Skip to Content

Chipotle Style Cilantro Lime Rice Recipe

Bring a burst of vibrant flavor to your meal with this easy-to-make cilantro lime rice, a refreshing side dish that pairs perfectly with a wide range of dishes.

Cilantro lime rice in a skillet

I am a huge fan of Chipotle’s meals, and Chipotle’s cilantro lime rice, in particular, has always been a favorite of mine and was the inspiration for my own recipe. It served as the inspiration for this delightful recipe. I always order their bowls, especially with their new Chicken Al pastor. So good!

If you haven’t tried making cilantro lime rice at home yet, I highly recommend giving it a shot. You’ll be amazed at how simple it is to create this flavorful dish in your own kitchen.

What Is Cilantro Lime Rice 

Cilantro lime rice is a simple yet flavorful dish that adds a burst of freshness to any meal. It has its roots in Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine, where it is often served as a side dish alongside tacos, burritos, and other popular dishes.

The combination of fresh cilantro and zesty lime creates a refreshing flavor profile that complements the bold spices and rich flavors found in these traditional dishes making it a delightful accompaniment to a variety of main courses.

This versatile side dish has gained popularity in recent years, making its way into home kitchens and restaurant menus around the world.

Why You Will Love It

  • Cilantro lime rice offers a burst of vibrant flavors.
  • It is incredibly versatile, and you can pair it with various dishes. 
  • It’s fresh and aromatic.
  • Visually appealing vibrant green color.
  • Easy to prepare and requires minimal ingredients.

The Recipe

Creating a delicious batch of cilantro lime rice is simple, requiring just a few basic ingredients and easy-to-follow steps. The key to success lies in achieving the perfect balance of flavors and textures.

With this detailed guide, you’ll be well-equipped to create the perfect batch of cilantro lime rice that will impress your loved ones. Whether you’re hosting a dinner party or just looking for a new side dish to add to your weeknight meal rotation, cilantro lime rice is sure to become a favorite in your household.

Ingredients 

  • Rice: long-grain white rice serves as a neutral canvas that absorbs the flavors of the other ingredients.
  • Cilantro (Coriander): adds a fresh, citrusy, and slightly tangy taste to the rice. 
  • Lime Juice and zest of lime: Freshly squeezed lime juice adds a refreshing and zesty element that balances the other flavors and complements the cilantro.
  • Salt: helps to season the rice and bring out the natural flavors of the other ingredients. 
  • Water or Broth: used to cook the grains until they become tender.
  • Vegetable oil or butter: to saute onion and garlic
  • Onion and garlic: adds more flavor
  • Ground cumin: for added depth of flavor

How to Make Cilantro Lime Rice

  1. Rinse rice in a fine mesh strainer until water runs clear.
  2. In a saucepan, heat oil or butter, cook onion until translucent, then add garlic.
  3. Add rice, cook for 2 minutes, and add cumin if using.
  4. Add water or broth and salt, bring to a boil, then simmer on low heat, covered, for 15-18 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat, let stand for 5 minutes, then add lime juice, zest, and cilantro.
  6. Serve with your favorite main dishes.

Variations: Customize Your Cilantro Lime Rice

Looking to mix things up? Try these tasty variations on the classic cilantro lime rice recipe:

  • Add some heat with a finely chopped jalapeño or serrano pepper.
  • Substitute the white rice with brown rice or quinoa for a healthier, whole-grain alternative.
  • Mix in some black beans or corn for added texture and flavor.

Tips

  • To achieve the perfect texture, be sure to rinse the rice thoroughly and avoid lifting the lid during the cooking process.
  • Cook the rice until it is tender but still slightly firm. Be mindful not to overcook the rice, which can produce a mushy texture.
  • Fluff the rice with a fork to separate the grains and prevent it from becoming sticky. 
  • Let the rice rest for a few minutes before adding the cilantro and lime juice. This allows the flavors to meld and the rice to cool slightly, resulting in a better texture and taste.
  • Start with smaller amounts of cilantro and lime juice to adjust the flavors and find the right balance for your taste buds.

