Coriander vs Cilantro

If you enjoy cooking, you’ve probably seen recipes that call for cilantro or coriander. Although these two names are frequently used synonymously, they actually refer to various components of the same plant. Although they are both Coriandrum sativum plants, coriander and cilantro have different flavors and culinary applications for their leaves and seeds.

Fresh green cilantro, coriander leaves on wooden surface

The distinctions between coriander and cilantro, including their look, flavors, and health advantages, will be discussed in this article.

The herb coriander, commonly referred to as Chinese parsley, is a staple in Asian, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean cooking.

Its small, rounded seeds have a warm, sweet, and faintly citrus flavor. Recipes for marinades, pickles, and spice combinations frequently call for coriander seeds.

Additionally, they can be powdered and used as a flavoring for soups, vegetables, and meats.

In addition to its culinary use, coriander is said to provide a number of health advantages, including lowering cholesterol, reducing inflammation, and enhancing digestion.

On the other hand, the coriander plant’s leaves and stems are referred to as cilantro. Cilantro is frequently used in Mexican, South American, and Southeast Asian cuisine.

It has a fresh, lemony flavor with a tinge of earthiness. Although cilantro is a well-liked herb, some individuals find its flavor to be off-putting; it has been described as soapy or harsh.

Despite having a contentious flavor, cilantro is a good source of potassium, vitamin K, and other vitamins and minerals.

Coriander: An Overview

You’re not the only one who doesn’t know the difference between coriander and cilantro.

coriander seeds in a wooden spoon. close up.

The cilantro plant produces coriander seeds, which are used in a wide range of international dishes.

What you need to know about this adaptable spice is provided below.

What is Coriander?

The cilantro plant produces the seeds used to make the spice coriander. The plant is indigenous to parts of southwestern Asia, southern Europe, and northern Africa.

Small, rounded, and slightly ridged, coriander seeds have a smooth surface.

They have a flavor that is typically characterized as sweet and spicy and is warm, nutty, and tangy.

Culinary Uses of Coriander

Curries, stews, soups, and spice blends frequently contain coriander as an ingredient.

Additionally, it’s utilized in baking, brewing, and pickling. In garam masala, an Indian spice blend that is used in various recipes, coriander plays a significant role.

Coriander is frequently used in salsas and guacamole in Mexican food.

Nutritional Benefits of Coriander

Calcium, potassium, magnesium, dietary fiber, and vitamins C and K can all be found in coriander.

Coriander may offer anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties, according to studies.

These possible health advantages will, however, need to be confirmed by additional research.

In conclusion, coriander is a multipurpose spice with a flavor that is warm, nutty, and just a little lemony.

It is frequently used in a variety of cuisines all over the world and might have health advantages.

Cilantro: An Overview

You’re definitely familiar with cilantro if you enjoy Mexican, Indian, or Southeast Asian food.

fresh cilantro herb on a wooden board background

Popular herb cilantro is used in many cuisines and is prized for its unique flavor and perfume.

What you should know about cilantro is as follows:

What is Cilantro?

One of the herbs in the parsley family is cilantro. In various regions of the world, it is additionally known as coriander.

Bright green, lacy leaves with delicate edges cover the shrub. An annual herb, cilantro thrives in cool climates and is widely grown in gardens all over the world.

What Does Cilantro Taste Like?

The flavor of cilantro is distinctive and challenging to pin down. Citrusy is how some people describe it, while soapy is how others describe it.

The taste of cilantro can divide people, with some disliking it and others adoring it.

If you’re unsure whether or not you like cilantro, add a little to your cuisine and see how you enjoy it.

How is Cilantro Used in Cooking?

A versatile herb, cilantro can be found in many different recipes. It is frequently employed in Mexican cooking to flavor salsas, guacamole, and tacos.

Cilantro is used in Indian cooking to flavor rice dishes, chutneys, and curries. Additionally, cilantro is utilized in Southeast Asian cooking to flavor soups, stir-fries, and noodle meals.

