6 Amazing Coriander Seed Substitutes

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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Knowing all of the best coriander seed substitutes may be important if you find yourself without this flavorful spice in the middle of a recipe!

Coriander Seed Substitutes

Coriander seed substitutes may already be in your spice rack, as the flavor profile of these seeds is not particularly unique. Taken from the plant by the same name, coriander is used worldwide for seasoning a range of dishes. Coriander seeds are particularly popular in recipes for curries, chutneys, bread, and meat dishes. They provide earthy, warm, and lemony flavors to a dish. You’ll notice that something is missing if you simply leave this spice out. Luckily, there is a range of possible substitutes for coriander seeds such as ground coriander, cilantro, fennel seeds, caraway seeds, cumin seeds, and other seed mixtures.

Coriander powder in a wooden spatula next to a bowl of coriander seeds

Sprinkling a pinch of coriander powder is enough for curries to give its characteristic flavor. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Ground Coriander

Ground coriander is not as strong as the seeds, but do have more flavor in a higher concentration. Try using 3/4 of the amount requested for coriander seeds and adjust according to the flavor. It’s worth remembering that the longer powdered spices are stored, the less potent they become. Ground coriander can be a good substitute in liquid dishes that will absorb the powder.

Cilantro

Cilantro comes from the same plant but is harvested at an earlier stage in development. They can, therefore, offer a similar flavor to coriander seeds, but it will be less strong and have a fresher taste. Due to the mildness of the flavor, it is best to use cilantro as a substitute for coriander seeds in fresh dishes, such as cucumber raita.

Fennel Seeds

Similarly earthy in flavor, fennel seeds have a licorice taste that some people love and others strongly dislike. It’s best to check the tastes of your guests before using this substitute liberally. Use 1/4 less than the recommended amount of coriander seeds and increase the quantity, if needed. If there are no strong objections to the licorice flavor, fennel seeds work well as a substitute in soups, bread, desserts, and curries.

Caraway Seeds

Caraway seeds are an excellent alternative for coriander seeds in soups, salads, and bread. Both seeds are earthy and zesty in flavor. It is possible to substitute caraway seeds for coriander seeds in a 1:1 ratio.

Cumin Seeds

A reliable substitute offering a similarly bright flavor, cumin seeds work particularly well as a replacement for coriander seeds in Hispanic recipes and meat dishes.

Seed Mixture

It is possible to mix the above seeds (fennel, caraway, and cumin) in equal amounts to get a more refined and complex flavor that will make a substantial and rigorous substitute for coriander seeds.

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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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