Can you freeze cilantro? Technically, cilantro can be frozen similar to freezing mushrooms. As per the reports from Washington State University’s Clark County Extension, cilantro has been used in foods since 3000 B.C for its strong and citrusy flavor. Cilantro is part of the carrot family and is a difficult and temperamental herb to grow. The dried seeds of the plant are called coriander which has a much milder taste as compared to the leaves. Fresh cilantro imparts flavor to salsa and salads. If not stored properly, fresh cilantro does not last very long. If it is frozen when fresh, it can be preserved till needed.

Freeze Fresh Cilantro in a Bag

Frozen cilantro usually results in icicle-squashed mush, but it works fine when you want to use the icy bits and toss them into the soups, salsa and stew for flavor. However, you may want fresher cilantro and here is what you can do to freeze it in a bag.

Once you have a good bunch of cilantro, get it clean, wash if required. Dry it thoroughly before freezing.


Place the bunch of cilantro in a resealable freezer bag.


Place the first bag into another bag and press to remove as much air as possible. Seal, label and date.


Place in the freezer.


Note: You can pluck frozen sticks of the cilantro whenever required and put it in the hot dish when cooking. The cilantro may not look good or special but will disperse the original flavor in the dish.

Freeze Cilantro After Blanching

When cilantro is frozen without blanching, the enzymes in the plant continue to act on it, which can decompose or deteriorate the plant, leading to discoloration and making it mushy. To retain the emerald green color of the cilantro along with its flavor, you have to blanch it. Blanching deactivates the enzymes in the cilantro.

To blanch the cilantro, bring water to boil in a large pot. In another bowl, get ready ice water. 


When the water is boiling, dip the bunch of cilantro in it till it wilts, which will happen in few seconds.


If you cook it longer, the flavor will be lost.


As soon as all the cilantro wilts, remove it and transfer in to the ice water. This will reduce the temperature and halt the cooking by the residual heat.


Pat dry the cilantro, remove the leaves and transfer to freezer bags and freeze.


Note: If you spread the leaves thinly and store it flat, it helps when you want to use some, since it can be broken off easily, which you cannot get if frozen completely in a bag.

Freeze Cilantro in the Form of Cilantro Oil or Cilantro Butter

Freezing Cilantro Oil

  1. Puree the cilantro with olive oil or any other mildly flavored oil in a food processor.

  2. Ensure that the cilantro is fresh and dry so that there is no additional moisture.

  3. The ratio of cilantro and oil should be 1 cup to ¼ cup.

  4. Make a smooth paste and transfer the contents to an ice tray or any plastic container up to ¾ level.

  5. Without adding water, place the tray in the freezer.

  6. Remove the frozen cubes and transfer to freezer bags, label and date it.

  7. Use a cube whenever required in soups, stews, casseroles etc.

Note: Ensure that you utilize the oil within 3 months.

Freezing Cilantro Butter

  1. Keep the butter at room temperature to soften.

  2. Mince the cilantro and grate lemon zest (optional).

  3. Take the softened butter in a bowl, add the cilantro and then mash using a fork till thoroughly combined.

  4. You can add salt if you are using unsalted butter.

  5. Scoop the cilantro butter and transfer onto waxed or parchment paper.

  6. Roll into log shape, wrap tightly and refrigerate for up to 2 months.

Note: If you plan to store it for more than 2 months, place the wrapped butter into a freezer bag and you can freeze it for 6 months. The butter will be safe for eating; however, the quality will decline significantly.


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