The Best Coriander Substitutes to Try

Coriander. Photo © Erin Huffstetler

Out of coriander or not a fan of the way it tastes? To find a proper substitute for coriander, you first need to understand what your recipe means by "coriander."

In the United States, "coriander" typically refers to coriander seed or ground coriander, while "cilantro" is the term used to refer to the fresh leaves of the coriander plant. In the UK, however,"coriander" refers to the fresh leaves, and the seeds are referred to as "coriander seed" or "ground coriander".

Confusing? Definitely. But once you understand what your recipe is asking for, finding a substitute is a snap.

Cilantro/Coriander Leaf Substitute

Replace the coriander called for in the recipe with an equal amount of fresh parsley, tarragon, dill or a combination of the three. For maximum flavor, add your herbs to the dish just before serving. Cooking diminishes their flavor significantly.

These substitutes work best when the cilantro is being used as a garnish. If the recipe you're working on calls for a large amount of cilantro, consider making something else. Replacing the cilantro that's supposed to be sprinkled on top of a finished dish is very different than replacing the cilantro in a recipe like Chimichurri, where the finished product is almost 50% cilantro.

Dried coriander isn't a good substitute for fresh coriander. It loses much of its flavor when it's dried, and incorporates into the dish quite differently.

If you don't have any of the suggested fresh herbs on hand, just leave the cilantro out. Your recipe should still taste great without it.

Coriander Seed/Ground Coriander Substitute

Replace the coriander called for in the recipe with an equal amount of caraway seeds, cumin, fennel or a combination of the three.

How to Substitute Ground Coriander for Coriander Seed

Replace every teaspoon of coriander seed called for with 3/4 teaspoon of ground coriander. Since ground coriander loses its flavor quickly, you may find it necessary to add more ground coriander to the dish to achieve the intended flavor. Do a taste test, and adjust the quantity as needed.

How to Substitute Coriander Seed for Ground Coriander

If your recipe calls for ground coriander, and all you have is coriander seed, grind it with a coffee/spice grinder or a mortar and pestle. If you don't own either, the seeds are soft enough that they can even be ground up with a rolling pin. Just place them inside a sandwich bag, and roll over them until they're ground up. This will give you a coarser grind than a spice grinder, but that's okay. Since ground coriander loses it's potency quickly, aim to only grind what you need for your recipe. Whole coriander seeds store much better.

More Ingredient Substitutions

If you found this substitution useful, be sure to bookmark or pin my complete list of ingredient substitutions. It has over 70 substitutions and counting.

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