Difference between Coriander and Cilantro

Updated on June 15, 2017

The argument about the difference between coriander and cilantro has been one of the most debated topics on the internet for years. In fact, if you Google it, you will probably come across many contradicting theories and ideas. In this article, we will talk about the difference between the two and where the confusion came from.


Coriander leaves and seeds

Coriander, scientifically known as Coriandrum Sativum, is an edible annual herb that belongs to the family Apiaceae. In some areas, it is also called Chinese parsley.

Coriander is a soft, aromatic, green plant with edible leaves, seeds, and roots. Its leaves look like feathers with slender stalks and the seeds are tiny, brown pellets.

The leaves, which contain vitamins A, C, and K, have a combination of peppery and citrusy flavors (although many say the leaves have a soapy taste). The seeds, on the other hand, have a spicy, toasty flavor. They contain the same nutritional profile as the leaves but in lower amounts.

Because of its aroma and taste, coriander is used in various recipes such as rice dishes, salsa, pickles, soups, curry dishes, guacamole, sauce, meat dishes, salads, chutneys, etc. all over the world.

Cilantro is basically the Spanish term for coriander. The term has been used in the United States to refer to the leaves of the plant. The seeds of cilantro, however, are still called “coriander” in the United States.

Coriander vs Cilantro

What, then, is the difference between coriander and cilantro?

Botanically speaking, coriander and cilantro refer to the same plant. However, if you are in the United States, “cilantro” refers to the leaves and stalks of the herb, while “coriander” refers to the seeds. In the United Kingdom, “coriander” refers to both.

The two names may be interchangeable in most parts of the world; however, the seeds and leaves cannot be interchanged in cooking as they have different characteristics.

Comparison Chart

In the US, it refers to the seeds of the plant; in the UK and many other parts of the world, it refers to the seeds and leaves of the plantThe Spanish word for coriander; in the US it refers to the leaves and stalks of the coriander plant
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