How to Use Cilantro in Cooking

Low in calories, high in potassium, and good for the digestive system, cilantro has been used in culinary dishes from all around the world for thousands of years. In fact, all parts of the plant are edible - even the roots!



Most dishes only use the leaves (known as cilantro) or the seeds (known as coriander). The leaves are used to add a fragrant mix of parsley and citrus flavor. As with the leaves, coriander seeds have a citrus flavor, though with a lighter and sweeter curry taste. However, when ground into a fine powder, coriander has a roasted, nutty aroma.

Cilantro leaves should be used fresh whenever possible as that is when they are most flavorful. Adding chopped leaves at the last minute imparts maximum flavor, particularly in hot dishes, as heat diminishes the flavor. For cold dishes (salsas, guacamole, smoothies), leaves can be added at any point.

In general, cilantro blends well with:

Popular cuisines that use cilantro include Mexican, Latin American, Indian, Asian, and Mediterranean. Here are some ideas on how to use cilantro in each:

Mexican and Latin American

Give guacamole, salsa, or pico de gallo a kick by adding fresh cilantro. Sprinkle it on some carne asada or fish tacos for added zest, or make a delicious chimichurri sauce from Argentina!

Asian and Indian

Use both the leaves and seeds in many curries and noodle dishes. Or be adventurous and use the roots of the plant as a base for some Asian soups!


Use in stews, salads, relishes, and tomato-based sauces.

Grow Fresh Cilantro

If you liked what you read and want to easily grow your own fresh cilantro, check out our soil-free, self-watering Cilantro Herb Garden Kit.


Like what you read? Hit the red SUBSCRIBE button at the bottom of the page for updates.

How else do you use cilantro? Share your comments below!