How to Store and Reheat

  • Storage: Allow the cooked rice to cool to room temperature before storing. Transfer it to an airtight container or sealable plastic bag and store it in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days or freeze for up to 3 months. 
  • Reheating on the stovetop: Heat a non-stick skillet or frying pan over medium heat and add a small amount of oil or butter. 
  • Reheating in the microwave: Transfer the desired amount of rice to a microwave-safe dish and add a tablespoon of water or broth to help retain moisture.
  • Fluff the rice with a fork to separate the grains and restore its texture. If desired, add a squeeze of fresh lime juice and a sprinkle of chopped cilantro after reheating to refresh the flavors.
A bowl of delicious Cilantro lime rice

Serving Suggestions: Perfect Pairings for Cilantro Lime Rice

Cilantro lime rice is a versatile side dish that pairs well with a wide range of dishes. Here are some serving suggestions to inspire your next meal:

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use brown rice instead of white rice for cilantro lime rice?

You can use brown rice instead of white rice for cilantro lime rice. However, Brown Rice has a longer cooking time and requires more liquid than white rice. Adjust the cooking time and liquid measurements accordingly when using brown rice.

Can I use dried cilantro instead of fresh cilantro?

Fresh cilantro provides the best flavor and aroma, but dried cilantro has a milder flavor. You may need to use more to achieve the same taste. Start with a smaller amount and adjust to your preference.

Can I make cilantro lime rice ahead of time?

Yes, you can make cilantro lime rice ahead of time. Allow the rice to cool to room temperature before transferring it to an airtight container and storing it in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, reheat the rice using the stovetop or microwave.

Can I adjust the amount of cilantro and lime juice in the recipe?

Absolutely! You can adjust the amount of cilantro and lime juice to suit your taste. If you enjoy a stronger cilantro flavor, you can add more chopped cilantro. Likewise, if you prefer a more tangy taste, add additional lime juice. Start with the recommended amounts in the recipe and adjust gradually to achieve your desired flavor balance.

Kitchen Tools

  • Large saucepan with lid
  • Fine mesh strainer
  • Wooden spoon
  • Grater or zester
  • Measuring cups and spoons

Other Delicious Rice Dishes 

Fluffy Cilantro lime rice scooped with a spoon to show it's texture

Cilantro Lime Rice

Cilantro lime rice is a zesty rice dish that combines the fresh taste of cilantro with the tanginess of lime. Enjoy the bright green appearance and zingy taste as you serve family and friends for dinner.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Lunch/Dinner
Cuisine: Mexican, Tex-Mex
Keyword: rice
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 350.1kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 cups long-grain white rice
  • 4 cups water or chicken/vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil or butter
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt adjust to taste
  • 1/4 cup lime juice about 2 limes (freshly squeezed)
  • 1 lime Zest
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin for added depth of flavor – optional

Instructions

  • Place the rice in a fine mesh strainer and rinse under cold water until the water runs clear. This will help remove excess starch and prevent the rice from being too sticky
  • In a large saucepan or pot, heat the vegetable oil or butter over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and cook for about 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until fragrant.
  • Add the rinsed rice to the saucepan, stirring to coat the grains with the oil or butter. Cook for 2 minutes, allowing the rice to toast slightly. If using ground cumin, add it now and stir to combine.
  • Pour the water or chicken/vegetable broth into the saucepan and add the salt. Stir to combine, then bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and cover the saucepan with a lid. Cook the rice for 15-18 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat and let it stand, covered, for 5 minutes. After the resting period, remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork. Add the lime juice, lime zest, and chopped cilantro to the rice, gently folding the ingredients together until well combined.
  • Transfer the cilantro lime rice to a serving dish and garnish with additional cilantro leaves, if desired. Serve warm alongside your favorite main dishes, such as grilled chicken, fish, or tacos.

Notes

  • Cook the rice until it is tender but still slightly firm. Be mindful not to overcook the rice, which can produce a mushy texture.
  • Fluff the rice with a fork to separate the grains and prevent it from becoming sticky.
  • Let the rice rest for a few minutes before adding the cilantro and lime juice. This allows the flavors to meld and the rice to cool slightly, resulting in a better texture and taste.
  • Start with smaller amounts of cilantro and lime juice to adjust the flavors and find the right balance for your taste buds.

Nutrition

Calories: 350.1kcal | Carbohydrates: 77.7g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 0.7g | Saturated Fat: 0.2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Sodium: 600.1mg | Potassium: 162.2mg | Fiber: 1.8g | Sugar: 0.7g | Vitamin A: 154.2IU | Vitamin C: 10.4mg | Calcium: 47.4mg | Iron: 1.1mg

Let’s connect on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram. I love keeping in touch with you; nothing brings me more joy than seeing pictures of your creations. Tag me @cheflolaskitchen on Instagram and Facebook.

Recipe Rating