What can you do with cilantro flowers?

Quick Answers

Cilantro flowers are edible and can be used to add flavor to dishes. The most common uses for cilantro flowers include:

  • Garnishing dishes
  • Adding to salads
  • Infusing in liquids like water or oil
  • Mixing into dips and sauces
  • Using in teas
  • Pickling

Cilantro flowers have a similar taste to the leaves, with a delicate floral citrus flavor. They can be used fresh or dried. The flowers are a great way to add a pop of color and extra flavor to meals.

What are cilantro flowers?

Cilantro flowers are the small white or pink flowers that bloom on mature cilantro plants. Cilantro, also known as coriander, is an herb that is used widely in cooking. The leaves, stems, seeds, and roots of the cilantro plant are all edible and full of flavor.

When a cilantro plant matures and is left to go to seed, it will produce umbrella-shaped flowers on branching stems extending upwards from the plant. The flowers first appear as tight green buds, then bloom into delicate white or pink blossoms.

Each tiny cilantro flower has five petals surrounding multiple stamens with bright yellow tips. They grow in clusters, forming the umbrella shape. The flowers have a lacy, feathery appearance when fully open.

Cilantro is a quick-growing annual herb. It goes from seed to producing flowers within one or two months. Allowing some cilantro plants in your garden to go to seed ensures an ongoing harvest. Once flowers fade, the plant will produce coriander seeds that can also be used in cooking.

What do cilantro flowers taste like?

Cilantro flowers have a bright, citrusy flavor that is similar to the taste of fresh cilantro leaves. The floral taste is herbaceous with hints of lemon zest and lime. It is considered a bit milder than the leaf flavor.

When eaten, cilantro flowers offer flavors described as grassy, sweet, and fresh. There is also a subtle spiciness. The citrus flavors are most pronounced, and the coriander essence of the plant comes through as well.

Some people find the taste of cilantro unpleasant or soapy. This is often attributed to genetics. For those who enjoy cilantro, the flowers offer an accentuation of the flavors that are loved in the leaves. The floral nature of the blossoms adds a sweet, delicate nuance.

Are cilantro flowers edible?

Yes, cilantro flowers are completely edible. The entire cilantro plant, including the leaves, stems, roots, seeds, and flowers can be used culinarily or for medicinal purposes.

While cilantro leaves are most commonly used for cooking, the flowers also provide flavor and a decorative flair. Any part of the cilantro plant that has not been treated with pesticides is safe to consume.

Cilantro flowers are not only edible, they are nutritious as well. Like the leaves, the flowers contain antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Vitamin C, vitamin A, calcium, and iron are especially abundant.

Eating cilantro flowers raw provides the best nutritional value. Cooking may cause some loss of vitamins and phytochemicals, although floral flavors will infuse into food.

It is best to remove any damaged or browned petals before eating cilantro flowers raw. Gentle washing can remove dirt or insects. The flowers, leaves, and stems can all be eaten together.

How to use cilantro flowers in recipes

Cilantro flowers can be used to add bright flavor and aesthetic appeal to many dishes. Their delicacy makes them perfect as edible garnishes. They also add nutrition and spice when mixed into recipes.

Some ideas for using fresh cilantro flowers in cooking include:


– Salads – Scatter cilantro flowers over any green, grain, pasta, or fruit salad. The pretty pink or white blossoms add a pop of color and herbal flavor.

– Soups and stews – Float whole flowers in the broth or use as a pretty spoon rest.

– Meats and fish – Fresh flowers make an elegant and tasty garnish for proteins.

– Cheese boards – Place flowers around and on top of cheese selections.

– Desserts – Use flowers as decoration on cakes, pies, puddings, or frozen treats.

– Cocktails and mocktails – Float flowers in drinks or skewer them on picks for a fun stirrer.


– Vinegars and oils – Steep cilantro flowers in vinegar or oil to impart flavor. Use infused vinegars in salad dressings, marinades, and sauces or infused oil for dipping bread.

– Water – Add flowers to pitchers or bottles of water for a refreshing beverage.

