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How to Use Dill in Cooking

If you’re looking to add a little something extra to your cooking, dill is a great option. This flavorful herb can be used in a variety of dishes, from soups and stews to salads and sides. Not sure how to get started? Here are a few tips for how to use dill in your cooking. 

A bunch of fresh dill on a wooden chopping board.

Cooking with dill

Dill (Anethum graveolens) is an annual herb in the celery family Apiaceae. It has small feathery leaves reminiscent of carrot tops.

It has a delicate yet distinctive flavor that can enhance the taste of many foods.

Dill is a versatile herb that can be used in a variety of dishes. It can be used in soups, stews, salads, sauces, dips, and even sandwiches.

What part of the dill plant do you use?

The leaves and seeds are the most commonly used parts of the plant, but the stems and flowers can also be used.

Dill seed is used as a spice, while the leaves are used fresh or dried as an herb.

>> Related post: How to Harvest Dill Without Damaging the Plant

What does dill taste like?

If you haven’t had dill before, you might be wondering what it tastes like. Dill has a very distinctive fresh, clean taste that is a combination of sweet and sour.

The taste of dill is often described as tangy, grassy, and slightly lemony. Some people compare the taste of dill to that of cucumbers or celery, with a hint of anise or fennel.

What does dill go with?

The fresh taste of dill pairs well with many proteins, including poultry, fish, lamb, duck, pork, eggs, and seafood. It is frequently paired with salmon (whether smoked or not), tuna, shrimp, and scallops.

Dill is also a great match with many salads. Try adding it to cold grain salads of bulghur, couscous, quinoa, or beans. It also makes a great addition to a slaw or green leaf salad.

The clean flavor of dill can also be used to add freshness to starchy dishes such as potatoes, pastas, gnocchi, rice, or risottos. Add it to sauces or use fresh chopped dill as a garnish.

Dill is also often used in recipes with dairy. Try adding it to yogurt, sour cream, créme fraiche, herb butter or adding it to recipes with cheese.

>> Related recipe: Lemon Dill Butter Recipe

It can also be used to make condiments. It pairs well with mustard, vinegar, olive oil, mayonnaise, capers and pickles. In fact, dill is also a commonly used ingredient in many pickling recipes. The leaves and seeds are what give pickles their characteristic tangy flavor.

Herbs that go with dill

Use dill with other herbs that have a similar fresh, clean flavor. Try:

  • Lemon-thyme
  • Parsley
  • Mint
  • Cilantro
  • Chives
  • Tarragon
  • Oregano

How to use fresh dill in cooking

How to use fresh dill

When using dill in cooking, be sure to add it near the end of the cooking process so that its flavor is not lost. It can be added to recipes for roasting, steaming or poaching foods, or directly to sauces.

However, dill is often best used in cold recipes where no cooking is required, because its delicate flavor is easily lost.

The leaves of dill are usually selected to be used, with the thick stems being discarded, though the more tender stems can be eaten.

To use dill in cooking, you can strip or pluck the feathery leaves from the stems. Or you can roughly chop a bunch of dill, after removing the thickest of the stems.

Take care not to chop dill too finely, or the delicate flavor of the herb can be lost.

Hands demonstrating how to chop dill.
How to chop dill.

How to use dill seeds

Dill seeds have a subtle, yet distinct flavor that can really liven up a meal. They can be used as a seasoning in many dishes, such as pickles, potato salad, and bread.

To use dill seeds, grind them using a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder. You can use the ground dill seed as is, or toast it in a dry skillet over medium-low heat for a minute or two to bring out the flavor.

Ways to use fresh dill

Here are some ideas on using fresh dill in your cooking:  

  • Add a few sprigs of dill to soups and stews for a light, refreshing flavor.
  • Finely chop dill and mix it into a mayonnaise, yogurt or sour cream to make a flavorful vegetable dip.
  • Make a simple dill sauce by mixing chopped dill, sour cream, and lemon juice. 
  • Mix dill with yogurt or sour cream to create a flavorful dip or sauce.
  • Add dill to potato or egg salads for a unique twist.
  • Throw some chopped dill on grilled fish or chicken for a delicious summertime meal.
  • Add dill to vinaigrette or dressing for salads or vegetables.
  • Add to cottage cheese


Here are some frequently asked questions on cooking with dill. Please let me know in the comments section below if you have any more questions on using dill in cooking.

Can I use dill weed instead of dill?

When it comes to herbs and spices, there is often a lot of confusion about which one to use in a recipe. If you’re wondering whether you can use dill weed instead of dill in a recipe, the answer is yes! Dill weed is actually the leaves of the dill plant, while dill is the entire plant. 

What part of the dill plant should I use for pickles?

The most commonly used part of the dill plant for pickling is the seed. The dill seed has a flavor that is similar to caraway and is often used as a spice. The leaves of the dill plant can also be used for pickling, but they have a more mild flavor.