What Is the Difference Between Coriander and Cilantro?

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Selecting the proper herb or spice for a dish might be more difficult than you think. Consider the difference between coriander and cilantro. You have fresh coriander, dried coriander leaves in a bottle, dried coriander seeds, and cilantro, if that wasn’t enough.

Now wait a minute, isn’t cilantro the Spanish name for coriander? Sure, but there’s more to it than that. In North America, cilantro commonly refers to the fresh stalks and leaves of the coriander plant, while coriander refers to the dried seeds of the coriander plant.

Coriander and cilantro are both derived from the same plant (scientific name: Coriandrumsativum.) Yet, they vary in appearance, flavor, culinary applications, and even nutritional worth and health advantages.

So, how can we ensure that we are not misled by the titles and that we purchase the correct item? There are two principles to follow: first, know your herbs and spices, and second, know your recipe and whether it asks for dried seeds or fresh herbs.

How about a little assistance? Let’s go straight into the distinctions between cilantro and coriander.

What Is Cilantro?

Cilantro is sometimes known as Mexico parsley or Chinese parsley. It is an annual herb that belongs to the parsley family, commonly known as the celery family. Dill, fennel, parsley, anise, and cumin are all fragrant blooming plants in the same family.

Have you ever wondered what cilantro looks like? It has a similar appearance to parsley, which makes distinguishing cilantro from parsley challenging. Nevertheless, cilantro leaves are smaller and more curled than parsley’s pointed serrated leaves. They are also softer to the touch.

They are brilliant green in color, and the plant’s stalks are long and thin. The fragile stems and leaves are both edible and used in cooking.

Look for cilantro with green fragrant leaves and sturdy stems when purchasing. Stay away from the faded yellow leaves. Put this herb in a water-filled jar or glass and store it in the refrigerator to keep it fresher for longer. Every couple of days, change the water and remove any wilting leaves.

What Is Coriander?

Although coriander may refer to both the fresh leafy sections and the dry seeds of the coriander plant, in the United States, it mostly refers to the dried seeds. These little spherical dried fruits are yellow-brown in hue and contain longitudinal ridges.

They are a warm spice that may be used as a seasoning or food flavoring in a range of sweet and savory dishes, whether ground, whole, or crushed.

Toasting them, like with other dry seeds, brings out more of their scent. Heat a pan over medium heat, then add the seeds and dry fry them. After the scent of coriander is released, remove from heat.

Difference In Flavor And Smell

The taste of fresh cilantro is vibrant, lemony, and nuanced, with undertones of mint, lemon, and pepper. It has a pleasant and tangy flavor. Since the taste fades with cooking, it is best added shortly before serving. Cilantro stems have a strong flavor and are widely used in soups and Thai curry pastes.

Unfortunately, not everyone like the taste and fragrance of cilantro. Some folks find it revolting and soapy. Why is there such a disparity? The explanation might be in our genes, especially a gene in the olfactory section of our brain that makes certain individuals more sensitive to the distinctive fragrance of cilantro.

If cilantro leaves are crushed into a pesto, for example, the flavor becomes softer and potentially more agreeable.

Coriander, on the other hand, tastes considerably different from cilantro. Coriander seeds have an earthy, sweet, fragrant flavor with peppery and lemony undertones. They complement cumin, garlic, nutmeg, and allspice.

The major component of the Indian spice combination garam masala, which is frequently used in Asian curry dishes, stews, cooked lentils, and other delectable spicy cuisines, is powdered coriander.

Different Culinary Uses

Cilantro and coriander are used in a variety of dishes. Moreover, they are often used in Indian, Asian, Middle Eastern, North African, and Mediterranean cuisines. Cilantro is also used in Mexican, Tex-Mex, and Southwestern American cooking.

Popular dishes with Cilantro

Following are some common uses for cilantro:

  • Salsa: Cilantro salsa is a condiment used with tacos, quesadillas, and other Mexican or Mexican-American dishes. It’s also delicious as a dip for tortilla chips.
  • Chutney is a sauce from the Indian subcontinent. Its ingredients include vegetables, fruits, herbs, and spices. Every chutney recipe will benefit from the addition of fresh cilantro.
  • Salad dressing: Want to add some zip to your salad? Why not add some chopped cilantro to your green salad? When added to rice or pasta salads, a little of this fresh item goes a long way. It goes well with citrus and vinaigrette sauces, and you should try it in a chicken sandwich dressing.
  • Guacamole: A Mexican avocado-based spread, dip, or salad that has made its way into international cuisine.
  • Curry: An Indian sauce or gravy made with meat, vegetables, and a blend of herbs and spices.
  • Baingan Bharta: An Indian vegetarian meal. It’s fried eggplant mash prepared with seasonings.
  • To top soups, stews, and chili meals, combine chopped cilantro with plain yogurt or sour cream.