Cilantro is utilized in herbal medicine in addition to being a culinary ingredient. It is thought to have anti-inflammatory qualities and could be beneficial for digestive problems.

To verify these advantages, more study is necessary.

Overall, cilantro is a delicious herb that is common in many international cuisines.

No matter how you feel about it, cilantro gives whatever meal it’s used in a distinctive flavor.

Coriander vs Cilantro: The Differences

You’ve probably heard of coriander and cilantro if you’re a foodie.

Coriander seeds, fresh coriander and powdered coriander

Although recipes frequently substitute these two herbs for one another, they are not the same.

The following are the main distinctions between cilantro and coriander:


The appearance of cilantro and coriander is the key distinction between them.

Small, rounded, tan-colored coriander seeds are used as a spice and are frequently processed into a powder. Contrarily, the flat, delicate leaves of cilantro are utilized as a herb.


The flavors of cilantro and coriander are very dissimilar.

Coriander seeds are used frequently in Indian, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean cuisine because of their warm, spicy, citrusy flavor.

Mexican, Latin American, and Southeast Asian cuisine frequently employ cilantro leaves because of their flavor, which is bright, fresh, and just a little lemony.

Culinary Uses

In the kitchen, cilantro and coriander are utilized in various ways. In curries, stews, and marinades, coriander seeds are frequently toasted and processed into a powder.

Cilantro leaves are frequently used in salads, guacamole, and fresh salsas as a garnish.

Nutritional Value

Both cilantro and coriander are high in vitamins and minerals and low in calories.

While cilantro leaves are a rich source of vitamin C, vitamin K, and potassium, coriander seeds are a wonderful source of fiber, iron, and magnesium.


As a whole, coriander and cilantro are two separate herbs with diverse tastes and culinary applications.

They are not interchangeable in recipes despite their similar appearance.

You can prepare more flavorful meals and make better decisions in the kitchen if you are aware of the differences between coriander and cilantro.

Culinary Uses of Coriander

The herb coriander is adaptable and frequently utilized in international cuisines. Here are a few of the most well-liked culinary applications for coriander:

Fresh raw cilantro bunch in metal bucket on wooden background.


Many different meals frequently season with coriander seeds. They have a flavor that goes well with a variety of dishes since it is warm, slightly sweet, and lemony.

Many spice mixtures, including garam masala, curry powder, and berbere, contain coriander seeds.


Many different cuisines frequently include fresh coriander leaves as a garnish. They lend freshness and brightness to any dish with their vibrant, zesty flavor.

Indian, Thai, Vietnamese, Mexican, and other cuisines frequently use coriander leaves. They are frequently used to decorate tacos, salads, curries, soups, and stews.


For use as a marinade for meats, seafood, and vegetables, coriander seeds can be pulverized. They serve to tenderize the meat and give the dish a special flavor and scent.

Lamb, poultry, and beef that are grilled or roasted frequently have coriander seeds in their marinades.


A tasty and energizing chutney can be made from coriander leaves. Garlic, ginger, green chilies, and other spices are combined with fresh coriander leaves to make the chutney.

With Indian appetizers like samosas, pakoras, and chaat, it is frequently offered as a dipping sauce.


You may prepare a tasty and aromatic tea with coriander seeds. Coriander seeds are steeped in water for a short while after they have been boiled to make the tea.

Its flavor is warm and comforting, making it ideal for chilly winter days.

Additionally, coriander tea is believed to help with digestion and reduce inflammation, among other health advantages.

Coriander is a multipurpose herb that can be used in a variety of cuisines.

It is a well-liked component in many different cuisines around the world due to its distinctive flavor and aroma.

