Dill Seed vs. Dill Weed – Differences & Uses Explained

If you’re passionate about picking vegetables and trying out new and exotic recipes, then you must have come across dill seed and dill weed more than once.

Although both grow on the same plant, dill seeds are different from dill weeds and should not be used interchangeably.

Dill seeds are the fruits of the dill plant that develop in pods after the flowers get pollinated. Dill weeds are the stems and leaves of the dill plant you harvest fresh and use in cooking. This green herb can be added to yogurt, bread recipes, or dips to give them a good zesty flavor. You can use dill seeds for pickling, seasoning meat and chicken, and in different sauces.

While dill seeds have a long shelf life, dill weeds lose their flavor and pungy taste if they’re not fresh. Read more to find out how to grow dill and how to harvest this zesty herb.

Dill Seed vs. Dill Weed

When you grow dill herbs in your garden, you have a fresh supply of dill weeds during the growing season. But once the plant flowers, the leaves, and stems become less succulent and become more bitter than zesty.

After pollination, the flowers develop seeds that you can harvest, dry out, and store in a sealed jar to use all year round.

Dill Seed

Dill seeds are similar to grains of rice. They’re long, slim, and yellow-green. The seeds grow in tear-shaped pods on the dill plant in the early fall. You can either grow dill plants in your garden to get dill seed or buy it at the spice aisle in the local supermarket.

Dill Seed Taste

Dill seeds have a strong flavor and taste like caraway. The zest of dill seeds can become overpowering if you use too much in the recipe. As they age, the seeds lose some of that biting flavor and become milder.

Dill Seed Uses

You can use dill seeds in just about any recipe that requires a zesty flavor. Grind the seeds and use them to season beef, fish, and chicken for barbecue. You can also add dill seed powder in measured portions to your sauces to give them an extra bite. Or add the seeds whole to your pickle jars to enjoy pickles with a biting edge. You can also chew the seeds to get a sweet breath.

Dill Seed Substitute

If dill seeds are just too pungent for your palate, I recommend caraway seeds or celery seeds. They both deliver some exotic flavors without overpowering the other flavors in your dish.

Dill Weed

Dill weed refers to the stem and leaf part of the dill plant that grows above ground and is harvested green and fresh. You can find dill weed in the supermarket in the green section.

Dill Weed Taste

Dill weed still packs a punch when added to your food recipes. However, the fresh leaves and stems are much milder than dill seeds. You should use them with caution since too many green dill leaves can ruin the dish.

Dill Weed Uses

You can use dill weeds in any recipe where you need a herb to garnish or add some extra aromatic flavor. It goes well with all types of seafood as it masks the “fishy” smell of these dishes. Add it to yogurt to cold soups for an exotic flavor. It also garnishes your barbecues just like parsley.

Dill Weed Substitute

Almost any other fresh herb will be a good substitute for dill weed. You can use rosemary, thyme, fennel, parsley, basil, tarragon, or chervil instead of dill weed and get even better results.

What Is Dried Dill?

Dried dill is the same as dill weed but the stems and leaves are dry. Dried dill has a longer shelf life than dill weed although it doesn’t deliver the same amount of flavors and zest. Dried dill is grayish-green and is sold in packets in the local supermarket. You can dry out dill weed in a cool and dry place, then crush them and store them in sealed jars.

Can I Use Dill Seed Instead of Dill Weed?

Dill seeds have a stronger aroma and taste than dill weeds. They both have different uses but if you want to use dill seed instead of dill weed, you should use fewer seeds in the recipe.

How To Grow Dill

As an annual herb, dill is easy to grow in warm zones. Even if you have no interest in the culinary properties of the herb, it creates a green patch in the garden and the flowers attract pollinators. 

Growing Dill From Seeds

To start dill from seeds, you should wait until after the last frost in the spring and then plant the seeds directly in the soil. Make sure the soil temperature is above 60 degrees F then plant the seeds a quarter-inch deep in the soil and water them regularly.

They should germinate about 10 to 14 days later. When the seedlings are 3 inches long, thin them out keeping the herbs 10 inches apart.

Ideal Growing Conditions for Dill

Dill plants need between 6 to 8 hours of full sun every day during the growing season. Plant the herb in a sheltered area where they don’t get strong winds. Well-draining loamy soil is ideal as long as it’s rich in organic matter.

Check the soil pH and amend it to bring it between 6.5 and 7.0. The herb needs regular watering and has less tolerance for drought.

How To Harvest Dill

To harvest dill weed, wait for the plant to grow between 4 to 5 leaves. Collect the leaves fresh throughout the growing season. Don’t cut off the stems since the plant needs them to grow new leaves.

To harvest the seeds, wait for the flowers to pollinate then seed pods to develop in the late summer. By the early fall, the pods get a brown edge which means they’re ripe and ready to harvest.

Related Questions:

Is Dill a Perennial?

Dill is an annual herb. It dies out after the seeds develop in the early fall.

How Long Does Dill Take To Grow?

Dill is a slow-growing herb and it takes about 90 days for the first leaves to become mature enough to harvest. 


Dill is an aromatic herb. The fresh stems and leaves are called dill weeds and you can use them in bread recipes, cold soups, and to add flavor to yogurt.

Dill seeds develop on the mature dill plant and can be used to season meat, mask the fish taste of seafood, and in pickles.

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