Cilantro Substitute – 8 Alternatives To Save Your Recipe

Don’t have cilantro? What to use in place of cilantro? Read here the list of top substitutes for cilantro.

Cilantro is a popular ingredient in many recipes across the globe.

It is an essential ingredient in several cuisines in the Latin American and Asian continent. Its strong aroma gives a delicious flavor to the recipes. Besides the wonderful taste, the cilantro plant has several uses and health benefits.

At times you may have to find a substitute for cilantro when you do not have it. The best substitute for any herb is using its dried version in place of fresh herb and vice versa. Use dried cilantro in place of fresh cilantro in 1:2 measure; 2 tablespoons of dried cilantro for every 4 tablespoons of fresh cilantro.

By the way, the seed of the cilantro plant is internationally known as coriander seed, aka coriander spice. The seeds have totally different tastes and culinary uses from the leaves. Also, the substitutes for coriander seeds are different.

8 Easy Substitutes For Cilantro 

Fresh cilantro has an incredible taste with its grassy freshness and zippy citrus tang. If you need a good cilantro substitute, try out these fresh herbs instead:

1. Thai Basil

Thai Basil is a good alternative to cilantro in some dishes even though it might somewhat alter the flavor of the dishes.

Please note, there are different types of basil, but only Thai basil is a suitable replacement for cilantro. It somewhat tastes like licorice.

Interestingly, some dishes taste better when Thai basil is added instead of cilantro.

2. Parsley

Parsley or garden parsley is a species of flowering plant in the family Apiaceae. Cilantro also belongs to the family of Apiaceae plants.

Parsley is mild bitter in taste.  Just like cilantro, it can also add a fresh flavor to your dishes.

Cilantro has superior citrusy undertones which you may not find in parsley.  You can mitigate this disadvantage by adding few drops of lemon juice or few lemon peels to your recipe when using parsley in place of cilantro.

In addition, the appearance and color of the parsley leaves are very similar to cilantro. In fact, cilantro is the best substitute for parsley.

Recommended reading: Cilantro Vs Parsley – differences and similarities explained.

3. Culantro

Culantro is another best cilantro alternative that you may use. Unfortunately, culantro isn’t easily available in most places but is popular in Latin American countries. Culantro has larger leaves like leeks and stronger flavors than cilantro. One leaf of culantro may be enough to substitute 4 sprigs of cilantro and vice versa. Culantro is not eaten raw and adds it your dish at the initial part of cooking itself; its strong flavors won’t diminish by cooking.

4. Dill

You won’t find anything much common between cilantro and dill for both of them has distinctive flavors. However, just like cilantro, dill imparts a wonderful flavor in everything from green salads to cold soups. To fill the vacuum of missing cilantro in your dish, use fresh dill leaves as a substitute. Use just a little; it’s quite potent and dominating.

5. Herb Mixture

If you do not have cilantro, you can replicate cilantro flavor to the dishes by using a mixture of fresh herbs.

A mixture of minced herbs like oregano, parsley, dill, and tarragon can give a flavor similar to cilantro. This mixture also has a higher nutritional value than cilantro.

While making an herbal mix substitute for cilantro, choose the herbs that have a similar flavor profile.

In most cases, you need to use only a small amount of herbal mixture instead of cilantro.

6. Papalo

Papalo, a relative of daisy, has a peppery cross flavor between cilantro and cucumber. Simply chop the leaves of papalo and use them in your dishes as you do with cilantro. Being more potent than cilantro, use it in less quantity than cilantro.

7. Rau ram

Rau ram, also known as Vietnamese cilantro, is a worthy alternative to cilantro. Its stronger lemon note makes it more flavorful than cilantro. Most people will enjoy this substitute more than cilantro itself.

8. Mint

Mint leaves can be an emergency replacement for cilantro when you don’t have other better substitutes we have listed above. Spraying a little balsamic vinegar over the mint leaves would reduce the coolness of mint leaves.

3 Simple Substitutes For Dried Cilantro

Don’t have dried cilantro required for your recipe? Here are the best replacements for dried cilantro:

1. Dried Thai Basil Or Holy Basil

Dried Thai basil with its anise- and licorice-like and slightly spicy flavor is a nice ingredient to use in place of dried cilantro. Dried holy basil is also a lot similar to Thai basil despite the former being spicier with a strong peppery flavor.  Use 1 tablespoon of dried Thai basil in place of 2 tablespoons of dried cilantro.

2. Dried Parsley + Oregano

A mixture of dried oregano and parsley in equal proportion can very well mimic the flavor and appearance of dried cilantro. However, this mixture is more flavorful than dried cilantro. One tablespoon of the blend is enough to replace 3 tablespoons of dried cilantro.

3. Cumin

Cumin is an essential spice for Indian curries and chutneys, also used in Latin American and Middle Eastern dishes. It’s a regular companion of coriander seeds in several recipes. Cumin has a slightly sweet, warming flavor with a nutty element, an equally satiating alternative to dried cilantro with an anise-like piney flavor. It’s best to be frugal while adding cumin to your dish for its flavor can easily dominate a dish. You may also check out our comparison between cumin and coriander.


What is a good cilantro substitute in salsa?

Adding fresh cilantro to salsa just before serving is a flavorful treat. In place of cilantro, you may use mint, parsley, basil, green onions, chives, carrot greens, or dill in salsa.

What is a good cilantro substitute for guacamole?

Guacamole is a dip made of avocados, lime, and other fresh ingredients; minced fresh cilantro is an important ingredient in it. However, in place of cilantro, you may use fresh Thai basil, Italian parsley, or papalo.

Can you substitute cilantro for parsley?

Cilantro isn’t a perfect substitute for parsley but they add similar texture and color to your dish. Cilantro has a strong flavor with citrusy notes but parsley is has a mild bright flavor. Yet, cilantro will work fine in most recipes that call for Italian parsley.