Popular dishes with Coriander

Coriander complements spices like cumin, cinnamon, chili powder, and curry. It may be found in the following foods:

  • Marinades and brines for meat
  • Curry sauces
  • Pickles
  • Vegetable stews, such as ratatouille
  • Soups
  • Chilis
  • Sausages
  • roasted potatoes
  • Seasoning for cookies and cakes
  • Compote

Health Benefits Of Cilantro & Coriander

Coriander has traditionally been used to treat stomach issues and urinary tract infections. Coriander seeds are used in Chinese medicine to promote digestion and cure gastrointestinal ailments, while fresh leaves may be eaten to help eliminate foul breath.

Cilantro, as a herbal tea, may help reduce headaches caused by a common cold or the flu. It is also supposed to assist in the recovery of appetite loss.

Cilantro contains antioxidant vitamins, which help improve the immune system and keep your skin healthy and less prone to aging. It is also high in fiber and minerals such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus.

Can You Use Coriander Instead Of Cilantro?

Coriander and cilantro may be used interchangeably in certain recipes, but the overall product will be different. If you wish to substitute another spice for coriander, consider cumin. As a garnish in salads, stir-fry, and soups, parsley may occasionally be used in place of cilantro.


Can I substitute cilantro for coriander?

Coriander has a peppery taste characteristic comparable to cilantro, although it lacks cilantro’s vibrant lemon undertones. In marinades or sauces, use coriander in a 1:1 ratio for dried cilantro or 1 teaspoon coriander powder for 1 tablespoon freshly chopped cilantro.

Is Mexican coriander the same as cilantro?

Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum) is also known as Chinese parsley or Mexican parsley, and its seeds (coriander) as Mexican coriander.

What does coriander taste like?

Coriander (cilantro) leaves are utilized in a variety of cuisines as a flavour element. This popular plant, however, has split people into two camps: those who enjoy it and those who do not. Coriander fans describe coriander as having a fresh citrus flavor with a powerful scent, while detractors describe it as having a soapy taste with a harsh smell.

Do coriander seeds taste like cilantro leaves?

Do they have a distinct flavor? Yep. Although cilantro’s zesty flavor is divisive (it may taste like soap to some), coriander seeds are much more muted (think: warm, aromatic and slightly sweet). Coriander still has a citrus taste, but it now has a mild curry flavor.

Why do Americans call coriander cilantro?

Coriander or Cilantro

Coriander refers to the seeds, stem, and leaves of the Coriandrum sativum plant in the United Kingdom. Nevertheless, in the United States, the stem and leaves are known as cilantro, which is the Spanish term for coriander and was derived from its usage in Mexican cookery.

Why did my cilantro turn into coriander?

Although they are both derived from the same plant, they have distinct purposes and flavors. Cilantro is the coriander plant’s leaves and stems. Coriander seeds are produced as the plant blossoms and matures. Cilantro is also the Spanish term for coriander.

Which country calls coriander cilantro?

Although the spice and leafy herb are both referred to as coriander in the United Kingdom and other European countries, the herb is referred to as cilantro in the United States. To differentiate the leaves from the coriander seeds, the plant is known as “dhania” in India.

How do I substitute coriander?

Coriander Substitutes
The best spices to use are: Cumin. Curry Masala Powder. Garam Masala is a spice blend.
Alternatively, combine the following spices: Cumin and oregano should be mixed in equal proportions.
Spices to Have on Hand: Caraway seed. Oregano, dried. Caraway Seeds are your best bet. Caraway seeds are related to coriander and will provide an earthy, anise taste to any recipe.
Jun 10, 2020

What do jamaicans call cilantro?

Culantro, also known as Spirit Weed in Jamaica, is a close relative of the well-known Cilantro. Sawtooth coriander, serrated coriander, recao (Puerto Rico), chadron benee (Dominica), shado beni and bhandhania (Trinidad and Tobago), coulante (Haiti), and fit weed are some other names for culantro (Guyana).

What foods taste best with coriander?

Coriander Cinnamon, cloves, cumin, garlic, ginger, fennel, nutmeg, sour apples, beef, chicken, citrus fruit, eggs, ham, lentils, onions, plums, pigs, potatoes Purchase entire seeds and ground them as required.

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