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What Alternatives Are Best For Cilantro? 11 Options!

Cilantro is pretty wonderful. This herb is used in a range of different dishes, including Indian, Asian and Mexican Dishes.

What Alternatives Are Best For Cilantro 11 Options!

It’s technically a member of the parsley family, and one of the things that make it so useful in many recipes is the strong aroma that it possesses.

It’s not always called cilantro either – sometimes you may hear it being referred to as Mexican parsley or Chinese parsley. It basically looks like parsley with much larger leaves and very soft stems.

It’s possible to eat the whole plant if you want. Even the roots are edible! Cilantro roots are sometimes listed as an ingredient for some recipes.

When you taste this herb, it tastes a little peppery and vibrant, and there’s something of a lemony taste to it. Of course, it’s not a herb that everyone enjoys.

Some people go wild for this herb though. But what if you don’t have any available that you can use for your next recipe?

There are actually a number of different alternatives that you can use instead of cilantro, if you so wish.

Italian Parsley, Thai basil, papalo, mint, rau rum, cumin, dill, curry powder, caraway, oregano and garam masala are all some fantastic substitutes that you can use instead of cilantro if you prefer.

Today, we’re going to deep dive into these herbs so you can take your pick the next time you don’t have cilantro on hand and want to make a recipe where it is a listed ingredient.

Alternatives To Cilantro

If you are one of those people that could easily live without cilantro or you just don’t want to use it for your next recipe, you need not despair.

There are plenty of alternatives that will work just as well in the vast majority of different recipes. These products will help you to give a whole new flavor to a variety of different dishes. It’s going to taste extra yummy!

Oh, and make sure that you’re careful to use the correct amounts of the ingredients, since it’s going to have a big impact on the overall taste and aroma of the dish.

You most likely aren’t going to need the same amount of some of these ingredients as cilantro, so modify the recipe as needed.

Thai Basil

In the market for a great substitute for cilantro? Well, you will be pleased with what basil can offer you. Now, it’s important to note that the dish is not going to taste the same way that it would if you were using cilantro.

Basil does work well with a bunch of other ingredients that you will find in cilantro based dishes.

The herbs do taste quite different – there’s a lot more sweetness in basil than you would get with cilantro. The aroma and taste that they both produce is wonderful though.

You can also get access to basil without too much trouble – just visit your local grocery store or market.

For the most part, basil is the best choice if you are looking to replace cilantro in a Thai dish. It’s a fantastic choice of garnish for a variety of dishes, too.

Italian Parsley

Italian Parsley looks a lot like cilantro. It also works as a fantastic alternative to cilantro if you need one. It is something of a bitter herb, which can be quite startling when you first try it.

If you want to dull down the bitterness then adding some sugar or honey to the recipe will usually work wonders.

It’s worth noting that cilantro and parsley look incredibly alike, so you need to double check what they are before you pick them up at the store.

You can make the parsley taste more like cilantro too if you need to. All you need to do is add a mix of basil and oregano into the dish to make it taste more like the familiar taste of cilantro.


Mmmm, minty fresh! Mint is a wonderful choice for your meals if you don’t want to or can’t use cilantro.

Mint, as you probably know, smells wonderful and will bring a great taste to the dish. If the recipe requires cilantro then you can probably use mint as a substitute, especially if it’s Asian cuisine.

If the minty taste or smell is a little bit overwhelming in the dish then you can neutralize it a little by adding in some balsamic vinegar.

This ingredient is a fantastic, readily available choice if you need a replacement for cilantro, so it’s worth keeping it on your radar.


This may be one that you haven’t heard of, but it works really well in place of cilantro. This herb tends to be quite commonly used in Mexican cuisine, so it’s worth considering using it if you are making a Mexican dish.

Think about cilantro and cucumber – the taste can be described as something in between the two.You can even use papalo as a raw garnish for a meal to add some extra zest.

It’s the perfect ingredient of things like guacamole, carnitas, tacos and a bunch of other recipes. Also, if the recipe calls for a tablespoon of cilantro, then only add ⅓ tablespoon of papalo.

