Dill is an herb that belongs to the celery family and is widely grown in Eurasia where its seeds and leaves are used in culinary applications. The use of this herb dates all the way back to biblical times and was commonly used in recipes with cucumber which dates back to the mid 17th century,
The flavor of dill is reminiscent of anise or caraway and looks great as a garnish because of its frilly leaves. It is very popular and many cooks keep dried or fresh dill in their homes. This herb is also commonly found in almost every grocery store or market.
While it has a unique flavor, it can be replicated with substitutes if used correctly. Good news is, most of these substitutes are also very easy to find.
A substitute that can be used in a one-to-one ratio would be fresh tarragon. This herb is commonly used in French cuisine but has since become popular all over the world. It has many similarities with Dill, which is a flavor profile and aroma to that of anise. One big difference is that Tarragon is able to stand up to heat and is perfect to use in stews, sauces, and soups. Tarragon may also be added earlier in the cooking process unlike dill. Tarragon is also a good substitute for dill when making vinegar or mustard.
The appearance of dill makes an excellent garnish for dishes. Many cooks snip off the fronds and use them to finish soups, salads, and other foods. If all you need is a substitute for garnish, Fennel is your best bet. It has a similar appearance to dill, although a bit thicker. The flavor of Fennel is mild, sweet, with notes of licorice.
Although Thyme belongs to the mint family, this herb can also handle heat very well. Thyme is best used in foods that are braised and can be used to flavor many of the same recipes in which dill would be used. This herb is great in salad dressings, sauces, and marinades. Just like Tarragon, this is best added early in the cooking process.
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