Skip to main content

When it comes to famed cook Ina Garten, delicious recipes and foods that she recommends usually take center stage. But like everyone else, there are some things that the Barefoot Contessa star just won’t eat and you definitely won’t find in any of Garten’s recipes.

Ina Garten smiles as she stirs food with a wooden spoon on the Today show
Ina Garten | Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images

Which food does Ina Garten hate?

Cilantro is probably the most-well known thing on Garten’s hate list. She has spoken about her disdain for the herb several times.

“Hate it!” she said of the garnish on the Munchies’ podcast. “I know people love it, and you can add it to the recipe. I just hate it. To me it’s so strong—and it actually tastes like soap to me— but it’s so strong it overpowers every other flavor.”

For it to be just an herb, cilantro is actually pretty polarizing. Some cooks love to put it on just about everything, while others, like Garten, can’t stand the stuff.

“I like something that’s kind of interestingly flavored, but as you eat it, you get layers, you know, the strawberries, a little zest of orange, a little sweetness, a little yogurt,” Garten said. “You get all of those of those flavors in a balance. But when cilantro is in something, that’s all I can taste. Everything else goes away.”

If you are looking for a Garten recipe with cilantro, you’ll be hard-pressed to find one as she refuses to use it.

Why do people hate cilantro?

You probably know at least one person who despises cilantro, if that person isn’t you yourself. Apparently, some people are genetically predisposed to disliking cilantro.

People are born with a range of smelling abilities, from not being able to smell anything to having hyperosmia, which is an extremely heightened sense of smell.

“There are genetic and physical differences among people,” Gail Vance Civille, president and owner of Sensory Spectrum, told TODAY. “I will also tell you the primary chemical that makes (cilantro) tastes like cilantro is citronellol, which is also the number one fragrance in Ivory soap.”

In 2012, Cornell University conducted a study with almost 30,000 people and found that the OR6A2 gene was specific to making people dislike cilantro, according to the outlet. The olfactory receptor “codes for the receptor that picks up the scent of aldehyde chemicals.”

Civille believes that a dislike toward cilantro may be an indicator that a person has a heightened sense of smell as their brain is able to recognize the aldehyde chemical.

Celebrities who hate cilantro

Garten isn’t alone in her hatred toward the herb, on an episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, Kim Kardashian West revealed that she hates cilantro, along with mustard and blue cheese.


‘Barefoot Contessa’: Ina Garten Revealed Her Favorite Comfort Food — and the Recipe Is So Easy

Julia Child also revealed in a 2002 interview with Larry King that she hates cilantro.

“It’s an herb that has a kind of a taste that I don’t like,” Child said.

Other foods Ina Garten leaves out of recipes

But cilantro shouldn’t feel singled out. Garten also steers clear of food with eyes. She doesn’t like foods with foam, which is a gelling agent that is used on some fancier foods, either. You also won’t find Garten going anywhere near store-bought grated Parmesan cheese.