Cilantro Lime Rice

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This cilantro lime rice tastes just like what you get at Chipotle, and it’s a snap to make.

Inspired by the popular rice served at Chipotle, this cilantro lime rice not only makes great burritos and burrito bowls, but it’s also a delicious side dish for chicken, fish, pork, or beef – and it goes well with any number of cuisines, from Mexican to Asian to Indian. It’s made with basmati rice – a long, slender-grained aromatic rice with a fluffy texture – using a pilaf technique, meaning the rice is first “toasted” in oil with sautéed onions and garlic before the liquid is added. This extra step only takes a few minutes and adds loads of rich, nutty flavor. Serve cilantro lime rice with tequila lime chicken, grilled jerk chicken, blackened tilapiabeef enchiladas, or butter chicken, to name just a few.

What You’ll Need To Make Cilantro Lime Rice

cilantro lime rice ingredients

Step-by-Step Instructions

In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Do not brown; lower the heat if necessary.
sautéing minced onions

Add the garlic and rice.

adding rice and garlic

Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, until toasty and fragrant.

sautéing rice and garlic

Add 2½ cups water, along with the salt and pepper and bring to a boil.

bringing water to a boil

Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until the rice is tender and the water is absorbed. Taste the rice; if it is still a bit firm, add a few more tablespoons of water and cook a few minutes more.
cooked rice in pot

Off the heat, add the lime juice, butter, and cilantro.

adding butter, cilantro, and lime to rice

Mix and fluff the rice with a fork.

fluffed cilantro lime riceTaste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary, and serve.

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Cilantro Lime Rice

This cilantro lime rice tastes just like what you get at Chipotle, and it’s a snap to make.

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 25 Minutes
Total Time: 35 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ⅓ cup minced yellow onion, from 1 small onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1½ cups basmati rice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice, from 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Do not brown; lower the heat if necessary.
  2. Add the garlic and rice and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, until toasty and fragrant.
  3. Add 2½ cups water, along with the salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until the rice is tender and the water is absorbed. Taste the rice; if it is still a bit firm, add a few more tablespoons of water and cook a few minutes more.
  4. Off the heat, add the lime juice, butter, and cilantro; then mix and fluff the rice with a fork. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (4 servings)
  • Calories: 349
  • Fat: 10 g
  • Saturated fat: 2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 57 g
  • Sugar: 1 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 5 g
  • Sodium: 230 mg
  • Cholesterol: 8 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

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Comments

  • I made this recipe last night for my picky husband and it’s not as good as Chipotle, it’s WAYYY better. I have used other recipes in the past for cilantro rice but none were exactly what I was looking for. No longer looking. This recipe is fabulous and a keeper.

    • — Terie on August 9, 2022
    • Reply
  • This recipe is sooooo delicious! The only different thing I did was add lime zest. My family loves this recipe. Definitely a keeper!!!

    • — Vickie T on August 7, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    Can this be frozen? Thank you!

    • — Theresa on August 7, 2022
    • Reply
    • Yes definitely 🙂

      • — Jenn on August 7, 2022
      • Reply
  • Hi! Do you think I could make this ahead of time? Maybe hold it in a covered casserole dish in a low oven until serving or make it the day before and reheat in a casserole dish? What would you recommend? Thanks!

    • — Erin on August 4, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Erin, You can definitely make it up to a few days ahead of time. I would reheat in the microwave, but a casserole dish in the oven would work too.

      • — Jenn on August 4, 2022
      • Reply
      • Awesome! Thank you for the tip! Would you wait to add the cilantro until just before serving? Will it wilt if added sooner or do you think it will stay fresh?

        • — Erin on August 4, 2022
        • Reply
        • Hi Erin, Ideally you would add it just before serving. 🙂

          • — Jenn on August 7, 2022
          • Reply
  • I love this rice and can’t stop making it. It is so easy and turns out perfectly every time, just like all of Jen’s recipes! I’ve also made it using jasmine rice and had the same great results. Thank you!

