Looking for an alternative to Coriander Leaf or Cilantro? You’re in the right place! Keep reading for my favourite simple Coriander Leaf / Cilantro substitutes.
What is Coriander Leaf / Cilantro?
Coriander Leaf or Cilantro is a leafy green herb used in Thai, Vietnamese, Mexican and some Middle Eastern cooking. The flavour is strongly aromatic and fragrant which tends to be polarising. People either love it or hate it. Some people perceive the flavour to be soapy rather than pleasingly fresh.
The leaves, stems and roots of coriander are all edible. The seeds are dried and either used whole or ground as a spice.
The Best Coriander Leaf / Cilantro Substitutes
(in order of preference)
While mint has a completely different flavour to coriander / cilantro, I can’t think of a place where the aromatic freshness of mint wouldn’t work exceptionally well as an alternative.
Will work in a similar way but just takes the flavours in a different direction. Basil packs a big flavour punch so you won’t feel like you’re missing anything.
3. Flat Leaf Parsley
Parsley looks incredibly similar to coriander / cilantro. So from a visual perspective it’s the closest match. On the flavour side, though parsley is much more subdued than coriander, basil or mint. BUt it does add some lovely freshness so if it’s the only herb you have it will be better than nothing.
4. Baby Spinach or Salad Leaves
Often the purpose of leafy herbs added just before serving is to add some fresh green colour. If that’s the case other salad leaves or baby spinach will do the same job visually and will add some freshness although without the aromatic flavour of cilantro (which may or may not be a good thing).
How to Prepare Coriander Leaf / Cilantro
The leaves, stems and roots of coriander are all edible. Wash, dry then you can either pick the leave away from the stems and just use the leaves, or finely chop the stems and leaves. The roots tend to contain lots of dirt so if you are using them take extra care to wash. I generally only use the roots in Thai curry pastes and just give them to my chickens the rest of the time.
How to Store Coriander Leaf / Cilantro
I keep mine wrapped in paper towel and then in plastic bag in the fridge. Will keep for 3-5 days, depending on how fresh it was when you bought it. Some people store it in a jar of water in the fridge but I find this a hassle and have knocked over the jar and made a big mess in the fridge so am not a fan.
Delicious Coriander Leaf / Cilantro Pairings
- Chilli & Coriander Leaf / Cilantro
- Lime & Coriander Leaf / Cilantro
- Mint & Coriander Leaf / Cilantro
- Lemon & Coriander Leaf / Cilantro
More Ingredient Substitutes
- The Ultimate Guide to Vegetable Substitutes
- Collard Greens
- Miso Paste
- Oyster Sauce
Also see see the Simple Ingredients Substitutes Index.
Have fun in the kitchen!