow worldwide today.

The seeds taste like a cross between anise and cumin, with a hint of citrus.

The plant itself is a biennial, and it has been used as a spice since ancient Egypt.

Caraway seeds are often confused with cumin because they look similar when dried.

However, caraway seeds are smaller than cumin seeds with an oval shape and light brown color with five ridges running down the middle.

Caraway seeds make for an excellent substitute in dishes like apple pie and sauerkraut or in any dish where dill is called for, such as sauces and stews.

3 – Anise Seeds

anise seeds

Anise has a sweet licorice flavor that tastes great in baking, making it a wonderful substitute for dill in some dishes.

Anise has many names, including sweet cumin, badian, or fennel seed.

However, they are not confused with caraway seeds because anise seeds are larger than caraway seeds and have a star-like shape.

Furthermore, the seeds themselves are greenish-brown.

Anise seeds are frequently used in Indian cuisine, known as ‘saunf’.

This often means that the spices are put together.

Anise seeds also have a strong flavor and can overpower other ingredients, so it is best to use them sparingly until you get the right balance for your recipe.

4 – Dill Weed

dill weed

Dill weed comes from the same plant as dill seeds.

However, it is the plant’s stems, leaves, and flowers rather than the seed itself that we use in cooking.

Fresh dill weed is bright green and finely divided with a light and sweet taste.

It contains anethole, which gives it some of its flavors.

Dill weed makes for a wonderful substitute in soups, stews, and other dishes where fresh dill is called for.

It should be added simultaneously as the other ingredients to get the best results.

5 – Oregano


Oregano comes from Mediterranean countries like Greece, Turkey, and Spain.

Although oregano is more often used in Italian cuisine, it can also be found in many dishes from the Middle East and throughout Southeast Asia.

Oregano tastes somewhat pungent but has a wonderful savory flavor that goes well with tomatoes, onions, garlic, meats, marinades, and salad dressings.

It is often confused with marjoram, which is another oregano-like herb.

It’s best to use oregano as a substitute for dill in Italian dishes.

It is a wonderful spice for tomato-based sauces, stews, and soups.


Each of the above spices has its own distinctive flavor, and they can all be substituted for dill in a pinch.

Fennel seeds taste like licorice and work well with all sorts of dishes, including curries and chutneys.

Caraway seeds have anise undertones that go well with all types of cuisine.

Anise itself has a strong taste that is not overpowered by the other ingredients in your dish.

Dill seeds are pungent, so dill weed can be used as a substitute for lighter dishes.

Oregano has a wonderful savory flavor and works well with Italian dishes.

Yield: 4 Servings

The 5 Best Substitutes for Dill Seeds

The 5 Best Substitutes for Dill Seeds
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • Fennel Seeds
  • Caraway Seeds
  • Anise Seeds
  • Dill Weed
  • Oregano


  1. Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  2. Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
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