– Teas – Dry flowers to use in herbal teas. The citrusy flavor is delicious hot or iced.

– Cocktails – Muddle fresh flowers or use infused syrups to make floral cocktails.


– Salads – Chop fresh flowers and mix into green, pasta, grain, or fruit salads.

– Omelets and scrambled eggs – Mix chopped flowers into egg dishes just before cooking.

– Quesadillas and tacos – Add flowers to quesadilla fillings or tacos for fresh flavor.

– Dips and spreads – Puree flowers with ingredients like yogurt, hummus, avocado, or soft cheese.

– Sauces – Add flowers to pesto, chimichurri, or salad dressing recipes.

– Desserts – Fold flowers into cake batter before baking or sprinkle over finished desserts.

– Jams and jellies – Add fresh or dried flowers to jam recipes.

Pickling and Preserving

– Pickles – Add whole cilantro flower heads to pickled vegetables like carrots or cucumbers.

– Syrups – Steep in simple syrup to use in cocktails or desserts.

– Sugars and salts – Blend dried cilantro flowers into flavored sugars or salts to season food.

– Drying – Air dry flowers to preserve for teas, salts, sugars, and potpourri.

Tips for handling cilantro flowers

Cilantro flowers are very delicate, but with some care they can be harvested and enjoyed with minimal bruising or wilting. Here are a few tips:

– Use scissors or pruners to snip flowers rather than pulling or tearing them off the stems. Cutting minimizes damage.

– Harvest flowers in the morning after any dew has dried but before the sun gets hot. Heat hastens wilting.

– Gently wash and pat dry if needed to remove dirt or bugs. Handle very gently when wet.

– Use flowers soon after harvest for maximum flavor and longevity.

– Store freshly cut flowers loosely wrapped in damp paper towels and sealed in an airtight container in the fridge for a day or two.

– Do not crowd flowers to avoid bruising. Space them out in a single layer if storing.

– If preserving by drying, hang flower heads upside down in small bunches in a warm, dry spot out of sun.

– Flowers can be frozen for several months. Lay in a single layer on a tray and freeze, then store in bags.

– When adding flowers to hot foods, do so at the end to maintain their delicate nature.

With proper handling, cilantro flowers retain their beauty and flavor from garden to table. Their culinary uses are as varied and delightful as the blossoms themselves.

Nutrition facts for cilantro flowers

Cilantro flowers are low in calories but contain an impressive array of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Here is the nutrition breakdown for 1 gram of fresh cilantro flowers:

Nutrient Amount
Calories 0.5
Fat 0 g
Sodium 0.4 mg
Carbohydrates 0.1 g
Fiber 0.1 g
Sugar 0 g
Protein 0.1 g
Vitamins and Minerals Percent Daily Value
Vitamin C 4%
Vitamin A 7%
Calcium 1%
Iron 1%
Potassium 0.5%

Some key phytochemicals and antioxidants present in cilantro flowers include:

– Quercetin: Anti-inflammatory flavonoid
– Kaempferol: Anticancer and cardio-protective flavonoid
– Rhamnetin: Antimicrobial flavonoid
– Apigenin: Bioactive flavone with many health benefits
– Lutein and Zeaxanthin: Antioxidants that support eye health

The small edible flowers offer surprising nutrients and plant compounds that add to their versatility and health value.

Potential health benefits of consuming cilantro flowers

In addition to providing flavor, cilantro flowers may offer some potential health benefits when consumed. Research is still limited, but studies suggest cilantro flowers may:

– Provide antioxidants that reduce oxidative stress and inflammation

– Boost heart health by improving cholesterol levels

– Lower blood sugar levels and increase insulin production

– Inhibit growth of some types of bacteria and fungi

– Support eye health due to lutein and zeaxanthin content

– Act as a mild diuretic to reduce bloating

– Contain anticonvulsant compounds that may prevent seizures

– Offer neuroprotective effects that support brain function

– Possibly protect against and slow growth of certain cancer cells

More research is needed to confirm many of these potential benefits. But adding a few edible cilantro flowers to your diet provides the opportunity to take advantage of the phytonutrients and plant compounds they contain. Even a small amount delivers nutrition and may help prevent disease.

