Healthy Substitutes

7 Coriander Substitutes in Curry, Soup, Falafel and Other Cooking

By Evelyn

Coriander is one of those herbs that is often used in a wide variety of recipes. Coriander leaves and seeds both taste quite different, despite being from the same plant. So what do you do if you’re all out of coriander and don’t have time to run to the store? These coriander substitutes work great in a pinch and taste just as good as the original.

Coriander Substitutes

Here are 7 great substitutes for coriander.

1. Cumin

As anyone who has ever cooked with cumin knows, this spice has a strong and distinctive flavor. Cumin is an earthy spice with a long history of use in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine and has a signature flavor that is native to many popular dishes. If you’re looking for a substitute for coriander seeds, definitely give this a try.

Can I Use Cumin Instead of Coriander?

Yes, cumin can be a coriander substitute in some recipes. While cumin and coriander are both common spices used in Indian cooking and add plenty of depth and dimension to your recipe, they have very different flavor profiles.

Cumin is earthy with a slightly smoky flavor, while coriander is quite bright. These differences can make cumin a more suitable substitute for coriander in certain recipes. For example, cumin may be a better choice for spice rubs or curry powders as a coriander seed substitute, but not for use in salads or clear soups as a coriander leaf substitute.

Cumin contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that may promote heart health and help to reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases. Studies have shown that cumin can aid in digestion, help to regulate blood sugar levels, and even boost immunity. In addition, cumin is a good source of iron and other minerals, making it an excellent addition to any diet.

Best for: spice rubs, curries, heavier dishes, stews, roasts, savory dishes, casseroles

How to Substitute Cumin for Coriander

Substitute 1 tablespoon of coriander seeds with ½ teaspoon of cumin.

When using freshly ground cumin, you may need to reduce the amount of cumin needed in your recipe to ¼ teaspoon for every 1 tablespoon of coriander. This is because freshly toasted cumin seeds have a more intense flavor compared to ground cumin that has already been sitting on store shelves.

2. Caraway

Caraway and coriander are members of the parsley family so it’s no surprise that they share a certain similarity in flavor. Both caraway and coriander can be used fresh or dried, but caraway seeds are more commonly used than its leaves.

Can I Use Caraway Instead of Coriander?

Absolutely! Caraway seeds, like coriander seeds, are highly aromatic and have a slight sharpness to them. One slight difference is that caraway is more pungent than coriander and that should be taken into account when using it as a substitute. Additionally, caraway seeds have a tough exterior that needs to be softened before cooking, whereas coriander seeds can be used whole.

Caraway seeds have long been used as a natural remedy for a variety of digestive problems. The seeds are thought to stimulate the appetite, promote digestion, and relieve gas and bloating. Additionally, caraway has been used to treat respiratory problems such as coughs and bronchitis as the aromatic nature of the seeds is thought to help open up the airways and clear congestion. Caraway also contains antioxidants, which can help to protect cells from damage and reduce inflammation.

Best for: stews, casseroles, soups, savory breads, savory rolls, savory dishes, curries, roasts

How to Substitute Caraway for Coriander

Substitute 1 tablespoon of coriander with ½ tablespoon of ground caraway.

When substituting caraway for coriander, start with half the amount and add more to taste since caraway has a stronger flavor. With its unique flavor and versatility, caraway is an essential ingredient in any cook’s pantry.

3. Garam Masala

Garam masala is an Indian spice blend that is made with a combination of cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, chili pepper, cloves, mustard seeds, nutmeg, black peppercorns, and cardamom. While the exact ingredients can vary depending on the region and the cook, these spices work together to create an earthy aromatic flavor that enhances savory dishes.

Can I Use Garam Masala Instead of Coriander?

Garam masala can be used as a substitute for coriander, particularly coriander seeds. It has a warm and earthy flavor while coriander has a bright and citrusy flavor. Take note that garam masala is more potent so you may want to use less of it than you would coriander. Lastly, garam masala is often used as a finishing spice while coriander is used during the cooking process.

The individual spices that make up garam masala offer a variety of positive health benefits to improve overall health and wellbeing. For example, black pepper contains a compound called piperine that has been shown to boost absorption of other nutrients. Cinnamon is a potent antioxidant that can help protect cells from free radical damage, while cumin has been shown to aid in digestion.

Best for: soups, stews, curries, savory dishes, roasts

How to Substitute Garam Masala for Coriander

Substitute 1 tablespoon of chopped coriander with ½ tablespoon of garam masala.

Garam masala is a potent spice, so a little goes a long way. When using it as a coriander substitute, it’s important to use it conservatively in order to avoid having its complex flavor overpower the overall profile of your recipe. You can always add more if needed/

4. Curry Powder

Curry powder is a blend of spices that is used in Southeast Asian cooking. The spices used vary depending on the region but it typically includes turmeric, cumin, coriander, and chili pepper.

Can I Use Curry Powder Instead of Coriander?

Yes. When substituting curry powder for coriander seeds, bear in mind that the powder is much more concentrated than the seeds. As a result, you will need to use less curry powder to get the same flavor. Additionally, the other spices in the curry powder may change the flavor of your dish, so it’s important to taste the curry powder first before making the substitution.

