Dill seeds taste similar to dill weed, but they have a slightly bitter edge to them. They appear frequently in pickles, bread, salad dressing, and soup recipes. While you might be tempted to use dill weed as a substitute for dill seeds, you’ll get better results if you use caraway seeds or celery seeds in their place. Replace them measure for measure, and you should come close to the intended flavor.
If dill weed is being used as a garnish for a dish, use fennel fronds instead. They look very similar. Fresh parsley can also be used as a garnish. It looks a bit different, but will still add that pop of green. If you don’t have either, just leave the garnish off, or get creative with whatever you have on hand.
Dill is incredibly easy to grow, so consider adding it to your garden. It’s an annual, but it reseeds readily. Just allow some of the flowers to go to seed at the end of the season, and it should come up on its own next year.
Substitutes for Dill Seed
Dill weed is sometimes also referred to as dill leaves. It’s the bright green, feathery fronds of the dill plant. It’s highly aromatic, and tastes of caraway or anise, with a bit of citrus thrown in.
When fresh dill is being used to flavor a recipe (as it is in pickles, soups, and sauces), use fresh tarragon in its place. To make the proper substitution, use an equal amount of fresh tarragon for the fresh dill, or dried tarragon for the dried dill. You can also use dried tarragon as a stand-in for fresh dill weed, but you’ll need to adjust the quantities, as it has a more intense flavor. Use one teaspoon of dried tarragon for every tablespoon of fresh dill called for in a recipe. Tarragon works well as a substitute for dill in seafood dishes and in salad dressings.
Westend61 / Getty Images
Substituting fresh dill for dried dill (or vice versa) is easy to do. Just stick to these proportions, and you’ll get great results:
Other canners will find that their store has a deal on cucumbers but there’s no fresh dill weed within miles to be found.
Linda Ziedrich says that if a recipe calls for a fresh dill umbel and you don’t have one, use one teaspoon of dried dill seed instead.  Ziedrich, Linda. The Joy of Pickling. Boston, Massachusetts: The Harvard Common Press. 2009. Page 14.
Or it’s the dead of winter, you are doing winter canning with imported cucumbers (despite the very remote odds of getting a crisp pickle with them), and the balcony where you grow your herbs in the summer has howling winds from Siberia whistling through it off of Lake Michigan.
So, you need to substitute some dried dill for the fresh. Purists may say “perish the thought”, but here’s some tips on how:
In real life, outside of coffee-table beautiful home canning books, some gardeners may find that their cucumbers are ready before their dill weed is.