A Look at Why Cilantro Tastes Like Soap to Some People

By Mike Pomranz |

Somewhere between 4 and 14 percent of people hate the taste of cilantro – though those numbers might seem pretty low to any of us who actually know someone who thinks cilantro tastes like soap because the people who feel that way never want to stop talking about it.

So what turns someone into a cilantro hater?  Well, as with many questions the answer is “probably their genes, but scientists aren’t 100 percent sure.” 

Despite not having found a specific “cilantro gene,” plenty of research backs the genetic claim.  The good people at SciShow compiled much of this often pretty complicated info into the video above.  One relatively clear cut study showed that though 80 percent of identical twins agreed on the taste of cilantro, only 50 percent of fraternal twins agreed – thus showing that the more identical your genetic makeup, the more identical your opinion on cilantro’s soapiness.

But outside of that, a number of far reaching studies have only shown that some genes correspond more to cilantro aversion than others.  “It looks like genetics definitely at least plays a part in whether you like cilantro or not,” says SciShow, “but some specifics still need to be worked out before you can take a doctor’s note to lunch tomorrow.”

Until then, we’ll just have to hope science can figure out a way to cure the world’s cilantro haters. 

Related: Why Do So Many People Hate the Word Moist 
The Science of Why We Learn to Love Foods We Used to Hate 
Here's Why Your Stomach Makes So Much Noise When You're Hungry