Risks and precautions for eating cilantro flowers

Cilantro flowers are safe for most people to consume in moderation. However, there are a few precautions to consider:

– Allergies – Those with an allergy to plants in the Apiaceae family like carrots or celery should avoid cilantro flowers due to potential cross-reactivity.

– Medication interactions – Cilantro may interfere with certain medications broken down by the liver. Consult your doctor before consuming if on prescription drugs.

– Heavy metal accumulation – Cilantro can take up heavy metals from contaminated soils. Consume flowers grown in clean conditions and from reliable sources.

– Pesticide residue – Only eat organically grown cilantro flowers to avoid pesticide ingestion. Wash flowers thoroughly before eating.

– Foodborne illness – Practice food safety when handling flowers by washing hands and produce thoroughly before use.

– Pregnancy – Cilantro may stimulate menstruation so pregnant women should exercise caution and consult doctors before consuming large amounts.

As with any food, individuals with sensitivities or allergies to plants in the same family as cilantro should exercise caution when trying edible flowers for the first time. Introduce new foods slowly and discontinue use if any adverse reactions occur.

How to grow cilantro to harvest the flowers

Growing cilantro in your herb garden, windowsill pots, or planter boxes is an easy way to have access to fresh cilantro flowers any time they are needed. Here are some tips:

– Select a sunny spot with well-draining soil. Cilantro needs full sun.

– Direct sow seeds 1/4 inch deep, spaced 2 inches apart in rows or pots. Can also start indoors and transplant.

– Keep soil consistently moist until seedlings emerge in 14-21 days. Water at soil level to avoid disturbing seeds.

– Thin seedlings to 6 inches apart. Fertilize lightly with balanced organic fertilizer.

– Harvest leaves once plants reach 3-4 inches tall by cutting stems 1 inch above soil. Always cut, do not pull leaves.

– To promote flowering, allow some plants to mature without harvesting. Avoid overwatering which discourages blooming.

– Flowers will develop as plants bolt and go to seed after about 8 weeks.

– Snip flower heads from stems with scissors or shears throughout the blooming cycle.

– Allow some flowers to fade and dry on plants to self-sow more cilantro.

Growing cilantro is easy and provides an ongoing supply of leaves for seasoning and flowers for garnish. With proper care, a few plants can produce all the flowers needed for culinary uses.

How to dry or preserve cilantro flowers

To enjoy cilantro flowers year-round, consider drying or preserving them when they are in season using these methods:

– Air drying – Tie flower heads in small bunches and hang upside down in a warm, dry area until fully dried. Store in airtight containers.

– Dehydrator – Arrange flowers in a single layer on dehydrator trays. Dehydrate at 95°F until crisp.

– Freezer – Spread flowers in a single layer on a tray and freeze, then transfer to freezer bags. Frozen flowers will turn black but retain flavor.

– Vinegar – Steep flowers in white or rice wine vinegar for 2-3 weeks, strain and bottle the infused vinegar.

– Sugar – Layer fresh flowers and sugar in an airtight jar. After 1-2 weeks, sift out flowers and use flavored sugar as desired.

– Oil – Pack clean, dry flowers in a jar, cover with olive or coconut oil. Infuse for 2 weeks, then strain oil.

– Ice cubes – Place individual flowers in ice cube trays, cover with water and freeze. Add to beverages.

Dried or frozen cilantro flowers can be used like fresh in many recipes. Preserved flowers add unique flavors to foods and drinks. Experiment with various methods to find your favorites.


Cilantro flowers offer much more than a decorative touch. These delicate blossoms can be used to impart citrusy herbal flavors to many dishes and drinks while also adding nutrients. They serve as edible and tasty garnishes or mix-ins for salads, entrees, desserts, and more.

While research continues into their many potential wellness benefits, cilantro flowers are already known to contain antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. They require gentle handling but are easy to incorporate into recipes after harvesting from homegrown or store-bought plants. With their versatility and nutrition, cilantro flowers are a unique, flavorful addition from garden to table.

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