Best Way To Keep Cilantro Fresh

You can really push some herbs in a recipe and get really luscious and rich results, like basil in tomato soup or sage in stuffing, but cilantro is a very different and often misused ingredient.

Cilantro adds the perfect little kick in a sandwich or served as a fresh garnish atop one of your culinary masterpieces. Use it in a fresh falafel mix to take the flavor from bland to delicate and complex, in a fishcake mix with some garlic and dill to impress even the most advanced pallets.

But when is it too much? It is an incredibly powerful and fragrant ingredient, and adding too much is the quickest way to kill off every other flavor in your meal.

Being precise and sparing is key to finding the perfect balance with cilantro, which is why it’s important to know the best ways to keep cilantro fresh, to save you throwing your whole plant into the dish when the recipe only calls for five hand-torn leaves.

Storing In Water – (Fresh for up to 2 Weeks)

The easiest and most commonly used way to keep your cilantro fresh and delicious.

Trim and Wash

Trim the stalks to an appropriate length – whatever will fit in your refrigerator without getting in the way – then wash the leaves.


Leave the cilantro to dry for a few moments and when you return, dab the leaves with paper towels to ensure there’s no residual moisture; a dry leaf is a happy leaf.

If you store your cilantro with wet leaves, they will wilt, blacken, and eventually turn to smelly mush.


Next, you’ll need a see-through container. A glass with a wide base will be perfect. Fill your container about half full with fresh cold water, then carefully place your cilantro in the stalk first, being careful not to get any moisture on the leaves.

Ideally, all the leaves will be above the lip of the container.


Some herbs love warmer temperatures, but despite being a staple ingredient in some of the world’s spiciest foods, cilantro thrives in the cool, so you’ll need to clear some refrigerator space.

This is where a wide-based container will help as a wide base will mean it’s less likely to topple over shelf wires if accidentally nudged. If you have glass or plastic shelves in your fridge, feel free to use a normal glass.

Before you place your perfectly prepared cilantro in the fridge, take a freezer or ziplock bag and place it over the top of your container, but whatever you do, don’t tighten it. It needs to be left loose so your cilantro can breathe.

Place it in a safe and spacious area of your refrigerator, and viola!


It would be best if you used a transparent container because you want to be able to see any discoloration in the water. This is your cue to empty it out and replace it with fresh water, making sure to keep your leaves dry.

To maximize your cilantro’s longevity, don’t just replace the water if it’s discolored. Replace it every day or every other day. If you notice the water has developed an unpleasant odor, it’s definitely time to replenish.

The Turmeric Technique – (Fresh 2 – 3 Weeks)

This is a fantastic and effective way to store just the cilantro leaves and thin stems.

Cut and Soak and Rest

Cut the stems around 3 to 4 inches above the roots and set your cilantro down somewhere safe while you half fill a container with cold, fresh water. Mix in a teaspoon of turmeric to the water, then dip your cilantro in for a moment, making sure it’s completely submerged, then take it out and leave it to rest for 30 minutes.

Wash and Dry

Next, you need to give your leaves a really good but gentle wash. Try not to damage any of them as this will cause premature rotting. Once they’re squeaky clean, leave them to dry for a while.

Just like in the water method, you should dab your cilantro with paper towels to make sure absolutely all the moisture is gone.


Layer a few paper towels and place them in the base of an airtight container, add your dry, turmeric-treated cilantro to the container, then make yet another paper towel layer and place it on top.

This will ensure any residual moisture or moisture from the cut stems is siphoned away. Seal the container and pop it in your fridge. Easy, right?


After the first few days, check if the paper towels have picked up any moisture.

If they have, simply replace them, reseal the container, and pop it back in the refrigerator.

Dry Storage – (Fresh 2 – 3 ½ Weeks)

This is essentially the same as the previous method; however, it requires a slightly different packing technique, and you won’t need any turmeric.

Trim and Wash

Just like in the other methods, you should trim away the root and thick, lower stalks, give your cilantro a really thorough wash, then leave it dry for a while.

Dry and Separate

When you think it’s time, check the leaves are all dry with paper towels, then separate your cilantro into smaller bunches. Each one should be wrapped in a paper towel.

Then all that’s left to do is place them gently into a sealable container, making sure not to squeeze too many in, and place them in your refrigerator.


As long as your cilantro was dry when you wrapped it, it shouldn’t need anything over the course of the refrigeration.

You can apply fresh paper towels if you want to really maximize the duration of their freshness.

Final Thoughts

Well, there you have it, all the advice you need to be a cilantro pro.

Now you can buy those lovely fresh bunches of it from the market and infuse your food with the most scrumptious possible flavors without having to worry about waste.

Stay Fresh.

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