Coriander seeds are found to be one of the most flavorful pantry staples around the world with unique characteristics. But, if you don’t have it, a handful of coriander seed substitutes can help you get a similar taste and effect.

If you need the exact flavor and aroma of coriander seeds, ground coriander is your best bet. In addition to this, you may also rely on other individual spices such as:

Read along until the end of this informative piece to understand how to use these substitutes and in what applications they will function their best.

Coriander Vs Cumin - SpiceRally

01 – The Best Coriander Seed Substitute – Ground Coriander

With a distinctive citrusy, floral, nutty, sweet, and earthy flavor profile, coriander seeds can add immense depth to various dishes. So, if a certain recipe specifically calls for whole coriander seeds and no other substitution, ground coriander can be your best of the coriander seed substitutes. Ground coriander is pulverized coriander seeds. Thus, you will not detect any flavor difference between the two.

Why Is Ground Coriander The Best Substitute?

  • Ground coriander is coriander seeds that come in a powdered or ground form. Therefore, you can get the exact taste and flavor of whole coriander seeds. And, this can substitute them in a dish that originally called for whole coriander seeds.
  • This alternative holds more versatility than whole coriander seeds, You can easily measure it using a spoon. Also, this is effortlessly blendable, and can easily control how much goes into your dish.
  • Works both in savory and sweet dishes alike.
  • You can easily find ground coriander in the market which is way more inexpensive than whole coriander seeds.

How To Use Ground Coriander In Place of Whole Coriander Seeds?

  • Ground coriander possesses a more concentrated flavor than whole coriander seeds. Therefore, as a rule of thumb, using ¾ teaspoon of ground coriander for every teaspoon of whole coriander seeds is recommended.
  • However, this could primarily depend on the nature of the dish and the cooking method you use in every dish you wish to substitute.
  • You must always go with an amount lesser than the recommended quantity if you’re uncertain of the flavor. Since this is about a single flavor element, you may have to match the taste with other ingredients and adjust the amounts accordingly.

Concerns About Using This Alternative as a Substitute

  • The textural difference is the primary concern about using ground coriander instead of whole coriander seeds. You may not get the pasty, crunchy effect from the ground form if a recipe specifically calls for coriander seeds for its texture.
  • Like all other ground spices, ground coriander would lose its potency more quickly than whole coriander seeds.
  • If you’re used to the mellow feel of the coriander seeds, ground coriander can be a little overwhelming to you. Thus, always be careful of the amount you use as one of the coriander seed substitutes.

Coriander is a pantry staple in many cuisines used for its exceptional flavor. If you need more information and learn more about how to use this spice in cooking, we have a well-detailed article right here. Check it out now!

Other Recommended Substitutes For Coriander Seeds

02 – Cumin Seeds

Unique in its way, cumin seeds are another wonderful spice that can amazingly replicate the taste and feel of coriander seeds. Two spices can be distinctive in their flavor profile. Although this substitute lacks the sweet and lemon-citrusy flavor of coriander seeds, it can surprisingly imitate the spicy, warm, earthy, and nutty elements of coriander seeds.

Cumin seeds are relatively easier to find around than coriander seeds. The amount of replacement usually depends on the type of the dish you make. However, we always recommend starting with a small amount and proceeding as you build the taste of the overall dish.

03 – Fennel Seeds

Fennel seeds are another pantry staple that can effectively mask the absence of coriander seeds in a recipe if it calls for our topic leader as a secondary ingredient. This alternative has a warmth, earthiness, and nuttiness similar to coriander seeds.

Yet it holds a more intense, licorice-like taste note. Like any other replacement, swapping this substitute also depends on the type of the dish. But still, it is always advisable to start with half of the fennel seeds rather than the amount you use coriander seeds due to their slight robustness. This substitute is great to go with meat dishes and adds depth to various sweet dishes.

04 – Caraway Seeds

Working in dishes side by side with cumin and fennel seeds, caraway is another spice that holds similar robustness to our topic leader. This spice belongs to the same family of coriander seeds and can give a comparable earthy, warm, spicy, and nutty flavor. Caraway seeds are better when substituted especially in bread, certain salads, and Indian spice blends.

They are also great alternatives in a lot of sweet preparations. This substitute is particularly more aromatic than coriander seeds so you might want to use it sparingly. The amounts can depend on the recipe. But, starting slowly and then adjusting accordingly is always a good choice. 

Coriander Seed Replacements That Can Work In Complex Dishes In Pinches

05 – Garam Masala

This Indian spice blend is a combination of a variety of different elements. Yet, coriander seeds are a non-negotiable ingredient in this spice blend which is also accountable for its base flavor. Therefore, Garam Masala can work in place of our ground coriander seeds in complex dishes like curries, meat dishes, and certain vegetable dishes.

However, it is important to remember that since this is a spice blend, it may change the flavor of your dish when used instead of a single element like coriander seeds. On a bright note, this replacement can give a more depth of flavor to your dishes than coriander seeds alone would do.

06 – Curry Powder

Any curry powder will not work in this case. You will have to use a curry powder incorporating coriander seeds as a base ingredient. This substitute is also ideal for detailed dishes like coconut milk-based soups, stews, curries, etc.

Like Garam Masala, it can change the overall taste profile of your dish but still can be a more flavorful addition to use instead of ground coriander seeds. A mild curry powder that blends coriander seeds, cumin, fennel, turmeric, cinnamon, etc., would be an excellent choice in pinches.

Is It Possible To Replace Coriander Leaves (Fresh or Dried Cilantro) With Coriander Seeds?

Coriander leaves, commonly known as cilantro are the leaves of the coriander plant and they fundamentally come from the same source. Nevertheless, both have different flavor profiles while largely differ in terms of aroma and texture.

Coriander leaves are considered an herb, while coriander seeds are a dry spice. Therefore, we don’t recommend swapping coriander leaves with coriander seeds in any recipe because they come from the same plant. However, both of them work great together in most recipes.

Summing Up The Best Coriander Seed Substitutes

Coriander seeds are a favored pantry staple amongst most of us, offering uniqueness to sweet and savory dishes.  But, you may want to find an alternative to this spice if you can’t find it around, or don’t like the taste of it.

Those looking for the exact flavor and aroma can go for ground coriander. If not, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, and fennel seeds are also excellent options. You can count on curry powder or Garam Masala in pinches, to have a more complex taste.

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