The BEST Substitute for Cilantro: 7+ Swap In Ideas

Cilantro adds a citrusy brightness to many dishes. But what if you find yourself without? Swap it! Here’s 7+ great substitutes for cilantro.

There are many good substitutes for cilantro, depending on what you’re looking for:

If you don’t like the soapy taste of cilantro

Parsley

Parsley is the closest substitute in terms of appearance and family, though it has a slightly more bitter flavor. Use it in a 1:1 ratio for chopped cilantro.

Bundle of parsley.

Thai Basil

Thai basil has a stronger anise flavor than regular basil, but it complements similar dishes like curries and stir-fries. Use less than cilantro as the flavor is more intense.

Herb Mixtures

Combine chopped herbs like dill, tarragon, oregano, or mint to create a unique flavor profile.

Omit Cilantro

Many dishes, especially Mexican and Tex-Mex ones, can be perfectly enjoyable without cilantro. You might miss a bit of freshness, but other ingredients can shine through.

If you want to keep the citrusy brightness of cilantro

Lime or Lemon

Add a squeeze of lime or lemon juice to your dish to mimic the acidity of cilantro. This works well in salsas, guacamole, and marinades.

Cilantro Seeds (aka Coriander)

Coriander has a warm, nutty flavor that differs from fresh cilantro leaves, but they can add a similar citrusy aroma. Use 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seeds for 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro.

Ground coriander in small bowl.

Other options

Cumin

This warm, earthy spice works well in Indian and Mexican dishes. It won’t directly replace the flavor of cilantro, but it can add depth and complexity.

Caraway Seeds

These have a licorice-like flavor that can be interesting in some dishes, like cabbage slaw or potato salad. Use sparingly as the flavor is strong.

Mexican Oregano

This oregano has a citrusy aroma that can complement some dishes, but it’s not a direct substitute for cilantro.

Tips

  • Remember that substitutions may not be exact, so adjust the amount based on the herb’s potency and your taste preferences.
  • Start with a smaller amount of the substitute and gradually add more to taste. Remember, you can always add more, but you can’t take it away!
  • If you’re using dried herbs, keep in mind that they are generally more potent than fresh herbs, so you may need to use less.
  • If you’re feeling adventurous, you can experiment with combining different herbs to create your own unique flavor blend.

Related Recipes

Here are some recipes using cilantro:

Collage of cilantro substitutes with text overlay.

The BEST Substitute for Cilantro

There are plenty of good substitutes for cilantro, depending on the dish you're cooking and the specific flavor profile you're looking for! Here are a couple of the best options to try.
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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1 Tablespoon cilantro

Ingredients

Option 1:

  • 1 Tablespoon fresh Italian parsley

Option 2:

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seeds

Instructions

  • If your recipe calls for fresh cilantro, substitute with an equal amount of fresh Italian parsley. Or, use 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seeds.
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