Cilantro vs. Parsley — What's the Difference?
By Tayyaba Rehman — Updated on September 21, 2023
Cilantro is the leaves of the coriander plant with a unique, citrusy flavor; parsley is a herb with flat or curly leaves and a mild, grassy taste.
Difference Between Cilantro and Parsley
Table of Contents
Cilantro and parsley are both green herbs frequently used in cooking for garnishing and flavoring. Cilantro, also known as coriander in some parts of the world, belongs to the Apiaceae family. Its leaves possess a distinctive, somewhat citrusy flavor that is polarizing: some adore it while others describe it as soapy.
Parsley, on the other hand, comes in two main varieties: flat-leaf (Italian) and curly. Both types also hail from the Apiaceae family, much like cilantro. However, parsley has a milder, grassy flavor and is commonly employed in Mediterranean and European cuisines.
Cilantro's leaves and stems are edible and are often utilized in Mexican, Indian, and Asian dishes. It's not just the flavor that stands out; cilantro also brings a vibrant green touch to salsas, curries, and noodle dishes.
Conversely, parsley is a staple herb in many culinary traditions. Beyond its culinary usage, parsley is often used as a decorative garnish. Whether chopped into tabbouleh, blended into chimichurri, or simply sprinkled over a dish, parsley's subtle flavor enhances without overpowering.
Mexican, Indian, Asian cuisines
Mediterranean, European cuisines
One main type
Flat-leaf (Italian) and curly
Part primarily consumed
Leaves and stems
Compare with Definitions
The leaves and stems of the coriander plant.
Cilantro and lime make a perfect combination in salsas.
Commonly used in Mediterranean and European dishes.
The pasta was finished with olive oil and parsley.
A common garnish in Mexican and Asian dishes.
The pho was topped with a generous amount of cilantro.
A mild-tasting herb used in various cuisines.
The tabbouleh had a refreshing amount of parsley in it.
A green herb with a citrusy flavor.
She sprinkled fresh cilantro over the taco.
A member of the Apiaceae family.
Parsley and cilantro share the same botanical family.
An herb with a polarizing, unique taste.
Some love the taste of cilantro, while others find it soapy.
Often used both as a culinary ingredient and garnish.
The steak was served with a side of parsley butter.
A herb belonging to the Apiaceae family.
Cilantro and parsley both belong to the Apiaceae family but taste quite different.
Parsley or garden parsley (Petroselinum crispum) is a species of flowering plant in the family Apiaceae that is native to the central and eastern Mediterranean region (Sardinia, Lebanon, Israel, Cyprus, Turkey, southern Italy, Greece, Portugal, Spain, Malta, Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia), but has been naturalized elsewhere in Europe, and is widely cultivated as a herb, and a vegetable. Where it grows as a biennial, in the first year, it forms a rosette of tripinnate leaves, 10–25 cm (4–10 in) long, with numerous 1–3 cm (0.4–1.2 in) leaflets and a taproot used as a food store over the winter.
The fresh stems and finely divided young leaves of the coriander plant, used in salads and various dishes as a flavoring and garnish. Also called Chinese parsley, coriander.
A member of the parsley family.
(US) The stems and leaves of the coriander plant, Coriandrum sativum, used as a seasoning and garnish in cooking.
A cultivated Eurasian herb (Petroselinum crispum) having edible, flat or curled, finely divided leaves.
An Old World herb (Coriandrum sativum) with aromatic parsleylike leaves and seed.
The leaves of this plant used as a seasoning or garnish.
A parsleylike herb used as seasoning or garnish.
A bright green, biennial herb, Petroselinum crispum, having many cultivars.
Old World herb with aromatic leaves and seed resembling parsley
(uncountable) The leaves of this plant used in Middle Eastern, European, and American cooking.
Parsley-like herb used as seasoning or garnish
Any herb resembling parsley, such as cilantro (Chinese parsley) or chervil (French parsley).
To add parsley to.
An aromatic umbelliferous herb (Carum Petroselinum), having finely divided leaves which are used in cookery and as a garnish.
As she went to the garden for parsley, to stuff a rabbit.
Annual or perennial herb with aromatic finely-cut leaves
Aromatic herb with flat or curly leaves
A green herb with flat or curly leaves.
He garnished the soup with fresh parsley.
Are cilantro and parsley interchangeable in recipes?
Not usually, as they have distinct flavors, but it depends on the dish.
Do cilantro and parsley have health benefits?
Yes, both are rich in vitamins and antioxidants.
Which has a stronger flavor, cilantro or parsley?
Cilantro has a more distinctive, citrusy flavor compared to the mild taste of parsley.
Is parsley just for garnish?
No, parsley is both a culinary herb and garnish.
Can you eat the stems of cilantro?
Yes, cilantro stems are edible and flavorful.
Which parsley variety is best for cooking?
Flat-leaf (Italian) parsley is often preferred for cooking due to its robust flavor.
Why do some people dislike cilantro?
Some have a genetic trait that makes cilantro taste soapy to them.
Where should I store cilantro and parsley?
Both should be stored in the refrigerator, preferably in a glass of water or wrapped in a damp cloth.
Which is more common in Italian cuisine?
Parsley is more commonly used in Italian dishes.
Is coriander the same as cilantro?
In the U.S., cilantro refers to the leaves and stems, while coriander refers to the seeds. In other parts, "coriander" can mean the entire plant.
Are cilantro and parsley easy to grow at home?
Both are relatively easy to grow in pots or gardens with proper care.
Can cilantro and parsley be dried for storage?
Yes, though fresh herbs usually have a better flavor.
Can you use cilantro in pesto instead of parsley or basil?
Yes, cilantro can offer a unique twist on traditional pesto.
How can I keep parsley fresh longer?
Store in the fridge, in water or wrapped in a damp cloth, and change the water every couple of days.
How are cilantro and parsley used in Middle Eastern cuisine?
Cilantro is used in some dishes, but parsley is a staple, especially in tabbouleh.
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Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to askdifference.com. As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.