Ingredient Intelligence

The Real Difference Between Coriander and Cilantro Explained

published Aug 26, 2020
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Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: CC Buckley/Kitchn

Cilantro brings a sunny, citrusy flavor to everything it graces, from guacamole to a simple skillet chicken. Even those who are cilantro-averse know that this powerhouse herb is key in cuisines around the world. And fresh coriander? It also brings a sunny, citrusy flavor to any recipe that calls for it and is an important herb to so many cuisines.

So what’s the difference between cilantro and coriander? Just their names! Keep reading to learn more about why some recipes call for coriander while others call for cilantro, and where dried coriander seeds fit into the equation.

What’s the Difference Between Coriander and Cilantro?

Fresh coriander and cilantro are often confused as different herbs despite being the exact same plant. The term “coriander” is most commonly used outside the United States and often called for in recipes created by English speakers in the United Kingdom and Europe. Fresh coriander is called for in Greek, Indian, and Central and South American cuisine (to name a few). Meanwhile, the term “cilantro” was popularized by Mexican cuisine in the U.S. Bottom line: Cilantro and coriander are two different names for the same herb.

Coriander seeds or “ground coriander” also comes from the same plant. Its seeds are warmly spiced and are used often in sauces, curry, stews, and spice blends.

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