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The Difference Between Cilantro and Culantro

Difference Between Culantro And Cilantro

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Reading through typos can be easy if the word is easy to recognize. For instance, someone might spell “achieve” like “acheive” when they type too fast. Or, they could be on mobile and type “vut” instead of “but” because of their small screen. Similarly, you might have noticed recipes listing “culantro” among their ingredients, convincing you that it must be a typo for cilantro. But if “culantro” appears consistently throughout the article, that might leave you wondering: is cilantro and culantro the same thing?

Culantro and cilantro are different herbs entirely. They both come from the Apiaceae family of herbs, but culantro offers a much stronger flavor than cilantro. Despite their difference in flavor strength, you can easily substitute them for each other if a recipe requires either herb. Simply use more cilantro to achieve a culantro flavor and use less culantro to get a cilantro flavor. This article further discusses the main differences between cilantro and culantro to help you distinguish each herb from the other.

What Is the Difference Between Cilantro and Culantro?

Growing Culantro

Although you might easily mistake culantro and cilantro with each other in writing, they have quite a number of differentiating factors. Apart from flavor, they have distinct appearances and culinary uses. Here are some key differences between both herbs:

Cilantro vs. Culantro in Taste

As we mentioned earlier, culantro has a strong taste. You can utilize this herb to bring out the flavor in your stews, soups, or salads. However, its strong taste makes it suited as an ingredient that you would add while you cook your dishes. Cooking culantro leaves release more flavor to virtually any dish.

Meanwhile, cilantro’s subtle flavor is more suited as a garnish. This herb is delicate and may lose its distinct taste if you expose it to too much heat. You would add cilantro after cooking the dish to prevent cooking the herb. In other words, you would do better to use raw cilantro in your dishes to experience its muted, earthy taste.

Both herbs have similar flavors that differ in strength. You can achieve a near-identical cilantro flavor in your dishes if you use culantro sparingly. More cilantro can also attain a similar pungent and bitter taste that culantro offers. It’s a matter of adjusting the herbs to match your taste preferences.

Cilantro vs. Culantro in Appearance

Some people refer to culantro plants as broadleaf cilantro. These herbs have long, thin, and serrated leaves that almost look like skinny Chinese cabbage. Relatedly, some people know cilantro as Chinese parsley or coriander.

As such, you might confuse cilantro with parsley since they look more alike than cilantro does with culantro. You can distinguish cilantro by looking at its rounded, scallop-shaped leaves. Parsley has more pointy leaves and a typically darker green color than culantro.

Culantro and cilantro look so distinct from each other that you will rarely confuse one for the other when at the grocery. Culantro might look like sharp-edged seaweed. Most people cut off culantro edges when preparing their dishes. Meanwhile, you can find delicate cilantro leaves in bunches and simply trim off the large leaves to use as garnish.

Cilantro vs. Culantro in Culinary Uses

You can use either herb for similar purposes since they are interchangeable. Their differences come from the areas where people commonly use them. For instance, culantro is more common in Caribbean dishes and Central and South American cuisine. Some Asian countries that use culantro include Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand.

Meanwhile, cilantro herbs are more common in North American and European dishes. Countries in these continents have climates suited for cilantro plant growth. Mexican dishes that incorporate cilantro in their recipes include guacamole, salsa, taco, and salads. Adding this herb to dishes is easy since it serves as a garnish mostly.

Cilantro vs. Culantro in Health Benefits

Experts have reported that culantro plants are rich in the following nutrients:

  • Calcium: This nutrient helps develop strong bones and maintain healthy functions of the heart, muscles, and nerves.
  • Iron: Your body uses this mineral to grow and develop. Iron contributes to hemoglobin formation, which is a protein that blood vessels use to deliver oxygen throughout the body.
  • Carotene: This nutrient converts into vitamin A when it enters your body. Vitamin A or retinol is necessary for a strong immune system and healthy vision.
  • Riboflavin: Also known as vitamin B2, this nutrient helps your body break down carbs, fats, and proteins. Your body needs to break these nutrients down to convert them into energy.
  • Collectively, culantro leaves offer medicinal benefits for treating constipation, diabetes, fevers, and flu. You can boil them into tea, which can also act as an appetite stimulant.
  • Meanwhile, the vitamins and minerals that cilantro offers as a culinary herb include:
  • Vitamin A: If you’ve ever been told to eat carrots to improve your vision, behind that saying is vitamin A. Vitamin A is known to be vital for eye health, and you can support this by eating some cilantro.
  • Vitamin C: While vitamin C won’t necessarily cure colds, experts do know that it’s essential for immune functioning.
  • Vitamin K: Vitamin K (among its many functions) is particularly useful for building up strong bones. If this sounds like calcium, you should know this is more than just a coincidence. Vitamin K enables your body to use the calcium you take in for strengthening your bones, according to one study.
  • Folate: Folate, otherwise known as folic acid, is perhaps best known for its use in prenatal vitamins. It can help prevent potentially life-threatening birth defects that emerge during a fetus’s development. However, folic acid is beneficial for everyone. Some studies have shown its effectiveness against chronic illnesses such as cancer.


Culantro and cilantro are different herbs from the same family Apiaceae. Culantro looks like seaweed, while cilantro looks like parsley in the way that it bunches together. You cannot mistake them for each other when you are looking for them in the grocery store.

Both herbs also differ in the location that people commonly use them. The Caribbean, Central American, South American, and some Asian countries mostly use culantro due to availability. Likewise, North American and European countries are keener to using cilantro in their dishes. These two herbs are interchangeable because they have similar flavors, except culantro has a much stronger and more pungent taste than cilantro. So, you might want to use it sparingly if your recipe calls for cilantro.

The Campbells love finding sustainable and fun ways to increase their independence from traditional brick and motor supermarkets. Aquaponics provides a full lifecycle food source for families and a great hobby. #aquaponicslifestyle

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