Kid-friendly Sweet Cilantro Rice Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Recipe: Sweet Cilantro Rice

Recipe: Sweet Cilantro Rice

Sweet Cilantro Rice

by Dylan Sabuco
Photo by Dylan Sabuco
prep time
5 minutes
cook time
5 minutes
4-6 servings

Fun Food Story

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Sweet Cilantro Rice

This quick rice dish delivers a lively burst of freshly chopped cilantro leaves. We recommend pairing it with your favorite Indian dish, like our Indian Spiced Potato “Aloo Gobi” Extravaganza.

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • chop :

    to cut something into small, rough pieces using a blade.

  • measure :

    to calculate the specific amount of an ingredient required using a measuring tool (like measuring cups or spoons).

  • mix :

    to thoroughly combine two or more ingredients until uniform in texture.

  • steam :

    to cook food by heating it in the steam from boiling water.

Equipment Checklist

  • Small saucepan with lid
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Dry measuring cups
  • Cutting board + kid-safe knife
  • Fork or wooden spoon for stirring
  • Measuring spoons


Sweet Cilantro Rice

  • 1 C water
  • 1 C instant white rice
  • 1/4 C cilantro (about 1/3 bunch)


Sweet Cilantro Rice

measure + simmer

Measure 1 cup of water and pour it into a small saucepan over medium high heat. Add 1 cup of instant white rice when the water is boiling. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook, covered, for 3 minutes.

fluff + season + serve

While the rice is cooking, chop 1/3 bunch of cilantro leaves finely. Remove the lid from the saucepan and add the cilantro leaves. Using a fork or wooden spoon, stir 1 pinch of salt into the rice and cilantro. Serve alongside Indian Spiced Potato "Aloo Gobi" Extravaganza (see recipe) or another main dish.

Surprise Ingredient: Cilantro & Coriander!

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Photo by kostrez/

Hi! I'm Cilantro!

"I'm the leaves of the coriander plant. Some people love me, and some people hate me. The ones that can't stand me think I taste like soap. The ones that love me, can't get enough of me in their Mexican or Thai food. My cousin, Coriander, is the fruit or seed of the plant, and we don't taste anything alike!"

History & Etymology

  • Coriander plants are native to Southern Europe, Western Asia, and Northern Africa. Evidence of coriander seeds found in Israel is believed to be 6,000 to 8,000 years old.
  • Coriander seed is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible. Greek and Roman physicians praised its medicinal powers. It may have been one of the plants that grew in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.
  • Coriander is mentioned in the Ebers Papyrus, an Egyptian medical resource on herbs, written around 1550 BCE, and coriander seeds were found in Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamen's tomb. Since it does not grow wild in Egypt, ancient Egyptians must have cultivated the plants. 
  • Coriander is one of the earliest cultivated plants in colonial North America, dating back to 1670. It soon appeared in Latin America, where the leaves, rather than the seed, became most popular and where it is called "cilantro."
  • In the United States, the coriander leaves are also called "cilantro," possibly due to their prevalence in Mexican food. The seeds are called "coriander" in American English. 
  • Today, coriander plants are cultivated in temperate areas, such as the Mediterranean region of Southern Europe, Mexico, and California in the United States. Mexico exports the most cilantro worldwide, and California produces the most in the US.
  • The word "coriander" is Middle English from the Old French "coriandre," from the Latin "coriandrum," from the Greek "koriannon."


  • Coriandrum sativum is a small, hollow-stemmed plant in the Apiaceae family. Other aromatic flowering members of the Apiaceae family include carrot, celery, cumin, dill, fennel, and parsley. 
  • Coriander is fast-growing and prefers cool weather, so plant it in the spring or fall. You can harvest the leaves throughout the growing period when they are large enough to eat. When the air warms, a stalk will grow from the plant with pink or white flowers, producing fruit or seeds that are about .12 to .2 inches in diameter. 

