Coriander, an herb with a rich history and taste! Read about its benefits and uses in the kitchen

Cilantro’s lemony and floral flavor has found a place in many kitchens and hearts around the world.

Its taste is very unconventional and many people, on the contrary, describe it as unpleasant and soapy.

Read more about this herb and find out what makes it so special, what benefits can be derived from it and what foods to add it to to support your immunity.

What is cilantro?

This word either refers to the spice made from the round, yellowish-brown seeds of the plant, or describes the entire plant, including its leaves, stems, and seeds. The herb is related to parsley, carrots and celery.

We can find the herb in all gardens around the world, including Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas.

Little is known about the origin of the plant, although it is generally believed to have originated in the Mediterranean and parts of southwestern Europe. Experts believe that its use dates back to at least 5000 BC.

The herb was one of the first to be cultivated by American colonists in Massachusetts. And the French in the 17th century used it to make liqueur.

Herb placed on a bowl full of seeds.

What is the difference between cilantro and parsley?

Coriander and parsley are two herbs that are widely used in the kitchen. Due to their similarity in appearance and taste, many people do not know the difference. But we can find some differences.

Parsley leaves are a bright green color that is used as a spice in the cuisines of the Mediterranean region, including North Africa and the coast of Turkey, where the herb originates. It has a vegetal and herbal flavor that is slightly reminiscent of mint without the menthol.

Coriander adds a pungent flavor to dishes that can resemble citrus or lemongrass crossed with the flavor of herbs. Coriander has a very specific taste and many people like the taste of soap or detergent.

How does cilantro taste?

Coriander leaves should have a refreshing, sour and citrus flavor.

The seeds, which can be used whole or ground, have a more earthy, sour and slightly sweet flavor with subtle floral notes.

Two similar but very different herbs drawn side by side.
cilantro vs. parsley Source:

Health benefits of coriander

This herb can be used not only in the kitchen, it is also known for its healing properties. Here is a list of the most important ones:

It helps lower blood sugar levels

The seeds, extract, and oil of this herb can help lower blood sugar.

People who have low blood sugar or take medication for diabetes should be careful with its consumption as its effects are really strong.

Rich in antioxidants and strengthens immunity

The herb contains several compounds that prevent cell damage and potential cancer, and slow the growth of lung, prostate, breast, and colon cancer cells.

Supports heart health

The herb can reduce risk factors leading to heart disease, such as high blood pressure and bad cholesterol levels.

Supports brain health

Many brain diseases, including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and multiple sclerosis, are associated with inflammation. Coriander’s anti-inflammatory properties can protect against these diseases.

Supports digestion and gut health

The oil extracted from the seeds can speed up and promote healthy digestion.

It is great for dieting

All parts of the plant are edible and can easily be added to your daily diet to promote health (see What is cilantro used for?)

Herbal seed extract.

How to grow coriander?

  • Plant the plant in the spring after the last frost or in the fall.
  • Do not grow it in the heat of summer, as the plants will wilt.
  • It is best to choose a sunny location that will allow the herb to regenerate itself each growing season.
  • Plant the seeds in light, well-drained soil and space them 3 to 6 cm apart.
  • It is important to keep the seeds in moist soil during germination, so do not forget to water the plants regularly.
  • Water the seedlings regularly throughout the growing season.
  • When the herb grows a stem and seeds are set, cut the plant back.
  • Large leaves can be cut from the plant individually. For smaller leaves, cut them 1-1/2 to 2 inches above the crown.
  • To harvest the seeds from the herb, cut off the flower heads when the plant starts to turn brown and place them in a paper bag. Hang the seed bag until the plant dries and the seeds fall out, then you can store them in closed containers.
The growth process of a herb and its root.

What is cilantro used for?

Whole seeds can be added to baked goods, pickled vegetables, spreads, roasted vegetables and lentil stews. The subtle nutty flavor of coriander seeds works best in blends with other spices and helps bring complex flavors together.

Heating the seeds releases their aroma, after which it is best to grind the seeds and add them to pasta or various doughs.

The leaves are best for garnishing soup or in cold pasta salads, lentils, fresh tomato salsa or Asian noodle dishes.

You can also puree the fresh leaves with garlic, peanuts, coconut milk and lemon juice and add this paste to a burrito, salsa or marinade.

Coriander spice is a commonly used herb in cooking and is often used in combination with cumin and cinnamon. You can find it in Egyptian dukkah and garam masala combined with spices such as cumin, cinnamon and fennel.

The roots of the herb are used as an addition to other spices in Thai curry .
The leaves of the herb, thanks to their specific taste, are ideal for Mexican salsas and guacamole .
Hot Vietnamese pho blanchs fresh leaves and gives it a typical taste.
Homemade pickles , where the brine is usually made from a mixture of water, vinegar and salt combined with spices such as coriander, dill and red peppers. (also try our recipes for homemade ram’s horns in lacquer )
Carrot soup is made from a mixture of carrots, onions and this herb. The vegetables are fried, stewed and finally blended into a smooth and creamy soup. (prepare carrot soup according to our recipes )
Egyptian dukkah is a tasty mixture of toasted nuts, seeds and spices. Common ingredients in this seasoning are coriander, sesame seeds, fennel seeds, cumin, nuts (pistachios, cashews or pine nuts), salt and black pepper.
A marinade that can be used to grill steaks, chicken, fish and vegetables. A common spice mix includes coriander, cumin, garlic powder, ground ginger, cinnamon, pepper and paprika. ( read more about marinating in this article and enjoy your summer barbecue meat like never before)
Recipe ideas that can use this fragrant herb.

What can cilantro be replaced with?

If you’re running out of whole coriander seeds, try substituting fennel or cumin.

If you don’t have coriander seeds available, substitute equal amounts of cumin or fennel or a combination of these.

Recipe for homemade coriander extract

as you may have already read, the most effective way to improve your body’s immunity and health is herbal oil. So that you don’t have to spend money, we have prepared a simple recipe for you to make it in the comfort of your home and save some money.

What will we need

  • 50 g coriander leaves
  • 25 g flat-leaf parsley
  • 75 ml of olive oil
  • 75 ml of vegetable oil


  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  • Put the cilantro and parsley leaves in a colander and immerse them in boiling water for 15 seconds, remove and immediately immerse them in a bowl of water filled with ice cubes.
  • Drain the herbs, wrap in a clean tea towel and dry gently.
  • Roughly chop them and put them in a blender with olive oil.
  • Blend, then add the vegetable oil and continue blending for another 1 minute on high speed.
  • Pour the blended mixture into a coffee filter and let it drip over it for several hours.
  • Discard the remaining puree and place the oil in the refrigerator for up to 2 days or freeze it for up to 3 weeks.
Homemade extracted oil from a fragrant herb.


If you want to store the leaves of the herb, you can freeze or dry them.

To freeze the leaves, place the leaves in a resealable bag and store in the freezer.

How to dry coriander?

To dry them, tie the plant in a bundle with string and hang it in a warm place and wait until it is completely dry. Then store the leaves in a resealable bag or container.

Store seeds and ground spices in airtight containers away from light and heat.

The fresh herb does not last long and you will need to store it in the refrigerator. One method is to insert a securely closed plastic bag into it.

Milan & Ondra

We are both fans of good food and enjoy cooking. On this website, we want to inspire you with traditional, but also less common recipes. We will be happy if you try our recipes and let us know how you liked them. Bon appetite! :)