15 Best Cilantro Substitutes for the Perfect Swap

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You’re excited to cook a delicious recipe and one of the ingredients is cilantro. You look in your spice cabinet to realize you’re completely out of cilantro.

Or maybe you think cilantro tastes like soap. Is there something else you could use instead?

What are some good cilantro substitutes that you have in your kitchen?

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Cilantro is an herb similar to parsley but with a hint of citrusy flavor. It comes from the coriander plant, which is in the same botanical family as many other popular herbs.

So let’s talk about what to swap for cilantro that will allow you to achieve a delicious result.

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1. Parsley leaves

Parsley leaves
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The parsley plant looks similar to the cilantro plant.

They have many of the same features, including texture.

However, parsley has a milder herbal aroma with peppery undertones

This common herb is a great alternative to cilantro that most people have in their homes.

It is also one of the best options to use instead of cilantro.

2. Celery leaves

Celery leaves
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Since celery comes from the same plant family as coriander, there are a lot of similarities.

Celery leaves have a fairly strong aroma but a very mild flavor.

They also have many health benefits.

If you have leftover fresh celery, you should consider using them in place of cilantro.

3. Green onion

Green onions
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Green onions taste similar to an onion, but not quite as pungent.

They almost have a sweet flavor to them

Green onions are a fantastic garnish for many dishes.

Use them as a replacement for cilantro in some recipes because they provide a pop of pleasant flavor.

4. Arugula

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Arugula and cilantro don’t have much in common.

Arugula has a peppery taste and can sometimes be bitter.

So why do people use arugula as a substitute for cilantro?

Arugula is so popular and many people prefer it to cilantro.

Replacing cilantro with arugula is a great option for people who aren’t fond of cilantro.

5. Chives

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Chives are quite similar to green onions.

Both are good cilantro substitutes.

If you enjoy the sweet oniony flavor of chives, you might prefer chives to cilantro.

Both chives and cilantro can give you a pop of flavor in your favorite dishes.

While the taste may be a bit different, the experience is very similar.

6. Dill

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Dill has a sweet, summery flavor.

Although it doesn’t taste like cilantro, it does have a bold flavor.

If you are trying to avoid the soapy flavor of cilantro, you may want to opt for dill.

It won’t have a similar taste, but will still give you a big flavor.

This is an especially good option during the warmer months of the year.

7. Oregano

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If you’re still wondering what to use instead of cilantro, you may want to consider oregano.

There are different types of oregano, including Mexican oregano.

Mexican oregano is a very close match to cilantro.

It has a more robust flavor, but many people will use it instead of cilantro.

If you only have Italian oregano, you can still use that if you don’t have cilantro.

Italian oregano has an earthy flavor but enhances many dishes that call for cilantro.

8. Chopped up spinach

Chopping spinach
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Spinach has a mildly sweet flavor.

However, it can amp up the flavor of a recipe when you use enough of it.

When using fresh spinach, you can use a generous amount of the leafy green.

This is a great way to add nutrition to a recipe that calls for cilantro.

Since spinach is such an inoffensive flavor, you don’t have to worry about ruining your recipe.

Nobody will be turned off by the use of spinach instead of cilantro.

9. Papalo

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Papalo is not as commonly found in US kitchens.

However, it is an excellent alternative to cilantro.

It tastes like cilantro, but stronger. Therefore, a little goes a long way!

If a recipe calls for a cup of fresh cilantro, you’ll want to start with ¼ cup of fresh papalo.

You can always add more if you need to!

This may be the best alternative to cilantro if you have access to it.

10. Salad burnet

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Salad burnet is a lesser-known herb that tastes like cucumber.

You may be wondering why this herb is a good cilantro substitute.

Many people like to combine the two herbs for delicious results.

But if you only have salad burnet to use, you might still love the end product.

So it makes sense to use salad burnet instead of cilantro when necessary.

You may be pleasantly surprised when you use salad burnet instead of cilantro.

11. Thai basil

Thai basil
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Since Thai basil has a citrusy taste, it can be a good substitute for cilantro.

It is especially good when used in Asian recipes that call for cilantro.

Cilantro has a tangy flavor that is reminiscent of lemon.

Thai basil has similar notes of flavor, as well.

12. Culantro

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Culantro is probably one of the best substitutes for cilantro.

Culantro smells and tastes similar to cilantro.

Like papalo, culantro has a stronger flavor than cilantro.

You will want to use it a little bit at a time.

You can always add more if you need to!

13. Epazote

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Epazote is often referred to as Mexican tea.

It has a complex flavor profile and some medicinal properties.

Epazote has some citrusy undertone but is more bitter than cilantro.

Many people will use cilantro if they don’t have epazote.

So it makes sense to try epazote if you don’t have cilantro!

14. Basil

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If you don’t have Thai basil, other varieties of basil are good options to use instead of cilantro.

Basil may have a sweeter taste than cilantro, but it is a good alternative.

If you are cooking an Italian dish, you will want to consider subbing basil for cilantro.

15. Watercress

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Watercress has a peppery flavor that is similar to cilantro.

Fortunately, many people who don’t like cilantro, do like watercress.

Therefore it is a great substitute if you want the same flavor profile without the soapy taste.

Hey! Want more expert food substitution guides? Check these out!

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