Flavors & Culinary Uses

  • Coriander is a popular herb and spice used around the globe, including India, Mexico, Thailand, Vietnam, China, the Caribbean, and North Africa. All of these places use cilantro or coriander in their native cuisines.
  • Coriander is also known as cilantro and Chinese parsley. In the United States, cilantro refers to the fresh leaves used as an herb and coriander to the seeds used as a spice. They are quite different in flavor and cannot be used as substitutes for one another. The roots are also eaten as a vegetable. 
  • Cilantro leaves are one of those tastes that people either love or hate and descriptions of flavor and aroma vary widely. It is often described as pungent, with a lemon, pepper, and parsley-like flavor; however, it tastes like soap for some people. Dried cilantro leaves are subtler in flavor. 
  • Whether you think cilantro leaves are delicious or taste like soap may have to do with genetics! Taste a leaf. Does it taste bright and lemony or soapy? If it tastes soapy, this is due to a difference in your body's olfactory-receptor genes and their reaction to the natural aldehyde chemicals in the leaves.  
  • Cilantro can be a small addition to your salsa or the primary ingredient. You can add its distinctive flavor to guacamole, salads, coleslaw, and soups. Pesto can be made with cilantro leaves instead of basil. It is a garnish for Mexican and Thai dishes.
  • Coriander seed, whole or ground, tastes lemony and slightly peppery. It is sometimes compared to caraway. It goes well with other sweet and warm spices, such as cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, ginger, and nutmeg. Coriander is in Indian spices, like curry powder and garam masala. It is also found in chili powders and barbecue rubs. 


  • Coriander seeds are high in fiber! Its seeds are an excellent source of minerals, such as calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, and selenium.
  • Coriander seeds have essential volatile oils and fatty acids that are helpful for digestion.
  • Cilantro leaves are rich in vitamins A, C, and K! Our cells, eyes, and immune system need vitamin A to stay healthy. Vitamin C also benefits our immune system and is associated with wound healing. Vitamin K is necessary for blood clotting and bone building.

Let's Learn About India!

Photo by Charu Chaturvedi on Unsplash
  • India is a country in South Asia and is officially called the Republic of India. It is the second-most populous country in the world and has the largest population of any democratic nation. 
  • Hindi and English are official languages, and there are 447 native languages spoken in India.
  • India's government includes a president, prime minister, and parliament. Twenty-eight states and eight union territories make up India's federal union. 
  • India's currency is the Indian "rupee." It is illegal for foreigners to take rupees out of India.
  • Emperor Shah Jahan commissioned the Taj Mahal's construction in 1632 for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal.
  • The anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi's birthday is celebrated on October 2. He is considered India's "Father of the Nation" and led the Indian people to independence from 89 years of British rule in 1947. Gandhi's peaceful protest movement inspired many people in other countries.
  • India's national symbols are the lotus flower, the Bengal tiger, and the peacock.
  • Some of the world's highest mountains are in India, including Kanchenjunga, the third tallest at 28,169 feet. 
  • The Bay of Bengal is a huge bay bordering the southeastern part of India and is home to the world's largest mangrove forest. Here, tigers swim in the same waters as dolphins, sea turtles, sharks, and saltwater crocodiles. 
  • The snow leopard, the Indian rhinoceros, the Bengal tiger, and the Asian elephant are all animals of India. Globally, it is the only country that has both lions and tigers.
  • The most popular sport in India is cricket!
  • It is hot in India, so people there often wear loose clothes. Traditional clothing differs by area in India. Women may wear saris, long pieces of colorful cotton or silk draped over and around the body like a dress. Men may wear a dhoti, made of material wrapped around the hips and pulled through the legs, somewhat resembling loose pants, although they aren't seen in cities much anymore. Photos of Gandhi show him wearing dhotis.
  • Seventy percent of the world's spices come from India.
  • Staple foods in India include lentils, rice, bread, and spices. People living on the coast eat more fish and seafood. In other regions, they eat chicken, beef, and game meats. Many people throughout India are vegetarians. Common fruits and vegetables are mangoes, apples, oranges, pineapples, bananas, onions, okra, potatoes, spinach, and carrots.  
  • Curries are popular dishes in India and are made with a variety of vegetables, fish, meat, and fruits, and spices. 
  • When people greet each other in India, as a sign of respect, they bow, placing their hands together before their chest or face, and say "Namaste," which translates to "I bow to the divine in you."

What's It Like to Be a Kid in India?

  • Indian parents are encouraged to start their kids in preschool at 2½ to 3 years old. School is usually taught in a particular state's language, which could be Hindi, English, or another language. 
  • Kids often have their grandparents living with them in the family household.
  • Along with cricket, tennis, badminton, and chess, kids may play traditional Indian games like kabaddi or kho-kho, both played by teams, or kancha, a marble game played individually or with others.
  • Kids enjoy the Holi festival, which is a religious celebration that also heralds the arrival of spring. Celebrated in various ways throughout the country, most versions include the joyous spraying and throwing of colorful powders by festival participants at one another. 

THYME for a Laugh

Did you hear the tall tale about rice? 

There wasn’t a grain of truth behind it!

THYME for a Laugh

Today I gave out free coriander to those in need.

It was an act of cilantropy (philanthropy).

Lettuce Joke Around

What did one rice say to the other rice? 

"I hope I see you a-grain!"

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