Dill is a versatile herb that adds flavor to many dishes. Its delicate, grassy flavor complements fish, potatoes, salads, and more.
Fresh dill has a short shelf life, so freezing is an excellent way to preserve dill and have it on hand whenever a recipe calls for it. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about freezing dill, from how to freeze it to tips for using frozen dill.
How to Prepare Dill for Freezing
Before freezing dill, it’s important to wash and dry it thoroughly. Here are some tips for prepping dill for the freezer:
- Rinse the dill under cool water to remove any dirt or debris. Gently agitate the dill to dislodge anything stuck between the feathery leaves.
- Pat dill sprigs dry with a paper towel or clean kitchen towel. Make sure no moisture is left on the leaves. Excess moisture can cause frozen dill to turn mushy.
- Remove any thick stems or wilted leaves. The tender leaves are best for freezing. Discard any dill flowers, as they don’t retain flavor when frozen.
- For chopped dill, finely chop the leaves and tender stems. Measure chopped dill in quantities you’ll use for recipes, like 1 tablespoon or 1/4 cup.
- Don’t wash or chop more dill than you’ll freeze at one time. Fresh dill doesn’t last long after being prepped.
How to Freeze Dill Sprigs
Freezing whole dill sprigs is the easiest way to preserve the herb’s flavor. Here’s how to do it:
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread cleaned dill sprigs in a single layer on the baking sheet.
- Place the baking sheet in the freezer. Freeze dill for 2-3 hours, until completely frozen solid.
- Transfer the frozen dill sprigs to an airtight freezer bag or container. Squeeze out excess air and seal the container.
- Label the container with the date and “dill sprigs.” Store frozen dill sprigs for up to 6 months.
Freezing dill sprigs this way prevents them from sticking together in a solid clump. You can remove just the amount of dill needed for a recipe.
How to Freeze Chopped Dill
Chopped dill offers more versatility in recipes. Follow these steps for properly freezing chopped dill:
- Wash and chop dill, removing any thick stems. Refer to the prep tips above.
- Place measured amounts of chopped dill in ice cube trays. Fill each compartment with around 1 tablespoon of chopped dill, gently pressing down.
- Cover the ice cube trays and place them in the freezer overnight until the dill cubes are completely frozen.
- Transfer the frozen dill cubes to an airtight freezer bag. Label the bag with the date and “chopped dill.”
The small cubes make it easy to pop out just the right amount of frozen dill to add flavor to soups, dips, etc.
How to Freeze Dill in Oil or Butter
Infusing dill in oil or butter before freezing helps it retain its signature flavor. Here are two methods:
To freeze dill in oil:
- Add 1 cup of chopped fresh dill to 1 cup of olive or vegetable oil in a small saucepan. Warm over low heat for 2-3 minutes until fragrant.
- Let the oil cool completely, then transfer it to ice cube trays and freeze overnight.
- Pop out the frozen dill oil cubes and transfer them to freezer bags.
To freeze dill butter:
- Blend 1 cup of fresh chopped dill with 1 cup of softened butter.
- Form the dill butter mixture into a log shape on plastic wrap and wrap tightly.
- Freeze the log until solid, then slice into rounds. Wrap individually in plastic and keep frozen.
The fat helps protect dill’s flavor and gives you convenient, ready-to-use dill to top grilled meat, fish, and vegetables.
Tips for Using Frozen Dill
Frozen dill can be substituted for fresh in most recipes, but there are some techniques that will maximize its flavor:
- Add extra frozen dill (about 1.5 times the amount of fresh dill called for). Freezing mutes the dill’s flavor slightly.
- Add frozen dill at the end of cooking for dishes like soups, stews, and grains. This prevents overcooking.
- Use oil or butter frozen with dill to add instant flavor to dishes.
- Snip frozen dill sprigs with kitchen shears rather than thawing and chopping them. The leaves will fall off the stems.
- Avoid using frozen dill in uncooked dishes like salads, as the texture will be limp.
With the proper freezing and usage methods, you can enjoy the taste of summer dill all year! Follow these tips for savoring frozen dill.
