When it comes to cilantro, you either love it and hate it. In fact, in the food kingdom, there’s nothing quite as polarizing as cilantro, and it all has to do with genetics. So if you’re blessed with the cilantro love gene, you would describe its flavor as a fragrant mix of parsley and citrus. On the other hand, if the genetic fairy completely missed you, cilantro tastes like soap.
For the cilantro lovers of the world we’ve selected some great cilantro recipes based on how quickly you get get them on the table and how simple they are to prepare. Considering cilantro has been around since Sanskrit writings from 1500BC, there were a lot of recipes to go through.
Whether you’re new in the kitchen or an experienced cook, you’ll find recipes in this post that will expand your skills and delight your taste buds.
With that in mind, let’s dig into 47 recipes cooked with cilantro. We’ve broken them into the following categories:
- Cilantro Dressings, Marinades, and Sauce Recipes
- Cilantro Main Dish Recipes
- Cilantro Side Recipes
- Cilantro Beverage Recipes
Cilantro dressing, marinade and sauce recipes
Technically cilantro is an herb, which means it’s used a lot to simply add flavor to a dish. It should come as no surprise, then, that some of the most popular cilantro recipes involve the herb being crushed in some sort of sauce, dressing or marinade.
Here’s the kicker — add any of these sauces to basic salads, grilled meats, veggie sautés, pastas and grains and you transform the dish from drab into “get in my belly” good. And you don’t have to be a professional chef or kitchen guru. Just get yourself a food processor or blender and push the button.
In fact, you could purchase the meat or salad already prepared at the store and drizzle it with the sauces to make dinner a whole lot yummier.
This simple powerhouse zesty flavor is crazy versatile. You can use it as a dip for your veggies (think carrots, celery, cucumber, bell pepper) and tortilla chips. You can also drizzle it on top of stuffed potatoes like in the picture, or fajitas, tacos, burgers, Thai food, soups, stews and, of course, chili. So don’t be shy, try it on your favorite dish!
Sure, you can buy this at the store, but when you make it at home you can fine tune the flavor to your taste buds. So...if you REALLY love cilantro, you can definitely kick the taste up a notch and have a truly fantastic dressing, instead of just ranch that has a few sprinkles of cilantro in it.
If your salad had a best friend, this creamy green dressing would be it. The fact that it’s packed with healthy nutrients and tastes like a party in your mouth will make it your best salad friend too. 😉
The Cheesecake Factory keeps their sweet and tangy cilantro sauce secret because it’s quite the money maker. Don’t worry though, food bloggers across the country have spilled the beans, and this particular recipe is pretty darn close to the real thing. I like to serve mine with lettuce wraps, but I’m thinking it would completely transform anything you cook on the grill. Salmon in particular would rock with this glazed on top.
Want to take your steak to the next level? Pour of dollop of this sauce on top. I guarantee your family will love you for it. They may even steal the extra sauce to dip their bread and pretty much any leftovers into.
Want to transform the ordinary into extraordinary? Make the mojo sauce in your blender, pack it in an airtight container and refrigerate up to 2 weeks. You can serve it on top of fish, chicken, turkey, steak, meatloaf, tofu...the possibilities are endless.
For those who like their meals hot hot hot, this cilantro sauce is a lifesaver. Keep it handy and you can pour it over any leftovers...and voila. They become a brand new dish you can’t wait to devour.
This vibrant, lightly sweet yet tangy salad dressing adds a kick to any fresh chopped salad. Want to amp the flavor even more? Toss in a handful of raisins to your salad as well and you’ll never think of salads as basic again.
Want to know the secret to mouthwatering Peruvian Chicken? This easy-to-throw-together sauce. You may never want to eat chicken without it again. It’s that good.
See how we snuck ice cream in here? It IS a cream after all, and one most people absolutely love. It’s a sure hit for any Cinco De Mayo celebration, so be sure to bookmark the page.
Main and Side Dish Recipes Featuring Cilantro
Chew on this for a second — when you’re given the option at a restaurant to choose rice or green rice, you should choose green. Why? Because green ingredients are the flavor powerhouses of cooking. Limes, avocado, parsley, dill, cilantro, mint, rosemary — all of these are green.
We’ve filled this section with main dish cilantro recipes that anyone can prepare. You’ll find common classics with more adventurous options sprinkled in.
