Yes, you absolutely can freeze cilantro!
Freezing cilantro is a great way to preserve the often abundant harvest one can get from this biennial herb. It's unique flavor survives some time in the cold quite nicely, even if its pretty leaves don't look quite they're best when all is said and done. Depending on how you want to use the cilantro in the end, there are two ways to go. Luckily, they're both quite easy.
No matter which method you choose, start with perfectly clean cilantro. Give it a swish in cool water to get rid of any dirt, grit, or dust clinging to its lovely leaves. Then, because excess water will create damaging ice crystals, be sure to thoroughly dry it. I tend to spin it in a salad spinner and then lay it on layers of paper towels that I roll up around the cilantro to soak up any bits of excess moisture.
Method 1: Freeze Cilantro Leaves In a Bag
This method is slightly easier, since you're just freezing the leaves. The leaves won't look great, so they're best stirred into things more than used as a garnish.
- Simply double-bag the cilantro
- Push out as much air from the bags as possible
- Stick it in the freezer
- Pop off the leaves as you want to us
Cilantro frozen this way works best in dishes where it gets cooked, such as Turkey Tacos or Potatoes in Cilantro Sauce, or in those where it's really mixed in, such as Chile Cilantro Guacamole or Spicy Sautéed Corn.
If you have a whole bunch of frozen stems left over when all the leaves have been plucked off, they're perfect for dunking into a pot of Drunken Black Beans, where they'll bring all their great flavor. Waste not, want not!
Method 2: Freeze Cilantro In Cubes
This method purées the cilantro first:
- Whirl the cilantro in a blender with enough water or olive oil to make a thick puree
- Freeze this in small covered containers or in a clean ice cube tray
- Once frozen through, transfer the cilantro cubes to a sealable plastic bag for long-term storage in the freezer (up to 6 months easy)
Plop a cilantro cube directly into soups or stews as the mood strikes you. A cube will add a burst of cilantro's unique flavor and fresh herbiness (plus a nice hit of green). I like to add a cube or two to Vegetarian Pozole or Green Chile Tomatillo Soup. They're also tasty in Sweet Potato Broccoli Curry.