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22 Easy Ways to Substitute for Cilantro

Here are 22 easy ways to substitute for cilantro fresh or dried, and for coriander seeds, plus several tasty recipes that call for cilantro!

Cilantro is an herb that comes from the fresh leaves of the Coriandrum sativum plant and it can be a polarizing ingredient. Most people either love it or hate it. In fact, for some people, cilantro tastes like soap due to a difference in their genetic makeup. Sounds crazy, but it’s true!

But, whether or not you like cilantro, you can find it in several different types of cuisine, including Mexican, Middle Eastern, and Asian.

It’s used to top tacos, in dips and salsas, curry dishes, and more.

But, what do you do if you run out of cilantro or need a replacement because you hate the taste?

Luckily, there are several great herbs and ingredients that can take its place!

Here are 22 easy ways to substitute for cilantro fresh or dried and for coriander seeds, too!

Glass bowl piled high with cilantro leaves on a piece of burlap.

Common Ways to Substitute for Cilantro

Cilantro has a tangy, slightly citrusy flavor and a bright green color. If you don’t want to mimic the taste of cilantro, there are several other green herbs that can serve as a flavor agent or finisher to a dish.

Start by simply increasing the amounts of other herbs in your recipe. Or, if cilantro is the only one, go with a green herb that you like and compliments the flavor profile of your dish.

If you DO want a similar cilantro flavor, stick to herbs with a bright or citrusy taste.

Below, are several great options to try for either case.

And keep in mind: 1/2 cup = about 4 springs rough chopped and 4 tablespoons = 4 grams.

Best Substitutes for Cilantro Flavor

Below, are the best substitutes for cilantro to match the flavor in your dish. These are great stand-ins if you’re in a pinch or can’t find cilantro in your grocery store.

1. Parsley

Large bundle of flat leaf parsley tied with kitchen twine on wooden cutting board.

Parsley makes a great cilantro substitute due to its very similar appearance. It also has a similar grassy, citrusy flavor. Plus, it’s readily available in grocery stores.

Use Parsley as a 1 to 1 substitute to garnish a dish and for dips, soups, and stews.

2. Thai Basil

Large pile of dark green Thai basil leaves on rustic wooden cutting board.

This cilantro substitute is frequently used in Asian cuisine. It’s less sweet than regular basil and has a slightly citrusy, tangy flavor like cilantro. You can find this ingredient in Asian markets.

Use Thai basil as a 1 to 1 substitute in curries and stir-fries.

3. Papalo

Large, dark green papalo plant in Mexican market with other fresh produce.

Papalo is an ancient Mexican herb you can find in Mexican grocery stores and markets. It tastes somewhere between cilantro and cucumber. Substitute with papalo in tacos, guacamole, and other Mexican dishes.

Use ⅓ tablespoon of papalo for every tablespoon of cilantro. 

4. Rau Ram

Small sprig of rau ram leaves next to white bowl on wooden table.

Rau rum (also known as Vietnamese cilantro) makes a great stand-in if you can find it. It has a more peppery, aromatic flavor and can be used as a 1 to 1 substitute for any dish.

5. Culantro

Large bright green bundle of culantro leaves on light brown wooden table.

Here’s another Mexican herb that can stand-in for cilantro. This ingredient is best for cooked recipes like soups and stews. Be sure to add culantro midway through the cook time to retain its flavor. It has a similar but much stronger taste to cilantro.

Start with 1/10 the amount of cilantro and add more if desired.

6. Lemon

Several cut lemons on a wooden cutting board next to a bowl of lemon juice.

If you’re really in a pinch, you can add a splash of fresh lemon juice to a dish. While you’ll definitely miss the texture and bright green appearance of cilantro, you’ll get a similar note of citrus.

This substitute is best for soups, stews, dips, and salsas. Start with a little dash of lemon juice and add more to taste.

