Cilantro vs Coriander: What is the difference?

Coriander and cilantro come from the plant species. Coriandrum sativum (one).

However, they are named differently in different parts of the world.

In North America, coriander refers to the leaves and stems of the plant. The word "cilantro" is the name in Spanish of coriander leaves. Meanwhile, the dried seeds of the plant are called coriander.

Internationally, it's a different story. Cilantro is the name of the leaves and stems of the plant, while the dried seeds are called coriander seeds.

To avoid confusion, the rest of this article refers to the leaves and stems of the Coriandrum sativum Plant like cilantro and dried seeds like cilantro.

Despite coming from the same plant, coriander and cilantro have significantly different profiles, tastes and nutrient uses.

This article will help you understand the differences between cilantro and cilantro.

Coriander seeds and leaves

When it comes to nutrition, coriander and cilantro are very different.

Coriander leaves have much higher levels of vitamins, but lower levels of minerals. In contrast, coriander seeds have lower levels of vitamins, but many more minerals (2, 3).

Below is a comparison of the nutritional content of a 10 gram serving of cilantro and coriander (2, 3).

Cilantro (% RDI) Cilantro (% RDI)
Dietary fiber 1.1 16.8
Vitamin A 13.5 0
Vitamin C 4.5 3.5
Vitamin K 38.8 0
Manganese 2.1 9.5
Iron one 9.1
Magnesium 0.6 8.2
Calcium 0.7 7.1
Copper 1.1 4.9
Match 0.5 4.1
Selenium 0.1 3.7
Potassium 1.5 3.6
Zinc 0.3 3.1

It is worth noting that fresh coriander is 92.2% water. Meanwhile, coriander seeds are only 8.9% water. This is one of the main reasons why coriander has lower levels of minerals by weight, since the water in cilantro does not contain minerals or calories (2, 3, 4).

Summary Although they come from the same plant, coriander and cilantro have different nutrient profiles. Cilantro has higher levels of vitamins, such as vitamins A, K and E, while coriander is more abundant in minerals such as manganese, iron, magnesium and calcium.

They know and smell different

Interestingly, coriander and cilantro have different tastes and aromas.

Cilantro is an herb with a fragrant and citrusy flavor. Many people enjoy its refreshing flavor and aroma, but others can not stand it. Interestingly, people who find repulsive cilantro tend to have a genetic trait that makes them perceive cilantro as "dirty" or "soapy" (5).

One study analyzed the proportion of people of different ethnicities who do not like cilantro.

They found that 21% of East Asians, 17% of Caucasians, 14% of people of African descent, 7% of South Asians, 4% of Hispanics and 3% of participants of the Middle East did not like cilantro (5).

On the other hand, cilantro seems to have a less polarizing taste and smell. Its aroma is best described as warm, spicy and nutty, with a hint of citrus. The spice is commonly combined with cumin and cinnamon because they share similar flavor traits.

Summary Cilantro has a fragrant, refreshing and citrus flavor and aroma, while cilantro has a warmer, spicy and nutty flavor and aroma. Interestingly, some people may have a specific genetic trait that makes them perceive coriander differently.

They have different uses in the kitchen

The different properties of coriander and cilantro have led people to use them differently in recipes.

The refreshing and citrusy taste of coriander leaves has made them a common garnish in dishes from South America, Mexico, South Asia, China and Thailand.

Fresh coriander is typically added just before serving, since heat can quickly reduce its flavor.

Cilantro dishes

Here are some dishes that contain coriander:

  • The sauce A Mexican accompaniment
  • Guacamole: An avocado-based dip
  • Chutney: A sauce of Indian origin.
  • Agree: A Portuguese bread soup
  • Soups: Some may ask for coriander as a garnish to enhance its flavor.

In contrast, coriander seeds have a warmer and spicier flavor and are commonly used in dishes that have a spicy kick.

Cilantro dishes

Here are some dishes that contain coriander:

  • Curries
  • Rice dishes
  • Soups and stews
  • Rubbing meat
  • Pickled vegetables
  • Borodinsky bread A rye bread of Russian origin.
  • Dhana dal: Roasted and crushed cilantro seeds, a popular Indian snack

Dry roasting or heating cilantro seeds can improve their flavor and aroma. However, ground or powdered seeds lose their flavor quickly, so they are enjoyed more fresh.

Can you substitute cilantro for cilantro?

Due to their different flavor profiles, coriander and cilantro can not be used interchangeably.

Also, because the word "coriander" can refer to seeds or leaves, you may have to do detective work when you are following a new recipe that requires it.

