Many salmon recipes use Dill (Anethum graveolens) as the usual ingredient as condimentary herb.

In my place, I have fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) available outdoors, so I opt to use it instead. And I like it.

Why is it never mentioned as a substitute? what is your opinion?


4 Answers 4


I assume you're speaking of using fennel fronds, specifically. The fronds look a bit like dill, and are often used as a garnish, but certainly taste different than dill.

I think the main reason is that most people usually only get fennel fronds when they also buy a fennel bulb, so it's usually inconvenient to only use the fronds for a garnish when you're not using the bulb. Also, some people (my wife) just don't like the taste of anise/fennel at all. If you have it growing in your backyard, and you like the taste, there's no reason you can't use it.

  • 1
    Yep, it's that "black licorice" taste aspect of fennel that dill doesn't have. Considering some people use dill and tarragon on salmon though, this idea as a substitute should have some merit.
    – zanlok
    Commented Jan 20, 2011 at 15:16

It's not mentioned as a substitute for dill because it tastes nothing like dill. You'll find that chefs don't generally choose substitute herbs based on how much they look like the original but on comparable flavor, so though fennel fronds look like dill, that's about the end of their comparability.

I agree that it might be tasty in some applications where dill is used (particularly salmon as @zanlok said), but I think the flavor profiles are so different that you'd want to be really careful in making the substitution in other recipes.


Completely different. Get fennel seeds and roast them lightly in a pan to release the aroma and discover its nuances.

Dill and Salmon go together like love and marriage.


Well done on using fennel for salmon, keep on trying other recipes. I grew up in Czechoslovakia, and we used a lot of dill in sauces, pickled gherkins, cucumber salad etc. I never knew what fennel was then. Yesterday my neighbour Nicky gave me a lot fennel tops to use. So I tried them with salmon steaks and pesto sauce, in the absence of dill. My husband and I loved it, the taste is similar to dill, especially when it is cooked. The only small problem was that it was a little tough, even though I chopped it up fine. Today I used the raw tops chopped up finely in a tomato salad, again lovely.

In the absence of dill, I would use fennel tops for marinades, salads, salmon etc. Of course I like the licorice taste, unlike many other people who hate it. Zenka-Marie

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