Your cart:
You have 0 item items in your cart
View cart
Total Price
Have a question? Click here to Ask a Chef


Common Name

Latin Name Family Country/Origin
Anethum graveolens Umbelliferae Europe and Central Asia

Dill is a popular ingredient in many cuisines, but is likely best-known for its role in pickling. The seeds and leaves of anethum graveolens deserve much more credit as a culinary herb and spice than as a flavour added to pickles. The ancient Greeks and Romans appreciated dill for its many culinary uses, but also for its medicinal qualities and as a symbol of prosperity and luck.

Dill has been around since the time of the ancient Egyptians and throughout its long history has been added to love potions, and used as protection against witchcraft.

Hippocrates is said to have used dill to cleanse his mouth in much the same way people today chew a bit of parsley to counter garlic or onion breath. History suggests that Greek and Roman soldiers applied dill to their wounds to prevent infection. As a so-called natural medicine, dill's unique benefit is its apparent ability to relieve insomnia, hence its Latin name which means "to lull."

Dill is frequently used in Russia and Eastern European cuisines as an accompaniment or ingredient in pickled vegetables. In Scandinavian countries dill is found in almost every kitchen and in dishes ranging from boiled new potatoes to gravlax, the famous regional dish of thinly sliced salmon and mustard sauce. Several South East Asian cuisines use dill regularly as well.

A member of the parsley family, dill plants produce yellow flowers with wispy, bright green leaves, or feathers. Dill will reach heights of 2 to 3 meters and when fresh, has a pleasant, citrusy smell that is sometimes described as sweet. The seeds and leaves differ in flavour; the leaves have a rather mild taste, while the seeds taste somewhat like caraway, with a hint of bitterness.

Purported Medicinal Qualities*

Dill is commonly used in pickling in many northern European countries, in order to preserve vegetables for the long winter months. This allows populations to obtain some sort of nutrients while their gardens are covered in snow. Once thought to cure insomnia and the hiccoughs, dill has a calming effect on the body, helps to regulate bacteria, is a high source of calcium, aids digestion, and helps relieve flatulence.

Historically, dill has been used to:

  • Treat insomnia
  • Relieve hiccoughs
  • Calm nerves
  • Regulate bacteria
  • As a source of calcium
  • As a carminative
  • Aid digestion

*Always check with your healthcare provider before consuming, inhaling or otherwise ingesting any non-prescription or prescription natural or homeopathic substance or pharmaceutical. is not recommending, suggesting, inferring or otherwise endorsing the use of any herb or spice as a medication.

Culinary/Suggested Use

Although dill seed and dill weed come from the same plant, they have distinct tastes. Dill weed is much milder than the seed and its delicate flavour can enhance the taste of many dishes. Dill seed on the other hand, has a stronger flavour that can be somewhat bitter and citrusy. Dill weed should be used fresh and will not last much longer than a few days in the refrigerator. Dried dill weed is available and can be quite fragrant but benefits from grinding or crushing before use. Dried dill seeds, if stored properly, will last almost indefinitely - grinding releases their flavor. Both can be used for a variety of dishes but keep in mind that dill seed will dominate, while dill weed will enhance.  Food for thought:

  • Add fresh dill or dill seeds to any fish dish, soup or stew
  • Add dill seeds, pepper and garlic to vinegar to flavor.
  • Bake dill seed or dill weed into your favorite bread recipe
  • Add dill weed to sour cream or yogurt for a refreshing dip
  • Add dill to scrambled eggs or omelettes
  • Add dill weed to potato salad
  • Lightly toast dill seeds before cooking to bring out their flavour
  • Add fresh dill weed toward the end of cooking to preserve both flavor and color
  • Add a piece of dill weed or chopped dill weed to a dollop of sour cream or crème fraiche placed on gravlax or smoked salmon on rye toast or rye bread

view other A-Z Spices