What is Cilantro? What is Parsley? How to tell the difference... | The Daily Dish

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What is Cilantro? What is Parsley? How to tell the difference…

34 Comments | Written on April 16, 2013 at 12:00 am , by

I grew up in a household where we were always cooking.  Day in and day out for family meals, entertaining at holidays, or, more often than not, testing recipes for cooking contests.  My mom was constantly busy in the kitchen, which meant my dad was often given the task of running to the grocery store for a last minute essential ingredient.

Now, my dad is an excellent food taster and even better dishwasher, but the culinary arts are certainly not his forte.  Inevitably about 20 minutes after he left the house the phone would ring.  Before even picking up the receiver my mom would know, “Daddy has a question…”  This was a much better outcome than the times he would just guess then come home with the wrong ingredient.  I can remember many instances when my mom opened up the grocery bag, ready to finish off a recipe, and sighing, “Bill!  You got cilantro instead of parsley!”

For the novice cook, the difference between Italian Flat Leaf Parsley and Cilantro can be confusing at first since they are often located near each other in the produce aisle.  There is one very easy rule of thumb that can help anyone (even my dad) differentiate between the two.

Keep reading for an easy trick to always tell the difference…

All you have to remember is “P is for Parsley because the leaves are Pointy” and “C is for Cilantro because the leaves are Curved!”

Recipes using Italian Flat Leaf Parsley:

Sicilian Swordfish Steaks

Oven Roasted Potatoes

Butternut Squash and Lentil Casserole

Decadent Crab Mac and Cheese

Italian Rigatoni Pie

Warm Mediterranean Farro Salad

Scandinavian Summer Soup

Barbecued Shrimp Scampi

Peruvian Lomo Saltado

Recipes using Cilantro:

Fish Taco Salad

Quinoa and Black Bean Burger Sliders

Santa Fe Salsa Salad

Warm Butternut Squash and Black Bean Salsa

Cold Lemon Soba Noodles

Limeade Chicken

Sriracha Spiked Sesame Slaw

Thai Chicken Pizza

Inside-Out Chinese Spring Roll Salad

34 Responses to “What is Cilantro? What is Parsley? How to tell the difference…”

  • 1
    Vseward says:

    This really hit home with me. Both my husband and son have done exactly the same thing. Now they send me photos on their phones LOL. Great story.

    • Kristina Vanni says:

      Ha! That’s awesome :) We are still trying to get my dad to use the camera or text messaging on his phone!

      • Celeste Smithbower says:

        This lesson on cilantro and parsley has been most informative and I thank you for the story and the way it was described.

  • 2
    Maria says:

    I also always had the difficulty of telling the difference between parsley and cilantro, till now. Thanks for this very helpful article.

  • 3
    Reeva says:



  • 4
    Adnan says:

    Great Work. Now I know the difference. Many Thanks.

  • 5
    ColleenInWis says:

    What I hate about bringing flat-leafed parsley home is that it tastes terrible. :( I want cilantro, but what I brought home yesterday does not taste like cilantro. Thanks for the photos–maybe I won’t make this mistake again.

  • 6
    bronwyn says:

    HI from NZ. what a great tip to distinguish between the two. thanks for that

  • 7

    Cilantro or coriander and Italian parsley ( flat leaves) have very pungeat flavor by themselves; but combined with othe ingredients in recipes add agreat touch to any food. I normally use parsley when cook seafood. I add it fresh chopped to tuna salad combined with onions, cilantro, bell peppers and mayo. Deliciously!
    Cilantro is wonderful with any tomato dish. Fresh or added to prepare sauces or vinaigrettes.
    If someone is interested on recipes using both herbs, email me. Good cooking !!! DH

  • 8

    Corriander leave or Cilantro is best for removing heavy metal from system
    Parsley is more known to cleans kidneys

  • 9
    Kandi says:

    Thank you so much for this information. Today I bought home what I thought was parsley – but it tasted different. Now I know Why!

  • 10
    dnp says:

    Great.. Thanks a lot, it helps.. :)

    • Grandma RoeRoe says:

      For many years I watched my Dad helping My Mom in preparation of ingredients for many special occasion dinners. He sat on a high stool near the kitchen counter chef’s knife in hand and would, with great skill, chop parsley and garlic… in preparation for their inclusion in bracioli and meat balls. They were then browned and partially cooked, placed in a high stack and then added to a huge pot with partially cooked sauce along with seared chunks of beef snd pork to to simmer 2-3 hours… No Classico or Giarda ready mades in those days!! Some parsley was reserved for small potatoes cut into wedges with strips of onions and chopped garlic…which were scattered between chicken breasts and legs dotted with bits of butter readied for roasting… Supremely delicious.
      For years I marveled at the succulent juiciness of Mom’s roasted chicken… I discovered, many years later, my Mother’s secret weapon: when the chicken was cooked to perfection she would turnoff the oven, turn on the broiler for just enough time to crisp the chicken skin and lock in the juice!! Amazing result. If you haven’t given up all chicken skin… It’s amazing… Parsley and garlic on the top … Great.!!!

  • 11
    Saki says:

    thank you. this is very helpful. i’ve been struggling with telling herbs apart.

  • 12
    Jeanne says:

    I buy my parsley & cilantro from the grocery store & always rely on the label to know the difference. Today I stopped by the fresh fruit stand that opened up and bought my parsley & cilantro from them. When I got home I wasn’t sure which was which since they had no tag on them. I love the pictures this is very easy to remember now I love the simplicity of it. Thanks so much! I’m trying to use more fresh herbs now in my cooking.

  • 13
    Nariman Bulsara says:

    Thanks it’s very helpful. if U can help Do i get cilantro as different Bunch or have to short out from Parsley?

  • 14

    [...] a really good way to remember the difference: betterrecipes.com [...]

  • 15

    [...] a really good way to remember the difference: betterrecipes.com [...]

  • 16
    Agun Gangmei says:

    Is ‘Parsley (Cilantro) good for cleaning our kidneys? Heard that it does when we take a cup of water mixed everyday..

  • 17
    njeli says:

    I spent half the afternoon arguing with a flatmate about this.What is known as coriander in New Zealand is commonly referred to as parsley back home in kenya.I’ve decided to leave it at that.Parsley:-)

  • 18
  • 19
    Sedasa says:

    Thank you for this. <3

  • 20
    Ahmed M says:

    Amazing! I been confused for years and today I bought Parsley when my wife asked for cilantro lol I could not tell the difference but now I get it!

  • 21
    John says:

    I finally understand. Those are perfect pictures.

  • 22
    Christine says:

    Thank you very much for the helpful and informative article.

  • 23
    Lisa says:

    You can tell by smell, too. Parsley smells ok and tastes ok. Cilantro smells wonderful and tastes like soap.

  • 24
    Gatuiri says:

    Awesome trick.

    Thanks. Definitely sharing it with my readers, thank you.

  • 25
    cs says:

    Thank you for pointing out the difference between flat leaf parsley and cilantro. It was always a problem when picking out spring herbs for planting, especially if the markers were missing.

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