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7 Best Cilantro Substitutes That Will Save Your Meal

7 Best Cilantro Substitutes That Will Save Your Meal

If you’re looking for cilantro substitutes, you’ve come to the right place! Whether you’re out of cilantro or simply don’t like the taste, there are other alternatives you can use in your recipes. This FAQ covers the best substitutes for cilantro, helpful tips, and recommended ratios. 

We go into details about how to use each cilantro substitute below and when you should use each one, but here’s a quick snapshot of our top cilantro substitutes.

Cilantro SubstitutesRatio
Celery Leaves1:1
Culantro3/4-1 c for 1 c cilantro
Italian Parsley1:1
Papalo2/3-1/2 c for 1 c cilantro
Vietnamese Coriander⅔ c for 1 c cilantro

How do I convert fresh cilantro to dried cilantro?

You can use 3 tablespoons of fresh cilantro for every 1 tablespoon of dried cilantro called for in a recipe. This ratio will maintain the intended flavor balance in your dishes.

How much chopped cilantro do I get from a bunch of cilantro?

A standard bunch of cilantro typically yields between 1/2 to 1 cup of chopped cilantro, depending on how finely it’s chopped and whether stems are included.

Here are some tips for measuring cilantro:

  • Wash and dry cilantro to remove dirt. This makes them easier to measure.
  • Finely chop for precise measurement.
  • Opt for a kitchen scale for precise measurements, particularly when dealing with dried cilantro.
  • Without a scale, pack chopped cilantro into a measuring cup.
  • Cilantro shrinks when cooked. Start with less and add more as needed.

Cilantro Substitutes

1. Basil

Basil and cilantro are both popular herbs with distinct flavors. Cilantro offers a fresh, citrusy note, while basil leans towards a sweet, peppery profile. Although traditionally used in different cuisines, in certain cooked dishes like Thai curries, pasta sauces, or herb-infused rice, basil can serve as a cilantro substitute. However, this switch will lead to a change in the dish’s flavor, potentially offering a new but still delightful taste experience.

Substitute basil for cilantro in a 1:1 rato and add more if needed.

2. Celery Leaves

It’s possible to use celery leaves as a replacement for cilantro, but remember that they won’t replicate cilantro’s distinct flavor. They fit well in broths, soups, or salads where the herb plays a more background or complementary role. For dishes where cilantro’s distinct flavor is essential, such as salsas or cilantro-centric sauces, celery leaves might not be the best choice.

Substitute celery leaves for cilantro in a 1:1 ratio.

3. Chervil

Chervil can work well as a substitute for cilantro, particularly when cilantro’s fresh and slightly citrusy flavor is required. It has a mild, delicate flavor with hints of anise, and it won’t overwhelm your dishes in the same way cilantro can. Chervil is an ideal alternative for dishes like salads, soups, sauces, eggs, seafood, and as a garnish when you want a milder herb flavor.

Substitute it in a 1:1 ratio.

4. Culantro

If you don’t like cilantro’s strong taste, you can use culantro instead. The herb tastes somewhat like cilantro but is not as strong. The leaves look different, but you can still use culantro in dishes like salsas, soups, and marinades. Just make sure to use less at first and add more if needed.

Use 3/4 to 1 cup of culantro for every cilantro in a recipe.

5. Italian Parsley

Italian parsley can be used as a visual substitute for cilantro due to their similar appearances, but they have distinct flavors: cilantro is bright and citrusy, while Italian parsley is milder and grassy. While parsley might work as a garnish in place of cilantro, for dishes where cilantro’s unique taste is central, such as in salsas or guacamoles, the flavor difference will be noticeable. 

Replace cilantro with Italian parsley in a 1:1 ratio.

6. Papalo

Papalo, native to Mexico, is a substitute for cilantro with a robust flavor resembling a blend of cilantro and arugula. It’s more potent, so use it sparingly. Ideal for fresh salads, tacos, and salsas, papalo works best when added at the end of cooking or used raw to preserve its unique taste.

Start with 2/3 to 1/2 cups of papalo for every cup of cilantro.

7. Vietnamese Coriander

Vietnamese coriander can serve as a good substitute for cilantro in soups and salad recipes due to its citrusy and peppery flavor. Given its intense flavor, adjust the quantities based on the specific dish and your personal preference. Keep in mind that this herb has narrower, slightly tougher leaves than cilantro.

Use about 2/3 cup of Vietnamese coriander for every cup of cilantro. 

The bottom line

When it comes to cilantro substitutes, the key is to match the flavor you desire. Chervel can serve as an excellent alternative in a 1:1 ratio. However, be mindful of the quantity you use and consider additional ingredients to replicate cilantro’s distinctive taste. These substitutes, like cilantro itself, work best when added just before serving to preserve their aromatic flavor, whether used as a garnish or as an ingredient in your dishes.

Cilantro Substitutes: 7 Best Substitutes

Cilantro Substitutes: 7 Best Substitutes

If you're looking for cilantro substitutes, this FAQ covers the best replacements, helpful tips, and recommended ratios and adjustments for your recipes.


  • Basil: Use an equal amount as cilantro (1:1)
  • Celery Leaves: Use an equal amount as cilantro (1:1)
  • Chervil: Use an equal amount as cilantro (1:1)
  • Culantro: 3/4-1 c for 1 c cilantro
  • Italian Parsley: Use an equal amount as cilantro (1:1)
  • Papalo: 3/2-1/2 c for 1 c cilantro
  • Vietnamese Coriander: 2/3 c for 1 c cilantro


  1. Replace cilantro with one of our 7 suggested options. 
  2. Use one of the above ratios when substituting for cilantro in a recipe.

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