SHARE

Cilantro is one of the world’s most popular—and most polarizing—herbs. While some can’t get enough of its bracingly fresh flavor, others crinkle their nose in disgust, decrying a perceived soapiness. We send our condolences to those in the latter camp—hey, it’s not their fault they were born with an olfactory-receptor gene that makes cilantro’s aldehydes taste bitter. 

But for cilantro lovers, the herb is a non-negotiable ingredient in dishes ranging from guacamole to Indian chutneys to grilled steak topped with chimichurri. When buying cilantro (aka coriander and Chinese parsley), look for bunches with soft, bright green leaves and stems with as little brown as possible, then store it in a sealed bag in the vegetable drawer, where it will keep for a few days. Unlike parsley, cilantro has sweet, flavorful stems that add crunch and freshness to dishes both cooked and raw—so don’t toss them.

Rib-Eye Steak with Chimichurri

Rib-Eye Steak with Chimichurri
Photography by Matt Taylor-Gross

Cilantro and vinegar make a phenomenal foil for rich, juicy grilled steak as this recipe for Argentina’s favorite condiment proves. Get the recipe >

Spicy Mint, Cilantro, and Chia Seed Chutney

Mint Chutney
Photography by Matt Taylor-Gross

The chia seeds in this chutney are a natural emulsifier, turning an otherwise watery mix into a luxuriously swooshable sauce. Get the recipe >

Cilantro Salad with Olives, Avocado, and Limes

Cilantro Salad with Olives, Avocado, and Limes
Photography by Belle Morizio

This crisp, bright salad from Tanoreen in Brooklyn sings alongside fried fish and grilled meats, but it’s equally divine as a palate-cooling first course. Get the recipe >

Nam Khao (Crispy Rice Salad)

Nam Khao Rice Salad
Photography by Chris Nguyen

The best-selling dish at Ma Der Lao Kitchen in Oklahoma City is this chile- and cilantro-packed starter that you can whip up using leftover rice from last night’s takeout. Get the recipe >

Sardine and Lemongrass Salad

Sardine and Lemongrass Salad
Photography by Farideh Sadeghin

Briny sardines and fragrant lemongrass team up in this sweet-and-spicy salad enlivened with sliced red onions and an easy Thai chile sauce. Get the recipe >

Cilantro Yogurt Chutney

Cilantro Yogurt Chutney
Photography by Ingalls Photography

Chutneys are all about building layers of flavor, and this creamy, yogurt-based recipe does just that with bushels of cilantro and plenty of lime and chiles. Our favorite cabbage fritters and mung bean pancakes wouldn’t be the same without it. Get the recipe >

Grilled Lobster with Cilantro-Chile Butter

Grilled Lobster with Cilantro-Chile Butter
Photography by Penny De Los Santos

To make this stunning red-and-green entrée, whole lobsters are split down the middle, grilled over embers, and spooned with a heady cilantro-chile sauce. Get the recipe >

Mussels with Coconut Sweet Chile Broth

Mussels with Coconut Sweet Chili Broth
Photography by Michelle Heimerman

Nothing against mussels, but for us it’s all about the rich, herbaceous broth at the bottom of the bowl, which we readily sop up like no one’s looking. Get the recipe >

Cilantro and Peanut Salad

Cilantro Salad
Photography by Belle Morizio

Tender, young cilantro leaves and stems take center stage in this salad from Xinjiang, China, that balances heat and freshness. Get the recipe >

Bhaji Dana (Parsi-Style Fenugreek Leaves with Peas)

Indian fenugreek leaves and green peas (Bhaji Dana)
Photography by Fatima Khawaja

The only tricky step in making this beguilingly bitter salad is sourcing fresh fenugreek, which plays marvelously with cilantro and green peas. Get the recipe >

Leaf and Spear

Leaf and Spear
Photography by Christopher Testani

Cool off with this shamrock-green, kale-infused rum cocktail sweetened with homemade cilantro syrup. Get the recipe >

Classic Guacamole

Classic Guacamole Recipe
Photography by Belle Morizio

Our platonic guac ideal is creamy, tart, and suffused with an abundance of fragrant, freshly chopped cilantro. Get the recipe >

MORE TO READ