Best Substitutes For Dill Seeds: Guide To Delicious Alternatives

As a chef, I often experiment with different substitutes when I don’t have a certain ingredient on hand.

One time, I ran out of dill seeds when preparing my famous pickles, and I tried using tarragon as a substitute.

Surprisingly, the pickles turned out even better than with dill seeds! Since then, I have been using tarragon as a substitute in all my pickling recipes.

Read on to see the best substitutes for dill seeds and dive into each option’s unique flavor profile and culinary uses.

What Are Dill Seeds?

Dill Seeds.
Dill Seeds.

Dill seeds are small, oval-shaped seeds derived from the dill plant, scientifically known as Anethum graveolens. They have a distinct flavor and aroma reminiscent of dill weed, which is the fresh foliage of the same plant.

Dill seeds are commonly used as a spice in cooking and baking. They have a slightly bitter and tangy taste, often described as warm and citrusy.

Dill seeds are used in pickling, marinades, soups, stews, bread, and other dishes to add a unique and savory flavor.

They are also known for their potential digestive benefits and are sometimes used in traditional herbal remedies.

Best Substitutes For Dill Seeds

Fresh Dill

If you’re looking for a fresh and vibrant alternative, fresh dill is an excellent substitute for dill seeds.

Most supermarkets carry fresh dill, making it a convenient option to add to your dishes.

Fresh dill has a sweet and grassy flavor, with a hint of licorice. Use it to add flavor to seafood dishes, sauces, and dressings.

Dried Dill

As the name suggests, dried dill is a dehydrated version of the fresh herb, so it has a more concentrated flavor.

This potent herb has a slightly bitter taste with an aroma similar to caraway.

To use dried dill as a substitute for dill seeds in recipes, use 1 teaspoon of dried dill in place of 1 tablespoon of dill seeds.

Fennel Seeds

Fennel seeds are an excellent substitute for dill seeds, thanks to their similar taste profile. Like dill seeds, fennel seeds have a licorice flavor with a hint of sweetness.

Fennel seeds are commonly used in Indian, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean cuisines. They go well with fish, vegetable dishes, and sauces.


Tarragon has a similar licorice flavor, making it a great substitute for dill seeds. The herb has an intense aroma and flavor, so use it sparingly.

Tarragon pairs well with eggs, chicken, seafood, and vegetables, making it a versatile herb to add to your recipes.

Caraway Seeds

Caraway seeds have a distinct flavor profile that includes bitterness and a hint of anise.

They are often used in Eastern European and German cuisines and are a great substitute for dill seeds in recipes like bread, pickles, and sauerkraut.


What Dishes Can I Use Substitutes For Dill Seeds?

You can use substitutes for dill seeds in a wide variety of dishes, including sauces, dressings, pickles, sauerkraut, bread, and fish.

How Do I Use Substitutes For Dill Seeds In My Recipes?

To use substitutes for dill seeds in your recipes, follow the recipe’s instructions and use the recommended amount of your chosen substitute. Remember, different substitutes have varying intensities, so adjust the amount accordingly.

Can I Use Substitutes For Dill Seeds In My Homemade Pickles?

Yes! Fennel seeds, tarragon, and caraway seeds are all great alternatives for dill seeds in pickling recipes.


There are plenty of options when it comes to substitutes for dill seeds. Whether you’re using fresh dill, dried dill, fennel seeds, tarragon, or caraway seeds, each option brings a unique flavor to your dishes.

Don’t be afraid to experiment and try new substitutes to find your own personal favorite!

Norah Clark

Norah Clark

Norah Clark, the founder and editor of YummyTasteFood! She's a seasoned food writer and editor with over a decade of experience in the hospitality industry as a former pastry chef, sous chef, and barista. When not writing about food, she explores new recipes or travels the world for culinary inspiration.