How Long Does Cilantro Last? 5 Ways To Preserve Freshness

Cilantro is a great herb to use for cooking many different foods. This herb is popular in Asian cuisine, but it can be used to cook any food that needs its flavor brought out. However, cilantro is one of those herbs that doesn’t last very long once it’s harvested. Therefore, most people will wonder how long cilantro will last.

How long does cilantro last? In the fridge, cilantro will last 7 to 10 days. In the freezer, cilantro will last 4 to 6 months. At room temperature, fresh cilantro will last no longer than 3 hours. However, if it’s dried and stored in an airtight container, cilantro can last for 1 year.


Cilantro Shelf Life

Room TemperatureRefrigeratorFreezer
Fresh Cilantro will last2-4 Hours1-2 Weeks2 Months
Dried Cilantro will last1 YearNot RecommendedNot Recommended

How Long Does Cilantro Last?

Cilantro is one of those herbs that goes bad if it’s used right away. Therefore, to keep them fresh and lasting as long as possible, there are a couple of methods to keep them fresh longer.

Fresh cilantro that is stored in the fridge will last about 1 to 2 weeks. Fresh cut cilantro that is stored in a freezer bag will last about 1 week. It’s best to store them in the crisp section of the fridge to keep them fresh.

Fresh cilantro that is stored in a jar of water will last for about 2 weeks. By placing them in the water, the cilantro will always be hydrated which helps them last longer than putting them in a freezer bag.

Freezing cilantro will help keep them fresh for about 1 to 2 months. You can either freeze them in a plastic bag or freeze them in an ice tray. If freezing them in a plastic bag, they should last about 1 to 2 months. After 2 months, the cilantro will still be safe to eat, but the taste quality of it will decrease.

Drying the cilantro will usually yield the longest shelf life. The goal is to keep them properly stored. Keep them sealed in an airtight container and in a dark, cool and dry location like the pantry or cupboard. By doing so, you should be able to keep the dried cilantro for a year or even longer.

However, even though they can last for a very long time, dried cilantro will start to lose its flavor over time. Therefore, after it’s been a year, test the cilantro by rubbing it between your fingers. Afterward, taste and smell the cilantro for quality. If the smell and flavor seem weak, it has lost its potency and should be discarded.

Cutting Cilantro

Storing Cilantro In The Refrigerator

If you’re planning to use fresh cilantro within a week or so, storing them in the fridge is one of the methods to use. Follow the simple instructions below:

To store fresh cilantro in a cup or jar

  1. Grab a cup or jar that’s at least 5 inches in height.
  2. Rinse it out to make sure there are no contaminants such as soap or other detergents.
  3. Fill a cup or jar with about 3 inches of tap water. The entire cilantro doesn’t need to be submerged in water, just the end of the stalks do.
  4. Grab the amount of cilantro that you’ll be storing.
  5. Dry off the cilantro with a clean paper towel. Pat them gently until they are dry. Make sure to not wash them! They should only be washed right before you use them.
  6. Grab a bunch of cilantro and lay them flat on the cutting board.
  7. Cut the stems of each cilantro about 1 inch from the bottom. Make sure to use a sharp knife to make a clean cut. You don’t want to tear off parts of the stem.
  8. After cutting the stem, immediately put each herb into the jar of water. Put them gently into the jar like you would with a vase of flowers.
  9. Place a clean plastic bag loosely over the cilantro and halfway onto the jar. Make sure the entire herb is covered.
  10. Take a rubber band and wrap it on the bag and around the jar. This will prevent
    air from getting in and drying out the cilantro.
  11. Place the jar in the fridge and try to consume it for 2 weeks.

To store fresh cilantro in a plastic bag

  1. Grab the amount of cilantro that you’ll be storing.
  2. Take a clean paper towel and pat down the herb until they are dry. Make sure you do not wash them! Washing them could cause them to go bad quickly.
  3. Grab a bunch of cilantro and lay them flat on the cutting board.
  4. Take a sharp knife and cut the stem about 1 inch from the bottom.
  5. Grab a resealable plastic bag and clean it to make sure there are no contaminants inside it.
  6. Gently place the cilantro into the bag. Put just enough where they won’t be bunched up together.
  7. Squeeze as much air out of the bag as possible and seal the bag.
  8. Put the bag of cilantro into the crisp section of the fridge.

Make sure to consume it within a week for optimal freshness.

Storing Cilantro In The Freezer

The freezer is a great option to store cilantro for a long time. With freezing, there are two methods to freeze cilantro. One is freezing cilantro in a plastic bag and the other is freezing them in an ice cube tray. Both methods do a great job of keeping the cilantro fresh while it’s frozen.

If you need to freeze a large amount of cilantro, freezing them in plastic bags is the ideal choice. On the other hand, for a small amount of cilantro, ice cube trays are the better method.