Rau Ram

There’s a reason that this substitute is also known as Vietnamese cilantro! It tastes a lot like your average cilantro, and this means that it’s pretty much the perfect cilantro substitute. Get a hold of some rau ram for your next recipe!

There are some minor differences, of course. There’s a slightly more peppery taste with raw ram, and the taste is quite aromatic.

It’s a good choice to use in salads and other things that need a big pinch of flavor. It’s most commonly used in Southeast Asian dishes.

Curry Powder

Curry Powder

You can get curry powder from pretty much any grocery store on the planet, and it works well as a substitute both for cilantro and coriander.

Curry powder tends to be a mixture of a few different spices and herbs, such as ginger, turmeric, chili and coriander.

Thanks to the sheer amount of spices in the mix and the unique flavor, curry powder can work admirably well in a wide variety of recipes as a replacement for cilantro. It can be used as a marinade, in soups, or in curries!


Another great choice that you can use instead of cilantro is cumin. The taste is a little bit different from cilantro, however – it’s rather bitter and the flavor is much darker.

There are even nutty, spicy hints to this ingredient. This means that it’s a great choice for a twist on your favorite cilantro based recipes.

It tends to be used a lot in things like tacos, though it’s not restricted to just that. It’s worth getting some cumin for your kitchen and doing some experimenting!


Dill looks nothing like cilantro, but it doesn’t need to look like it in order for it to be an effective substitute!

This ingredient works for a wide range of dishes, featuring a gorgeous citrus taste that will add plenty of zest to a lot of recipes. It’ll be enough to make your mouth water for days!

Dill is a rather rich herb that works well in things like potato salad, soups and various other dishes.

When you are using it, make sure that you are using the same amount as you would with cilantro. If you want to then you can even use dill as a garnish.


Caraway tends to be a good choice for replacing cilantro. Caraway resembles coriander in terms of the taste, and this makes it a good cilantro substitute.

It has a bitter yet sweet taste to it, so it’s a unique taste that will really highlight all of the flavors in your meal. It’s slightly sweeter than cilantro is, making it a great choice for things like marinades.

Garam Masala

Garam Masala is basically a combination of a range of different spices. This includes bay leaf, cumin, peppercorn, coles, cinnamon and coriander. It’s suitable for a wide variety of different recipes.

It makes a good substitute for cilantro because of the coriander in the mix. It works for lots of different recipes and really enhances the flavors within your dishes.


Oregano is easy to find in your local store, and it’s perhaps the single most popular cilantro substitute on the market.

If you want a taste that closest resembles cilantro then you can add in some lime juice and more herbs to get the desired effect.

All you need to do is add it to your dish and it will blend well with the other ingredients. It is most often used in Mexican food but you can use it for other cuisines too. It’s healthy too!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Use Anything Instead Of Cilantro?

You could, but it may not taste great with the dish you’re making. Instead, it’s best to stick with things that have a flavor profile that’s similar.

Is Cilantro The Same As Coriander?

They both technically come from the same plant, but they don’t taste the same and aren’t always used for the same thing.

Coriander seeds come from the flowers of the plant, whereas cilantro is the stem and leaves of it.

Can I Substitute Dried Parsley For Fresh Cilantro?

Yes – just remember that you will need to use about 1 tablespoon of cilantro for every teaspoon of parsley in the original recipe.

You won’t be using the same amounts, so it’s worth keeping that in mind.

What Alternatives Are Best For Cilantro? 11 Options!

5 from 1 vote

Cilantro is a delicious herb that adds a unique flavor to many dishes. But what are the best alternatives for cilantro? Find out here.


  • Thai Basil

  • Italian Parsley

  • Mint

  • Papalo

  • Rau Ram

  • Curry Powder

  • Cumin

  • Dill

  • Caraway

  • Garam Masala

  • Oregano


  • Decided on what substitute you need
  • Pick a substitute from the list above
  • Read what you need to substitute with
  • Create the recipe and enjoy

Recipe Video

Jess Smith