bunch of fresh cilantro hanging in the light


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Ever started cooking a recipe only to realize you’re out of coriander or just can’t stand its taste? Don’t fret! Here are some easy and tasty substitutes (for both the seeds and the leaves!) to keep your dish on track.

If you find yourself out of coriander mid-recipe or are simply not a fan of its unique flavour (I wasn’t for YEARS!), no worries! There are plenty of coriander substitutes you can use that will still keep your dish delicious. For fresh cilantro alternatives, try using parsley, basil, or even mint to add a fresh, green touch to your salads and salsas.

When it comes to replacing coriander seeds, your spice rack likely has some great options. Cumin or caraway seeds can mimic that warm, earthy flavour, while fennel seeds add a slightly sweeter note. These handy swaps ensure your culinary creations remain flavourful and satisfying, even without the coriander.

female hand holding a bunch of fresh cilantro in a wicker basket


Coriander is a versatile herb that comes from the plant Coriandrum sativum, which belongs to the parsley family. It is commonly used in cooking and is known for its distinctive, citrusy flavour. The term “coriander” can refer to both the seeds and the leaves of the plant, though the leaves are often called “cilantro” in the United States and Canada.

Coriander is known for its potential health benefits, including aiding digestion, having antimicrobial properties, and being a good source of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.


  1. Leaves (also known as Cilantro): Fresh, green leaves often used in salads, salsas, and as a garnish.
  2. Seeds: Small, round seeds that can be used whole or ground into a spice. They have a warm, nutty flavour with hints of citrus.


  • Cilantro: Often used in Latin American, Indian, and Southeast Asian cuisines.
  • Coriander Seeds: Used in spice blends, marinades, and as a seasoning in various dishes, including curries and stews.
close up of fresh cilantro


1. Parsley:

  • Flavour Profile: Milder and more subtle than cilantro.
  • Use: Best for garnishes and in recipes where the strong flavour of cilantro is not crucial.

2. Basil:

  • Flavour Profile: Sweet and slightly peppery.
  • Use: Works well in salads, sauces, and some Asian dishes.

3. Mint:

  • Flavour Profile: Refreshing, cool, and slightly sweet.
  • Use: Great in salads, especially with fruits, and in some Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes.

4. Dill:

  • Flavour Profile: Fresh, slightly tangy, and somewhat similar to caraway.
  • Use: Suitable for salads, seafood dishes, and dressings.

5. Thai Basil:

  • Flavour Profile: Anise-like, with a hint of spice.
  • Use: Excellent in Southeast Asian dishes, particularly Thai cuisine.

6. Tarragon:

  • Flavour Profile: Anise-like, with a hint of sweetness.
  • Use: Works well in salads, sauces, and French dishes.


1. Cumin:

  • Flavour Profile: Warm, earthy, and slightly spicy.
  • Use: Excellent in spice blends, curries, and Middle Eastern dishes.

2. Caraway Seeds:

  • Flavour Profile: Earthy and slightly sweet, with a hint of citrus.
  • Use: Suitable for bread, sauerkraut, and various European dishes.

3. Fennel Seeds:

  • Flavour Profile: Sweet, with a mild anise flavour.
  • Use: Great in sausages, bread, and some Indian dishes.

4. Ground Cumin:

  • Flavour Profile: Earthy and warm, similar to whole cumin seeds.
  • Use: Best in spice blends, stews, and Mexican cuisine.

5. Garam Masala:

  • Flavour Profile: A blend of spices including coriander, with a warm, complex flavour.
  • Use: Ideal for Indian curries and gravies.

6. Curry Powder:

  • Flavour Profile: A blend of spices that often includes coriander, cumin, turmeric, and others.
  • Use: Works well in Indian and Southeast Asian dishes.

These alternatives for coriander can help you achieve similar flavours and aromas in your dishes when coriander is unavailable or if you need to accommodate taste preferences or dietary restrictions.


So, next time you’re in a pinch or catering to different taste buds, you’ll know exactly what to reach for instead of coriander. These substitutes not only save the day but can also introduce exciting new flavours to your favourite dishes.

Remember, cooking is all about creativity and making the flavours work for you. So, don’t stress about missing ingredients—embrace the opportunity to try something new. Who knows, you might discover a new favourite herb or spice!

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