What is the difference between ground coriander and coriander seed? Can you use coriander seeds instead of ground coriander? If yes, Can you use whole coriander seeds?

  • Subjective opionion: If you like the citrus/orange note of coriander seed and want that in a dish, do bother to toast and grind fresh! Nov 2, 2018 at 0:08

1 Answer 1


Ground coriander is made from the seeds, so you definitely can substitute seeds. But you do need to grind them first. It's hard to get them ground very fine by hand, at least for quick cooking dishes, but if you toast then before grinding they're more brittle (so break up better). In a longer cooking dish the bits soften a little, so you can get away with slightly bigger bits.

Whole coriander seeds (or big pieces of them) are unpleasant to find in food, and don't deliver their flavour well to the dish. They're too big and hard to ignore, but to small to go round (unlike the cardamom pods sometimes found whole in rice dishes).

Seeds store well, keeping their flavour, so toasting/grinding them when you're ready to use them makes for a better-tasting end result. If you're used to using ground coriander that's been hanging around a while, this will be particularly noticeable, and you want want to use a bit less.

  • 5
    Even better: dry-toast the whole seeds in a pan, then grind them. Nov 1, 2018 at 16:20
  • @Lee, I meant to say that but wasn't as clear as I intended - thanks
    – Chris H
    Nov 1, 2018 at 17:24
  • 5
    Worth also saying that freshly toasting & grinding your own coriander seeds is much more aromatic than adding coriander powder, similar to freshly ground coffee vs coffee grinds Nov 1, 2018 at 17:31
  • Coriander seeds are easy to grind in a pepper grinder
    – 0xFEE1DEAD
    Nov 1, 2018 at 22:22
  • 1
    Coriander seeds are one of the only spices that changes its taste quite a lot when ground. Try to chew a whole coriander seed, then try a roughly crushed one, and then again a (freshly) powdered one. You will find a substantial difference. In many Indian dishes both coriander seeds and coriander powder are used, in different stages of the cooking process Nov 2, 2018 at 10:47

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