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Enhance Flavors: 5 Best Epazote Substitutes

Diving into cooking? Then you’ve probably met epazote.

This herb punches up flavors like no other, especially in Mexican cuisine. The challenge?

It’s not always easy to find. Good news, though—we’ve got your back with top-notch swaps.

These substitutes keep your dishes singing with that unique epazote vibe.

Think of us as your culinary buddies, here to save the day with herbs you likely have at home or can grab on your next grocery run.

Ready to keep those flavors bold and your cooking on point? Let’s get into it.

What is Epazote?

what is epazote

Epazote is an herb that is native to Mexico and Central America.

It has a long history of use in traditional Mexican cuisine, and it is also known for its medicinal properties.

Epazote has a distinctive appearance, with long, slender leaves that are green or sometimes reddish in color.

It has a strong, pungent flavor that some people compare to gasoline or diesel fuel.

When used in small amounts, epazote can add a unique flavor to dishes such as quesadillas, tamales, and beans.

It is also said to aid in digestion and relieve gas.

Recipes that call for epazote can often be easily adapted to substitutions such as cilantro or oregano.

However, for those who enjoy the distinct taste of epazote, it is worth seeking out this unique herb.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Epazote

If you don’t have epazote on hand or can’t find it at your local grocery store, there are a few substitutes that will work in a pinch.

Here are the five best substitutes for epazote.

1 – Cilantro


Cilantro is an herb with a bright, fresh flavor that is often used in Mexican and Southeast Asian cuisine.

The leaves are delicate and lacy, and they have a slightly citrusy aroma.

Cilantro can be used raw or cooked, and it is particularly popular in salsa and guacamole.

The taste of cilantro can be described as a cross between lemon and parsley, with a touch of heat.

The texture of the leaves is slightly chewy, and the stems are crunchy.

When substituting cilantro for another herb, it is important to keep in mind that its flavor is quite strong.

A little goes a long way, so you may want to start with half the amount of cilantro called for in the recipe.

2 – Papalo


Papalo is a type of cilantro that is commonly used in Mexican cuisine.

It has a strong, pungent flavor that is reminiscent of mint and lime.

The leaves are large and fleshy, with a slightly furry texture.

Papalo can be eaten fresh or cooked and is often used as a flavoring agent in soups and stews.

Because of its strong flavor, papalo is typically used sparingly.

However, it can be a good substitute for epazote, which can be difficult to find outside of Mexico.

When substituting papalo for epazote, use half as much papalo as you would epazote.

This will help to prevent your dish from becoming too overwhelming.

3 – Coriander


Of all the herbs in my spice cabinet, coriander is one of my favorites.

It has a unique flavor that is both earthy and citrusy, and it can be used in sweet or savory dishes.

The leaves have a delicate, lacy appearance, and the seeds are small and brown.

When ground, the seeds have a strong aroma that is distinctly different from the leaves.

Coriander is a versatile herb that can be used in many different cuisines.

It is common in Indian and Thai food, but it can also be used in Mexican dishes such as salsa and guacamole.

If you’re looking for a substitution for epazote, coriander is a good option.

It has a similar flavor profile, but it is not as pungent.

Coriander is an essential ingredient in many dishes, and it’s worth taking the time to learn how to use it properly.

4 – Summer Savory

summer savory

Summer savory is a herb that has a slightly peppery taste with hints of mint and thyme.

It is often used to season meats and vegetables. The leaves can be used fresh or dried.

When used fresh, they have a more mild flavor.

Summer savory can also be found in some spice blends.

The plant itself is a member of the mint family and is native to the Mediterranean region.

Summer savory is sometimes used as a substitute for epazote.

Both herbs have a similar flavor profile, but summer savory is more readily available.

When substituting summer savory for epazote, use half as much of the herb since it is more potent.

5 – Culantro


Culantro is a herb that is commonly used in Latin American cuisine.

It has a strong, pungent flavor and a rough, prickly texture.

Culantro can be used in soups, stews, and sauces, and it is often used as a substitute for epazote.

When substituting culantro for epazote, it is important to use less culantro than epazote because the flavor is more concentrated.

Culantro can also be used fresh or dried.

If using fresh culantro, it is important to wash it thoroughly because the leaves can be very gritty.

Culantro can be found in Latin American markets or online.


In conclusion, there are a variety of herbs that can be used as a substitute for epazote.

Each herb has its own unique flavor profile, so it is important to choose one that will complement the dish you are making.

When substituting an herb for epazote, it is important to use less of the herb since the flavor is more concentrated.

I hope this article was helpful in finding a suitable substitution for epazote.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Epazote

Looking for the perfect substitutes for epazote? Look no further! We've compiled a precise list of the 5 best alternatives that will seamlessly replace epazote in your recipes.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Substitutes
Servings 1 Serving


  • Cilantro
  • Papalo
  • Coriander
  • Summer Savory
  • Culantro


  • Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  • Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
Keyword best substitutes for epazote
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