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The 7 Best Substitutes for Coriander in Curry

Coriander, with its unique and bold flavor, is a staple in many curry recipes, adding an earthy, citrusy touch to the dish.

Its fresh leaves and ground seeds are essential to create that perfect balance of flavors in a mouthwatering curry.

But what if you run out of coriander or simply can’t find it in your local grocery store?

What are the best substitutes for coriander in curry? The best substitutes for coriander in curry include cilantro, parsley, celery leaves, mint, basil, oregano, and curry powder. These alternatives not only provide a similar taste profile but also maintain the integrity of your dish.

Fret not, as these substitutes can save your curry from losing its charm and keep your taste buds happy!

Let’s delve into each of these alternatives and find out what makes them the perfect stand-ins for coriander in your curry recipes.

Why Use Coriander in Curry?

Coriander Chicken Curry

Coriander is a commonly used herb in Indian cuisine, particularly in curries.

It is used for its unique flavor and aroma, which is described as citrusy, slightly sweet, and slightly spicy.

Coriander seeds are often used in a technique called “tadka” where they are fried in hot oil along with other spices and aromatics to unlock their flavors and infuse them into the dish.

Fresh coriander leaves are also used as a garnish to add color and flavor to the dish.

Coriander is often paired with cumin in Indian cuisine, and the two spices are used together in a blend called “garam masala.”

Coriander is also used in Thai and Southeast Asian cuisines, where it is known as cilantro.

Overall, coriander adds a unique and complex flavor profile to curries and other dishes, making it an essential ingredient in Indian cuisine.

The 7 Best Substitutes for Coriander in Curry

Coriander is a key ingredient in many curries, but it can be hard to find or too expensive for some cooks.

If you’re looking for an alternative, here are seven substitutes that will still give you the same great flavor and aroma:

1. Cilantro


Cilantro, also known as fresh coriander or Chinese parsley, is the leafy green part of the coriander plant.

It boasts a bright, citrusy flavor profile that closely resembles coriander, making it an excellent alternative in curry dishes.

Cilantro is often used in various global cuisines, such as Mexican, Thai, and Indian, providing a burst of verdant freshness and a lively taste.

To incorporate cilantro into your curry, simply chop the leaves and stems finely, then add them toward the end of the cooking process.

Doing so will help retain the herb’s delicate, aromatic qualities while infusing your dish with a coriander-like essence.

2. Parsley


Parsley, a popular herb in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine, offers a mild, slightly bitter flavor that can complement curry dishes as a coriander substitute.

Although its taste is not an exact match for coriander, parsley can still provide a pleasant green note that works well with the complex spices found in curry.

Both flat-leaf (Italian) and curly-leaf parsley can be used, though flat-leaf parsley is generally considered more flavorful.

To use parsley in your curry, finely chop the leaves and add them to the dish during the final stages of cooking.

This will help preserve the herb’s vibrant color and subtle flavor while adding a touch of coriander-like freshness.

3. Celery Leaves

Dried Celery Leaves

Celery leaves, often overlooked and discarded, provide a surprisingly effective alternative to coriander in curry dishes.

Their flavor is somewhat reminiscent of coriander, with a mild, grassy taste and a hint of earthiness.

Celery leaves can be found at the top of the celery stalk, and using them not only adds flavor to your curry but also reduces food waste.

Simply wash and chop the leaves, then add them to your curry as you would coriander.

The result is a unique, aromatic twist that complements the bold flavors of curry while offering a nod to the original coriander essence.

4. Mint


Mint is a popular herb known for its refreshing flavor and aroma, making it a versatile addition to a variety of dishes.

When seeking an alternative to coriander in curry recipes, mint offers a unique twist that imparts a cool, invigorating taste.

Its subtle sweetness complements the bold, spicy flavors of curry, balancing the heat while adding depth to the dish.

Fresh mint leaves can be chopped and stirred into the curry during the final stages of cooking, allowing the flavors to meld beautifully without overpowering the dish.

Embrace this fragrant herb as a coriander substitute for a delightful, refreshing spin on your favorite curry recipes.

5. Basil


Basil, a beloved culinary herb, boasts a distinct aroma and flavor profile that can enhance various dishes, including curry.

With its slightly sweet, peppery taste, basil can serve as a suitable coriander alternative, adding a delightful complexity to your curry.

While fresh basil leaves are ideal, dried basil can also be used in a pinch.

To incorporate basil into your curry, add it during the final stages of cooking to preserve its vibrant flavor and aroma.

This simple substitution not only offers a unique taste but also adds a touch of elegance to your curry, making it an unforgettable dining experience.

6. Oregano


Oregano, a robust, earthy herb, is often used in Mediterranean and Mexican cuisine to add depth and flavor to dishes.

Its warm, slightly bitter taste makes it an intriguing option for replacing coriander in curry recipes.

While the flavor profile differs from coriander, oregano can complement the rich, spicy notes of curry, creating a harmonious blend of tastes.

For best results, use fresh oregano leaves, though dried oregano can also be used if necessary.

Stir in the oregano during the final stages of cooking, allowing it to infuse the dish with its bold essence without overwhelming the other ingredients.

7. Curry Powder

Curry Powder

Curry powder, a versatile spice blend, is a staple in many cuisines and serves as a convenient alternative to coriander when preparing curry dishes.

Typically containing a mix of spices such as turmeric, cumin, fenugreek, and chili powder, curry powder imparts a rich, complex flavor that complements a wide range of ingredients.

While it may not perfectly replicate the taste of coriander, curry powder can enhance the overall flavor profile of your dish, making it a suitable substitution.

To incorporate curry powder into your recipe, simply add it to taste, adjusting the quantity as needed to achieve the desired level of spice and flavor.

This convenient swap ensures a delicious, well-rounded curry, even without the presence of coriander.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What can I use instead of coriander in a curry?

There are several spices that can be used as a substitute for coriander in a curry. Some of the best alternatives include cumin, caraway seeds, fennel seeds, and anise seeds. Curry powder, which often contains coriander, can also be used as a substitute.

What can I use instead of fresh coriander?

If you don’t have fresh coriander, you can use other fresh herbs instead such as parsley, basil, or mint. However, keep in mind that these herbs have different flavors and may not produce the same taste as coriander.

Does curry need coriander?

Coriander is a common ingredient in curry, but it is not always necessary. Some curries may not use coriander at all, while others may use it in smaller or larger quantities depending on the recipe.

Can you use parsley instead of coriander in curries?

Parsley can be used as a substitute for coriander in curries, but keep in mind that it has a different flavor profile. Parsley has a milder taste and is less pungent than coriander, so it may not provide the same depth of flavor.


In conclusion, coriander is an important ingredient in curry, but there are several substitutes that can be used if you don’t have it on hand or if you simply don’t like its flavor.

Cumin, caraway seeds, fennel seeds, anise seeds, and curry powder are all great alternatives that can provide similar flavor profiles to coriander.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that each of these spices has its own unique taste, so the final flavor of the curry may differ slightly from the original recipe.

Ultimately, the best substitute for coriander in curry will depend on personal preference and the specific recipe being used.

The 7 Best Substitutes for Coriander in Curry

The 7 Best Substitutes for Coriander in Curry

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 4 people


  • Cilantro
  • Parsley
  • Celery Leaves
  • Mint
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Curry Powder


  • Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  • Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
jenny happy muncher
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Jenny has always been passionate about cooking, and she uses her platform to share her joy of food with others. Her recipes are easy to follow, and she loves giving tips and tricks to help others create their own unique culinary creations.