coriander substitute

What Chefs Want You To Know Before Using A Coriander Substitute

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Coriander Substitute – Out of coriander while preparing a dish for your family? Whether you are too lazy to go out in the middle of your cooking session or you simply dislike the taste of coriander, you should know that you do have options.

Don’t just ditch it out of the recipe, but try to find the perfect coriander substitute instead. Believe it or not, you can find various spice combinations that taste like coriander, but don’t have the same strong aroma.

Coriander Substitute Options

However, the more recipes you find with coriander, the more confusing this venture becomes. After all, coriander is available in multiple forms and can be tricky to find the right replacement. Once you understand the concept behind the recipe and the desired taste, finding an alternative is a snap. So, what should you know prior to your search?

Types of coriander in recipes

Sometimes, coriander is referred to as cilantro. It belongs to the parsley family and is more commonly used for its aromatic properties. When you go through a recipe, make sure it mentions what form the coriander is needed in. Otherwise, you risk using the wrong type and the result will be far from your expectations.

Coriander spice is more common than other forms. It has an earthy flavor, as well as a warm aroma. It’s extremely popular in the Middle Eastern cuisine, as well as some parts of Asia. If you’ve ever had curry, chances are it had coriander in it. It’s also popular in sauces, soups, stews and meat meals.

Coriander seeds are slightly different because they have one major role – marinades. Seeds are usually the primary stage of coriander spice since they’re ground to turn into spice. Whole seeds are not so popular in recipes. However, most recipes will clearly state when you have to use them.

Finally, coriander leaves are used for the strong flavor. They are similar in taste and flavor to the Italian parsley. When used for condiments, leaves are actually cooked. When in need of a slight aroma, most chefs just use them to garnish their dishes.

Coriander leaf substitutes

When you have to find a coriander substitute for leaves, you can just as well rely on tarragon, parsley or dill. Even better, come up with a mix of all these leaves and use them altogether. It depends on what you’re trying to achieve though. If you want a strong flavor, add them to the meal right before serving it, while still fresh. When cooked, they lose most of their aromas.

Related: Cilantro Vs. Parsley

When the recipe implies using lots of coriander as a spice, you’ll have to find another coriander substitute. You will probably have to cook it, so you can forget about leaves for garnishment. Dried coriander might look like a good choice, but it’s not.

When dried, most of its flavor is gone. Plus, it doesn’t incorporate into dishes as well as fresh coriander. If there are no other options and you only have dried coriander, it’s better to just leave it out. Your recipe will taste great even without that extra touch of aroma.


Cumin makes a popular coriander substitute because it has most of its flavors, except for the citrusy aroma. Other than that, everything else is pretty much the same, but especially the earthy taste. Given the strength of cumin, you should not replace coriander at a 1:1 rate. Instead, start with ½ of what you need. You can go up to ¾ of the required amount, but that’s pretty much it or the taste will be too strong.

Related: Cumin Substitute Solutions

Caraway seeds

Caraway seeds make a good coriander substitute too due to the warm and earthy flavor. Besides, they can even resemble the citrusy taste of coriander. It’s easy to tell why – they belong to the same family. But then, caraway seeds are stronger, so don’t overreact – use up to ¾ of what you truly need.

Curry powder

Curry powder is just as good when trying to replace coriander spice. If you’re cooking an Indian dish, you should know that many local chefs use it as a replacement even when they actually have coriander around. Just like other alternatives, curry is stronger than coriander, so use ½ of what you require.

In the end, you don’t have to be a genius to find a good coriander substitute, but just research your choices and use the right proportions.

See also: Cardamom Substitute

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Nelly Doretha

I always try to add new ingredients for cooking various dishes. I have learned cooking from my grandmothers, moms and also my siblings. I am proud that my closest relatives have assisted me to become one of the skilled chefs. Read More