The best way to store cilantro to prevent sad, slimy leaves

Say goodbye to brown, wilted leaves

By Kelly Vaughan
Published September 20, 2021 5:59AM (EDT)
 (Bobbi Lin / Food52)
(Bobbi Lin / Food52)

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Cilantro, parsley, basil, and other leafy herbs can spoil quickly if they're not stored properly. Brown, wilted, and sometimes even watery leaves are a cook's worst nightmare (you know, alongside cuts and burns, kitchen fires, and burning the holiday roast). Cilantro is an essential herb in so many dishes such as Báhn mì, and especially in Mexican cuisine, too. So what is the best way to store herbs like cilantro to keep the leafy herbs fresh for weeks? Ahead, find four of our team's tried-and-true tricks for storing cilantro to ensure that the leaves and stems stay fresh.

How to store cilantro

Salad spinner

Everyone's favorite wedding registry item isn't just for rinsing greens before making homemade Caesar salad or a colorful WFH lunch. "I recently cleaned a lot of cilantro and stored it in a salad spinner with a bit of water at the bottom and that worked well," said Food52 food editor Emma Laperruque. Try this method out using our favorite spinner from the Food52shop!

Glass jars

Assigning editor Rebecca Firkser is a fan of storing a bunch of cilantro in glass jars with a few inches of water and covering them with reusable plastic bags from the grocery store. This method keeps the cilantro fresh for days in the refrigerator. Just be sure to replace and refill the jar with clean water every two to three days.

Ice cube trays

A super-easy way to store cilantro so that it stays fresh is by freezing the leaves and stems in ice cube trays. Place one teaspoon of chopped cilantro leaves and stems in each ice cube tray and then fill each section with good-quality olive oil or water. When you want to use cilantro, just pop a cube or two out and let them defrost or melt in a pan. The leaves won't look as fresh and crisp as if you plucked them straight from the stems but their flavor will be just as pronounced.

Plastic bags

An easy way to store herbs like cilantro is by wrapping the cilantro stems in a slightly damp paper towel (try our reusable paper towels!)and placing the bundle in a plastic Ziploc bag, which ensures that the cilantro leaves don't turn brown too quickly. Secure the paper towel with a rubber band to ensure that the herb bundle stays fresh. Admittedly, this is the least eco-friendly method, but it takes up the least amount of space, so if you have a small refrigerator, this may be the best option for you.


Kelly Vaughan

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