Coriander Substitute: Best Substitutes You Can Use for Cilantro

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Coriander, also known as cilantro in the United States, is a flavorful herb widely used in a variety of cuisines around the world. But what if you’re out of this well-loved herb or you’re one of those people who find its flavor a bit overwhelming? Worry not! Finding a good coriander substitute is not as difficult as you might think.

This post will guide you through the best coriander substitutes that you can use to maintain the unique flavor profile of your dishes.

Fresh coriander leaves on a wooden chopping board

Curry Powder and Garam Masala: A Complete Spice Mix

Curry powder and Garam Masala are spice blends that usually contain coriander among other spices. They are a great substitute for coriander, especially in Indian dishes. The earthy flavor of these spice mixes complements many recipes that call for coriander. However, use these in small amounts to avoid overpowering the dish with different flavors. You could also try nutmeg!

A pile of curry powder and garam masala in two separate bowls

Thai Basil: A Fresh Herb Substitute

Thai basil is a good substitute for coriander, particularly in Asian dishes. The sweet undertones and spicy flavor of Thai basil can mimic the taste of cilantro, making it a great substitute. Its fresh leaves can be used just like coriander leaves, either as a garnish or as a main ingredient.

Close up image of fresh Thai basil leaves

Fennel Seeds and Cumin Seeds: Substitute for Coriander Seeds

When it comes to substituting coriander seeds, fennel seeds and cumin seeds are your best bet. Fennel seeds have a sweet flavor that resembles the unique flavor of coriander seeds. Cumin seeds, on the other hand, provide a similar earthy flavor. You can use a teaspoon of ground coriander seeds or a smaller amount of whole seeds to replace coriander seeds in your recipe.

Fennel seeds and cumin seeds in small wooden spoons

Lime Juice: A Tangy Coriander Substitute

Lime juice is a surprisingly good alternative for coriander. The citrusy flavor of lime juice can mimic the fresh and citrus-like flavor of coriander, making it a perfect substitute especially in Latin American and Mexican cuisines. Use it in equal amounts as the fresh coriander leaves in your recipe.

Italian Basil and Fresh Parsley

Italian basil and fresh parsley are common ingredients in most kitchens and can serve as a fresh coriander substitute. The sweet flavor of Italian basil and the similar taste of fresh parsley to coriander make them an excellent substitute for fresh coriander leaves in most dishes.

Italian basil and fresh parsley on a marble countertop

Lemon Balm: A Great Substitute for Coriander Leaves

Another fresh herb that makes a great substitute for coriander leaves is lemon balm. Its citrusy taste can mimic the flavor of coriander and its fresh leaves can be used similarly. Use it in equal amounts as the fresh cilantro leaves in your recipe to maintain the citrusy flavor.

Fresh lemon balm leaves in a ceramic bowl

Caraway Seeds: A Nutty Substitute

Caraway seeds are another great option. These seeds of the plant have a nutty flavor with sweet undertones, similar to coriander seeds. Use an equal amount of caraway seeds to replace coriander seeds in your recipe, especially in rye bread and root vegetable dishes.

Caraway seeds spilled from a small glass jar


So, next time your grocery store runs out of Coriandrum Sativum, or you simply want to try something different, don’t fret! With these coriander substitutes, you can still enjoy the unique flavors of your favorite dishes.

Remember, the best substitute will depend on the dish you’re making and your personal taste preferences. Happy cooking!

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