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Buy a bunch of cilantro and keep it fresh to use in all of your favorite recipes. These two methods will help your cilantro last for up to 3 weeks in the fridge and 6 months in the freezer.  

cilantro in a glass jar
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Like other leafy herbs, cilantro can quickly wilt and decay once you bring it home from the grocery store. If you’re waiting to use your fresh cilantro while your avocados to ripen to make our Easy Healthy Guacamole or Roasted Corn and Goat Cheese Guacamole, your cilantro may pass its prime and head straight to the compost pile.

Good news! We’ve created an ultimate guide with simple methods to store cilantro and give it a longer shelf life. Try these different methods to see which is the best way for you!

You’ll Learn How to Keep Cilantro Fresh 3 Ways:

  1. In a jar with water (this method keeps if fresh the longest)
  2. Wrapped in a paper towel and bag
  3. In a paper towel and airtight container
a bunch of fresh cilantro laying on a folded paper towel

How Long Will Cilantro Last in the Fridge?

Fresh cilantro straight from the store will last for up to 5 days in the fridge. However, store it properly, and your cilantro will last for 3-4 week in the fridge. After that, it will start to wilt, turn brown and soften.

Looking to use up a lot of cilantro? Throw the stems and leaves into this cilantro chimichurri and serve it on your favorite grilled steak.

Should I Wash It First?

Don’t wash cilantro before storing it in the fridge unless you plan to chop it first. The added moisture, even if you dry it thoroughly, can break it down faster.

Buy The Freshest Cilantro

The precursor for getting cilantro to last the longest is buying the freshest cilantro you can at the store or market. Here’s what to look for when you buy cilantro:

  1. Fresh green cilantro leaves. Avoid any discoloration, including any brown, yellow, or turning yellow leaves.
  2. Healthy cilantro stems. You do not want stems that are too brown or shriveled.
  3. Avoid wilted cilantro leaves. Wilted cilantro leaves are an indication that they haven’t been stored well in your grocery store so it’s best to avoid these bunches altogether.
hand grabbing a stem of cilantro from a fresh bunch of it

How to Keep Cilantro Fresh (3 Ways)

Here are the 3 best ways to keep your cilantro fresh and last the longest. These simple methods will keep your cilantro fresh for an additional 2-3 weeks or 6 months in the freezer.

Before You Begin: Air Dry Cilantro

Most cilantro is damp or wet because they’re misted at the grocery store.

First, remove the rubber band around the stem—leaving it on can cause them to break down faster. Separate them out on a paper towel to air dry for 10-15 minutes. You can gently pat the leaves to remove some moisture.

Remove any brown, discolored, or soggy leaves at this point. Leaving them with the healthy leaves will make them break down faster.

Method 1: In a Jar with Water

How long it lasts: 2-3 weeks.

  1. Fill the mason jar with roughly 1-2 inches of water (about 1/4 way full).
  2. Place unwashed fresh cilantro stems down in the glass of water, like a bouquet of flowers, so stems are in the water.
  3. Place the plastic storage bag over top of the cilantro leaves and secure the bag with the rubber band.

What you need:  glass jar (like a mason jar), plastic bag or reusable bag, and a rubber band (optional).

Success Tip: Change the water as needed. Clean water will help keep the cilantro bunch fresher for longer.

cilantro in a jar with plastic bag on top

Method 2: Plastic Bag & Paper Towel

How long it lasts: 2 weeks.

  1. Place 1-2 layers of paper towel on your kitchen counter.
  2. Add unwashed cilantro in a single layer over top of the paper towel.
  3. Gently roll up the cilantro inside the paper towel.
  4. Place the rolled up fresh cilantro into your plastic storage bag and store in the refrigerator.

What you need: Paper towel, plastic storage bag (reusable bag works too).

Success Tip: Change the paper towel if it becomes too wet. The goal of the paper towel is to absorb moisture.

how to store cilantro in a paper towel

Method 3: Airtight Container

How Long it Lasts: 2 weeks

  1. Place 1-2 layers of paper towel on your kitchen counter.
  2. Add unwashed cilantro in a single layer over top of the paper towel. You could also remove the leaves from the stems and store leaves only.
  3. Gently roll up the cilantro inside the paper towel.
  4. Place the rolled up fresh cilantro into your airtight container and store in the refrigerator.

What you need: Airtight container, Paper Towel

Success tip: Change the paper towel if it becomes too wet. 

bunch of cilantro in a jar with water

Tips to Keep It Fresh Longer

  1. Let it air dry when you come home to remove moisture from misting at the store.
  2. Discard any wilted, yellow, brown, or discolored leaves from the bunch.
  3. Don’t wash the cilantro before storing.
  4. Change out the water or paper towel you store it in every 2-3 days.

Can You Freeze Cilantro?

Yes and no. You can freeze cilantro if you plan to use it as an ingredient in cooking recipes like soups. I don’t recommend freezing them if you plan to use it as a garnish.

Freeze cilantro in ice cube trays: blend the cilantro with a enough water or oil to create a smooth mixture. Pour it into ice cube trays and freeze and freeze up to 6 months. Add them directly to soups, curries, or sauces.

FAQs

Can you freshen up wilted cilantro?

The best way to revive wilted cilantro, and other herbs, is to shock them with an ice bath. Fill a bowl with ice water and ice and submerge the herbs in the water for 15-45 minutes. Dry well before storing.

Should I store it in water in the fridge or counter?

Cilantro loves cool temperatures and will last longer store in the fridge than on the countertop.

How do you wash cilantro?

You should always wash cilantro before eating because it can have sand or dirt on the leaves. Place the cilantro, stems and leaves, in a colander and rinse well with cold water. Alternately, place the bunch of cilantro in a large bowl of very cold water for 15 minutes. Spread it out on a paper towel, dab it gently, and let it air dry chopping.

Can you use these methods with other herbs?

All of these methods work well for other herbs like parsley, basil, and mint.

cilantro lime chicken marinade with chicken thighs in a glass bowl

Recipes with Cilantro

Soups: stir it into creamy chicken tortilla soup, Instant Pot taco soup, or healthy white chicken chili.

Dressings and Marinades: learn how to marinate chicken then try our go-to cilantro lime chicken marinade.

Salads: Stir cilantro into this cucumber tomato avocado salad or Mexican street corn pasta salad. Use it in the dressing for this sweet potato kale salad.

Garnish: top classic carne asada tacos, breakfast nachos, or pork tenderloin tacos.

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5 from 1 vote

How to Store Cilantro in the Fridge

Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 0 minutes
Total: 5 minutes
Buy a bunch of cilantro and keep it fresh to use in all of your favorite recipes. These two methods will help your cilantro last for up to 3 weeks in the fridge and 6 months in the freezer.

Save this Recipe!

Enter your email and we’ll send it directly to you.
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
Servings: 1 bunch

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro

Instructions 

  • Fill the mason jar with roughly 1-2 inches of water (about 1/4 way full).
  • Place your unwashed fresh cilantro stems down in the glass of water (just like a bouquet of flowers) so that the base of the cilantro stems is in the water.
  • Place your plastic storage bag over top of the cilantro leaves.
  • Secure the bag at the mouth of the mason jar with the rubber band and store your cilantro in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. Change the water as needed to keep it fresh.
Last step! If you make this, please leave a review letting us know how it was!

Equipment

  • Mason Jar
  • Plastic bag
  • Rubber brand

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2 Comments

  1. Whitney says:

    5 stars
    I always find myself wasting cilantro that goes bad. This will save me so much money!

    1. Molly Thompson says:

      Saves us every week! Thanks!