Lesley Kennedy

Hate Cilantro? You’re Not Alone

hate cilantro


There’s an herb war afoot, our friends, and it’s time to take sides: Will you raise your forks and knives in the name of cilantro? Or will you fight against it?


There are strong passions on both sides, but what may be most surprising is the adamance of cilantro’s biggest foes. They’ve taken to the internet to decry the seemingly innocent herb as tasting like “soap, mold or dirt,” among other  not-so-tasty things.


But why all this battle over cilantro in the first place? As MSNBC reports, a new study out of the University of Toronto and published in the journal Flavour aimed to find out.


Researchers surveyed some 1,400 Canadians between the ages of 20 and 29, asking them to rate a whole bunch of food items, according to the network. Those who hated cilantro the most (21 percent) were of East Asian descent (think Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai and Vietnamese), followed by Caucasians (17 percent) and those with African roots (14 percent).


It was those of Middle Eastern descent who liked cilantro the most (only 3 percent disliked it), with Hispanics and South Asians trailing close behind.


“People who dislike cilantro extremely describe it very, very differently from those who love it,” Ahmed El-Sohemy, study author and University of Toronto associate professor of nutrition, tells the network. “These individuals live in very different sensory worlds and are not perceiving the same thing. … I remember loving the taste as a child. I distinctly remember my mother’s Egyptian cooking, which used cilantro frequently.”


Honestly, it’s OK if you choose to turn your back on cilantro. That just means more for us.


Is it too early for guacamole?




What’s weird, wacky and new in the world of food? Check out the latest food news!



24 Responses to “Hate Cilantro? You’re Not Alone”

  • Randell says:

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  • Pam says:

    Sorry folks, I am one of those strange people (living in a different sensory world) that thinks Cilantro tastes like a rusty cast iron skillet. Not that I’ve licked any lately…. My husband cooks with it and puts it in salads, salsa, and guacamole and he loves it. There are very few things I dislike, and unfortunately, Cilantro is at the top of the list. It makes me shudder. Enjoy!

  • Deborah says:

    I LOVE CILANTRO !!! My other favorite is fresh Basil…They both remind me of a fresh summer day………….

  • DAGNY says:

    hate it

  • diane says:

    It’s so weird that Asians are among the highest in numbers of people who dislike cilantro because where I live in China, they use it all the time! Wonder if they only polled Asians in North America, or those who grew up there?

  • janet says:

    i’ve heard that certain people genetically taste cilantro as soapy etc. i sure know that’s my reaction to cilantro.

  • Rhonda says:

    When I was a teenager and in my 20′s I hated the taste of cilantro as it tasted like soap to me. I tried it again in my 30′s and have loved it ever since. I guess our tastebuds change!

  • Rochelle Preston says:


    • Irene Torley says:

      I can’t eat cilantro, but a good substitute is parsley. I love Italian parsley. I tried regular parley, but it doesn’t have enough flavor.

  • Louis says:

    If the cilantro is added fresh it tastes like soap.
    If it is actually cooked into the dish it doesn’t .

    Likewise, what’s with all of the people who think that celery is bitter?

  • Debra Kerns says:

    Love cilantro! Fortunately, so does my husband. We add to salads, sandwiches, soups, chili, salsa, even my husband’s much loved crab cakes have a bit of cilantro. To us, the taste is fresh and sunny…

  • Becky says:

    I love it. I think I could probably eat it like a salad. Same for avocados and guacamole, by the way, which no one else in my family will eat.

  • Alyce says:

    I am among the cilantro lovers. To me, it’s a delicious, bright and pleasantly green flavor. But to my husband, it tastes “like a mouthful of soap,” I have a similar aversion to dried thyme. It tastes like a mouthful of dirt. But I’ve had dishes loaded with dried thyme in restaurants that were barely palatable, or totally unpalatable to me, that others at the table just gobbled up, with great gusto! I’m particularly sensitive to Schreiber dried thyme (that is a local company that services restaurants, etc). Wonder why?

  • Mary Sweeney says:

    I love cilantro more than any other herb or taste. It has sparkle and flavor and zest. I know people who don’t like it. It is the one thing that has made me wonder whether we actually taste the same thing, whether our taste buds have something to do with it. I sometimes wonder whether we see the same things in terms of color. Some people are color blind. They perceive colors differently. Maybe taste is like that too.

  • Karen says:

    It’s just a bitter taste. I’ve tried to like “authentic” Mexican food but I just can’t get past that taste so I eat American/Mexican which most of the time does not have cilantro in it.

  • Colleen says:

    It’s interesting that people say it tastes like dirt. I love cilantro and think it tastes fresh. I think papaya tastes and smells like dirt. I wonder how many people think that about papaya?

  • Stephanie Bell says:

    I hate it! It tastes the way dirty dishwater smells.

  • Jackie says:

    I cannot get into the taste. My mexican children love it. I think it tastes like dirt.

  • Jennifer Searle says:

    I don’t mind cilantro in small doses. A little goes a loooong way. Too much and it just ends up being too “grassy” for me.

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