As you check out the main cilantro dish recipe section, keep in mind that your favorite may not be on here. It can take time to properly infuse the flavor into some dishes, or maybe the recipes are more complicated. However, you can ALWAYS use one of the sauces up top to add it to your favorite recipe for that extra cilantro flavor kick.
Here are the simple and easy main cilantro recipes. With some delicious slides added to the mix.
Can you believe you can have this fancy of a meal on the table in 20 minutes? Pop some frozen broccoli in the microwave while the chicken is cooking and dinner is ready to go.
I love how cilantro lime takes even boring beans and rice and turns it into a meal that my vegan friends salivate over. I mean, how easy is opening a can of beans and microwaving some rice? Why do people even bother with frozen dinners when these tasty meals are so easy to throw together?!!!
Counting this cilantro recipe as a main dish might seem like a stretch to some, but hear me out. Rice is the base for a LOT of meals — from curries, to rice bowls, to asian stir fries. It’s basic. And when you take something basic and make it unforgettable, the entire rest of the meal tastes completely different. So Mexican Green Rice is a must to get out of a boring rice rut! And with the step-by-step illustrations in this recipe post, you don’t have to worry about messing things up.
Cauliflower is a chameleon food — it can pretty much become anything you want based on the seasonings. If you’re trying to lose weight, try this lower carb version of Mexican Green Rice. You’ll be quite impressed with how much you can accomplish with this simple vegetable.
One of my favorite things about vegetarian tacos is how quickly they come together. Since there’s no meat to cook, you can have them ready in under 5 minutes (use refried beans for the fast version). Even if you DO season the beans, this recipe will still allow you to get food on the table in less than 10 minutes.
This is a perfect recipe to try in the crockpot. Simmering the beans on low heat will really bring out the flavor. But it’s not the beans that steal the show in this recipe. It’s the cilantro in the pesto sauce. So don’t be skimpy with it.
If you’re a curry lover, this soup is on point. And since it’s made with sweet potatoes, it’s naturally creamy and soothing. Try making it on a transition night (those times of year when the weather turns from warm to cold or cold to warm again). It’s perfect!
If you have vegan friends, you already know they flock to hummus like carnivores to the grill. So do them a huge favor and make a batch of this before your next game night. Jalapeno and cilantro in one dip? What’s not to love!?
If you have leftover cilantro jalapeno hummus (from the previous recipe), you’ve got lunch for tomorrow. Just roll it up in a tortilla with the rest of the ingredients on this recipe list. You’ll forget you’re eating leftovers. And putting it together is easy peasy!
This low carb high protein spread tastes better the longer it sits in the fridge, which makes it the perfect recipe for lunch. You can serve it on top of salad greens, wrap it in lettuce leaves, or, if you don’t care about carbs, spread it on a piece of bread. A good old-fashioned tortilla wrap would work here as well. How you do it doesn't really matter, the main point is it’s versatile, which means you won’t get bored eating the same thing a few days in a row.
Want to know the secret to great meatballs? The seasonings and spices. Knock it outta the ballpark by adding some cilantro to your next batch. You can serve them as appetizers or even on spaghetti night!
Talk about an easy side dish. If you can push the button on the food processor and mix ingredients in a bowl, You’ve got this cilantro recipe down. For a light, no fuss lunch, you can serve it on top of some Uncle Ben’s microwavable rice. Did we mention it’s vegan AND gluten-free?
Bet you wouldn’t guess by looking at the picture, but this fancy, flavor-packed entree is not only easy to make, it takes only 15 minutes.
Admittedly, this recipe takes a little bit more time since the potatoes have to bake, but the reward is an unbelievably savory dinner that looks like it took a whole lot more time to throw together. It’s perfect to serve for guests you’re trying to impress. Like a date. Just make sure they like cilantro too. 😉
Say goodbye to plain, boring corn on the cob forever. This flavor combination will light up your taste buds like the 4th of July. And yes, you can do this with frozen corn too. So you don’t have to wait until summertime to give it a go.
If you’re trying to avoid carbs, this cilantro recipe is likely to become a go-to. The kick from the cumin, the tang from the lime juice, the fresh zing from the cilantro — it’s the perfect flavor profile to marinate your shrimp in. Now all you have to worry about is finding large enough lettuce leaves to pack in as much shrimp as possible.
