Dill seed is used as a spice, with a flavor somewhat similar to caraway but also resembling that of fresh or dried dill weed, which has a less strong taste and different uses. Dill weed is "herb-like" and dill seed is "spice-like"; the seeds have a stronger flavor than the weed.
Dill seeds were traditionally used to soothe the stomach after meals. The Vikings named the herb dilla [not after the rapper J. of the same last name], meaning "soothing," and used dill weed to help ease colic in babies. First century Romans thought dill was a symbol of good luck. Other traditional uses of dill included guards against witchcraft, and in love potions.
Dill seed is used in the Middle East as a spice in cold dishes like fattoush and in pickles. Dill seed appears in Southeast Asian [Vietnamese, Thai, Lao] recipes for coconut milk-based fish curries. Iranians use dill seed in rice dishes, and the spice is added to the Indian cuisine of Gujarat, where it is traditionally given to mothers after childbirth.
In the United States, cooks know dill seed best for its use in pickled cucumbers ["dill pickles"], and in recipes for bread, potatoes, vegetables, sauerkraut. Use dill seed as you would caraway in savory breads. For German pork roast, use 1 teaspoon per pound of meat. For pickles, use 2-3 teaspoons dill seed per quart jar.
Dill seed and dill weed may be used together in foods such as pickles, salad dressings, vinegars, and sauces. Dill seeds can be added to the cooking water of strong vegetables, rubbed into meats before broiling, sauces based on sour cream, mayonnaise based dressings and salads, soups, and in crumb toppings for casseroles.