9 Best Substitute For Dill Seeds

Dill Seeds Substitute

Dill seeds, the star of this article, are a culinary gem. Hailing from the dill plant, these oval-shaped seeds are renowned for their unique blend of sweet and slightly bitter flavor, reminiscent of anise, celery, and lemon. Their warm, earthy aroma enriches the sensory experience of any dish they are incorporated into, making them a beloved ingredient in various cuisines worldwide. However, there might be situations when these distinct seeds are unavailable or a dish might call for a flavor tweak. In such scenarios, finding the best substitute becomes imperative.

This article offers a comprehensive exploration of the top substitutes for dill seeds, each with its own distinct flavor profile and culinary benefits. We will highlight how these substitutes echo the unique characteristics of dill seeds and how they can be leveraged in your kitchen. Whether you are a professional chef or a home cook experimenting with flavors, this guide serves to assist you in maneuvering those moments when dill seeds are not within reach. Discover how the right replacement can keep your dishes flavorful and exciting, while remaining true to the original recipe’s spirit.

What are Dill Seeds?

Dill seeds are small, oval-shaped seeds from the dill plant, scientifically known as Anethum graveolens. Used extensively in cuisines around the world, these seeds are known for their somewhat sweet and slightly bitter taste. Their unique flavor is reminiscent of a blend of anise, celery, and lemon, with a warm, earthy aroma that enriches the sensory experience of any dish they’re used in. Dill seeds are a common ingredient in pickling, bread, soup, and salad dressing recipes.

Seed Swaps: A Quick Overview of Substitutes For Dill Seeds

  • Caraway Seeds
  • Fennel Seeds
  • Coriander Seeds
  • Celery Seeds
  • Cumin Seeds
  • Anise Seeds
  • Thyme
  • Parsley
  • Tarragon

Best Substitutes For Dill Seeds

Each of these substitutes brings its own unique flavor profile and culinary benefits. Let’s delve into their unique characteristics.

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Caraway Seeds

Caraway seeds are an excellent alternative to dill seeds. With their strong, aromatic flavor that’s a combination of licorice, fennel, and anise, they have been employed in culinary uses and traditional medicines across cultures. Native to Europe, North Africa, and Western Asia, caraway seeds are the dried fruit of the Carum carvi plant.

Used extensively in European and Middle Eastern cuisines, these seeds are a vital ingredient in making rye bread, sauerkraut, and certain types of cheese. Their robust flavor profile, coupled with their rich nutritional composition—containing fiber, several important vitamins and minerals, and powerful plant compounds—makes them a worthy substitute for dill seeds in your recipes. The licorice-like flavor, though more intense than dill seeds, can mimic the sweet aspects of dill seeds quite well.

Fennel Seeds

Fennel seeds, with their slightly sweet and licorice flavor, closely mirror the flavor profile of dill seeds, making them one of the best substitutes. These seeds come from the fennel plant, a perennial herb that belongs to the same family as carrots.

Fennel seeds are widely used in Mediterranean cuisine, especially in Italy, where they are a staple ingredient in many dishes, from pasta sauces to sausages. The aromatic seeds are also well-regarded in traditional medicine for their digestive benefits. In terms of cooking, their mild sweetness can help replicate the unique flavor of dill seeds in a variety of recipes.

Coriander Seeds

Coriander seeds might be a surprising substitute, given their sweet and slightly citrusy flavor, but they do a fine job in replacing dill seeds. The dried seeds of the Coriandrum sativum plant, coriander seeds, are extensively used in Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Indian, South American, and Asian cuisines.

These round, tan-colored seeds are known for their ability to add depth and a hint of citrus to dishes, characteristics that make them a versatile ingredient in the kitchen. In comparison to dill seeds, coriander seeds are a bit milder and sweeter. However, when used in the right quantity, they can mimic the unique characteristics of dill seeds quite well.

Celery Seeds

Celery seeds, derived from the wild celery plant, offer a flavor that’s slightly bitter and strongly reminiscent of celery. While their flavor profile is unique, their aromatic and bitter notes can make them an effective stand-in for dill seeds in certain recipes.

