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How to Keep Cilantro Fresh in the Fridge

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Learn how to keep cilantro fresh in the fridge so you can enjoy cilantro for up to 3 whole weeks! You can use this same system for other leafy herbs and vegetables.

cilantro in plastic container

This post was originally published Jan 2014, but has since been updated and new photos added.

If you’re like me, you love any kind of Mexican cuisine, especially homemade guacamole and Salsa! Or maybe you like making your own dressings or marinades! You can’t have any of those without fresh cilantro. Unfortunately cilantro is such a sensitive herb that I haven’t perfected growing yet, so we typically buy it at the store. However, cilantro can go bad really quickly if you don’t take a little bit of time and prep to make sure you store it correctly.

So what is the best way to keep cilantro fresh? I have experimented with a few different methods, such as keeping it in a jar with a small amount of water in the bottom for the stems to drink up. While that method does work OK, the leaves still wilt quickly. Maybe a week at the most.

I’ve also tried rolling up the bunch in a paper towel and then putting that in a plastic zippered bag. That works pretty well, making the cilantro good for about a week and a half. However, the method that I’ve found that works the BEST is storing the cilantro in an airtight container lined in paper towels.  Pretty easy right?

How to Keep Cilantro Fresh in the Fridge

The first step to keeping cilantro fresh is to make sure you wash the leaves really well when you get home from the store. Wash well in cold water, with a splash of vinegar. The easiest way for me is to fill up my sink and let the bunch of cilantro sit in it for a few minutes. Make sure the water is COLD.

Wash cilantro thoroughly. Cilantro in sink full of water

Swirl it around a few times, and then remove the cilantro from the water. Let it dry for a few minutes on a towel. Then pick through all of the cilantro looking for any leaves that show a sign of wilt, yellowing or rot, and discard those.

close up of rotten cilantro leaf

This step is super important, so please do not skip it. If you put any of these bad leaves in with the fresh leaves, rot will set in way sooner than if you discard them. Usually I’ll only have a few that are like the pictures.

close up of rotten cilantro leaf

After you’ve sifted through all of the leaves, it’s time to dry them the rest of the way. The easiest way to dry the cilantro leaves is to use a Salad Spinner. You could also use paper towels to blot them dry but I don’t like wasting paper towels. I use our salad spinner for all of our leafy greens! The goal is to get the cilantro as dry as possible!

cilantro in salad spinner drying leaves

Finally once the cilantro is dry, take an airtight container and line with 2 paper towels like in the photo below.

Then add the dried cilantro the container. Sometimes I will remove some of the extra long stems to make them fit, without smashing it down. You don’t really want the container to be crowded or smooshed together.

Then place another paper towel on top of the cilantro. Place the lid to the container back on and store fresh cilantro in your fridge that will keep for 2-3 weeks!

Why does this cilantro storage method work?

The reason for the paper towels is to keep the cilantro in a moist environment, without having water on the leaves themselves. If the leaves are left with water on them, they will wilt and rot quickly. The paper towels will absorb any extra liquid from the leaves, and keep the container moist.

After about 1 week you will need to change out your paper towels to keep the remaining cilantro as fresh as when you brought it home. If you see any leaves start to turn brown, remove them as quickly as possible.

And that’s how you store cilantro to keep it fresh for up to 3 weeks in the fridge! What are some household tips you have for storing fresh produce and herbs in your fridge?

More Household tips you may find helpful:

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Thursday 24th of February 2022

This works wonderfully - thank you! My husband and I have been struggling with a way to make it last longer, and now with your help we are able to keep it!!


Friday 25th of February 2022

So great to hear Andrea!

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Monday 2nd of June 2014

Thanks for sharing this tip. I always hate having to throw away yummy cilantro that has gone bad.


Monday 2nd of June 2014

I hope you try it! Thanks for stopping by!