Storing Frozen Dill
Once dill is frozen, proper storage is important to preserve its flavor and quality. Here are some tips:
- Keep frozen dill as cold as possible. Store it in the coldest part of your freezer, which is usually the back bottom shelf.
- If your freezer has a “fast freeze” setting, use it for the first 1-2 days after freezing dill. The faster it freezes, the smaller the ice crystals that form. Smaller crystals cause less damage to dill’s texture.
- Avoid opening the freezer door unnecessarily. Fluctuations in temperature degrade frozen dill faster.
- Check containers or bags of frozen dill regularly for ice crystals, which indicate freezer burn. If detected, use the drill as soon as possible.
- For maximum freezer life, do not overfill storage containers or bags. Leave some headspace for expansion as the dill freezes.
Proper freezer storage retains the dill’s flavor, color, and texture better. Follow these guidelines for keeping frozen dill in optimal condition.
Does frozen dill lose flavor?
Yes, some loss of flavor does occur when dill is frozen. However, if you select and handle dill properly, the flavor loss can be minimized.
- Only freeze fresh, young sprigs of dill. Older, larger leaves will turn bitter when frozen.
- Rinse the dill gently to avoid bruising the delicate leaves, which causes flavor loss.
- Pat dill very dry before freezing, as excess moisture degrades flavor.
- Freeze dill quickly at a constant cold temperature. Slow freezing denatures flavor compounds.
- Store frozen dill below 0°F if possible. Colder temperatures slow chemical changes.
- Use frozen dill within 6 months for the best flavor. The aroma compounds in dill degrade over time.
Follow these best practices when freezing dill to retain as much of its fresh, distinctive flavor as possible.
What dishes work well with frozen dill?
While fresh dill has the best flavor for uncooked dishes, there are many recipes that pair wonderfully with frozen dill:
- Soups: Add frozen dill at the end to flavor potato soup, borscht, chicken noodle soup, etc.
- Stews and braised meats: Toss in some frozen dill just before serving for instant flavor.
- Potatoes: frozen dill complements potatoes in any form—mashed, roasted, salad, etc.
- Eggs: Sprinkle frozen dill over omelets, frittatas, or scrambled eggs.
- Salmon, trout, and tuna—frozen dill nicely season these oily fish.
- Veggies: From carrots to green beans, frozen dill adds a light touch of flavor.
- Dips and spreads: Swirl in some frozen dill to flavor yogurt dips, hummus, cheese spreads, and more.
Frequently Asked Questions About Freezing Dill
Freezing is a great way to preserve fresh dill for later use. Here are answers to some common questions about properly freezing and storing dill:
How long does dill last in the freezer?
Frozen dill will maintain optimal quality and flavor for about 6 months. Label your frozen dill with the date, so you use the oldest first. Dill frozen for longer than 6 months may turn soft and start losing its signature flavor.
Can you freeze dill seeds?
Yes, dill seeds freeze very well. Place dry dill seeds into airtight freezer bags or small containers, press out excess air, and seal. Frozen dill seeds will last for up to a year. Their flavor holds up well for seasoning soups, stews, breads, and meats.
What’s the best way to thaw frozen dill?
You can thaw frozen dill in the refrigerator overnight, which helps retain texture and flavor. If using it immediately, run frozen dill under cold water or microwave on defrost for 1-2 minutes. Avoid thawing at room temperature, as this increases the risk of bacterial growth.
Can you freeze dill in water like other herbs?
Freezing dill leaves in water often causes them to turn soft and mushy. For best results, freeze dill dry in sprigs, chopped, or in oil or butter. The small amount of oil coating the leaves helps protect their texture better than water during freezing.
Is it better to freeze dill seeds or sprigs?
Both dill seeds and sprigs can be frozen, but the seeds retain more flavor. Freeze sprigs for adding fresh, mild dill flavor to dishes at the end of cooking. Dill seeds can be frozen dry for longer storage, adding a strong dill flavor to soups, breads, etc.
Hi, I’m Julie, the passionate foodie and founder of Juliesfamilykitchen.com. I created this blog out of a drive to prove someone wrong, and then I realized how much I truly enjoy cooking and trying new recipes. In my free time, when I’m not running around after my kids or spending quality time with my partner, you can usually find me in the kitchen experimenting with new dishes.