Coriander vs Parsley – What’s the Difference?

Sprinkling some coriander leaves on an ordinary dish makes it extraordinary. With its flavor and aroma, it takes cooking to another level. But what about parsley? At times coriander and parsley are used interchangeably because it is difficult to differentiate the two.

This article discusses coriander vs parsley to remove any confusion about these two popular herbs.

Coriander vs Parsley

coriander vs parsley

Coriander and parsley are commonly used, but these two herbs can look so similar that you might confuse one with the other. They both come from different parts of the world.

Coriander comes originally from Western Asia and is also known as cilantro in many places. The flavor of coriander is like a cross between an herb flavor and a citrusy flavor like that of lemongrass.

Parsley originates from the Mediterranean basin, including the coast of Turkey and Northern Africa. It is a central ingredient in the cuisines of those places. The flavor of parsley is very vegetal and herb-like, you may feel it is like that mint, but lacking menthol.

ColorDeep Green ColorBright Green Color
FlavorMore flavored and pungentGrassy and Mild flavor
OriginEuropean Regions and AsiaMediterranean Region
Tree BiologyAnnual PlantAnnual and Biennial
Health EffectsCauses Allergic ReactionsCauses Uterotonic Effects
Nutritional ValueContains Dietary FiberContains Apigenin, Flavonoid, and Luteolin
UsesUsed as Garnish and add FlavorRoots of Parsley are used to add flavor to soups and stews

Differences Between Coriander and Parsley


Here’s a quick look at the many differences between coriander and parsley.

·      Physical Appearance

Coriander and parsley leaves are slightly different from each other, although you may consider them similar at first sight. Coriander leaves are deep green in color, with sharper serrations, the stalk ending in three short, round, stubby, and lacy leaves.

On the other hand, the leaves of parsley are bright green in color, and the stalk also ends in three leaves, but they are thin and long. The leaves or parsley are more arrow-like and longer than that of coriander.

·      Flavor

Coriander has a stronger flavor compared to parsley. The flavor of parsley is more like an herb like mint, but lacking menthol. On the other hand, the flavor of coriander is strong, like a mixture of herb and lemongrass. 

Another way to distinguish both herbs, if you can’t differentiate from the flavor, is to smell the leaves. Coriander leaves have a stronger aroma than parsley leaves, rubbing the leaves between your fingers could also determine which has a milder aroma.

Coriander has a much stronger and pungent flavor that is quite strong as compared to the mild and grassy flavor of parsley.

·      Nutritional Value

One of the biggest differences between both these herbs is their nutritional composition and mineral values. Parsley leaves contain high amounts of flavonoid, apigenin, and luteolin in addition to vitamins A, C, and K. whereas, coriander contains a lower percentage of these specific vitamins. Coriander seeds and leaves are rich in dietary fibers but low in mineral composition.

·      Health Benefits and Side Effects

Although they both contain vitamins and nutrients, excessive use can lead to various side effects. For example, using parsley excessively can result in uterotonic effects. While coriander usage can result in health side effects and allergic reactions in many people. Heartburn is reported by some people after eating dishes decorated with coriander, so they avoid using this herb.

·      Uses of Coriander and Parsley


The different uses of both herbs also set them apart. With its stronger and more prominent flavor, Coriander is used to make flavored tea and garnish different dishes. Furthermore, coriander seeds are also used in cooking, they are roasted and then added to many Indo-Pakistani dishes as a spice, and to make curry powder for food flavoring.

While roots and leaves of the plant are used in different dishes and as a garnish. The roots are added to stews and soups as well as a vegetable or a snack. The green leaves are chopped and garnished over food that is still hot.

·      Seeds and Parts of the Plant that are Eaten

If you look at the seed shape of both herbs, then you can easily differentiate them. Coriander seeds are round and used as a spice to flavor different foods. While parsley seeds are oval and used to extract oil to serve medicinal purposes.

The edible parts of both herbs also help to differentiate them. Leaves and roots of parsley are eaten, and the seeds are used to extract oil. The whole coriander plant is also used in dishes including leaves, seeds, and roots.

·      Origin and Tree Biology

Parsley has a history of coming from countries in the middle east region and the Mediterranean region. Whereas coriander originated from southern European and Western Asian regions.

Regarding tree biology, parsley grows biennially in temperate regions, and annually when planted in tropical and subtropical regions. On the other hand, coriander grows in a similar fashion, no matter where you grow it, it grows annually, i.e., once each year.

·      Both are Great Garnishes


No matter what the differences between the two herbs are, it can be stated for sure that they make great garnishes. They both can turn an ordinary dish into a very extraordinary one, with herby aroma and irresistible flavor.

Should you choose parsley or coriander? It depends on your own choice and the kind of dish you are preparing. If your dish is already flavorful and just needs a touch of green, then use parsley as it has a milder flavor. But if you need the herb to take over the whole dish, then coriander should be your choice.

It is best to use both these herbs fresh, putting them in the refrigerator loses their luxurious green color and aroma. The best solution is to grow them at home and have your herb garden. Don’t worry, you do not need a very big space for growing these herbs at home, and neither much care is needed. They are herbs that can be grown in small spaces. Have a resourceful herb garden in plant pots and containers if you don’t have a yard or open space to grow them.

Wrapping Up

It is sometimes difficult to differentiate between coriander and parsley as they look very similar. We hope after reading this article you will be able to confidently use coriander and parsley to enrich your dishes.