If you find a recipe that requires "cilantro," be sure to check how the ingredient is used to know if the recipe is talking about the leaves and stems, or the seeds of the plant.

Summary Cilantro has a more refreshing and citrus flavor, which is why it is commonly used as a garnish in many recipes. In contrast, coriander has a warmer and spicier flavor, so it is most commonly used in curry, rice dishes, soups and fried meats.

Possible health benefits of coriander and coriander

Several studies have linked cilantro and cilantro with some impressive health benefits.

However, most of these findings come from test tube or animal studies. Although they are promising, more research in humans is needed.

Here are some possible health benefits that coriander and cilantro share.

It can reduce inflammation

Both coriander and cilantro are full of molecules called antioxidants.

Antioxidants are believed to help reduce inflammation in the body by binding and suppressing inflammation-promoting molecules known as free radicals (6).

A study in animals found that antioxidants in a coriander extract helped fight skin aging. The aging of the skin is often accelerated by the damage of free radicals (7).

In addition, a test tube study found that antioxidants in a coriander seed extract reduced inflammation and inhibited the growth of cancer cells in the stomach, prostate, colon, breast and lungs (8).

While these studies are promising, more man-based research is needed on the antioxidant benefits of coriander and coriander.

It can reduce the risk factors for heart disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide (9).

Some test tube and animal studies have shown that cilantro and cilantro can reduce several of their risk factors (10, 11).

A test tube study found that coriander extract can reduce the formation of blood clots. By reducing blood clotting, coriander extract supplements can potentially reduce the risk of heart disease (10).

In addition, an animal study found that a coriander seed extract significantly reduced blood pressure. In addition, he encouraged the animals to eliminate more water and salt through the urine, which further helped to reduce blood pressure (11).

May lower blood sugar levels

Having high blood sugar levels is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes (12).

Surprisingly, both cilantro and coriander seeds can help reduce blood sugar levels. They are thought to do this by increasing the activity levels of the enzymes that help eliminate blood sugar (13).

In fact, in an animal study, the scientists found that the animals that received coriander seeds had significantly less sugar in their bloodstreams (13).

In another animal study, coriander leaves proved to be almost as effective as a diabetes medication in reducing blood sugar levels (14).

While these results are promising, more human-based research is needed on how coriander and cilantro affect blood sugar levels.

It can help fight infections

Test tube studies have shown that the antimicrobial and antibacterial properties of cilantro and coriander can help fight infections (15).

A test-tube study showed that the compounds in fresh coriander leaves helped fight food-borne infections by killing bacteria such as Salmonella enterica (sixteen).

Another test tube study showed that cilantro seeds fight bacteria that commonly cause urinary tract infections (UTI) (17).

However, there is currently no evidence that coriander or cilantro can help fight infections in humans, so more research based on humans is needed.

Summary Both coriander and cilantro can offer impressive health benefits. They can help reduce inflammation and blood sugar levels, lower the risk of heart disease and fight infections. However, more research is needed on its effects on humans.

How to choose and store coriander and cilantro

When buying cilantro, it is better to choose leaves that are green and aromatic. Avoid buying leaves that are yellow or wilted, as they are not as tasty.

It is best to buy coriander as whole seeds, instead of dirt or powder. Once the coriander is ground, it loses its flavor quickly, so you will get the best results if you crush it just before using it.

To store the cilantro in the refrigerator, trim the bottom of the stems and place the bunch in a jar filled with a few inches of water. Make sure to change the water regularly and check for yellow or wilted leaves.

Cilantro can also be dried to last longer, but this causes it to lose its fresh and citrus flavor.

Summary Choose the coriander that has very green and aromatic leaves, as they are tastier. Also, choose whole coriander seeds instead of ground or powdered, which can lose their flavor quickly.

The bottom line

Both coriander and cilantro come from Coriandrum sativum plant.

In the United States, coriander is the name of the leaves and stem of the plant, while coriander is the name of its dried seeds.

Internationally, the leaves and stems are called coriander, while their dried seeds are called coriander seeds.

Despite their similar origins, coriander and cilantro have distinctly different tastes and aromas, so they can not be used interchangeably in recipes.

If you find a recipe that requires "cilantro," you will have to determine if it refers to the leaves or seeds. To do this, check where the recipe comes from and how cilantro is used.

In total, both cilantro and coriander are excellent additions to your diet. Try adding cilantro for a more refreshing flavor, or cilantro to help spice up your recipes.

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