How to Use Dill Seeds in Pickles


The sharp, piquant flavor of dill is a favored ingredient in crisp, pickled cucumbers. Dill seeds can be identified by their small, flat, teardrop shape and striped brown coloring. Growing from the same plant, dill seed has a similar flavor to dill weed. Both have a unique, slightly sweet and somewhat pungent taste. However, dill seed has a stronger flavor that will last longer in cooking. Dill pickle recipes call for fresh dill weed, dill seeds or a combination. Employ the flavor of dill seed to create delicious pickles.

Things You'll Need

  • Canning jars with lids, washed thoroughly with hot water and soap
  • Canner pot (optional)
  • Fresh pickling cucumbers, washed, ends trimmed
  • Dill seed
  • Whole peeled garlic cloves (optional)
  • Whole black peppercorns (optional)
  • Fresh dill (optional)
  • Brine solution of water, apple cider or white vinegar, and salt
  • Saucepan
  • Sugar (optional)
  • Dry kitchen towel
  • Prepare a boiling water bath canner for the canning jars if you are making shelf-stable pickles. Wash thoroughly and cut the cucumbers into slices or spears, if desired, or leave them whole.

  • Place some dill seeds into each washed, sterilized canning jar. Leave the dill seeds whole. Keep in mind that dill seeds will plump up and become tender as they rest in the pickling solution, so there is no need to grind them as you might other spices. Distribute other desired flavoring ingredients, such as garlic cloves, peppercorns and fresh dill, evenly among the hot canning jars.

  • Pack the cucumbers into the jars. Do not pack tight enough for the pickles to be crushed or damaged. Allow 1/2 inch of head space between the tops of the cucumbers and the top of the jars.

  • Add the brine solution of water, apple cider or white vinegar and salt to a saucepan over high heat. Use sugar in the brine if you would like your pickles to have a degree of sweetness. Bring the brine to a boil.

  • Pour the brine carefully into the jars of pickles. Fill the jars to just above the tops of the pickles. Leave at least 1/2 inch of head space between the liquid and the top of the jar. Discard any leftover brine.

  • Remove any air bubbles from the jars by gently tapping the bottoms against the counter. Wipe the outside of the jars with a dry towel, paying special attention to the rims. Place the lid discs onto the jars and screw on the rims until finger tight.

  • Lower the hot jars into the boiling canning pot if you are preserving them. Let them boil the required processing time. Remove the jars, allow to cool for 24 hours and check the seals.

  • Store the processed pickled in the pantry. Transfer the pickles to the refrigerator if the jar has not sealed. Wait at least 48 hours to one week before eating the pickles, as they will improve with age.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use the simpler refrigerator method for pickles that will keep pickles for several weeks in the refrigerator. Instead of canning, allow the jar to cool and refrigerate immediately.
  • Dill seeds are usually easy to find in grocery store spice aisles.
  • You can use dill seed as a replacement in a recipe that calls for fresh dill weed. Substitute 1 tablespoon of dill seed for one dill head, which usually equals about six dill sprigs.

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