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Cilantro is simple to grow, inexpensive to buy, and a hardy plant that is great to have around! But what is cilantro good for? Below, you will find 10 Uses for Cilantro that will make you want a plant or two of your own.
10 Uses for Cilantro
If you are unfamiliar with cilantro, you may think isn’t good for much more than salsa or guacamole recipes. (And to some, it just tastes like soap!) But the truth is, cilantro is a very practical herb that is also perfect for many other uses.
You can find cilantro at your local gardening center, home improvement store, or even your local farmer’s market for just a few dollars per plant. Take a look below at how easy cilantro is to use in a variety of other ways that are fun and frugal.
What is Cilantro Good For
Cilantro is reportedly good for brain health, lowering anxiety levels, controlling your blood sugar, and helping to prevent foodborne illnesses like salmonella. (Source) It adds lots of flavor to dishes without adding much for calories.
Cilantro contains vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K, and the leaves also have folate, potassium, and manganese although you’d have to eat large amounts of cilantro to benefit from these vitamins and minerals, and cilantro is typically used as a garnish.
Fresh Cilantro also contains Beta-carotene and lutein, which are antioxidants.
Ways to Use Cilantro
Cilantro can be used to spice up your beans, curries, Mediterranean food, Mexican food, and so much more! In addition to all of the health benefits of cilantro, here are some specific ways to use cilantro in your cooking.
1. Spice up your sour cream.
Chopped cilantro can be stirred in with sour cream and then used to top chili, soups, and stews. For a healthier alternative, you can also stir it in with low-fat plain yogurt and use it the same way.
2. Rev up your rice.
You can chop cilantro and toss it into your rice dishes for some extra pep! Or sprinkle some on top before serving. Mix chopped cilantro with lime to create a refreshing dressing for your rice dishes as well.
3. Give salad dressing a kick.
Add chopped cilantro to your salad dressings for an extra little kick. It pairs especially well with vinaigrettes and citrus-flavored dressings. Add the cilantro and allow the dressing to sit in a refrigerator for about an hour before use.
Tip: Try adding cilantro to one of these Easy Salad Dressing Recipes
4. Create a quick coleslaw.
Mix vegetables, a little oil, salt, and pepper, along with fresh chopped cilantro to create a unique and refreshing coleslaw. This is the perfect recipe for a quick and inexpensive side dish!
5. Add flavor to your stir-fry.
Throw a little bit of chopped cilantro into your next stir-fry to give it an added kick of flavor. Add it towards the end of cooking to give your stir-fry a very fresh flavor.
6. Give your bagels a boost.
Cilantro mixed with cream cheese is a perfect addition to a bagel. Serve it at your next brunch for some rave reviews.
7. Spice up pasta salads.
A sprinkling of chopped cilantro goes a long way. Add it to your pasta salads, rice salads, or fresh green salads for some truly unique flavor you won’t be able to get enough of.
8. Flavor your oils.
Place cilantro stems in oil bottles and let them sit to infuse the oil with that great cilantro flavor. Use the oil on your meat dishes, pasta dishes, or salads for extra flavor.
9. Create a cool chutney.
There are literally hundreds of chutney recipes out there, and all of them will taste better when you add a little fresh chopped cilantro! Put your own spin on any chutney recipe by tossing in this tasty and fresh ingredient.
10. Make your own green sauce.
Green sauce is perfect for baking and marinating meat dishes. It is colorful, fresh, and so fun and frugal to make. Not sure how to make your own green sauce? Take a look below at a simple green sauce recipe you can try today!
Cilantro Infused Green Sauce
How to make a simple cilantro infused green sauce to take advantage of cilantro's healthy properties!
- 2 fresh garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 jalapeño pepper More can be added if you desire.
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons wine vinegar
- Salt to taste
Toss all of your ingredients into a blender or food processor and process until smooth.
Add salt to taste. Additional garlic or pepper can also be added to get to the desired flavor you want.
This recipe is so easy and only takes a few minutes to make. Finding ways to use it in your kitchen will add delicious flavor to your dishes and save time and money.
Cilantro is a very easy herb to grow! Like all herbs, the germination time is fairly long, but once it’s growing, it will just keep going.
You can grow cilantro inside in an herb box or outside in your garden. I like to grow cilantro in my hydroponics system (both in the greenhouse and inside) because herbs tend to like a lot of water.
Make sure to leave a few cilantro plants alone so that they can go to seed. The seeds are known as coriander seeds and also can be used in cooking.
Both Coriander and Cilantro act as a diuretic, which can help flush extra sodium from your system and lower blood pressure. Early research also suggests that coriander can help lower “bad” LDL cholesterol, reducing your risk of coronary heart disease. (Source)
In other words, even though not everyone might like how cilantro tastes, it can help your heart health and should be considered as an essential part of your diet!
You can store cut cilantro from the store or from your garden in a glass of water in the fridge.
Fill the glass with about an inch or two of water and place the cilantro in it, just like you were putting flowers in a vase. Cilantro will last much longer when stored in water than if the cut stems are simply left uncovered in the fridge.
Is it Ok to Eat Cilantro Raw?
Yes! Raw cilantro contains the highest amounts of vitamins, minerals and antioxidents and is the best way to eat it.
Who Should Not Eat Cilantro?
Since Cilantro lowers blood sugar, those with lower blood sugar levels (such as those with diabetes) should use caution when eating cilantro. Small amounts should be fine for most people.
As you can see, there are so many uses for cilantro besides just tossing it in your salsa. If you do like salsa, check out this Homemade Salsa Recipe for Canning! It would also be good for this 7 Layer Taco Dip Recipe.
Cilantro is a truly versatile herb with many uses in everyday recipes. Try some of these uses and see how easy it is to incorporate cilantro into your daily cooking routine.
More Uses for Herbs
If you’re ready to grow cilantro, check out this post on How to Grow an Herb Garden.
What are your favorite uses for cilantro? Do you have a favorite recipe to use it in?
Merissa has been blogging about and living the simple life since 2009 and has internationally published 2 books on the topic. You can read about Merissa’s journey from penniless to the 100-acre farm on the About Page. You can send her a message any time from the Contact Page.
This post on 10 Uses for Cilantro was originally published on Little House Living in August 2013. It has been updated as of June 2023.