7. Lime

Kitchen tool to squeeze citrus fruits next to bowl of lime juice and fresh limes.

Use lime juice to substitute for cilantro the same way you would lemon. This ingredient is also great for soups, stews, salsas, and dips.

Other Similar Herbs

Below are several green herbs that work well in recipes that call for cilantro. These substitutes are great for those who don’t like the taste!

8. Basil

Large bunch of fresh basil on a piece of burlap over wooden table.

Regular basil makes a great cilantro substitute for those who don’t like the taste. It is more sweet and aromatic than Thai basil but can work as a replacement in similar dishes.

Basil is also great for dips, sauces, and pesto. Use as a 1 to 1 substitute or to taste.

9. Mint

Large bunch of fresh mint leaves on a piece of burlap over wooden table.

This unmistakable herb is often used along with cilantro in Asian cuisine. Consider adding a splash of acidity with vinegar or citrus to help minimize the distinctive minty coolness.

Use half the amount of mint as you would cilantro.

10. Dill

Bright green dill weed bundle piled on top of a wooden cutting board.

Dill is quite different in appearance and taste to cilantro leaves but does have a similar bright green color. Even so, dill makes a suitable substitute for cilantro in diary-based dips, dressings, and marinades.

Start with a small amount and add more to taste.

11. Tarragon

Bright green tarragon leaves tied into a bundle with twine on rustic wooden table.

Tarragon is typically used in French cuisine and has a pretty mild taste. This substitute is best used for chicken recipes, salmon, or vegetables. Try incorporating other herbs and aromatics like garlic to amp up the taste.

Use as a 1 to 1 substitute.

12. Chives

Large glass bowl of chopped fresh chives on burlap sack next to bundle of chives.

Chives add a nice bright, grassy note to dishes when used as a garnish. While it’s not a great match for cilantro in taste, it has a similar flavor profile. Add lime juice to enhance the taste and use as a 1 to 1 substitute.

13. Scallions

Bundle of scallions tied with twine next to chopped scallions in small glass bowl.

You can use scallions to replace cilantro the same way you would chives. Add lime juice and substitute 1 to 1.

14. Celery Leaves

Large bunch of bright green celery leaves piled on rustic wooden table.

The leaves from celery stalks can be used in cooked dishes to substitute for cilantro. But, they don’t make a suitable garnish. Try celery as a 1 to 1 substitute in soups, stews, and casseroles and enjoy a slightly more peppery taste.

Substitutes for Dried Cilantro or Coriander Seeds

Any of the dried versions of the fresh herbs above can be used as a dried cilantro substitute. When substituting dried cilantro with another dried herb, you can generally follow a 1 to 1 ratio. When substituting dried for fresh, start with a 2 to 1 ratio.

You can also substitute fresh or dried cilantro with coriander seeds (the seeds of the cilantro plant). They have different flavors but are often used in the same kinds of dishes.

Large orange bowl filled with coriander seeds next to fresh cilantro and wooden spoon.

And below are several great options to substitute for coriander seeds if you’re in a pinch.

  • Cumin
  • Curry Powder
  • Caraway
  • Oregano
  • Mexican Oregano
  • Garam Masala
  • Celery Seed
  • Fennel Seed

Recipes with Cilantro

Here are several easy and delicious recipes that call for cilantro. Use these to try out our favorite way to substitute for cilantro, above!

Shredded Chicken Cafe Rio Salad

Cafe Rio salad on white table next to blue and white kitchen towel.

Cilantro Chickpea Salad With Avocado And Feta

Bowl full of cilantro chickpea salad on wooden cutting board with fork.

The Best Fresh Garden Salsa Recipe

Fresh salsa with tomatoes and cilantro in white bowl surrounded by tortilla chips.

Cowboy Caviar with Avocado

White bowl of cowboy caviar with avocado next to scattered tortilla chips.
Pinterest graphic with text and collage of ingredients used to substitute for cilantro.
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