The mixture of spices in curry powder has been used for centuries in traditional Indian medicine to treat many health ailments. Curry powder can help improve digestion, increase blood circulation, and aid nerve function. Turmeric, the main spice in curry powder, is a powerful anti-inflammatory compound that has been shown to be an effective natural remedy in treating arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, has also been shown to boost cognitive function and protect against Alzheimer’s disease.

Best for: rubs, soups, stews, curries, rice dishes, vegetables, savory dishes

How to Substitute Curry Powder for Coriander

Substitute 1 tablespoon of coriander with ½ tablespoon of curry powder.

Always start with a small amount of curry powder when substituting for coriander. Curry powder is a strong spice, so it should be used sparingly. Try to sample different blends of curry powder first to ensure that you’re adding the correct variant to your recipe.

5. Parsley

While parsley is commonly used as a garnish, it can also be a great substitute for coriander leaves in many recipes. Parsley is similar to coriander, but with a bit more bitterness to its leaves. The two herbs have slightly different flavor profiles, but parsley can add a similar bright pop of flavor to a dish.

Can I Use Parsley Instead of Coriander?

Yes, parsley is a great substitute if you’re in need of some coriander leaves. It is less potent than coriander leaves, which makes it a great choice for those who prefer a milder alternative. Parsley actually belongs to the same plant family as coriander, and which is why they have similar flavor profiles. Parsley is often used as a coriander substitute in dishes where the herb is cooked, such as soups and stews, and it can also work in salads and garnishes.

Parsley is packed with essential nutrients and vitamins such as vitamins A and C, which are vital for a strong immune system. Vitamin A helps to produce white blood cells, the body’s first line of defense against infection, while vitamin C helps to keep those cells healthy and functioning properly. In addition, parsley contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that can help to reduce the severity of colds and other infections.

Best for: soups, stews, garnishes, salads, salsa, homemade stocks, broths

How to Substitute Parsley for Coriander

Substitute 1 tablespoon of chopped coriander with ½ tablespoon of chopped parsley.

When cooking with parsley, pair it with other strong flavors that can balance out its intensity. It can also be added at the end of cooking to preserve its delicate flavor. Keep in mind that you can always add more parsley if needed, so start with less and add more as you go along.

6. Basil

Basil is a great coriander substitute to help add brightness and vibrancy to your meal. Both basil and coriander leaves have subtle hints of citrus, however, there are some key differences between the two herbs.

Can I Use Basil Instead of Coriander?

Yes, basil is a great substitute for coriander and can be used in many recipes. While the two herbs have different flavor profiles, they share many of the same aromatic qualities. Basil is a sweeter herb, while coriander has a more pungent flavor. Additionally, basil is a more robust herb that can withstand longer cooking times compared to coriander which makes it an excellent substitute in soups and broths.

Not only is basil a versatile ingredient for your recipes, but it’s also loaded with nutrients to improve your overall health. For one, basil is a good source of antioxidants, which protects cells from free radical damage and oxidative stress. It’s also known for its anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce swelling and chronic pain. In addition to these health benefits, basil is also a good source of vitamins A and C, potassium, and magnesium.

Best for: garnishes, clear soups, salads, pestos, salsas, stocks, broths, stews

How to Substitute Basil for Coriander

Substitute 1 tablespoon of coriander with ½ tablespoon of chopped basil.

When substituting basil for coriander, use about half as much since basil has a stronger flavor. It’s also worth noting that the type of basil you’re using for your recipe can yield different results since there are many varieties of basil such as sweet basil, lemon basil, thai basil, cinnamon basil, and much more. For this substitution, make sure to use sweet basil as it is the most similar to coriander.

7. Cilantro

If you’re looking for a coriander substitute, cilantro is a great option. Indigenous to Southeast Asia, cilantro has a similar flavor to coriander but is more potent. Cilantro is often used in Asian and Latin American cuisine and can be used fresh or dried.

Can I Use Cilantro Instead of Coriander?

Yes. In fact, coriander and cilantro can be used interchangeably in certain dishes but it’s worth knowing that they have different flavor profiles. Coriander is delicate and slightly sweet, while cilantro is more pungent and earthy. As a result, you should adjust the measurements of cilantro when you are substituting it for coriander so as not to overpower the recipe.

Aside from being a viable substitute for coriander, cilantro also offers numerous health benefits. Cilantro is a rich source of antioxidants which helps protect the body against free radical damage and oxidative stress. It also contains compounds that help lower blood pressure and improve cardiovascular health. Lastly, cilantro is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, potassium, and iron, all of which play a vital role in strengthening the immune system.

Best for: soups, stews, salsas, rice dishes, chutneys, garnishes, pestos

How to Substitute Cilantro for Coriander

Substitute 1 tablespoon of coriander with ½ tablespoon of chopped cilantro.

When substituting cilantro for coriander, you may need to use less, since the flavor of cilantro is more pungent. The best way to use cilantro is to chop the leaves finely and add them to the recipe just before serving. This will help to preserve the flavor and ensure that it doesn’t overpower the other ingredients.


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