What Is the Difference Between Cumin and Coriander?

Many home cooks are confused about the differences between cumin and coriander. It’s no surprise, since these two spices complement each other nicely and are often used in the same recipes and spice blends.

Despite the fact that these two spices compliment each other in many meals, they are highly distinct. Continue reading to discover more about each one, how they compare, and how to utilize them successfully while cooking.

Difference Between Cumin and Coriander

Cumin and coriander are both spices associated with South Asian cuisines, although they taste and look extremely different. Both of these spices are widely used throughout Europe, Africa, Asia, Central America, and South America, in addition to South Asian cuisine.

Are Cumin and Coriander the Same?

Cumin and coriander are not interchangeable. These spices are derived from various plants, have distinct taste characteristics, and are utilized in a variety of cuisines.

While they are not the same spice, they have the same characteristics:

  • The tastes of cumin and coriander both have earthy overtones.
  • Cumin and coriander may be used whole seed or crushed.
  • Cumin and coriander are both often used in spice blends, particularly in South Asian cuisine.
  • Cumin and coriander are both widely accessible and utilized in a variety of cuisines.

The primary distinction between cumin and coriander is that cumin has a bitter flavor while coriander has a sweeter flavor.

Cumin also has greater heat than coriander, however both tastes have an earthy undertone.

While both spices are derived from plants in the parsley family, they are significantly distinct. Following are some of the key distinctions between these two spices:

Cumin has a thin, dark look, while coriander is lighter and rounder.

Cumin has a bitter, nutty flavor, but coriander has a sweet, lemony flavor.

Cumin seeds have a one-year shelf life, but entire coriander seeds endure two to four years.

Nutritional Value: Cumin is the healthiest spice, whereas coriander is less healthy.

Cumin has a higher heat level, whereas coriander has a lower heat level.

Although both may be found in spice blends, cumin is more often found in meats and savory foods, whilst coriander is found in sweet dishes and sweets.

Cumin vs Coriander Comparison Table

A comparison chart of cumin and coriander is provided below for use when cooking with these spices.

  Flavor Profile Usage Cuisine Health Benefits Appearance Availability
Cumin Bitter, nutty, spicy Usually used in seed form (sometimes ground or toasted) Middle East, South America, Latin America, Southeast Asia, Africa Extremely healthy, supports weight management, lowers blood sugar, lowers cholesterol Thin brown seeds with striped ridge Readily available
Coriander Sweet, floral, lemon Can be used in seed form or in mature form (cilantro) South America, Latin America, Southeast Asia, India Healthy, improves cardiovascular health, reduces inflammation, lowers blood sugar Round tan seeds with ridges Readily available

Can You Substitute Cumin for Coriander?

Because of the huge difference in flavor between these two spices, you should not swap cumin for coriander. Since cumin is considerably more bitter than coriander, substituting it may substantially affect the taste of your spice blend or meal.

Instead, consider these popular coriander substitutes:

Cumin seeds

Masala garam masala

Curry spice

Can You Substitute Coriander for Cumin?

Coriander should not be used in place of cumin. As previously said, the distinct qualities of these spices assure that this replacement will affect the flavor of your food.

When comparing cumin and coriander, one key distinction to be mindful of is the flavor.

Instead, consider these popular cumin substitutes:

Cumin seeds

Masala garam masala

Chili flakes

What Is Cumin?

Cumin is manufactured from the dried seeds of the flowering plant Cuminum Cyminum, which is native to South Asia. Since this plant is in the parsley family, it is often confused with other spices in the parsley family, such as coriander or caraway.

Cumin has a strong taste that is typically characterized as earthy or harsh. It adds smokiness to a variety of meals, making it a favorite option among cooks searching for robust and long-lasting tastes.

Cumin originated in South Asia but has since gained appeal in cuisines all around the globe. Cumin is well-known for its medicinal properties and is often used in medications and homeopathic treatments.

Cumin is also recognized for aiding weight loss, lowering blood sugar levels, and having a high iron concentration.

According to this paper in Pharmacognosy Reviews, most of the historically believed medical advantages of cumin are correct and hold up to current medicinal standards. Nonetheless, scientists are currently undertaking studies to establish that the spice has medical benefits.

Cumin may be turned into oils in addition to being used to season different meals. These versatile oils are utilized in a variety of applications, including cooking, fragrances, essential oils, and even cosmetics.

How to Use Cumin

Cumin may be used to provide robust flavor and a bitter aftertaste to regular foods. It is utilized for this purpose in both complicated and basic meals, particularly in South and Southeast Asia.

Make a tasty spice blend using cumin and other complementary spices. The most common and simplest method to utilize cumin is in spice blends and spice rubs.

Use your blend to various meats or other foods to impart a South-Asian-inspired taste. Although cumin and coriander should not be used interchangeably, they do work nicely together in spice blends.

Cumin may also be used to spice up stews and soups, particularly when combined with other complementing spices (such as coriander). Consider adding cumin to your gravies for an earthy flavor.

You may toast whole cumin seeds on the pan to generate a nice scent for your recipes in addition to adding dried or powdered cumin in spice mixtures (or your kitchen). Roasting them in this manner may also give them a more unique taste when used in cooking.

