Don’t have cilantro, or realized you’re all out while you’re cooking? Here’s the best fresh cilantro substitute to use in recipes.

Cilantro Substitute

Making a recipe that calls for fresh cilantro and don’t have it? Cilantro is a fresh herb that has a unique flavor that’s fresh and citrusy. It’s an herb that can be polarizing, though. Some people have a genetic trait that gives them a cilantro aversion because they claim it tastes like soap. (If you’re here, you’re probably not one of them.) Don’t have time to shop for it or can’t find it? Or cooking and just realized you don’t have it? Here are some substitute ideas.

Keep in mind: cilantro is hard to replace

Cooking something that features cilantro like Creamy Cilantro Dressing or Cilantro Lime Shrimp? Here’s our advice. Try to find the real thing if at all possible! Cilantro is not like some ingredients that have obvious substitutes. Cilantro is also a signature ingredient in recipes like guacamole and salsa fresca and is hard to replace. It’s worth waiting for when you’re able to find it. But if you must: keep reading for the best substitutes.

Best fresh cilantro substitute

1. Fresh parsley

The best fresh cilantro substitute? Fresh parsley. Granted, the two look just like each other. But take care with this substitution. Parsley tastes like parsley! It’s grassy and citrusy, but it doesn’t taste like cilantro. You can try it in guacamole if you like, and even salsa or pico de gallo if you must. But guess what? It still tastes like parsley. Parsley does work well as a substitute for garnishing a stew or soup like Moroccan stew. See more at Parsley vs Cilantro.

2. Omit entirely

Some people say that fresh dill or fresh basil work as a substitute for cilantro. We beg to differ! The vibe of basil is solidly Italian, and dill is more Scandinavian or Eastern European. You can use your discretion if you think these might work. But please, please don’t put dill in your salsa.

Here are some tasty cilantro recipes:

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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