How to Tell if Cilantro is Bad

Cilantro is an herb in the same family as parsley. It is used in many different types of cuisine, and for many, it is an essential to keep on the shelf. Some people love the taste of cilantro, and some try to avoid it at all costs. Its taste is very pungent and somewhat peppery.

When kept in the fridge, cilantro can last for up to ten days. In the freezer, its shelf life can be extended to six months. After purchasing cilantro, it should be refrigerated right away. There is not a definite answer to how long it lasts, because it depends on how well it was stored.

If cilantro has gone bad, it will become softer and its coloring will be off. It will also have a funky scent and flavor. Cilantro that has gone bad should be thrown out right away.

How to Store Cilantro Properly

When it is stored properly, the shelf life of cilantro can be expanded. When keeping it in the refrigerator, first trim the ends of your cilantro and put it in a glass that has about a half inch of water. Then, cover it loosely with a plastic bag and set it in the fridge, replacing the water once you notice it getting cloudy.

You can also freeze fresh cilantro. To do this, wash and trim the cilantro, then cut it into smaller pieces. Let it dry completely while it is at room temperature, then place in heavy-duty bags that are meant for the freezer. 

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What Happens If You Eat Cilantro That Has Gone Bad?

The warning signs of cilantro that has gone bad are pretty straightforward. You might notice mold on the leaves or discoloration, or it has started to smell. If you suspect that your cilantro has gone bad, discard it.

It is possible to get sick from eating expired cilantro. Symptoms of this include the typical food poisoning symptoms, like gastrointestinal issues, or flu-like symptoms. Sometimes, expired cilantro has the potential to cause an infection called cyclosporiasis. 

The symptoms of cyclosporiasis are usually digestive issues and fatigue, but can last for months if they are left untreated. Though something this extreme is pretty rare, it is always better to stay on the safe side and not bargain with cilantro that may have gone bad.


There are a few things to look out for in the case of cilantro going bad. They are pretty easy to spot, though. First, if it is softer than it was when you first bought it and/or its color is different, it has likely gone bad. If it smells or tastes funky this is another indicator that your cilantro is bad. If you think your cilantro is expired it should be discarded as soon as possible.