5 Coriander Substitutes to Add to your Meal

A well-stocked spice cabinet is one of the small joys in life and coriander is one of the spices you should definitely keep on hand. It adds a warm, almost sweet note to any food, a little like cinnamon but with a slightly lemony flavor. It's used most often in Indian, Latin American, Mexican, and Middle Eastern cooking, but really it's great in any dish where you want an earthy flavor. It's not one of the better-known spices, so if you run across a recipe that calls for it, you might need a good coriander substitute.

What is Coriander?

To figure out the best substitute for ground coriander, let's first look at what coriander is. The spice is actually coriander seeds from the cilantro plant. Hate cilantro? Don't run away just yet! Ground coriander seeds don't taste anything like fresh leaves of cilantro, promise.

You can buy coriander as dried seeds or ground. The whole seeds are amazing toasted and ground to add to your favorite homemade spice rub, or used in pickling.

Coriander is often part of a blend of spices, usually mixed with other warm spices like cinnamon, ginger, cloves, fennel, turmeric, cumin and garlic.

5 Coriander Substitutes

If a recipe calls for ground coriander and all you can find at the grocery store is coriander seeds, you can grind the seeds yourself. Use a coffee grinder, a mortar and pestle or even a rolling pin. If you see fresh coriander leaves, it's just another name for cilantro and it's not the best substitute for dried coriander. Instead look for one of these three spices.

Caraway seeds

The best coriander substitute comes from the same plant family as coriander. Caraway seeds have a similar earthy taste to coriander seeds, so if you're recipe calls for coriander and you need a substitute, try caraway. You'll want to use an equal amount of caraway seeds (or ground caraway seed) to replace the coriander in your recipe.

Cumin

If you don't have caraway seeds, your best bet is to use cumin, which has a similar flavor profile to coriander. It doesn't have the citrusy note, but it does have that warm earthiness. You can swap cumin seeds for whole coriander seeds, or you can substitute ground cumin for ground coriander. But because cumin has a stronger flavor, you should use 3/4 teaspoon of cumin for every teaspoon of coriander in your recipe.

Fennel

Ground fennel has a sweeter flavor than coriander but it also has a licorice taste, so while it works as a coriander substitute, if you're not a fan of licorice you might skip this one or use a little bit less than an equal amount. You use the fennel seeds or ground fennel as a substitute.

Curry powder

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​One way to get the flavor of coriander is to use a spice blend with coriander in it. Many curry powders include ground coriander, so adding it automatically gets you coriander. It's most used for Thai or Asian cooking, so using this blend may change the flavor of your dish.

Garam masala

Garam masala is another spice blend that usually contains coriander. It's most used for Indian dishes, so it may have other spices as part of the blend that change the flavor of your dish.

Cilantro substitutes

Bonus tip: If you're not a fan of cilantro, but want a fresh herb to garnish your dish, there are three herbs you can use instead. Dill, tarragon or parsley are all good substitutes for cilantro.

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