Does cilantro taste like soap to you? Here’s why


Few culinary ingredients are known to polarize foodies more than cilantro.

While some put the citrusy herb on just about everything, others hold a vehement hatred for the stuff, claiming it tastes just like soap.

Yep, you read that correctly – soap.

But, my fellow cilantro lovers, don’t be hating on the haters. According to science (yes, science!), this aversion to the herb is not really a choice – it may very well boil down to genetics.

A 2012 study found a gene variant between those on cilantro’s side and those who find it completely deplorable. They’ve yet to determine why exactly it tastes like soap to this portion of the population, though it could have something to do with their sense of smell and bitter taste receptors.

So, if your kid (or partner, for that matter), refuses to eat anything with cilantro, don’t hang your head in dismay – it’s really not their fault.

And while there is no perfect substitute for the herb, which is commonly used in Latin American, Caribbean and Asian cuisine, you can use fresh flat-leaf or Italian parsley in its place. The flavour won’t be the same (there really is no match for cilantro’s distinctive taste), but it will do the trick if you’re looking to add an extra element to your dish.

If you’re a cilantro addict, though, you’re in luck! Here at Canadian Living, we love our cilantro, and we’ve got tons of recipes featuring the herb. Check out some of our favourites below!

Beef and Lentil Burger with Cilantro Lime Mayo

 Cilantro Ginger Chutney

Curried Potato Salad

Lemongrass Chicken Tacos

Shrimp with Edamame Succotash

Photography (from top to bottom): FlickrCC/Jamiesrabbits, Jeff Coulson/TC Media, Jeff Coulson/TC Media, Jeff Coulson/TC Media, Joe Kim/TC Media, Ryan Brook/TC Media.