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Cilantro or Coriander - They are Not Really the Same

Updated on June 3, 2016

Guacamole with Cilantro

Guacamole without Cilantro is not Guacamole
Guacamole without Cilantro is not Guacamole

Cilantro, it Looks like Parsley

Cilantro looks like Parsley but a quick smell will set you straight.
Cilantro looks like Parsley but a quick smell will set you straight.

Coriander Seeds

Coriander seeds are sold in the Spices section, not fresh produce.
Coriander seeds are sold in the Spices section, not fresh produce.

Many people think that Cilantro and Coriander are the same thing but there is a slight difference. They both come from the same plant but the leaves are called Cilantro and the dried seeds are known as Coriander. But taken as a popular herb or spice, they are both popular in many parts of the world.

Traditionally Cilantro is used in many dishes such as Mexican salsa and guacamole. Salsa wouldn't be salsa with out Cilantro. I don't think I have ever had a good Salsa that did not have that familiar taste of Cilantro. My favorite is Mango Cilantro Salsa.

Cilantro also complements seafood, especially a more oily fish like salmon or tuna. With lighter white fish, I find that the Cilantro has a tendency to overwhelm the fish a bit. Cilantro is also popular with certain chicken dishes with Caribbean jerk chicken coming to mind.

Cilantro is not limited tp the latinos. The Greeks do a spaghetti sauce with Cilantro and spinach which is wonderful, especially when finished off with a few Ouzo's around 2am when the Greek restaurants are just getting a full head of steam.

IIn Asia and the Far-East, Cilantro is found in chutneys and in salads. My favorite from this grouping would be Tabbouleh which is a Lebanese/Turkish salad which includes lemon juice, olive oil and spring onions.

In my opinion, use only fresh Cilantro! It is inexpensive and can be found in most supermarkets that carry fresh herbs. The only bad thing about Cilantro is that it is now such an in-thing that folks are putting it on everything!

Coriander, which is the seeds of the plant, are used in the same types of dishes as Cilantro but Coriander does have one unique use. It is one of the ingredients in a German beer known as Witbier (white beer). The beer is popular in the summer time in Germany and lately some fruit flavored variations have sprung up in Belgium and Holland

Since Coriander comes from the dried seeds, it has a shelf life and sells as a prepared bottled spice. This makes Coriander the choice when you are looking for that particular flavor in a soup or a casserole that is going to be cooked.

Cilantro and your Libido

Ask almost most anyone what food will increase your libido and Oysters will invariably come up. Eat a dozen raw oysters with a glass of champagne to bring those desires to the front burner friends will tell you. But, of course you have to be able to swallow them! Some folks think Cilantro improves your sex drive while other take the opposite view. So far, credible science has yet to weigh in on either side of the Cilantro/Libido issue, So enjoy it for its culinary values!

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    • Liz Merrill Mason profile image

      Liz Merrill Mason 

      15 months ago

      They may be the same but they do not taste the same. Cilantro is nasty tasting and will overpower ALL the other flavors in a dish. There are famous chefs who agree and will never use it in a recipe. Coriander seed is quite nice.

    • profile image

      Johnny 

      23 months ago

      They may be from the same plant, but for those of us for whom cilantro tastes like soap, the tastes are very different. I like the seeds dispise the leaves.

    • profile image

      Thomas 

      2 years ago

      Culantro and Cilantro are completely different plants...

    • profile image

      Roberta 

      2 years ago

      So if you say they aren't the same than why don't you just go ahead and translate the spanish word cilantro to latin...really it does pretty much the same job in meals except the leaves can be used as garnish...all the while it gives the same flavor. Just what I believe through my cooking experience and been cooking for over 30 years now.

    • profile image

      bill smitticks 

      2 years ago

      Mitch, shut the f*** up you worthless scrap of potato peel. Thanks for the article Coolpapa.

    • profile image

      Sazzle1 

      2 years ago

      It is correct to say that in US Coriander and Cilantro are not considered the same thing. However it is incorrect to say that they are not the same thing. The latin term for herb is Coriandrum sativum from where the word Coriander comes from. It refers to the entire plant including the leavesm stalks and seeds. However the Spanish translation of the word Coriander is Cilantro. Since US use of the herb came primarily from food made by Spanish speaking countries the use of the word Cilantro was used instead of Coriander to refer to the leaves and stalks, although for some reason the seeds are still referred to as Coriander as derived from its original latin name. The plant is therefore the Coriander plant and it is simply that in US you use the Spanish translation of that word for the leaves and stalks rather than the English word, which is absolutely fine, but does not mean that Coriander and Cilantro are not the same thing you just happen to call it something different in your part of the world. If you go to UK or Australia or most of Europe (excluding the Spanish parts obviously) and say Cilantro they will not have a clue what you are talking about. If you ask Coriander you are actually far more likely to be given the leaves as you would be expected to specify Coriander seeds if that was what you wanted.

    • profile image

      Bernard 

      2 years ago

      At least here in the Philippines, we call the seed cilantro or culandro which is Spanish in origin. We call the leaves Wansoy which is chinese in origin. Coriander leaves is my favorite. Very refreshing in the palate.

    • profile image

      PJ 

      3 years ago

      Hi, Cilantro is North American terminology. In many parts of the world, it's just coriander. The seeds are called Coriander seeds.

    • Coolpapa profile imageAUTHOR

      Coolpapa 

      3 years ago from Florida

      A little research and I came up with cilantro spelled culantro first used in the 13th century, but wide spread use starting in 20th century. Understandably most used in Spanish speaking countries. Thanks for reading fellows.

    • profile image

      Diane 

      3 years ago

      Alan, that's the same here in Australia too. Cilantro, as far as I know, is a term only used in North American.

    • Coolpapa profile imageAUTHOR

      Coolpapa 

      3 years ago from Florida

      Mitch, while I don't profess to be a great grammarian, I do proofread. I also pass all articles through Copyscape and Grammarly. When errors pop up it is usually the result of a last minute edit and cutting corners. But, it is always appreciated when someone points out my errors. Thanks for reading and thanks for the comments!

    • profile image

      Mitch 

      3 years ago

      My god!! My English teacher would slap you silly!! Can't you at least proof read your work before you publish it?? Bad grammar!! Null statements! Cripes!! Well, other than that, honestly, it was a good article. Good information, fun to read. Thanks!

    • profile image

      the beaver 

      4 years ago

      They are the same depending on culture and location.

    • Coolpapa profile imageAUTHOR

      Coolpapa 

      4 years ago from Florida

      Alan, you are entirely correct! A fact I learned the hard way while living in the UK years ago. I think you might enjoy the link below.

      Cheers!

      http://www.everywhereist.com/cilantro-vs-coriander...

    • profile image

      Alan 

      4 years ago

      FYI... In the UK,' Coriander' is the term used for the leaves and 'Coriander seeds', for the seeds.'Cilantro' is not a term that us used at all in the UK

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