Dried Cilantro Vs. Fresh Vs. Coriander

Dried cilantro
Cilantro is one of the most versatile kitchen ingredients. Dried cilantro has a darker green color than fresh ones. In terms of taste, it gives a piney, anise-like flavor with lemony, minty, and peppery undertones best used in marinades.

What is dried cilantro?

Dried cilantro
Dried cilantro

Dried cilantro refers to dried cilantro leaves. Unlike their fresh counterpart, these leaves have a less pungent and milder flavor.

Consuming them is the best way to introduce the polarizing cilantro flavor to those who aren’t a fan of it. 

OriginNative to the Mediterranean
AppearanceDried version has darkly colored leaves
Flavor profileMuted, anise-like

Origin

In the culinary world, cilantro (Coriander sativum) is the name for the leaves of the coriander plant, which is native to the Mediterranean and has been used since ancient times. The plant is part of the Apiaceae or parsley family.

Today, people grow it in various parts of the globe, including India, China, Mexico, Latin America, and the Caribbean. It’s an essential component of many Mexican and Asian dishes.

Appearance

Fresh cilantro leaves are flat and bright green with long, slender stalks. Though the appearance is similar to parsley, these leaves have jagged edges. When dried, the leaves become darker in color. The texture also becomes crunchier. 

Dried cilantro is most commonly available in grocery stores and online marketplaces like Amazon as cilantro flakes or cilantro powder.

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Flavor profile

Typically, dried herbs retain most of the flavor of their fresh counterparts. However, it’s not the same with cilantro. This fresh herb has a pungent and debatably sharp taste, and its aroma has a citrus-like flavor. 

It has a soapy flavor for those not used to its taste yet. This taste comes from the presence of natural aldehydes. Certain people have more amplified olfactory-receptor genes that make these compounds more pronounced when consumed, causing people not to like the spice.

The good news is that once the leaves are dried, the cilantro taste becomes muted and anise-like. The dried versions also have a piney flavor carrying notes of lemon, pepper, and mint. It works well with chives.

Nutritional Benefits of dried cilantro

Since thousands of years ago, people have used cilantro because of its nutrient content and medicinal properties

Cilantro is particularly rich in vitamins A, K, and E. Researchers also found that eating cilantro could help people with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s experience reduced symptoms. It can also reduce anxiety symptoms and blood sugar levels.

Is dried cilantro the same as coriander?

Both cilantro (fresh and dried) and coriander come from the coriander plant. 

In the US, cilantro refers to both the leaves and stalks. It also goes by the name Chinese parsley. The word “cilantro” is the Spanish term for coriander.

On the other hand, coriander refers to coriander seeds. The dried seeds of the plant boast a mildly sweet flavor with notes of lemon and pair well with cumin. Nutrient-wise, it contains more calcium than cilantro.

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You also shouldn’t confuse cilantro with culantro (Eryngium foetidum). Though they belong to the same family, culantro has a more robust flavor than cilantro.

Is dried cilantro as good as fresh?

Fresh cilantro
Fresh cilantro

Dried coriander leaves have a different taste than fresh ones.

Fresh cilantro is a key component of guacamole, salsa, stews, and soups (most notably, Thai pho). In Indian cooking, people use it as a garnish, sauce, or condiment for various dishes, including chicken curry.

If you’re cooking for true cilantro lovers, dried cilantro may not be a good replacement in adding the great flavor that their raw counterpart gives.

Meanwhile, if you’re preparing something for those who aren’t cilantro fans, dried cilantro is a great way to introduce a subtle flavor. When using as a swap, use 2 tablespoons of dried cilantro for every 4 tablespoons of fresh ones.

What is dried cilantro used for?

Essentially, dried cilantro works well in recipes where the flavor of fresh cilantro isn’t crucial. Many cooks use dried cilantro in their marinades and dishes requiring longer cooking (think arroz con Pollo).

It also works as an ingredient for:

  • Bean dips
  • Purees
  • Rice flavorings
  • Bread spreads

How long does dried cilantro last?

Beyond its milder flavor, dried cilantro appeals to many North American cooks because of its longer shelf life. 

While fresh cilantro could last anywhere from 2 hours to 2 months, dried cilantro could last for 1 to 3 years if you freeze-dry leaves or keep them in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.

Randell

Randell loves experimenting in the kitchen (with his family and friends as willing victims). He sees cooking as a great adventure. To enjoy that, he believes this is the recipe: a tad of creativity, a dash of courage, a pinch of humility, and a ton of love.

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