Difference Between Dill and Fennel

Culinary herbs are very popular in the food industry which are edible parts of the plants generally added to the food preparation for aromatic, flavoring, and visual enhancements to the food.


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Two of the most common culinary herbs are dill and fennel. These two herbs look almost the same but are different from each other based on their characteristics, flavor, usability, and so on.

Key Takeaways

  1. Dill is an herb with feathery, aromatic leaves and a distinct, slightly bitter flavor, while fennel is a plant with a bulbous base, feathery leaves, and a sweet, licorice-like taste.
  2. Dill is commonly used in pickling, sauces, and as a seasoning for fish dishes, while fennel is used in salads, soups, and roasted vegetable dishes.
  3. Dill is an annual herb, while fennel can be a perennial or biennial plant, depending on the variety.

Dill vs Fennel

Dill is an herb with delicate, feathery leaves and a distinct flavor that is a mix of sweet, slightly bitter, and a bit of citrus. It is used in pickling, and to flavor fish. Fennel, is an herb with bulbous base, stalks that resemble celery. It is commonly used in Italian and Mediterranean cooking.

Dill vs Fennel

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Dill refers to an herbaceous plant that is used as a cooking spice and as a fragrance in cosmetics and soaps. Dill seeds and the other parts of the plants that grow above the ground are used in making several medicines.

It is used for treating liver issues, digestion issues, infections, urinary tract disorders, and many more.

Fennel refers to a perennial herb that has an edible white bulb treated as a vegetable. Its fruit, leaves, essential oil, and pollen are used in food dishes.

This plant can be seen growing on the roadsides from Italy to Australia to California. Fennel is rich in fiber, potassium, vitamin B6, A, C.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonDillFennel
Scientific nameAnethum graveolens. Foeniculum vulgare.
FamilyCelery family. Carrot family.
Life cycle Annual.     Biennial.
NutrientsGood source of fiber and calcium. Have very few carbohydrates. Has more calories and carbohydrates than dill. 
SeedFlat small seeds.     Long and thing-shaped.
SmellA bit like caraway.     Not a pleasant smell.
TasteCitrus-like fresh taste and a subtle sweetness that goes well with mint and garlic.     Sweet anise-like taste.

What is Dill?

The dill plant has feathery green leaves which is an annual herb that belongs to the celery family. This plant is native to southern Russia and the Mediterranean but can be grown in almost every part of the world.

The feathery green leaves of the plant are used in the garnishing and salads.

Dill is also known as Lao coriander. Dill plant is an aromatic ingredient with a sweet delicate taste. The leaves of dill are fern-like and dark green.

The seeds of the plant are brown and flat. The dried leaves of this plant are known as dill weed.

Dill is rich in micronutrients that provide several health benefits. It has vitamin A which is a fat-soluble that helps to maintain healthy skin, vision, reproductive health, growth, vision, and immune function.

It also has vitamin C which is considered to be a vital antioxidant helping the body to withdraw from infection.

Dill plant has been used in Ayurvedic and other traditional Asian medicine.

Currently, dill is used for curing cough, kidney disease, fever and colds, infectious disease, loss of appetite, gallbladder and liver complaints, flatulence, bronchitis, neuropathy, spasms, and renal colic.

Like most herbs, dill can be refrigerated, although it can change a plant’s texture. Chefs use different types of methods to use dill in the food dishes.

The most common way is to wash and dry the plant and freeze it laying on a paper towel.

What is Fennel?

Fennel refers to another culinary herb that has yellow flowers. It is native to the Mediterranean, though it can be found in most parts of the world. The dried seeds of fennel are used in cooking.

It’s oil and seeds have medicinal values. The fennel seeds are laxative, sweet, stimulant, and stomachic.

Though the root of the fennel is not considered a vegetable, it is a member of the carrot family. The base of its long-length stalks forms a crisp, thick bulb that grows above the ground level.

At the tip of the stalks and above the bulb, it has feathery leaves similar to dill. Every part of the fennel is edible and can be eaten cooked or raw.

Though the leaves and stalks of the plant are edible, fennel recipes mostly consist of its bulb. The fennel bulb has a crisp texture in raw form and has a licorice taste.

When it is cooked it gives a caramelized flavor that is tender and sweet.

In Unani or Greco-Arab medicine seeds of these plants are used for treating menstrual issues, bloat, piles, and diarrhea. In China and Europe, this plant remained a traditional herbal medicine for centuries. 

According to researchers, fennel seeds may have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antioxidant, and antifungal effects.

Fennel is low in calories but rich in other nutrients. The bulb portion is rich in sodium, potassium, calcium, and phosphorus.

Difference Between Dill and Fennel
  1. https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C5&q=dill+plant&oq=dill+#d=gs_qabs&u=%23p%3D-3ovMMITtekJ
  2. https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C5&q=fennel&btnG=#d=gs_qabs&u=%23p%3D9qAwvsZfUiAJ
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