(Long Coriander)


Culantro is a tropical perennial herb that is native to Mexico, Central and South America and Puerto Rico.  The leaf is green with long jagged edges (spiny).  This herb has a strong aromatic scent.  The Taíno Indians cultivated this aromatic herb in Puerto Rico.  Therefore, it is an integral part of the Puerto Rican cookery especially when preparing our puréed condiment – Sofrito.   The other Spanish term frequently used for culantro is  “recao.

I live in the Midwest and grow my own culantro in long planters every summer.  I purchase the seeds online directly from Puerto Rico.  In order for the seeds to successfully germinate in the Midwest, they need to be exposed to hot and humid temperatures.  Therefore, I usually wait until the month of June to start spreading the seeds on top of organic soil.   They are then placed on my back deck away from direct sunlight.   Every day I use a spray water bottle and mist the top of soil just to keep the soil moist.

It takes at least 14 to 28 days for the seeds to start germinating.  Once the seeds start to germinate, you will need to patiently wait another 3 months to be able to harvest the recao.  Do not be discouraged if your first attempt in growing this herb is not successful.  This is an herb that needs the right temperature, water and humidity.

Whenever a recipe calls for this herb as one of the ingredients, I retrieve several leaves of recao from my garden.  You can instantly smell the pleasant aromatic scent released from the recao while cooking your dish.  This herb will definitely give your dish a unique flavor and aroma.

You can purchase the culantro at the Latin Market or you can learn How to Grow Culantro.

Alternatives for Culantro – Special Ingredients:

CulantroCilantro and culantro are cousins with similar flavors while shaped differently.  However, the culantro has a stronger flavor and aromatic scent.  There were no Latin markets when my parents came to the United States; therefore, they substituted with cilantro.



If a recipes calls for both the culantro and the cilantro and you are unable to purchase the culantro, then increase the amount of cilantro for said recipe.

Category: Condiments, Recipes

4 Comments. Leave new

  • How can I store or freeze culantro after I have purchased a large package of it? For 15 to 20 years, I grew it in a pedestal pot (which I would bring into the house when the temperature hit 45 degrees), but after 20 years doing this, my husband killed them off once too many times. Now I’ve got to resort to finding where to purchase, although that is easy in my area. I have been looking or plants for the last 6 years now, I used to be able to find them here in Atlanta.

    • Hi Neysa, Yes, I freeze my culantro in a freezer plastic bag. When I need to add culantro to the dish I am cooking, I break off at least a tablespoon of the frozen culantro. However, when I make sofrito, I always use fresh culantro – never frozen. Enjoy your day!

      • Do you freeze the leaves whole? Or do you blend them (like for recaito) before freezing?

        • Hi Michael, Most of the recao is used to make sofrito so it is definitely pureed. However, I do freeze some of the culantro leaves whole. When frozen whole, you can break off the amount you need for your dish. Have a great weekend!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.

A Food Blog with Classic and Contemporary Authentic Puerto Rican Cuisine

Order your cookbook today!

  • 42 authentic Puerto Rican recipes
  • Cookbook written in English and Spanish
  • Each recipe contains a picture
  • Healthier version of Puerto Rican cookery