Here's Exactly How to Use All Your Leftover Cilantro

Don't toss your extra herbs. Instead, use every bit of your leftover cilantro with these suggestions.

10 Ways to Use Leftover Cilantro

Anyone who has ever made guac has likely come across this next-day conundrum: a whole lot of extra cilantro and no idea what to do with it. While leftover avocados, tomatoes, onions, and garlic can certainly find a home in salads, side dishes, and dinner, guac's hallmark green herb can sometimes find itself in the trash.

But that's a bummer, considering the fact that cilantro's not only packed with flavor, but its green leaves are also filled with antioxidants, vitamins, essential oils, and fiber. So it's time to use up the entire bunch and add some flair to your dishes with leftover cilantro. Here's your guide to storing cilnatro and the best ways to use leftover cilantro.

How to Store Cilantro

There are two methods for storing cilantro that you can use when staring down a giant bunch of the green herb.

Wash, chop, freeze. After you use what you need, store the rest of the leftover cilantro in a small plastic bag in the freezer, says Keri Gans, R.D., author of The Small Change Diet and Shape Advisory Board member. You can take what you need at a time, while also keeping the herb fresh. Pro tip: Use snack-size bags and measure out serving sizes beforehand to save yourself time later.

Add some water. "You can store fresh cilantro in the fridge with the stems down in a glass of water (changing the water about every day) or gently wrap in a damp paper towel and place in a re-sealable bag in the refrigerator for up to seven days," says Toby Amidor, R.D., nutrition expert and author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day.

How to Use Cilantro

Ready to get cooking? With a tangy, citrus flavor, cilantro is easy to incorporate into your everyday meals. Here are the best ways to use cilantro.

In salsa. Whether you have store-bought or homemade salsa, a little bit of cilantro can add a lot of flavor to tomato or mango salsa, says Amidor.

In tacos. "Sprinkle cilantro as a garnish for tacos," says Amidor. Or, take that a step further and top your tacos with a garlicky, flavorful cilantro chimichurri sauce.

In salads. Chop extra cilantro and toss it with lettuce as the base of your next salad, suggests Amidor. Better yet, forgo the lettuce entirely for this tequila lime shrimp salad with a cilantro base or a black bean, corn, and cilantro salad.

As flavoring. Unlike other herbs, cilantro stems are tender and flavorful, says Amidor. Use them in a salad or to flavor water for couscous (and then remove before serving).

On skewers. Peppers and onions don't need to hog the skewer. Add in chopped, fresh cilantro for a whole new take on a favorite warm-weather dish.

In smoothies. Spinach + lime + cilantro = lots of good-for-you greens, with extra flavor to boot.

In dips and sauces. Does hummus or pesto sauce seem a little simple? A few dashes of cilantro can help, says Gans. You could also try a creamy cilantro dipping sauce.

In rice. Rice and beans is a classic, but for the meatless among us, it can grow boring. But chop and mix leftover cilantro into your rice, like Amidor suggests, and you'll wind up with tastiness in every bite.

As seasoning for fish. Sprinkle fresh chopped cilantro over grilled fish, says Amidor. By doing so, you'll also seal in lots of ginger and citrus flavor!

In scrambled eggs. Scrambled eggs cling to a bad and boring rep. Change that by scrambling more than just the staple protein!

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles