Here's What You Can Substitute For Coriander Seeds

You're following a new recipe when you see that it calls for coriander seeds — you don't even know what that ingredient is, much less have a jar of it on your spice rack! But wait! There's no need to panic, or make a mad dash to the store. Luckily for us, there are some easy substitutes you can make with ingredients you might already have on hand.

But first, what is coriander and what does it taste like? Healthline explains that coriander usually refers to the seeds of the Coriandrum sativum plant, while cilantro refers to the leaves and stems (though outside the U.S., coriander can mean cilantro as well). Coriander has a distinctive warm and nutty flavor, with a hint of lemon, and is often used in Indian, Middle Eastern, Latin American, and Mexican dishes (via Wide Open Eats).

These spices can easily be swapped for coriander seeds

If you don't have any coriander seeds or find yourself out of the ingredient, there are a few good alternative options. According to SPICEography, caraway seeds are the best substitute for coriander seeds. From the same family, caraway seeds offer a similar earthy flavor, with added notes of anise. You can use caraway seeds in the same proportion as coriander. Cumin is another great substitute for coriander. A popular spice that is easily found, cumin imparts a "warm, nutty, spicy flavor" that Healthline says is not unlike the earthiness of coriander. However, RawSpiceBar advises using only 3/4 the amount of cumin to coriander the recipe calls for.

You don't have to limit yourself to individual spices either! Oola recommends using a mix of caraway seeds, cumin, and fennel in equal proportions to replace coriander. The outlet says curry powder is a solid option as well, as it often contains coriander as part of its mix of different spices. Recommended to be use in small amounts by Healthline, curry powder gives dishes both a sweet and savory depth. Lastly, you can try some garam marsala, which also contains coriander (along with a mix of peppercorn, cloves, cumin, cinnamon, and bay leaves typically), though again, you should also use a light hand when substituting (via PureWow).