We have here the BEST variety of tasty cilantro recipes that will spice up your next meal!
If you’re looking to spice up a meal while adding vibrant visual appeal, using fresh or dried herbs is a simple way to do it.
Cilantro is a beloved and budget-friendly herb with a distinctive flavor and a wide variety of uses.
While you may see coriander and cilantro used interchangeably, there is a key difference between them in recipes.
While both coriander and cilantro are technically the same plant, they refer to different parts of the plant.
Coriander refers to the seeds which are dried and roasted, used whole or roasted, while cilantro refers to the bright green stem and characteristic three clover leaves used fresh.
Recipes with cilantro encompass every aspect of a meal, from sauces to stews to refreshing beverages.
Cilantro is endemic to warmer climates, so you’ll tend to find it as a key ingredient in Asian, African, Caribbean, and Central and South American dishes.
That said, cilantro works well with most global cuisines.
We’ve compiled a list of our favorite cilantro recipes that span the culinary and multicourse gamut, giving you plenty of options on what to make with cilantro.
You’ll travel to Vietnam with a Banh Mi, a Vietnamese dish that uses a French baguette, or you’ll make a quick detour to the North of Mexico with the Charro Beans.
If you’ve got a bunch of cilantro you don’t know what to do with, read on to discover a world of possibilities.
1. Cilantro Pesto
Pesto is a wildly popular Italian sauce that usually involves basil and parsley, but cilantro works just as well.
Plus, fresh cilantro bunches are cheaper than basil bunches, and this is a recipe that uses a lot of cilantro.
Since you are grinding up cilantro in a blender or food processor, you can even throw the stems in for streamlined assembly.
Pesto tastes great over pasta, polenta, meats, or vegetables.
The sky’s the limit with this versatile recipe.
2. Texas Caviar
This bright and flavorful appetizer is a major crowd-pleaser and incredibly easy to throw together in under 30 minutes.
While black bean and corn salsas abound, Texans put their own twist on this famous Mexican salsa by switching out black beans for black-eyed peas.
It’s tangy, sweet, and delicious, using a myriad of dried spices, tangy vinegar, and a heaping serving of fresh cilantro.
You can serve it with tortilla chips, crostini, or eat it over salad.
This recipe gives you a taste of the Caribbean, showcasing one of the best tropical pairings on earth: lime and coconut.
Using coconut milk to cook the rice will give it an unparalleled creamy flavor with a hint of nutty sweetness, creating the perfect foundation for a zesty lime and cilantro mixture to stir into the rice when it’s hot and ready.
You can even throw in garlic and ginger to pair this rice with an Asian curry.
While we’re on the subject of tropical dishes, why not head over to a mainland Caribbean culture to bring you a novel concept of a cilantro cocktail.
Combining cilantro and fruit in salsas is a well-known concept, so it stands to reason that a pineapple and cilantro combination in liquid form would be just as delicious.
The cilantro, lime, and pineapple mixture offer a bright and complex flavor profile that you’ll savor.
If pineapples aren’t in season, you can use pears or watermelon.
Chutneys are Indian versions of dipping salsas, using a myriad of flavors from spicy to sweet.
Indian cuisine often provides two or three chutneys to enjoy with flatbreads or naan, giving you a sweet, cooling, and spicy dipping sauce to diversify and complement each bite.
This Cilantro Chutney recipe uses the entirety of your cilantro bunch, so you don’t have to spend hours de-stemming each cilantro stalk.
It’s a cooling and refreshing chutney to use over samosas, dosas, rice, pakoras, or any spicy meat dish.
Chilaquiles are a popular Mexican breakfast dish that is a mix between nachos and Texas-style Migas.
This recipe uses cilantro as salsa and a garnish.
The spicy and tangy salsa verde drowns crispy tortilla chips that are then topped with fresh fried eggs, chicken, cotija cheese, and more fresh cilantro leaves.
This dish is easy to prepare and looks amazing.
It’s hearty, savory, and tangy.
If you’re tired of breakfast burritos, tacos, or huevos rancheros, Chilaquiles Verdes will certainly become a new favorite frontrunner for your Mexican breakfast rotation.