    • — Chelsea on August 2, 2022
    • Reply
  • So good! The rice comes out fluffy and flavorful. I paired it with the Moroccan Chicken recipe, also on this site. WHAT a fantastic dinner — thanks Jenn! Your recipes are amongst the most delicious and most reliable on the internet (and your cookbooks are delightful as well).

    • — Linda O. on July 31, 2022
    • Reply
    • 💗

      • — Jenn on August 1, 2022
      • Reply
  • I’ve never eaten at Chipotle, so I have no way of comparing the two rices, but this was a great way to make rice for a Mexican dinner. We both loved it! Thanks to helpful commenters, I doubled the lime and cilantro and was glad I did. I usually rinse my rice before cooking to lose excess starch for a fluffier version and will do that here before I make it next time. And there definitely will be a next time. Thanks as always, Jenn! I’ve had so much success using your recipes here that I’m going to buy your books.

    • — John M. on July 29, 2022
    • Reply
  • Thanks for this recipe. It’s great. FYI – I have made cilantro lime rice for years. Using the same amount of any kind of rice, I add the juice of 2 limes (2 T) to the water or chicken broth. Next time I’ll use your recipe again and add 2 limes worth of juice at the end to see if there’s any real difference in strength of lime flavor.

    • — Gigi on July 21, 2022
    • Reply
  • I have searched long and hard for a Chipotle rice recipe and this by far is the absolute best. My kids are so excited! Thank you !

    • — Genny z on July 18, 2022
    • Reply
  • Mine didn’t turn out as pretty as yours, but delicious! I will definitely make this again.

    • — Amy D on July 18, 2022
    • Reply
  • This looks really easy and delicious. I have one question though, is basmati rice the only type of rice I can use for this recipe? Thank you, I love your recipes and cookbooks.

    • — Stella on July 17, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Stella, You can use long grain white rice, but the end result won’t be quite as fluffy or aromatic.

      • — Jenn on July 17, 2022
      • Reply
  • We loved this recipe! I doubled the garlic and cilantro and added a can of drained black beans. We served it with the jerk chicken recipe. It is fabulous! Would also go great with any Mexican food or grilled shrimp.

    • — Kathryn on July 16, 2022
    • Reply
  • My whole family loved this and said it was very reminiscent of Chipotle’s version. I made it last night to pair with your Thai shrimp curry (which was also excellent). All of your recipes are so consistently good — whenever I make something of yours, I know my family will be happy!!

    • — Arthur on July 16, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Jenn,
      Firstly, thanks for all the great recipes, quite often use them to the delight of my family. Would this recipe work with black rice? Trying to be a bit more healthy, emphasis on trying lol.
      Thanks

      • — Tony on July 16, 2022
      • Reply
      • Hi Tony, So glad you enjoy the recipes. 🙂 I don’t recommend black rice here – sorry!

        • — Jenn on July 17, 2022
        • Reply
  • Easy to follow recipe, 15 minutes for the rice was perfect timing. Perhaps next time I will double up on the cilantro and lime to add more flavor. I’m also considering adding sliced almonds… what to you think of that?

    • — Elizabeth on July 15, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Elizabeth, It’s perfectly fine to double the cilantro and lime and to add almonds. 🙂

      • — Jenn on July 16, 2022
      • Reply
  • Planning to make this cilantro rice and blackened tilapia for dinner tonight and I know it’ll turn out great! I really appreciate how clear your instructions are – even an experienced cook ( like me!) can use some reminders about not over- browning onions and getting the perfect “ bite” on rice. Thanks again!

    • — Meredith Bartek on July 15, 2022
    • Reply
  • We made this for dinner tonight! Very , very good!!! All of us loved it!!! Daughter-in-law who is on a keto diet made hers with cauliflower rice!!! That turned out very good too!!!

    • — Linda on July 15, 2022
    • Reply
  • Why do you mostly use vegetable oil instead of olive oil in your cooking even your dressings? Just curious, as I prefer olive for health reasons.

    • — Kandice West on July 14, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Candice, Olive oil has a stronger taste whereas vegetable oil is very mild in flavor. I like to use vegetable oil in cases where I don’t want the flavor of the oil to shine through; dressings are a great example. Hope that clarifies!

      • — Jenn on July 15, 2022
      • Reply

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