15 Substitutes for Coriander

Substitutes for Coriander
Photo by Conscious Design

Coriander, also known as cilantro or Chinese parsley, has a unique taste that sets it apart from other herbs and spices.

But what happens when you’re out of coriander but still want to make your favorite recipes? 

Luckily, plenty of other herbs and spices are easy to find at your local grocery store that you can use in place of coriander—without affecting the flavor of your meal!

Keep reading to learn more about these tasty herbs and spices that can be used as substitutes for coriander. 

1. Curry Powder

When it comes to curries, there is no one-size-fits-all spice blend. The ingredients in curry powder vary depending on the region where it’s made. Most curry powders contain cumin, turmeric, coriander, and chili pepper.

If you don’t have any coriander on hand, try substituting it with curry powder. Be warned that curry powder can be pretty potent, so start with a little and add more to the taste.  

2. Dried Basil

For dried herbs, basil is an excellent substitute for coriander. It has a similar flavor profile, with a slightly minty taste. You can use it in any dish that calls for dried coriander, from curries to soups.

Add it early in the cooking process, so the flavor has time to develop. If you’re using it as an accent spice (say, in rice pilaf), sprinkle some over your dish at the end of cooking. 

3. Cumin seed

Among the popular substitutes for coriander, toasted cumin seeds are the best. To make them: Put two tablespoons of whole cumin seeds into a skillet over medium-high heat until they start popping or turn dark brown. Transfer them immediately to a plate or bowl to cool before grinding them into powder or breaking them into smaller pieces.

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4. Dill Weed

When substituting for coriander, dill weed is probably the closest in flavor. Dill has a similar lemony taste, with a touch of anise. It’s also quite fragrant, so a little goes a long way.

Use half as much dill weed as you would other substitutes for coriander. You can also use coriander and dill weed together to add complexity and depth of flavor. 

5. Fennel

Fennel seeds are another option if you want something more savory than citrusy. Fennel seeds have a strong licorice taste that balances well with cumin, but be sure not to overdo it because fennel can quickly become overpowering.

6. Oregano

Oregano is an aromatic, earthy herb often used in Italian and Greek cooking. It has a slightly bitter taste and can be used in place of coriander in many dishes.

When substituting oregano for coriander, use a little less than you would of the latter since oregano is more potent. 

This herb goes well with other bold flavors, such as garlic, onions, and tomatoes. It can also add a lot of flavor to beans, pasta sauces, grilled vegetables, or Mexican-style meals. 

7. Rosemary 

The flavor profile is similar to oregano but much milder and sweeter tasting.

8. Parsley

Parsley has a bright citrus flavor that helps it stand up well against more pungent tastes like black pepper or salt.

9. Thyme

If you’ve been using thyme in soups or stews lately, this might work better if you need something else quickly while your thyme soaks overnight before use again. 

10. Bay leaves

Bay leaves are more fragrant than some of the other substitutes for coriander listed here, so it may not be an ideal substitute for every dish where coriander was used originally.

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Bay leaves can be used in place of coriander in most recipes. They have a similar flavor profile, with a slightly minty taste and a hint of citrus. If you’re using bay leaves in place of coriander, remove them before serving, as they can be bitter if eaten whole. 

Add the bay leaves for sauces or soups during the last few minutes of cooking. In baking, use one teaspoon for every two teaspoons of ground coriander.

In curries, substitute about 1⁄4 cup bay leaves for 1 cup ground coriander; steep for 20 minutes before removing the bay leaves from the dish.

For pickling vegetables like cucumbers or onions, combine two tablespoons of fresh dill with one tablespoon of fresh chopped ginger and 1⁄2 teaspoon of dried coriander seeds (or more to taste).

11. Tarragon

With its anise-like flavor, tarragon is an excellent substitute for coriander. Use it in dishes that call for fresh or dry coriander leaves.

To substitute dried tarragon for new, use one-third the amount called for in the recipe. When substituting fresh tarragon for dry, use three times the amount called for in the recipe. For example, one tablespoon of dry tarragon would replace three tablespoons of fresh tarragon.

In addition to using this herb as a stand-in for coriander leaves, try adding some finely chopped stems to your favorite chicken salad recipe as well as Moroccan s

12. Paprika

When it comes to substitutes for coriander, paprika is a great option. This spice is made from dried red peppers and has a similar earthy flavor.

Plus, paprika can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. To substitute, use the same amount of paprika as you would coriander. 

However, there are some critical differences between these two spices: Paprika is sweeter than coriander, so if you plan on using this substitute for something like chili or curry, don’t add sugar or honey.

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You may also want to increase the amount of salt you use by half a teaspoon since the taste will not be as strong.

13. Basil Leaves

When it comes to appearance, basil leaves are a dead ringer for cilantro. They have a similar shape and size and boast a vibrant green hue.

When it comes to flavor, however, basil is much milder than cilantro. It has a sweet, anise-like flavor with hints of mint and pepper. 

While basil is most commonly used in Italian dishes, it can also be used in Mexican and Asian cuisine. If you want to substitute basil for cilantro in any recipe, remember that the flavor will be different, so adjust the amount accordingly.

14. Parsley Flakes

When replacing fresh parsley, there’s no need to look any further than your spice cabinet. Dried parsley flakes are a common ingredient in many recipes and can be used as a 1:1 replacement for fresh parsley.

Just keep in mind that the flakes will need to be rehydrated before using, so add them to your dish early on. Otherwise, they’ll just burn up.

15. Marjoram Leaves 

This is among the excellent substitutes for coriander if you have a lot of marjoram leaves but no ground cumin. The flavor is very similar, but marjoram leaf has more earthy undertones while cumin is typically spicier. 

Conclusion

The options listed above are excellent substitutes for coriander if you want something with earthy tones and milder flavors. Be sure to mix them in the right proportion to bring out the unique taste embedded in them. Happy tasting!

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