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Know the Distinction Between These Herbs

In relation to herbs, few issues are as complicated as culantro vs. cilantro. The near-identical spelling is one purpose; the dearth of familiarity with culantro is one other. And whereas each herb lover is aware of {that a} scattering of mint, parsley, or basil can spruce up pasta salads, slaws, and dozens of dishes, some might not understand that culantro and cilantro every convey their very own specific verve to recipes. We spoke with a farmer and a cookbook writer who clued us into the variations and similarities between these two herbs.

  • Victoria Jabot, proprietor/grower, Ley Creek Farm, a regenerative, no-till farm within the freshwater wetlands of Oswego County, New York
  • Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack, founding father of the Mexican meals weblog Muy Bueno and writer of Muy Bueno: Fiestas

Culantro vs. Cilantro

Culantro (Coriandrum sativum) is an herb native to Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. It’s prevalent in Latin American, Southeast Asian, Puerto Rican, and Caribbean cuisines.

Cilantro (Eryngium foetida) is believed to have originated within the Mediterranean and Asia and is integral to lots of the similar foodways, plus Indian and Arabic cooking. ​​

Whereas each belong to the Apiaceae household of fragrant, flowering crops—which additionally consists of carrots, parsley, dill, celery, chervil, lovage, and fennel—they’ve various dissimilarities.

Essential Variations Between Culantro and Cilantro

Whereas they might sound the identical, listed below are the methods by which culantro and cilantro differ.


Cilantro has small leaves: The 2 are distinctly totally different in look, says Victoria Jabot, proprietor and grower of Ley Creek Farm, a woman-owned, regenerative, no-till farm in Oswego County, New York. “Cilantro possesses smaller, flat-lobed leaves just like flat-leaf parsley.”

Culantro has lengthy leaves: Culantro, however, has lengthy, broad, saw-toothed leaves.


Cilantro is fragile: “Cilantro is a fragile ‘smooth’ herb greatest suited to recent purposes,” explains Jabot. If utilized in cooking, the length it is uncovered to warmth needs to be transient. 

Culantro is brawny: Culantro tends to be hardier than cilantro, says Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack, meals blogger, recipe developer, and writer of the Mexican cookbook Muy Bueno Fiestas. “Its sturdy leaves maintain up with out wilting or dropping taste,” she says. “In relation to chopping, some folks discover culantro simpler to deal with due to its broader leaves.”


Cilantro has a pungent and grassy taste with vivid notes of citrus, says Jabot.

Culantro has a extra intense and strong taste with stronger bitter notes when uncooked however takes on a milder taste when cooked, says Jabot.

For cilantro abstainers, the herb’s kick is offputting—and culantro’s piquancy might elicit the identical response. “Each are stated to be polarizing, with some discovering them to style immensely soapy as a result of compounds within the plant,” says Jabot.


Cilantro is ubiquitous in the US, whereas culantro is extra obscure—and there could also be just a few the reason why. “Culantro shouldn’t be as broadly cultivated or marketed right here,” says Marquez-Sharpnack. “It is a kind of hidden gems that you simply may discover in specialty markets.”

Jabot additionally posits just a few theories. “As a farmer, it’s a lot more durable to supply these seeds than it’s for cilantro, and even more durable to find in wholesale quantity,” she says. “It takes longer for culantro to be able to harvest,” What’s extra, culantro requires very particular circumstances to germinate.

Utilizing Culantro

Culantro is extra possible for use in cooking than cilantro. Jabot and Marquez-Sharpnack each use culantro as a taste base for marinades, stews, and sauces; Jabot is especially keen on sofrito, which she makes by meals processing culantro with fragrant greens and good olive oil, then cooking the concoction.

“It will also be used as a seasoning too!” provides Marquez-Sharpnack. “Simply chop it up and sprinkle it on dishes for that further punch of taste.”

Utilizing Cilantro

Here is how the professionals showcase cilantro:

A topper for rice: Marquez-Sharpnack finds cilantro “magical” in a cilantro-lime rice dish, which she makes with white basmati rice.

In salsas and as a garnish for stews: “It is also unbelievable in salsas, similar to salsa verde, to garnish dishes like birria and pozole for that burst of freshness,” says Marquez-Sharpnack.

Chimichurri: Each Marquez-Sharpnack and Jabot use a beneficiant quantity of the herb in chimichurri. Jabot blends the leaves and stems with garlic, olive oil, and pink wine vinegar and serves the sauce over proteins. “It may be frozen every time the cilantro is plentiful within the backyard,” she provides.

Cilantro or Coriander?

You say cilantro, I say coriander—sure, cilantro (aka “Mexican parsley” or “Chinese language parsley”) is the identical herb as coriander. The title it goes by largely is determined by the place it is grown and the way it’s used, however usually, the leaves and stalks are known as cilantro, and the seeds because the spice coriander. Cilantro shouldn’t be, nevertheless, culantro.

Storing Culantro and Cilantro

The lifespan for cilantro and culantro is fleeting—in truth, Jabot recommends utilizing recent herbs inside three days of buy. Being sturdier, culantro ought to last more than cilantro. Here is how Jabot maintains the freshness of each herbs:

  • Take away any ties or rubber bands from the bunch of herbs.
  • Place in a mason jar or cup and add just a few inches of fresh water to cowl the stems.
  • Drape a meals storage bag over the leaves, permitting air to flow into, and refrigerate.
  • Wash proper earlier than utilizing.

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