Parsley vs Cilantro: How to tell the difference

Both parsley and cilantro are green herbs and have a somewhat similar appearance. So have a look at some of the differences between the two and the easiest way to identify them.
Parsley vs Cilantro: How to tell the difference
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If you are an amateur home cook, figuring out the difference between a variety of herbs and their flavours can be a challenge. Mostly all herbs, barring some, look somewhat similar. 

Especially between the herbs, cilantro and parsley. The two look identical and while buying herbs for a gourmet meal, you can easily make the mistake of buying parsley when you wanted cilantro. However, when it comes to taste, the two couldn’t be more different. So here are some differences between the two herbs and identify the two easily.


Cilantro has a bolder taste as compared to parsley. The latter has a spicy and peppery flavour while the former has a taste similar to the combination of lemon and sage. Cilantro can be a little overpowering, so even a little of it goes a long way. Since cilantro has soap-tasting compounds known as aldehydes, it can also have a soapy taste for some people.


When it comes to the cuisine and the kind of dishes in which these two herbs are used, parsley is used frequently in Mediterranean and Italian dishes and dishes like pasta, soups and stews, salads, and green smoothies and juices. Cilantro is found in dishes like salsas, on tacos, or as a garnish on curries or pho. It is also found in Mexican and Asian dishes. 

While parsley is added during the cooking process, cilantro is often added in the dish at the end. 

Health benefits

Parsley and cilantro are rich in Vitamins A and C. Vitamin C helps in boosting immunity, and Vitamin A improves eye and bone health. Both these herbs also aid in maintaining cardiovascular health, parsley contains folate while cilantro helps in keeping the cholesterol level in check.

Cilantro contains flavonoid quercetin that reduces inflammation and soothes the skin. Cilantro also has antibacterial properties and helps in detoxifying the body.

Parsley is rich in iron that builds immunity and improves concentration. It also helps with digestion and reduces bloating.

How to identify

Since both the herbs are green in colour and have long stalks and flat leaves, the easiest way to identify cilantro from parsley is with the leaf's shape. While parsley’s leaves are pointed, cilantro’s leaves are rounded.

Also Read: Maggi: 5 Ways to cook the quintessential comfort food