This is definitely not your school cafeteria coleslaw. In fact, scratch coleslaw out altogether. This is a shredded cabbage and veggies salad. It’s refreshing, mouth watering, and best of all, it sparks up the flavor of any meal you’re serving.
A few years ago I would not have rated cabbage as a favorite food, but things have changed thanks to taste bud-kicking recipes like this. I would have never thought of putting cilantro, peanuts and Sriracha sauce together, but they work. Wonderfully so.
Our movie nights got a complete makeover when we purchased an air popper. If you aren’t a kitchen appliance snob, you throw a handful of popcorn kernels into the popper and end up with popcorn a few minutes later. It’s healthy popcorn, so you don’t have to worry about all the chemicals used in microwavable popcorn. The buttery drizzle of lime and cilantro really kick the popcorn experience up a notch. You’ll have to try it to see what I’m talking about.
Do you ever wish you could eat guacamole by the spoonful? Now you can. With some veggies and chickpeas thrown in there too - for good measure.
Fall evenings call for homemade soups. I love how adding in the cilantro and lime brings a Mexican flair to simple chicken soup. Top off with some avocado and you end up with a hearty, but not fatty, meal.
This dinner is done in the time it takes to boil up some pasta, which is quite impressive for such a luxurious dish. It’s a bit sweet with just a hint of ginger and zesty lime. And this light and dreamy avocado cilantro cream is vegan, so you can dig in even if you are allergic to dairy products.
Spiralized salads make you look like a foodie even if you aren’t. And with the availability of spiralized veggies in the produce section of most supermarkets, this recipe is easy to throw together. Just make the dressing and chop the cilantro. You’ll end up with a refreshing sweet and sour lunch you can enjoy year round.
Game nights are about the sport, sure. But they’re also about food. Incredibly manly food. Like this cowboy queso (the only way to give this a manlier name is to add Chuck Norris to it). Packed with beef, your favorite ale, tomatoes, black beans and fresh cilantro, it delivers the perfect punch of flavor for any red blooded male (and the ladies who love them). 🙂
No self-respecting foodie would serve salsa without cilantro. It’s like a baked potato without cheese. Yes, it works, but it doesn’t quite satisfy. Stock enough chips in your pantry and make a large batch. This will keep well in the refrigerator and is perfect for a refreshing, quick snack.
I love the fact that Chipotle freely shares their guac recipe. It’s the best one I’ve tried. And trust me, living in Oklahoma ensured that I tried a LOT of different guacamole recipes. Chipotle has the balance between avocado, cilantro and lime down just perfectly. And they’ve made it easy to recreate at home, so give it a go!
Beverage Cilantro Recipes
No self respecting cilantro recipe list would leave off one of the funnest ways to consume cilantro - in drinks. Just like mint, cilantro adds that green, fresh look and taste to your beverage.
Is it possible for a drink to taste like a cup of vacation? If so, a few sips of this smoothie will zap you to a tropical paradise. (You may have to close your eyes to truly immerse yourself in the experience.) 😉
This smoothie is like pushing a restart button on your digestive tract. Pineapple is a great source of bromelain, an enzyme that helps with digestive issues. And cilantro helps remove heavy metals from muscles. If you care about detoxing, drink up. If all you care about is flavor, sip away. Even though it’s healthy, this drink is still yummo!
Next time it’s hot outside, take out your blender and mix up some frozen bananas, pineapple and mint with cilantro. It’ll cool you off faster than a dip in the pool — instant refreshment without having to shower afterwards.
This recipe is a hit with kiddos and, well, pretty much anyone who loves watermelon. The cilantro adds a subtle kick that really amps up the flavor without taking over.
I love how this cocktail recipe uses real blueberries, not syrup, to dress up plain tequila. It looks fancy, tastes like a million bucks and would be perfect for a girls’ night in.
Add Cilantro to Your Shopping List This Week
It’s hard to believe a fragile herb such as cilantro packs so much versatility — amping up the flavor in everything from salads, soups, meats and beans to smoothies and cocktails. It’s a no-brainer that you’d want to stock your fridge with some.
Save yourself serious bucks by chopping and freezing cilantro in cubes of water to keep it from wilting and going bad. Or better yet, invest in some seeds and plant them in a small container. You can enjoy a year-round supply of cilantro if you keep it in the house, close to the window.
Then, you can cook up these delicious cilantro recipes without any hassles. 🙂
See a recipe you can’t wait to try? Let us know in the comments!