Cilantro Seeds - Use Them Whole or Grind Them For Spice Blends, Mixes and Rubs

In the US they're called cilantro seeds, in most of the English speaking world they're called coriander seeds. Depending on what you read about this herb it's the leaves that are the cilantro part and the seeds or fruit the coriander part.

Harvested from the cilantro plant, these small seeds are used to spice up food throughout the culinary world. Read more about this herb.

Picture of cilantro seeds in a bowl

There are a number of ways to use them; thrown into the pot whole, toast them before adding, or you can grind whole seeds to a fine powder before using.

A highly recommended tip, if you're making a homemade blend or mix, and you want to get the most out of your seeds...

...Lightly toasting them before grinding them releases their essential oils and tons of flavour.

See the cooking with spices page for "step-by-step" info and photos on this.

The gently toasting cilantro seeds give off a strong aroma; but it's when you grind them that you get a really intense warm, lemony fragrance that'll give your food or blends that wow factor!

Cooking With Cilantro Seeds

But be aware, once ground the whole seeds quickly lose their potency. And if you have the time, it's best to grind fresh each time or just enough for a few servings and use within a month or two.

That's why I don't recommend commercial brands, you just don't know how long ago they were ground.

Now, once you have the aromatic ground powder, what should you do with it?

...I like to add it to my homemade pumpkin, yam and sweet potato soups and find it works great with these, it really turns an average soup into something special.

The whole seed also works well with lentil or bean soups. I gently fry some seeds with chili flakes, cumin seeds and chopped onions before adding other ingredients.

Ground cilantro seeds form a base for a lot of spice mixes like BBQ rubs and masala blends. In North Africa cooks use the ground seeds in the popular blend ras el hanout. Middle Eastern chefs use it for various baharat blends.

In India, along with the masala mixtures, it's also often used as a base for many curry blends and most of my curry powder recipes make use of the pre-ground powder.

Growing And Harvesting The Seeds

Picture of growing cilantro herb

If like me you like your herbs and spices as fresh as possible, then growing the herb is highly recommended.

You get to enjoy the fresh leaves in your recipes all through the growing season, and can then harvest the seeds in the fall for drying or saving for next years plants. See the growing and harvesting page for tips and advice.

Cilantro Seed Benefits...

However, the seeds (and leaves) don't just enhance your food and recipes, they also have a whole host of health and well-being uses. Read more on the health benefits.


There may be a few side effects but it's still very healthy. One good way to get more of it is to make homemade spice mixes. Click for info


Other Spices and Herbs You May Enjoy

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