What Is Coriander?

Coriander is the seeds of the cilantro plant, which is also a popular ingredient in many dishes.

Cilantro, like cumin, is a plant in the parsley family. Coriander is indigenous to an area that stretches from Southern Europe to North Africa to Southwest Asia.

The plant has grown so widely in the region that it is impossible to pinpoint its origin. Yet, other experts believe it originated in Portugal or Israel.

Curiously, various individuals have distinct tastes for coriander leaves, often known as cilantro. Although most people like the sweet citrus flavor described in this article, some dislike the spice, which makes it taste rotten or soapy.

Although the exact explanation is unknown, scientists have discovered some similarities between a person’s DNA and whether or not they prefer coriander or cilantro.

How to Use Coriander

Coriander may be used to give your foods a pleasant and zesty taste. Coriander is described as lemony by some, orangey by others, but most agree that it adds a sweet and strong flavor to cuisine.

Coriander may be used to season meats, soups, stews, and other meals by including it into a spice mix or rub. It is an excellent method to add both earthy and sweet taste to your dishes.

As previously said, coriander and cumin complement each other effectively in most spice blends and rubs.

Coriander is used in unusual ways in several cuisines, which you may try at home. Coriander is a common seasoning in German sausages of all types.

Some cuisines in North America utilize powdered coriander as a seasoning, which they like spreading over meat.

Coriander works nicely in sweets because of its sweetness. It also adds a zesty and floral note to sweets, making it a popular ingredient in a variety of baked products and fruit-centric desserts.

Coriander is also often used in non-dessert baked items like rye bread.

Coriander may also be used to flavor alcohol. Its citrus flavor complements some kinds of beer, such as Belgian wheat beers, which are often served with an orange peel. Coriander is also a crucial ingredient in gin flavour.

Coriander seeds, like cumin, may be roasted to increase their scent and flavour. Many people appreciate the scent of roasted coriander seeds in their cuisine as well as in their homes.

Coriander is also used to make essential oils with similar fragrances and emotions.

Coriander seeds may also be used to pickle vegetables. Coriander is a key component in pickling recipes all throughout the globe, and it’s commonly combined with complementing spices like turmeric and curry to make a spice.

Wrapping Up

While cumin and coriander are both members of the parsley family, they are quite distinct and should not be used interchangeably in cooking. Cumin has a strong bitter flavor, but coriander is gentler and sweeter.

Despite their peculiarities, cumin and coriander work nicely together. You may combine them in a variety of spice blends, rubs, and other culinary applications.


Can you substitute coriander with cumin?

Cumin is so commonly used that it can typically be found in most spice racks, making it a good substitute for coriander. While it has a somewhat distinct flavor, cumin has a warm, nutty, spicy flavor that is similar to the earthy tones of coriander. Cumin may be used in place of coriander in a 1:1 ratio.

Does cumin and cilantro taste the same?

They are diametrically opposed. Cilantro has a vibrant lemony and, to some, somewhat soapy taste and is often used in Asian and South American cookery. Coriander is a sweet and toasted seed with a pleasant scent and taste. It is often used with cumin and cinnamon, both of which have some of the same characteristics.

Are cumin and coriander warming herbs?

Chiles, black peppercorns, cinnamon, mace, nutmeg, cloves, coriander, and cumin seeds, for example, are considered warm spices in Ayurveda cookery. Warming ingredients include mustard, chilli pepper, garlic, and horseradish. Continue reading after the slider for recipes that include warming spices.

Are cilantro and coriander the same thing?

In conclusion

In the United States, cilantro refers to the plant’s leaves and stem, while coriander refers to the dried seeds. Coriander refers to the leaves and stems of the plant, whereas coriander seeds refer to the dried seeds.

What spice is closest to coriander?

Caraway Seeds are your best bet.

Caraway seeds are related to coriander and will provide an earthy, anise taste to any recipe. Caraway seeds may be found in rye bread, potato salad, and Indian spice mixes and meals.

Is cumin powder and coriander powder the same?

Is cumin coriander ground? Cumin and coriander powder are not the same spice. These are separate spices that both provide a citrus warmth to dishes.

Which is hotter cumin or coriander?

Cumin has a considerably warmer and deeper taste than coriander, which is lighter and brighter. Since these two spices are derived from different plants, they have distinct nutritional properties and appearances.

Why do Americans call coriander cilantro?

Coriander or Cilantro

Coriander refers to the seeds, stem, and leaves of the Coriandrum sativum plant in the United Kingdom. Nevertheless, in the United States, the stem and leaves are known as cilantro, which is the Spanish term for coriander and was derived from its usage in Mexican cookery.

What in cilantro tastes like soap?

They discovered that participants who reported cilantro tastes like soap had a smell-receptor gene cluster known as OR6A2. This gene cluster detects the odor of aldehyde compounds. Cilantro leaves contain natural aldehyde compounds, which are also employed in soap production.

Can you mix coriander and cumin?

Cumin coriander powder is a classic Indian spice mix that is often used in Gujarati cooking and may be found in a variety of regional Indian foods. I have a cumin and coriander powder combination in my masala dabba or spice dabba since it is a very useful Indian spice to have on hand.

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