Freezing Cilantro In Plastic Bags

  1. Grab the amount of cilantro that you want to store in the freezer.
  2. Rinse all the cilantro under running water for about 20 seconds. Make sure every part of the herb gets washed.
  3. Place the cilantro in a basket and let it drip dry for a couple of minutes.
  4. Transfer the cilantro onto paper towels and gently pat it dry.
  5. Depending on how you want to store cilantro, you can either freeze the whole stalks or cut them into small pieces. The whole cilantro will take up more space in the freeze and it will be harder to measure out when you need to use it. On the other hand, smaller pieces will take up less space in the freezer and easier to measure out.
  6. If you’re planning to cut them into smaller pieces, gently slice the leaves off the cilantro stalk. Use a sharp knife or scissors to avoid tearing the cilantro. Cut all the leaves and throw away the stalks.
  7. On a clean tray, lay a baking sheet on it, and spread the cilantro out on the sheet. This will prevent the cilantro from sticking to the tray. Make sure to space them out so they won’t stick to each other.
  8. Place the tray of cilantro in the freezer for 30 minutes. This will help freeze the cilantro leaf individually so they won’t stick together.
  9. After 30 minutes, immediately transfer the frozen cilantro to plastic freezer bags. Leaving them out could cause them to start defrosting and it will stick together when it refreezes.
  10. Squeeze out all the air from the bag and seal it.
  11. Label the bag with the date and put them in the freezer.

Make sure to consume it within 2 months for optimal freshness.

Freezing Chopped Cilantro in Ice Cube Trays

  1. Wash the cilantro under running water for a couple of minutes.
  2. Leave the herb in a basket to let them drip dry.
  3. Put the cilantro on a cutting board and pat them down with a clean paper towel.
  4. Once it’s dried, blend or chop the cilantro into small pieces. Use a sharp knife to dice it up, including the stems as well. If you have a food processor, you can use it to chop up the cilantro.
  5. Take out the ice cube tray and clean it thoroughly with clean water.
  6. Place 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of cilantro into each ice cube section. Do this until the entire ice cube tray is filled up.
  7. Fill each section with clean water. Fill it until the cilantro is submerged in the water.
  8. Put the ice tray into the freezer. Place it somewhere where it will not be disturbed.

Make sure to consume it within 2 months for optimal freshness.

Storing Dried Cilantro

If you want to store cilantro for longer than a year, Storing cilantro by drying them first is the best method to store them for a year or longer. To store them, follow the instructions below:

  1. Start by preheating the oven to 250 °F (121 °C). Heating the oven takes a while so you can start cleaning the cilantro.
  2. Wash the cilantro thoroughly under running water.
  3. Leave the cilantro to drip dry for a couple of minutes.
  4. Take a paper towel and pat it down to remove excess water.
  5. After the cilantro is dry, cut the leaves off the stalks. Use a sharp knife or scissors to avoid tearing the cilantro.
  6. Grab a tray and wipe it clean of dirt and debris and lay a sheet of a cooking sheet on the tray.
  7. Spread the cilantro leaves on the cooking sheet spacing them out evenly.
  8. Place the sheet in the oven for 20-30 minutes. The heat will dry out the leaves and preserves them. Every 5 minutes or so, inspect the leaves to make sure they don’t burn. If they start burning or turning brown, adjust the oven temperature to a lower setting or take them out.
  9. Remove the cookie sheet and leave the cilantro to cool down.
  10. Scrap the leaves from the sheet and put them into an airtight container. Place them gently into the container so they don’t break.
  11. Leave about an inch of space at the top and seal the lid.
  12. Label the container and put the container in the pantry or somewhere where it’s dark and cool.

Make sure to consume it within 1 year for optimal freshness.

Cilantro in a bowl


How To Tell If Cilantro Is Bad?

Cilantro can easily go bad quickly if it’s exposed to heat. There are a couple of signs to look for when cilantro goes bad.

As for the appearance, good quality cilantro will have a dark green color and the stem will be stiff. When cilantro is about to go bad, the leaves of the cilantro will begin to wilt and the stem will become soft. It’ll still be safe to eat, but it will lose some of its flavors.

As for the color, instead of being dark green, it will become discolored. The discoloration is usually yellow to brown. When it turns to this color, it’s still safe to eat, but again, it won’t have that fresh taste to it.

For the smell, when cilantro goes bad, it will have an off smell to it. Fresh cilantro will not have any smell to it. If it does, it should be thrown away.

Cilantro that should be immediately thrown away is when the leaves become mushy. At this point, the cilantro no longer has any taste to it and mold will start inhabiting it.

Related Questions

Are cilantro and coriander the same thing?

Both cilantro and coriander come from the same plant. However, cilantro is the name for the plant’s leaves and stem. Coriander, on the other hand, is the name for the plant’s seeds when it’s dried.

Can I eat cilantro stems?

Yes, and you should definitely eat it. The stem of the cilantro is flavorful, tender, and edible. They can be eaten raw or cooked to give food more flavor.

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