My very favourite soft herb, dill grows like a weed (it is called dill weed, after all) during the warmer months. Use the green fronds in cooking and baking, or save the seed heads to make your own dill pickles.
Dill can be used dried and frozen, so it’s well worth growing or buying, even in larger quantities. It features in several recipes on Occasionally Eggs like this new potato salad, gardener’s swiss chard frittata, and sourdough spelt crackers.
While this herb is commonly used, there are some excellent dill substitutions that you can change in if you don’t have dill or don’t like it very much. Here are my top seven dill substitutes.
Best Dill Substitutes
Of course the easiest sub for fresh dill is going to be frozen or dried, but that’s probably not what you’re looking for! A few other herbs work very well but are best used for various dishes, and only some can be used in the same amounts as dill.
Please note that these are for fresh dill, not dill seeds, which aren’t very commonly used in cooking (but you can use caraway for that).
The green tops of fresh fennel have a lightly anise or liquorice flavour, which some say is similar to dill, but I think that’s more about appearance than taste. Fennel will give quite a strong liquorice flavour to whatever you’re making, but can be subbed 1:1 in some dishes like salads.
Since fennel fronts can be hard to find, it’s not my top recommendation.
One of the traditional fine herbs, chervil is simply French parsley. It has a slightly softer texture than flat-leaf parsley, making it a good option for dishes like cucumber salad. Like fennel, this might be a bit trickier to find fresh.
It will depend on the recipe, but basil is another soft herb, and texturally can blend in nicely to your dish in much the same way that dill does if chopped very finely. It has a similarly bright flavour but is more floral than dill. Think egg dishes.
Also called estragon, this is often used in French cooking and has a fairly strong liquorice flavour. This can be very nice in many dishes that call for dill and is one of my top choices, though I typically use rather less than of dill, about half the amount.
Similarly fresh and an excellent garden herb, parsley is available longer than dill and can be used 1:1 in many recipes. It does have a harder texture – not like a woody herb – that can make it more noticeable than dill, but I would recommend it to top soups, serve with roasted potatoes, and mix into grain salads in much the same way as dill weed.
Again, there will be some anise-like flavour here, but mint is rather strong and can quickly overwhelm. It’s excellent with vegetables like green beans and cucumbers.
Try fresh thyme in place of dill for potatoes, especially sprinkled on immediately after roasting, and adding to baking like crackers. It has a more delicate flavour and can be combined with other herbs like dill.
More Herb Substitutions
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Best Dill Substitutes
- With a similarly bright flavour and slight anise tone, finely chopped basil is an excellent 1:1 substitute for dill in almost any usage. It won't look like basil, but you can mix it with fennel fronds to get that characteristic appearance without too much liquorice flavour.Basil
- With a stronger liquorice flavour, I recommend subbing about half the amount that's called for if using in place of dill. Tarragon is particularly good with potatoes.Tarragon
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