substitute for coriander

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If you’re making a recipe that calls for coriander but you have none on hand, then you’re likely looking for some coriander substitute options. Here, you will find the best substitutes for coriander so you can continue on with your recipe!

substitute for coriander

What is the difference between coriander, coriander seeds and cilantro?

Before we discuss the substitutes for coriander, let’s first clear up this confusion between these terms as they do seem to cause a lot of uncertainty!

Coriander, coriander seeds and cilantro all come from the same plant, which is called the Coriandrum sativum from the parsley family.

Coriandrum sativum goes by many names including coriander plant, Chinese parsley, dhania and cilantro.

These are the different distinctions so you can understand the terms better:

  • Cilantro: Cilantro are the fresh green leaves and stems of the cilantro plant. They’re also called “coriander leaves” in the UK.
  • Coriander seeds: Coriander seeds are the whole seeds produced by the cilantro plant.
  • Coriander: Coriander, also referred to as ground coriander or coriander powder is the powder that is produced once the coriander seeds are pulverized. 

Now that this has been cleared up, let us discuss the best alternatives for coriander.

As with many other spices, it is always best to go out and purchase it if you can do so for the best results, as no other spice can fully mimic the flavor of another.

Having said this if you do not wish to run to the store to purchase one ingredient, there are some coriander replacements that can work in a pinch. 

These include, coriander seeds, caraway, cumin, garam masala and curry powder.

Best substitutes for coriander

Coriander seeds

coriander seeds

Coriander seeds are the dried fruits from the cilantro plant. They’re what is used to make coriander powder. These seeds have a flavor that is sweet, fragrant, earthy and tart with lemony-citrus notes.

Coriander seeds are the perfect substitute for ground coriander and can be used in recipes like pickles, sausages, spice mixes, marinades, stews, soups and Indian curries.

Substitution ratio: 1 teaspoon coriander seeds = 1 ¼ teaspoons ground coriander



Caraway is another good substitute for coriander. Caraway is the dried fruit of the Carum carvi, which is a biennial herb of the parsley family.

Caraway has a flavor that is very aromatic with notes of licorice and warm citrus. This spice can replace coriander in dishes like pickles, stews, …

Substitution ratio: 1 teaspoon caraway = 1 teaspoon ground coriander



Ground cumin is another good alternative for coriander. Cumin is a  spice made from the dried seeds of the Cuminum cyminum plant which is a member of the parsley family. 

Cumin has a flavor that is slightly sweet and nutty with hints of lemon, and can be used to replace coriander in recipes like curries, stews, soups, pickles, baked goods, sauces and more.

Substitution ratio: 1 teaspoon cumin = 1 teaspoon ground coriander

Garam masala

garam masala

Another good replacement for coriander is garam masala. Garam masala is a spice mix that is often made with mace, peppercorns, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cardamom pods and cinnamon.

This spice blend is very aromatic and adds some zing, tartness, spiciness and sweetness to any recipe it is added to. It does make a good substitute for coriander since it does include coriander in the mix.

Please note that because this spice mix is made up of so many spices, it will alter the flavor of your dish, so, you should use a lesser amount of garam masala in any dish that calls for coriander at first, then adjust the amount to suit your taste. 

Curry powder

curry powder

Another easy to find spice that can be used in place of coriander is curry powder.

Curry powder is made from a mixture of spices like turmeric, cumin, ginger powder, coriander, fenugreek and black pepper.

It has a flavor that is earthy and can be used to replace coriander in savory recipes like soups, stews, marinades and sauces.

Substitution ratio: 1/2 teaspoon curry powder = 1 teaspoon ground coriander

Substitutes for coriander leaves or cilantro leaves

In some recipes, the chef may call for coriander and actually mean cilantro leaves or coriander leaves. In this event, here are the best substitutes for coriander leaves:

  • Culantro
  • Dried cilantro
  • Vietnamese coriander
  • Thyme
  • Papalo
  • Parsley

You can find more details about the substitutes for cilantro here 

Substitutes for other spices

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