Home > Cooking with Herbs > Cooking with Coriander

Cooking with Coriander

By: Kate Bradbury - Updated: 1 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Cooking With Coriander Coriander Seeds

Coriander has been used in cooking for centuries. The leaves seeds and even roots can be used, and have independent flavours and uses. Coriander seeds and leaves have a mild lemony flavour. The leaves are also known as cilantro and are used to garnish and flavour a number of dishes, including Thai and Indian curries, and salsas and salads. They are also used in many Latin dishes, for example salsa and ceviche. The seeds are used as a spice, used to flavour curries and soups. The roots are rarely used, however they can be added to curries or ground and used as a substitute for coffee.


Cilantro (coriander leaves) resembles flat-leaved parsley. They have a strong and pungent flavour, which some people liken to the taste of soap. Despite this, cilantro is a popular herb and can be chopped up and added raw to salsas and salads, or used to garnish soups and curries or sprinkled over a warm, garlic naan bread to serve with your favourite curry. In particular, they are fantastic when added to vegetable stir-fries (such as Chinese and Thai) and can even be added to poultry dishes for a taste of the Orient. When adding fresh cilantro to a hot dish, ensure that you add it at the last minute so the flavour and colour of the leaves does not diminish through cooking.

Cilantro is best eaten when fresh; it is sometimes available as a dried herb, however most of the flavour is diminished during the drying process. It is best eaten within a couple of hours of harvesting it and is ideally freshly picked from your own herb garden.


Coriander seeds are used dried and often ground into a fine powder. Coriander seeds have a mild, spicy, citrus flavour and are used as the basis of many dishes, including Indian and Thai recipes. Coriander seeds are normally toasted before being ground to bring out their full flavour.

The ground form of the seeds is used widely in curry powders, providing a pleasant fragrance and flavour without any of the heat associated with them. The whole seed is often used as part of a pickling spice. The seeds also form an important ingredient in tomato chutneys. They are often added to biscuits and baked goods.

For an interesting alternative use of coriander seeds, they may be distilled to produce an essential oil. One of the oldest essential oils available, it is used commercially for baked goods and meat products. The oil is sometimes even used in liqueurs.

Coriander Root

While not very commonly used these days, coriander root is also edible. It can be ground and used as a substitute for coffee.


Coriander is a delicious and versatile herb, used in a variety of dishes including Indian and Thai dishes and salsas and salads. Both the leaves (cilantro) and the seeds are commonly used (even the roots if you are feeling adventurous), and have distinct flavours and uses. The leaves are best eaten fresh and the seeds are best eaten dried, toasted and ground into a fine powder to use as a spice.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Steve
    Re: How to Cook and Recipes For Borage
    Eleven thirty a.m. on a Sunday I had a woman knock on my front door. She asked, "Do you mind if I take a few of your…
    5 July 2020
  • Eddie
    Re: Growing Fennel: Bulbed and Seed Varieties
    Hi, I recently watched a gardening programme where a lady showed that you can prolong the life of your shop…
    27 June 2020
  • Megaclear
    Re: Growing Bay Leaves
    Hi I have a bay tree that’s 10ft away from my house the tree is approximately 20ft high will this cause a problem to the foundations Regards…
    26 June 2020
  • Jobo
    Re: Growing Fennel: Bulbed and Seed Varieties
    Hi I have just gotten an allotment and there is a fennel 'bush' that has had nothing done to it for a year and…
    28 May 2020
  • Polly
    Re: Growing Bay Leaves
    Hi my bay tree leaves are getting very dry I water it is there anything I can give extra to help this problem
    21 May 2020
  • katarina
    Re: Growing Bay Leaves
    Hi, my bayleaf has shiny sloghtly sticky cover on the leaves which also drops on the floor. I have realised that it may have some desease as…
    14 May 2020
  • Daisy
    Re: How to Cook and Recipes For Borage
    I'm sure I have borage growing in my garden, it looks like the pictures, smells of cucumber and spreads vigorously. I…
    6 May 2020
  • Rosemaria
    Re: Growing Rosemary
    I have a rosemary plant in a pot, it is now over 20 years old and with little attention grows and flowers every year. It is very woody for the…
    26 April 2020
  • James Henwood
    Re: Growing Oregano
    Growing Oregano in pots on the windowsill - Once the seeds have germinated and the pot fills with small plants, should you thin these out? If so…
    18 April 2020
  • Dee
    Re: Cooking with Calendula or Pot Marigold
    Someone gave me a large bag of these petals and I need to know of s way to use them in cooking Can you also make tea…
    2 April 2020