Coriander Substitute Ideas: Making a Substitution for Coriander

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When looking for a coriander substitute, you might find what you need in your spice rack or cupboard. It can be frustrating when you’re missing an ingredient, but it’s easy enough to find a substitution for coriander. Keep reading for a list of suggestions to consider!

First, when looking for coriander substitutes, consider the overall composition and flavor of the dish. Think about flavors, textures, and appearance. Keep in mind the way different seasonings play together and keep this information on hand as you work to choose a suitable coriander substitute.

Store is totally Sold Out of Coriander. Cumin is one option for a seasoning swap.
Store is totally Sold Out of Coriander. Cumin is one option for a seasoning swap.

First, let’s get to know a little more about coriander.

What is coriander?

Coriander, also commonly called cilantro, Chinese parsley, or dhania, is an herb in the Apiaceae family (the same family as carrots and parsley). Cilantro seeds are called coriander. Coriander is a spice typically used in ground form or whole seeds. You can also crush, crack, or toast coriander seeds.

What does coriander taste like?

Whole coriander seeds taste earthy, floral, peppery, and citrusy with a hint of sweet. The flavor is reminiscent of curry. Ground coriander seeds taste a bit nutty and more toasted, but with less citrus than if left whole.

Can you substitute ground coriander for coriander seeds?

Yes, if you’re out of coriander seeds, you can substitute ground coriander at a 75% ratio. For example, if your recipe requires 1 teaspoon of coriander seeds, you can substitute with ¾-teaspoon of ground coriander.

Okay, now that we got that out of the way, let’s get started finding a substitution for coriander!

Coriander Substitute Ideas

Finding a substitute for coriander isn’t difficult if you know where to start. Keep your senses and cooking instincts sharp. Give yourself some grace before running out to the store and see if any of these coriander substitute ideas will work for you!

Coriander Seed Substitute

When looking for a replacement for coriander seeds, you may prefer a whole seed substitution. This helps to maintain texture as well as flavor and appearance if your recipe calls for seeds.

Try any of the following as a substitute for coriander seeds:

Caraway Seeds

Close in flavor and from the same family, caraway seeds may be the best substitute for coriander. Anticipate a touch of anise and earthiness in the dish and a rich aroma. Substitute caraway for coriander seeds at a 1:1 ratio. This spice is probably one of the best choices in what to use instead.

Caraway seeds make a fine coriander seed substitute.
Caraway seeds make a fine substitute for this popular spice.

Whole or Crushed Cumin Seeds

With similar flavors and a whole or crushed seed texture, consider toasted cumin seeds as a coriander spice substitute. Cumin seeds will have a slightly subtler taste as compared to ground cumin. If you want to enhance the flavor and kick things up a notch, grind the cumin seeds with a mortar and pestle.


The anise-like flavor of fennel may also be a spice similar to coriander enough to get you by this time. Fennel isn’t my favorite, and admittedly, I often avoid buying sausage with fennel mixed into it, but you can make your own call on this one.

Ground Coriander

If you’ve got it in your cabinet, use the ground version as a coriander alternative. You’ll find a very similar flavor and just lose the texture of the whole seeds, if that was even part of the recipe.

Ground Coriander Substitute (Powdered / Dried Coriander Substitute)

When you’re looking for a dried coriander powder substitute, you have a few options. Most importantly, keep in mind the taste and texture you’re hoping to achieve.

Ground Coriander works as a substitute for coriander seeds.
See if you can find a good ground coriander replacement, or use ground coriander in place of its seeds.

Try these suggestions for a good substitution for ground coriander.

Crushed Coriander Seeds

If your recipe calls for it and you have them on hand, try crushed seeds of the same spice as a substitute for coriander powder. You can even put whole coriander seeds in a pepper mill and make your own ground coriander.

Ground Caraway

Close in taste with a nutty and citrus peppery flavor, caraway makes a fine coriander substitute, whether crushed, ground, or as whole seeds. Expect a slight hint of licorice. Consider the needs of your recipe and swap caraway for coriander to complete your dish.


Boasting a rich and earthy taste with a hint of citrus, cumin works as a suitable replacement for coriander powder. Ground cumin would nicely supplement a dish where you need to replace ground coriander.

Curry Powder

With similar earthy flavors already infused, curry powder can stand in as a ground coriander replacement. Curry powder blends together sweet and savory spices such as cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, and cloves, creating a unique mixture that may work in your recipe.

Cumin, Cumin Seeds, and Curry Powder can all sub in for coriander.
Cumin, Cumin Seeds, and Curry Powder can all sub for coriander.

Herb Mixtures like Garam Masala

Look into garam masala, which generally contains coriander. You can also mix up a blend of the seasonings listed in this post, or others that you like and feel confident using.

Coriander Substitution Tip

If possible and safe to do so, consider tasting your recipe along the way to gauge the replacement for coriander. At the very least, rely on the aromas of the food to give you an idea if you’re on the right track.

If you don’t feel confident in any particular substitute for coriander, consider winging it to see how it goes or heading over to the store if it’s that important to you.

Coriander Leaves Substitute (Fresh Coriander)

If you’re looking for a fresh coriander leaves substitute, you’re actually looking for cilantro substitute ideas. The leaves of the plant are called cilantro while the seeds are called coriander. Be sure to check out my other blog post for a list of spices and fresh coriander substitute ideas.

Finding a Good Coriander Substitute

Admittedly, not all herb substitutes work for all recipes. Sometimes a flavor is just too important. Consider all things and make your best decision on which coriander alternative to try or (sigh) head over to the grocery store.

Honestly, though, now that you have some ideas of what to sub for coriander, I hope this post saved you a trip to the supermarket!

Do you have any other favorite coriander substitutes we should add to the list? Which is the best, in your opinion? Shout out in the comments below – we love hearing from you!

By the way – for the future, maybe you should try growing coriander and cilantro. Then you may have some on hand the next time you need it!

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