If you’re wondering what to do with cilantro that has been sitting in the vegetable crisper and is on the brink of wilting, a stew is just the solution.
This Chicken Stew With Coriander, Cilantro, and Chard is a recipe that uses a lot of fresh cilantro, stems, and all.
It also uses coriander seeds, and while they are from the same plant, coriander and cilantro offer two different flavors that complement each other wonderfully.
Plus, the longer this stew sits, the more flavorful it becomes, making it a great meal to reheat and eat all week.
If meat is too expensive or you’re looking for more plant-based meals for an environmentally friendly option, this hot and spicy vegan cilantro pot noodles recipe is flavorful and comforting.
This recipe is a take on Hakka noodles, classic Indian-Chinese street food of stir-fry wok noodles.
The beauty of this recipe is that you can add whichever vegetables you like and decide how much garlic and cilantro you want to put in.
This simple recipe is a classic vinaigrette with a southwestern twist.
It’s also a more budget-friendly recipe that substitutes balsamic vinegar for white vinegar to complement the strong flavor of cilantro.
Cilantro, mustard, and olive oil are all very strong flavors that work well in this vinaigrette that you can use over salads, quinoa bowls, roasted vegetables, or even a southwestern pasta salad.
The gorgeous color adds a visual appeal.
A classic Argentinian dish that has garnered worldwide acclaim, Steak And Chimichurri can be a decadent special occasion meal or a friendly neighborhood barbecue centerpiece.
This traditional Argentinian parillada dish uses thin flank steak strips, grilled to a melt-in-your-mouth consistency.
The Chimichurri sauce combines cilantro, parsley, onions, red wine vinegar, garlic, and dried spices to create an aromatic flavor bomb that complements a bold and buttery steak perfectly.
A versatile and all-purpose Moroccan marinade, Chermoula is a complex flavor profile of Middle Eastern and North African spices and aromatics combined with a hefty helping of fresh cilantro, lemon juice, and oil.
Moroccan Chermoula is meant as a fish marinade or as an added sauce to fish and potato casseroles, but it will taste delicious as a marinade for any protein.
Persian Herb and Leek Frittata is another one of the recipes using cilantro.
This super earthy and herbaceous omelet is a celebratory dish for the Persian New Year and a deliciously light yet protein-packed main course.
Cilantro is just one of three fresh herbs mixed into an egg mixture with sweet, pungent sauteed leeks.
It’s great with a salad or paired with a few small mezze and flatbread.
Guacamole is a universally loved dip and the first to be gobbled up at a Superbowl party no matter how many avocados you throw in.
Adding cilantro and jalapeno to guacamole is both more authentically Mexican and infinitely more flavorful.
Guacamole is one of the best dishes to feature cilantro, its distinct herbaceous flavor combining with equal parts heat from the jalapeno, creaminess from the avocado, and tang from the lime.
This savory and rich curry uses coriander and cilantro leaves.
Coriander powder mixes with various South Asian aromatics in a yogurt marinade for the chicken.
A hearty and creamy coconut curry gravy uses dried coriander and whole fresh cilantro leaves along with a myriad of other spices to create the special yet easily assembled dish.
Plump pink shrimp, white fish filets, and colorful vegetables floating in a bright green broth make this stew as visibly stunning as it is delicious.
This is a recipe that uses a lot of cilantro to create such a deep green and flavorful broth.
Luckily you can throw the bunches in, stems and all, before blending them into a smooth puree.
Sometimes the best tasting dishes are the simplest and purest recipes.
A case in point is the utterly fresh cucumber and cilantro salad with copious amounts of lime juice and thinly sliced red onions.
This fresh cilantro recipe highlights each ingredient’s flavor and texture beautifully.
You can eat it right after preparing it for extra crunch or leave it to marinate in the lime juice which almost pickles the onions and cucumbers.
17. Pico De Gallo
Translated from Spanish, Pico De Gallo means “Rooster’s Beak”.
An unlikely phrase for a simple yet crucial staple of Mexican cooking combining onion, tomato, jalapeno, cilantro, and lime juice with a pinch of salt.
It tastes wonderful as a salsa or a topper for guacamole, fajitas, and black bean soup to name a few.
