For Many, Cilantro Tastes Like Soap

For Many, Cilantro Tastes Like Soap

Cilantro is quite the polarizing topic. The lovers love it, and the haters truly hate it, and both describe the food in very different ways. A genetic survey of roughly 30,000 people conducted by genetics research lab 23andme has found that hating cilantro is hard-wired into your genes, and as many as 14 percent of people have a gene variant that makes them think cilantro tastes like soap. But while there's a genetic basis for people to hate cilantro, aversion also varies pretty dramatically between ethnic groups. According to one study, 21 percent of east Asians, 17 percent of Europeans, 3 percent of Middle Easterners, and 14 percent of people of African descent claim to hate cilantro. If you're one of the haters, take some comfort in the fact that world-famous chef Julia Child couldn't stand the stuff either.


Key Facts In This Video

  • 1

    Approximately 4 to 14% of people hate the taste of cilantro. (0:14)

  • 2

    One study found that people who think cilantro tastes soapy share similarities in smell receptor genes. (1:08)

  • 3

    Genes that affect taste of bitterness may play a role in whether or not cilantro tastes soapy to you. (2:01)

See all





Get smarter every day! Like us on Facebook.
You'll get the most interesting and engaging topics in your feed, straight from our team of experts.