How to Replace Cilantro in Recipes

As popular as the herb cilantro is among those who like intense flavor in their Chinese, Indian or Latin American dishes, it can be off-putting to those with softer taste buds. According to Lucinda Huts, writer for The Herb Companion, the pungent, citrus-like flavor of cilantro can be balanced by adding equally strong ingredients, such as chiles, onions or garlic. But sometimes cilantro needs a replacement. If your recipe calls for cilantro -- sometimes called coriander or Chinese parsley -- and you know it is not welcome in your household, or you can't find the cilantro in your pantry, consider an alternative.

It can be tough to tell cilantro and parsley apart and they are usually grown alongside each other.
Credit: masterovoy/iStock/Getty Images

Step 1

Use Vietnamese cilantro, also called rau ram, when you don't have access to plain cilantro but still want the same strong taste it offers. You'll find that it's easier to grow in hot weather but tastes quite similar to the real thing.

Step 2

Substitute parsley for cilantro if your goal is to garnish your dish rather than impart taste or if you prefer a strong taste that's different than the taste of cilantro. The two look similar, but while cilantro has a citrus scent, parsley smells more like a bitter herb.

Step 3

Add barley in recipes that require a strong flavor but not the distinctive flavor of cilantro. You'll find that barley has a more universally appealing flavor than cilantro.

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