Finding An Effective Cilantro Substitute

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Cilantro Substitute Options – Cilantro is the herb with many popular names such as Mexican parsley, green coriander, and Chinese parsley. Due to its strong fragrance and potent nature, it is versatile enough to be used as a seasoning ingredient and as a vegetable.

It is used to season soups, salads, curries, rice recipes, salsas, and stir-fries. While the seeds known as coriander are involved in different seasoning mixes, the roots, leaves, and stems are widely used in other dishes. Cilantro is perhaps a staple ingredient in Latin American cuisine.

Despite the fact that cilantro has so many uses, its potent flavor usually receives a controversial response. While some truly adore it, the rest consider it to be foamy and overpowering. So, there are many people who do not like cilantro.

Cilantro Substitute – 3 Good Alternatives

So, if you are looking for a milder option, a cilantro substitute that is mild is what you need. Such a substitute is also helpful when you run out of the herb at some point. Below are some of these alternatives to consider.

#1. Basil

Basil and cilantro leaves are somewhat similar and both the herbs possess a bit sweet and tropical flavor. Their flavor is strongest in their raw form but it is lost swiftly at the time of cooking. It is a nice idea to use basil as a cilantro substitute in Mediterranean items or in dishes where the cilantro’s alkaline flavor is just not appealing.

You can even use fresh basil leaves in Asian and Italian cuisines. While the latter needs sweet basil, the former calls for other varieties such as lemon basil, Thai basil, and holy basil. See also: Basil Substitute

The Thai basil can be the best cilantro substitute for those who dislike cilantro for its flavor. Its purple stems and small leaves encompass licorice and citrus notes along with a bright and spicy flavor. While Thai basil gives a different flavor, it works well as an alternative to cilantro.

#2. Papalo

This is a popular herb in Central America and Mexico, which is known for its cilantro-like flavor despite being not related to cilantro. It has a cucumber and citrus hint and is more potent than cilantro in terms of flavor.

As the flavor is lost while cooking, it is added usually when the cooking is about to get over. Further, due to its potency, papalo is used in less quantity. For example, a tablespoon of cilantro should be ideally replaced by one-third tablespoon of papalo.

You can use papalo in Mexican dishes, salads, guacamole, and salads.

#3. Italian Parsley

Those who are cooks know that both cilantro and parsley are closely related to each other. So, if you use cilantro for garnishing, you can also replace it with parsley. Nevertheless, parsley is a bit bitter due to which you may consider adding some sugar. Another effective option is to add a mix of oregano with parsley or a mix of basil and parsley instead of cilantro. Doing so actually imitates the cilantro’s taste. See also: Parsley Substitute


These are some of the most used cilantro substitutes. However, you should use them as per the taste or flavor requirements.

Related: Cilantro Vs. Parsley