18. Charro Beans
Charro Beans are an easy and comforting Northern Mexican dish that you can throw in a large pot or pressure cooker and forget about.
Like stews or chilis, Charro beans taste better the longer they sit, so they’re a great dish to prepare ahead of time to accompany meals throughout the week.
A favorite Mexican street food snack, Esquites are corn off the cob, grilled to a nice outer char, or boiled in a flavorful lime and herb broth then served in a small cup with mayo, sharp cheese like parmesan, lime juice, and chili powder.
This recipe takes it a bit further by creating cilantro-lime mayonnaise to smother your smokey roasted corn.
20. Banh Mi
Banh Mi is a delectable Vietnamese sandwich using French baguette and delicately julienned vegetables to adorn a protein of your choice.
This recipe calls for chicken, but you can easily use fish, shrimp, or pork.
The cilantro in this dish combines with lime and mayo, bringing a flavorful and vibrant dressing for the vegetables and much-needed moisture to the baguette.
If you’ve ever wanted to put a tropical twist on a European or American dish, this Garlic Butter Shrimp With Cilantro Lime dish is a veritable tropical shrimp scampi.
By swapping lime for lemon and cilantro for parsley, you’ve officially created an Italian Caribbean fusion dish.
This simple recipe takes under 20 minutes to make and is as delicious over pasta as it is over rice or plantains.
If you’re looking for a challenge with a great payoff, this Baingan Bharta recipe is straightforward yet labor-intensive.
The roasting and skinning of the eggplant take patience but its smokey flavor is unparalleled.
Paired with fresh cilantro and coriander powder and finely chopped aromatics, this spiced eggplant dish will steal the show.
Favorite Street food in the Middle East, Falafel are chickpea fritters filled with hearty helpings of chopped cilantro and parsley that turn its fluffy and soft insides green.
This is another time-consuming recipe with a huge flavorful payoff.
They also taste just as good baked or pan-fried as they do deeply fried, which would save you time and a greasy mess.
It’s a great vegetarian or vegan option and can be enjoyed alone with tzatziki and tahini.
This savory yet sweet recipe uses whole corn and cornmeal to create a wonderfully textured fritter with a spicy kick.
The cilantro cream sauce provides a cooling flavor blast.
This is a perfect summer appetizer for a more sophisticated appetizer to bring to your next neighborhood barbecue or rooftop dinner potluck.
These incredible beef and pork meatballs are an umami dream, using fish sauce and soy sauce in combination with chopped cilantro, ginger, mint, and garlic.
They also use panko and red pepper flakes for a hearty texture and characteristic Vietnamese heat.
You can enjoy them in a soup, over vermicelli, or jasmine rice with an extra garnish of cilantro, mint, and scallions.
The bottom line
Cilantro recipes include dishes from around the world, from new takes on traditional pasta sauces to traditional soup broths to novel cocktail mixers.
With so many options to choose from, you’ll never let an extra cilantro bunch go to waste.
Running out of cilantro? Replace it with one of these substitutes!
Check out and learn the best way to store cilantro leaves in this guide, too!
The BEST Cilantro Lime Rice
This delicious cilantro lime rice side dish is best for southwestern and Asian meals of all kinds and uses just a handful of basic ingredients.
- 3 c cooked rice (we used jasmine rice)
- 3 T fresh cilantro
- 2 t lime zest
- 3 T fresh lime juice
- Salt and black pepper
- Cook the rice based on the package directions.
- Meanwhile, zest and juice the lime. Set aside.
- Finely chop the cilantro. Set aside.
- Once the rice is cooked, turn off the heat and let it stand for about 10 minutes.
- Fluff the cooked rice gently using a fork. Ensure not to smash the rice grains as this can make the final dish gummy.
- Season with plenty of salt and pepper then serve.
- Feel free to use white or brown rice, depending on what you have on hand. This recipe uses jasmine rice, but any plain, unseasoned and cooked rice will work.
- After the rice cooks, make sure not to lift the lid up immediately as this allows the rice to rest and finish absorbing moisture.
- Don’t cook the rice in/with the lime juice or zest. Those will be added after the rice is done cooking. If using leftover rice, reheat the rice before adding the lime.