Why and how to add dill—the fresh and vibrant herb—to your diet.

Brierley Horton, M.S., R.D.
July 02, 2020
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Here's why you should be eating more of the herb dill.

Herbs, including dill, aren't foods that we typically eat by the forkful. They're an addition to our meals, diversifying flavor, providing spice or simply adding some color to an otherwise muted-looking dish. Fresh dill tastes a little grassy, fresh and zippy, and has a slight hint of anise; the dried variety is similar, but for some can also have a hint of mustiness. You can also eat dill seeds, which taste similar to caraway seeds. Many people reserve dill for fish dishes or potato salad, but its fresh flavor and bright-green color can dress up a host of different dishes, from salad dressings to soup—and it boosts a few modest health benefits too!

Here's why—and how—you should add dill to your diet.

Pictured Recipe: Cucumber Pasta Salad

Nutrition facts: What's in a serving of dill?

In a 1-cup serving (9 grams) of fresh dill sprigs, there are:

  • Calories: 4
  • Protein: 0g
  • Fat: 0g
  • Saturated fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrate: <1g
  • Sugars: 0g
  • Added sugars: 0g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Sodium: 5mg

You also get close to 10% of your Daily Value for vitamin C, and teeny-tiny amounts of manganese, folate and iron.

In a 1-tablespoon serving (3 grams) of dried dill, there are:

  • Calories: 8
  • Protein: <1g
  • Fat: 0g
  • Saturated fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrate: 2g
  • Sugars: 0g
  • Added sugars: 0g
  • Fiber: <1g
  • Sodium: 6mg

Pictured Recipe: Creamy Cucumber Dill Soup

The health benefits of dill

In traditional herbal medicine, dill has been used to help manage and prevent digestive ills and bad breath, to promote lactation and also to lower cholesterol and blood sugar. Some of these purported benefits are also backed up by newer research, which confirms that dill may help lower cholesterol and improve blood sugar control (for those who have diabetes). But those benefits come with a caveat: Much of the research that's been done to date doesn't directly translate to benefits for humans eating freshly picked dill. Instead, it's largely based on studies using various extracts of dill seed and leaf, as well as dill essential oil. It's also mostly been conducted in animal models and using very high doses of dill. For example, one study looking at the relationship between dill and diabetes involved feeding hamsters the human equivalent of 1.5 cups of fresh dill per day. That's a lot of dill! So take the research with a grain of salt.

Still, dill does contain compounds that have anti-inflammatory properties, as well as detoxifying compounds. Also, it packs a big flavor punch that lends a distinctively fresh and grassy taste to any meal.

How to cook with dill

"I always and only ever use fresh dill," says Ann Taylor Pittman, an independent writer and recipe developer. "It's so zippy and fresh and lovely."

Here are Pittman's favorite ways to use fresh dill:

  • In a creamy buttermilk ranch-style dressing. "I always include fresh dill—along with chives and thyme—and use a good bit of it. It makes the ranch taste fresher and worlds above anything you'd get in a bottle or from a pouch," Pittman says.
  • Add the pungent herb to egg salad. "I love to add in a decent amount of chopped fresh dill to the otherwise-straightforward mix of hard-cooked eggs, Dijon, mayo and scallions. I also love adding it onto crispbread."
  • Punch up your pasta salad. Oil, lemon and dill make for a delicious and simple pasta salad dressing. "That dill just adds so much freshness," Pittman says. "One of my go-tos is a short, tube-shaped pasta, loads of summer veggies (tomatoes, zucchini, corn make a favorite combo)—all dressed with oil, lemon and dill."
  • Transform your snack. Per Pittman: "A date-feta snack is one of the simplest combos and so, so good. You take the pit out of dates, stuff in a little piece of feta, plus a mint leaf and dill sprig. Maybe add some toasted walnut in there, too."

If you only have dried dill on hand (or that's what you prefer to use), the general rule of thumb when substituting is to use one-third of the amount of dried dill as you'd use for fresh.