How to Store Cilantro and Keep It Fresh for Weeks

A bunch of cilantro on the counter.

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  • Working Time: 5 - 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 - 10 minutes
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $2-4

Skipping home from the weekend farmers market carrying your groceries for the week is a beautiful feeling. But opening up your fridge on taco night to find wilted cilantro isn’t. Tossing unused produce into the compost bin feels sad and wasteful, and trekking to the store multiple times a week for fresh food gets old fast.

There are a couple of easy storage tricks that allow you to keep cilantro fresh in case you don’t use it all in one recipe or you simply won’t eat it for a few days. With these tips, you can reduce food waste and get your cilantro to last weeks. 

What You'll Need


  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 bunch cilantro


  • Chef's knife or sharp scissors
  • 1 16 oz. jar
  • Small reusable cloth towel or mesh bag


Fresh herbs in a jar of water.

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How to Store Cilantro in the Refrigerator

Cilantro does well in cool temperatures, so storing it in the refrigerator is ideal.

  1. Shake Off Moisture

    Walking down the produce aisle at the grocery store, you’ll notice most veggies, especially greens, are regularly misted with cool water to keep them fresh and crisp. If you know you won’t be using your cilantro immediately, shake off any excess moisture. As the produce sits, it will absorb moisture constantly, which could lead to premature wilting.

    When you get home from the store, use a towel to gently pat the cilantro dry. Be careful not to bruise or tear any leaves as this could lead to oxidation and, subsequently, wilting and decay.

    Bonus—shaking off moisture will reduce its cost. Water adds weight, and since the cost of produce is often calculated per pound or ounce, shaking off the water will reduce its overall weight and reduce its price.

  2. Cut the Stems

    As soon as you’re back from the market, use kitchen scissors or a sharp knife to snip off the ends of the cilantro stems. You can compost the snippings or add them to a soup or sauce.

  3. Place Cilantro in Water

    Place the cilantro stem-side down into a jar filled with a few inches of tap water, just like you would a bouquet of fresh-cut flowers.

    Cutting the stems allows the cilantro to slowly absorb water through the stem (not the leaves), which keeps it strong.

  4. Store in the Fridge

    Make sure the cilantro leaves are dry. Avoid rinsing them until you’re about to use them. 

    Cover your cilantro bouquet loosely with a very thin cloth towel or reusable mesh bag and then store it in the refrigerator.

    The water may start to discolor after a few days. If this happens, change the water.

    Stored in the fridge upright in a glass of water, cilantro can remain fresh for up to two weeks.

How to Freeze Cilantro

Directly Above View Of Chopped Cilantro By Knife On Cutting Board

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If you have no plans to use your cilantro in the next week or so, you don’t need to waste it. Freeze cubes of cilantro to drop into a variety of dishes, like soups. Cilantro cubes will last up to three months in the freezer.

In addition to the ingredients and tools used in the previous method, you'll need an ice cube tray.

  1. Wash Your Cilantro

    If you plan to freeze your cilantro, wash it thoroughly to remove any dirt or bacteria. Then, use a towel to pat dry the cilantro leaves, but don’t stress about getting it completely dry. Dry leaves will make the next steps easier, but it won’t be an issue in the freezer.

    You can pluck the leaves from the stems if you prefer, but leaving them on will reduce your food waste further. Cilantro stems add a little extra bite but have a very similar flavor profile to the leaves.

  2. Chop Into Small Pieces

    With a sharp knife, chop the cilantro into small pieces. Distribute the pieces evenly into an ice cube tray and add a small amount of water or broth to cover the herbs.

    Slide the tray into the freezer until the cubes are frozen solid.

  3. Use Your Frozen Cilantro

    To use, pluck out a frozen cilantro cube whenever you need it. Cilantro cubes make delicious additions to soups and sauces.

    When frozen, cilantro can last up to three months.