How to Store Cilantro So It Stays Flavorful

Our best tips for keeping this tender, delicate herb fresh.

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For those of us who don’t find its taste soapy, cilantro is a staple for adding bright, fresh flavor to all sorts of dishes—from rice, to tacos, to noodles, and beyond. One of the most-used herbs worldwide, it is an essential ingredient for many, so it’s important to know how to store cilantro properly. If you find that your cilantro spoils exceptionally quickly, you’re not alone; cilantro’s tender leaves and stems have a high water content, which can cause them to rot rapidly. By following our advice, you’ll keep cilantro fresher and more flavorful for a longer stretch of time, so it’s ready to go when you are.


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How to Store Whole Cilantro

Trim off the very ends of the cilantro stems, then place the bunch, stem side down, into a can or mason jar with an inch or so of water. Next, open a clean plastic bag and place it over the cilantro to loosely cover the leaves. Keep the cilantro in the refrigerator, as the tender leaves prefer cooler temperatures, and change the water if/when you notice it starting to discolor. Stored this way, cilantro can last up to two weeks. Hold off on washing the cilantro until right before you use it, as excess moisture causes it to rot more quickly.

How to Store Chopped Cilantro

For this method, we recommend washing the cilantro and air drying it completely before chopping and storing it, since chopped cilantro is harder to wash. Then, line an airtight food storage container with a paper towel, add the chopped cilantro, close the container, and place it in the fridge. With this approach, you’ll have clean cilantro ready whenever you need it. Stored properly, chopped cilantro lasts for up to two weeks. It helps to remove any discolored leaves as you find them, and perhaps even replace the paper towel if it gets too water-logged.

Can You Freeze Cilantro?

Cilantro is a delicate herb, so it’s not the best candidate for freezing. However, if you’re set on freezing your cilantro, we suggest doing so by blending it and freezing it in an ice cube tray. Using a food processor or blender, combine clean cilantro with just enough water or olive oil to create a smooth mixture, then pour it into an ice cube tray. Once the cilantro cubes have frozen completely, you can transfer them to a plastic bag, where they’ll last for four to six months. The cilantro will obviously no longer be a leafy garnish, but it’s great for adding fresh herbiness to soups, curries, and dips.

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