Culantro is a culinary and medicinal leafy green herb with a flavor similar to cilantro, though stronger; it's used in cooking and marinating foods in the Caribbean, though is also popular in Thai, Vietnamese, and other Southeast Asian cuisines.


Other names: Thai Cilantro, Culantro Coyote, Mexican Coriander, Recao
Translations: Цулантро, Coriandre

Physical Description

The appearance of culantro and cilantro are different but the leaf aromas are similar, although culantro is more pungent. Fresh, it is a somewhat thin bright green leaf with a a stem.

Colors: green

Tasting Notes

Flavors: Pungent
Mouthfeel: Earthy
Food complements: Salsa, South american cuisines
Wine complements: Semi-sweet wine
Beverage complements: Corona or other summer beer with a lime wedge
Substitutes: Cilantro or coriander

Selecting and Buying

Choosing: Fresh leaves should be blemish-free, fresh smelling and whole.
Buying: Not widely used in the US or in Europe. Try specialty stores, like those for South American or Thai cuisine. Also try gourmet stores, or order on line.
Procuring: Culantro grows naturally in shaded moist heavy soils near cultivated areas. Under cultivation, the plant thrives best under well irrigated shaded conditions.

Preparation and Use

It is used mainly as a seasoning in the preparation of a range of foods, including vegetable and meat dishes, chutneys, preserves, sauces, and snacks. The most popular and ubiquitous example is salsa, a spicy sauce prepared from tomatoes, garlic, onion, lemon juice, with liberal amounts of chiles. These constituents are fried and simmered together, mixed to a smooth paste and spiced with fresh herbs including culantro.

Cleaning: Wash well with cool, clean water, dry thoroughly.

Conserving and Storing

Fresh and cut from the plant, store in the refrigerator wrapped loosely in a damp paper towel or cloth. If in a sauce or salsa, store in the refrigerator for up to a couple weeks.


Indigenous to continental Tropical America and the West Indies. Widely used in dishes throughout the Caribbean, Latin America, and the Far East.

History: The plant has been used in traditional medicines for fevers and chills, vomiting, diarrhea, and in Jamaica for colds and convulsions in children.



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Diego's picture

this is one of my very favorite herbs, i grow it in my yard, here in Miami it grows wild all year round.

Diego's picture

this is one of my very favorite herbs, i grow it in my yard, here in Miami it grows wild all year round.