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Used widely in American and European cuisines, these tiny, brown seeds pack a big punch in terms of flavor. They’re a common ingredient in pickling, soup stocks, and salad dressings, which are also common applications for dill seeds. Their slightly grassy and bitter flavor does a good job of mimicking the earthy and bitter notes of dill seeds.

Cumin Seeds

Cumin seeds, although primarily known for their use in Mexican and Indian cuisines, can serve as a good substitute for dill seeds. These seeds from the Cuminum cyminum plant have a strong, warm flavor that’s both bitter and somewhat sweet, akin to the flavor profile of dill seeds.

In cooking, cumin seeds are often used in spice blends like curry powder and chili powder. While their flavor is more pungent and warmer than that of dill seeds, they can, in the right amounts, mimic the slight bitterness of dill seeds and give your dishes an interesting twist.

Anise Seeds

Anise seeds, the fruit of the Pimpinella anisum plant, offer a distinctly sweet and very aromatic flavor that’s similar to that of licorice, fennel, and tarragon. This strong, unique flavor makes them a suitable replacement for dill seeds in a pinch.

Anise seeds are widely used in Mediterranean and Latin American cuisines, and are well known for their use in liquors such as Ouzo and Raki. In comparison to dill seeds, anise seeds are sweeter and more aromatic, but when used sparingly, they can replace the unique flavor of dill seeds in your recipes.


Thyme, an herb from the mint family, brings a subtle, dry aroma and a slightly minty flavor to dishes. While not a seed, its unique flavor profile, which is less sweet and more savory than that of dill seeds, can effectively mimic the complex notes of dill seeds in dishes.

Commonly used in Mediterranean cuisines, thyme is a staple in many spice blends, such as herbes de Provence and za’atar. Its versatility in cooking, coupled with its wide availability, makes it an excellent backup option when dill seeds are not at hand.

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Parsley, another herb from the Apiaceae family like dill, can also act as a substitute for dill seeds in certain recipes. While its flavor is milder and less aromatic than dill, its fresh and slightly bitter taste can somewhat mimic the flavor of dill seeds.

Parsley is a commonly used herb in many world cuisines, including European, American, and Middle Eastern. Though it’s typically used fresh and offers a different flavor profile, its slight bitterness can lend a similar flavor to recipes that call for dill seeds, making it a practical alternative in certain situations.


Last but not least, tarragon, a staple in French cooking, can be a useful substitute for dill seeds. This herb has a slightly bittersweet flavor and an aroma similar to anise, which can help emulate the flavor profile of dill seeds.

Tarragon is often used in chicken, fish, and egg dishes and is a vital ingredient in Béarnaise sauce. While its flavor is more potent and slightly sweeter than dill seeds, when used appropriately, it can effectively mirror the flavor complexity of dill seeds in your cooking.

Substitutes for Dill Seeds: Nutritional Profile

Below is a comparative nutritional profile of the various substitutes for dill seeds, based on a ¼ cup serving:

Caraway Seeds4911.9 g2.5 g1.7 g6.3 g9 mg
Fennel Seeds203.0 g1.0 g1.0 g2.0 g5 mg
Coriander Seeds6011.0 g2.1 g3.7 g8.9 g5 mg
Celery Seeds254.0 g1.0 g1.5 g2.0 g80 mg
Cumin Seeds688.0 g3.3 g4.2 g1.7 g10 mg
Anise Seeds233.4 g1.2 g1.1 g1.3 g16 mg
Thyme61.6 g0.3 g0.1 g1.0 g1 mg
Parsley51.0 g0.5 g0.1 g0.3 g5 mg
Tarragon143.4 g0.6 g0.5 g0.9 g6 mg

Final Thoughts

When it comes to cooking, adaptation is the name of the game. Finding the right substitute for dill seeds requires an understanding of the flavor profiles of other seeds and herbs. While each substitute brings its own unique qualities to the table, all of them can fulfill the role of dill seeds in a pinch. Remember, the ultimate goal is to keep your culinary creations as close to the intended flavor as possible. It’s all about experimentation and finding the right balance that works for your taste buds. So, don’t hesitate to try these substitutes and see which one best complements your dishes.

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