Dill seed and dill weed both come from the dill plant. Dill seed is the fruit of the dill plant, and dill weed is the leaf and stem of the plant. The two ingredients have different flavors and uses in cooking.
Dill seeds have a grassy, potent, anise-like flavor. The seeds can be crushed and used as a spice in soups and vegetable dishes. Dill weed has a light, fresh flavor with hints of anise and lemon. The stems and leaves are used as herbs in salads, chicken and fish dishes, and pies.
Comparison Chart: Is Dill Seed the Same as Dill Weed?
|Dill Seed||Dill Weed|
|Biology||The flower of the dill plant||The leaves and stems of the dill plant|
|Flavor||Pungent, grassy, similar to caraway and anise||Fresh and tangy, similar to parsley and celery, with hints of anise|
|Appearance||Oval, grayish-brown, flat seeds with light-colored stripes running the length of the seed, available in dried form||Feathery green leaves with delicate stems, available in fresh or dried form|
|Culinary use||Soups, bread, braised dishes, cabbage, beans||Salad, fish, chicken, eggs, potatoes, creamy sauces|
|When to add||At the end of the cooking process||Toasted beforehand and added at any point in the cooking process|
|Harvesting||Once the seeds have turned brown and dry||Just before the plant starts to flower when the oil in the leaves is most potent|
|Storage||Store in a cool, airtight container for up to three years||Store in the fridge for one week or the freezer for up to six months. Dried dill lasts for up to three years|
Dill Seed Explained
Dill seeds are the wide, flat, tear-shaped pods from the dill flower. Dill seeds add flavor to bread, soups, and braised dishes.
Dill Seed Flavor
Fresh dill seeds taste like caraway, with a grassy, anise-like hint of dill weed. Toasting dill seeds enhances their flavor and gives them a crispy, chewy texture.
Where to Buy Dill Seed
Dill seeds can be purchased from European markets and organic food stores. The biggest selection of dill seeds is found online. Dill seeds cost about $3.00 for an 8-ounce bag.
How to Harvest Dill Seeds
To harvest dill seeds from dill plants, follow these steps:
- Wait for your dill plant to form flowers. This happens throughout the spring and summer
- Once the flowers die and drop off, the dill seeds will begin to form at the tips of the flower stems
- When the seeds have dried (usually after several days), hold a bucket beneath the dill plant and clip the flower heads off the plant, catching them in the bucket
- Shake the bucket to separate the seeds from the flower heads. Sift through the bucket and remove the flower heads
- Scatter the seeds on a tray and leave them to dry out completely before storing them or using them in your cooking
Dill Seed Cooking Uses
Dill seeds complement acidic foods like pickled fish and are often used in pickle brines for carrots and cucumbers. The seeds add flavor to soups, breads, braised dishes, cabbage, and beans. Dill seeds can be fried, toasted, or cooked in broth. They don’t need to be ground before use.
Add dill seeds at specific points during cooking to impart different flavors. For a full, mellow flavor, add dill seeds at the start of cooking. To retain the pungency of the seeds, add them at the end of cooking.
How to Store Dill Seed
Store dill seed in a plastic container or a glass spice jar in a cool, dark, dry place. The seeds will retain their flavor for up to six months.
Dill Weed Explained
Dill weed is the stems and leaves of the dill plant. The herb is used to add a fresh, lemony flavor to salads, meats, fish, and vegetables.
Dill Weed Flavor
Fresh dill weed has a sharp, herbal, grass-like flavor with hints of anise. The fresh, tangy taste of dill weed is similar to the taste of celery and parsley.
Where to Buy Dill Weed
Dill weed is sold in most supermarkets and is commonly referred to as “dill.” Fresh dill weed is usually found alongside other fresh herbs in the fresh produce section. Dried dill weed is sold in a glass spice jar and is available amongst the dried herbs. The average cost of fresh dill is $1.00 for a small bag. Dried dill costs about $2.00 per standard-sized spice jar.
How to Harvest Dill Weed
To harvest dill weed, follow these steps:
- Wait until the dill plant is about to flower before picking the leaves. This is when the leaves are the most aromatic and potent
- Use a pair of scissors to snip the stems of the dill leaves at the point where they meet the main stem
- Only take up to one-third of the leaves in one harvest, to allow the plant to retain enough energy for new growth
- Wash the stems and leaves before using and storing them
Dill Weed Cooking Uses
Dill weed adds fresh, slightly sweet, grassy notes to creamy soups, salads, and seafood dishes. Dill is commonly used in cold dips and spreads, like tzatziki, a traditional Greek cucumber dip.
Raw, uncooked dill weed has the crispiest texture and the sweetest flavor. Dill weed loses flavor the longer it’s cooked, so it should be added at the end of cooking, just before serving the dish.
How to Store Dill Weed
Dill weed begins to lose its signature flavor and aroma immediately after harvesting, so use the fresh-picked herb when cooking. To retain dill weed’s taste and smell, store the leaves in a sealed bag in your refrigerator’s crisper drawer. Use the herb within three days, before it wilts and dries out.
Alternatively, chop the dill weed, add it to ice cube trays with water, and freeze it for up to six months. Dill weed can also be dried in a well-ventilated area until it turns crispy, then crumbled into an air-tight container and stored in a cool, dark cupboard for two to three years.
Choosing Dill Weed vs. Dill Seed
Dill seed and dill weed are both derived from the same plant, but they have different tastes, textures, and uses in the kitchen.
Choose dill seed to add crispy texture and anise-like flavor to soups, breads, and pickled foods, and choose dill weed to add a fresh, sweet, grassy taste to creamy sauces, cold salads, fish, and potato dishes. If dill is unavailable, substitute caraway seeds for dill seeds and parsley for dill weed.