6 Best Cilantro Substitutes


Cilantro, the leaf of the Coriandrum sativum plant, is a widely consumed herb with many health benefits due to its antibacterial and anticancer properties.

It has a fresh, fragrant, and citrusy flavor. It is widely used in Mexican, Caribbean, and Asian cooking.

However, some people dislike cilantro as it tastes like soap, mold, dirt, or bugs to them.

If you do not like the taste of cilantro or don’t have it, then this article will offer you some substitutions that may work well in place of cilantro.

6 Best Cilantro Substitutes

The best substitute for Cilantro are – Parsley, Basil, Dill, Tarragon, Papalo, and Rau Ram (Vietnamese coriander). They are discussed in detail here –


Parsley is a hardy biennial herb widely used for flavoring and garnishing foods. It has deep green, tender, and curled leaves. It is used in soups, casseroles, and salads.

It may work as a substitute for cilantro due to its similar characteristics. It may be used in garnish, condiment, and flavoring due to its mild and fresh scent.

However, it may have a slightly bitter taste and lack the citrusy over notes as a garnish.

The bitterness may be compensated by adding a small amount of honey.


Parsley is a bright green herb that has a similar appearance and fresh, flavourful notes as cilantro. It may work well as a cilantro substitute.


Basil, known as Ocimum basilicum, is the annual herb of the mint family. It is used to flavor meats, fish, salads, and sauces.

It is commonly used for stomach problems, including spasms, loss of appetite, intestinal gas, and other conditions.

Thai basil is a type of basil with a distinct spicy (mainly licorice), citrusy, and anise-like flavor. It may substitute cilantro due to its bright flavor.

When used in curries instead of cilantro, it may add a pleasant pop of flavor. However, it works best as a garnish as cooking basil diminishes its flavor.


Thai basil may substitute cilantro in most dishes due to its citrusy and spicy flavor.


Dill, known as Anethum graveolens, is the fennel-like herb of the parsley family. It is aromatic and is used to flavor soups, salads, sauces, fish, and pickles.

It has a deliciously warm, slightly sharp, earthy flavor with an anise tone. Its flavors are stronger when cooked for a shorter time.

It could be a good alternative for cilantro in any recipe; however, it may taste different.


Dill may be one of the cilantro substitutes as it resembles the properties of the cilantro and due to its earthy aroma.


Tarragon, also known as Artemisia dracunculus, is a woody perennial subshrub with characteristic cleft leaves. It is used for flavoring meat, fish, and vegetable dishes.

The odor and taste of the tarragon are agreeable, aromatic, and resembles lemon and licorice. It may work as a cilantro substitute in garnishing and cooking warm dishes as it has a mild taste.


Tarragon may substitute cilantro in warm dishes and as garnish due to its mild aroma.


Papalo, known as Porophyllum ruderale, is used for its wound healing, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. It is commonly used in Mexico and South America in salsas.

It is a distinctly pungent herb that has a flavor between arugula, cilantro, and rue.

Therefore, it may be an ideal substitute in place of cilantro. Like cilantro, it may be used as a garnish to the dishes.


Papalo may be used as a substitute for cilantro due to its pungency and acquired taste.

Rau Ram (Vietnamese coriander)

Rau Ram, known as Polygonum odoratum, is a common herb in Vietnamese cuisine. It is also known as Vietnamese coriander, used to flavor soups, stews, and salads due to its strong minty and peppery flavor.

It is another substitute for cilantro with a taste similar to coriander but with a stronger lemon note.


Rau Ram is a valuable substitute for cilantro due to its similar flavor notes to cilantro.


Why do some people dislike cilantro taste?

Some people may find the taste of cilantro soapy due to genetic reasons.

These people have a variation in the olfactory-receptor genes that allow them to perceive the soapy-aldehydes in cilantro leaves.

These genetic inclinations make these people avoid cilantro altogether.

What is the difference between cilantro and coriander?

Coriander is the feathery annual plant of the parsley family used both as a herb or a spice.

Its delicate young leaves are called cilantro used in Indian, Latin American, and Chinese dishes. Its dry fruits and seeds are called coriander and are used to flavor many foods.

Bottom Line

Cilantro is a popular ingredient used to flavor many recipes. When you run out of cilantro or do not prefer its taste, there are plenty of herbs, including parsley, dill, tarragon, that may be swapped in its place.

These herbs mimic the taste and look of the cilantro leaves.

However, it is recommended to use these herbs in moderation as adding too much of a certain herb may intensify the dish’s flavor.

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About Amanda Jones

Amanda is a person with an eye for detail. She has been cooking since her childhood and loves to bake too. Recently, she's made the decision to pursue baking full-time and quit her 9 to 5 job. In the meantime, she still enjoys cooking and baking for friends and family, especially when it comes time for special occasions like birthdays or holidays!

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