Culinary Uses of Cilantro

A versatile herb, cilantro is utilized in a wide range of international cuisines. Here are a few typical culinary use for cilantro:

Coriander seeds and leaves on a wooden background

1. Mexican Cuisine

Guacamole, salsa, and tacos are just a few Mexican cuisines that depend heavily on cilantro.

It imparts a crisp, lemony flavor that balances the meals’ spice content. Both the leaves and the stems of cilantro are utilized in Mexican food.

2. Southeast Asian Cuisine

Southeast Asian cuisines frequently incorporate cilantro, especially in Thai, Vietnamese, and Indian dishes.

It is frequently used as a garnish or as an ingredient in stir-fries, curries, and soups. The well-known dish pho in Vietnamese cuisine contains cilantro.

3. Caribbean Cuisine

Caribbean food frequently uses cilantro, especially in recipes from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.

It is used in marinades for meats and shellfish as well as in dishes like rice and beans.

4. Middle Eastern Cuisine

Middle Eastern cuisine frequently uses cilantro, especially in Lebanese and Iranian recipes. It is frequently used in salads, dips, and stews as a garnish or as a garnish.

5. Other Uses

Drinks like margaritas and mojitos can also be flavored with cilantro. Sauces, dressings, and marinades can all benefit from its flavoring.

Overall, cilantro is a versatile herb that may be utilized to bring flavor and freshness to a number of foods.

It’s crucial to remember that some people have a genetic allergy to cilantro, which can make it taste soapy or unpleasant.

Frequently Asked Questions

Bowls with fresh cilantro and peppercorns on light wooden background

What is the Difference Between Coriander and Cilantro?

Coriander and cilantro come from the same plant, but they refer to different parts of the plant. Coriander refers to the seeds of the plant, while cilantro refers to the leaves and stems. Coriander seeds have a warm, spicy flavor and are commonly used in Indian, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean cooking. Cilantro, on the other hand, has a bright, citrusy flavor and is commonly used in Mexican, Latin American, and Asian cooking.

Can I Use Coriander and Cilantro Interchangeably in Recipes?

While coriander and cilantro come from the same plant, they have very different flavors, so they can’t be used interchangeably in recipes. If a recipe calls for coriander, you can’t substitute cilantro, and vice versa. However, you can use both coriander seeds and cilantro in the same recipe, as they complement each other well.

Why Does Cilantro Taste Like Soap to Some People?

Some people have a genetic variation that makes cilantro taste like soap or metal. This is because cilantro contains aldehydes, which are also found in soaps and lotions. If you’re one of these people, there’s unfortunately no way to change your taste buds, so you may want to avoid recipes that call for cilantro.

How Should I Store Coriander and Cilantro?

Coriander seeds can be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to six months. Cilantro, on the other hand, is best stored in the refrigerator. To keep cilantro fresh, trim the stems and place the bunch in a glass of water, then cover it with a plastic bag and store it in the refrigerator. Change the water every few days to keep the cilantro fresh.

dry coriander seed spice and leaf or leaves on wood background


In conclusion, while referring to separate portions of the same plant, coriander and cilantro are two names for the same plant.

While cilantro usually refers to the leaves, coriander often refers to the seeds. Despite having a similar flavor, they cannot be substituted in recipes.

It’s crucial to remember that the seeds of coriander have a somewhat distinct flavor from the leaves when using it in a dish.

The leaves have a bright, citrusy flavor with a hint of sweetness, whereas the seeds have a warm, citrusy flavor with a sweet undertone.

Many different cuisines, including Mexican, Indian, and Thai, use cilantro as a common herb.

To lend a crisp, vibrant flavor to foods, it is frequently used as a garnish or added just before serving.

For meat and fish, marinades and rubs frequently contain coriander seeds.

It’s crucial to keep coriander and cilantro separate when storing them. For up to a year, coriander seeds can be kept in an airtight jar in a cool, dark location.

For up to a week, cilantro leaves should be kept in the refrigerator in a plastic bag or container with a moist paper towel.

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and hospitality industry. As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.