Cilantro vs Parsley

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

In kitchens around the world, the cilantro vs parsley debate has raged for decades; fortunately, there are some clear differences between these two tasty herbs.

Cilantro vs Parsley

The reason that the cilantro vs. parsley debate even exists is that the two herbs look so similar. However, that isn’t the only thing that separates these two.


Known as Coriandrum sativum, cilantro is a flavorful herb that is often referred to as coriander in the Mediterranean region and Europe. Cilantro, also called Chinese Parsley, with its variably sized leaves that are broader at the base, looks much like flat leaf parsley. However, the taste of cilantro is quite strong, and there are citrus overtones. In terms of their culinary uses, you will often use cilantro in guacamole, quesadillas, salsa, salads, soups, and curries. [1]

There are quite a few impressive health benefits of cilantro as well; thanks to its active ingredients and nutrients, such as phosphorous, potassium, calcium, zinc, dietary fiber, magnesium, vitamin C, and various antioxidants, these leaves can reduce inflammation, boost bone health, strengthen the immune system, and regulate digestion. [2]

An image of cilantro vs parsley

Cilantro vs parsley Photo Credit: Shutterstock


Scientifically known as Petroselinum crispum, parsley is native to the Mediterranean leaves, and its tripinnate leaves are quite similar to those of cilantro, which is why these two herbs are so difficult to tell apart. Parsley also has a much milder flavor than fresh cilantro. For recipes that may call for both cilantro and parsley, be sure to balance them equally; too little parsley and the dish may be overpowered by cilantro’s citrus bite! Parsley is often used as a garnish or topping, or occasionally an ingredient in soups or salads. [3]

Parsley contains high levels of vitamin A, C, K, iron, folate and other flavonoid antioxidants, as well as various volatile oil components, such as myristicin, limonene, and eugenol. This uniquely powerful nutrient profile makes parsley very effective at reducing oxidative stress and chronic disease in the body. The use of parsley is also associated with regulating blood sugar levels, soothing arthritis pain and discomfort, and strengthening your immune system. [4] Protection Status
About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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