Perfect Cilantro Lime Rice

Learn how to make my favorite cilantro lime rice recipe. The rice is super fluffy, fresh, and so delicious. Once you make this easy recipe, you’ll want to make it again and again.

Cilantro Lime Rice Recipe Video

If you love Chipotle cilantro lime rice, you will love this easy copycat recipe. I say copycat, but it tastes even better than what you get at Chipotle. High praise, I know, but trust me.

Serve this with beans, burritos, and your favorite Mexican dishes, or make a rice bowl!

The Best Cilantro Lime Rice

Key Ingredients

  • Rice: I use long-grain white rice for this recipe. You can also use long-grain Jasmine or Basmati rice, which are more fragrant (in the best way). Brown rice works with our recipe, but the method for cooking your rice will differ. I have included tips below the recipe to help you out.
  • Onion and garlic: I cook chopped onion and garlic with a bit of oil and the rice, adding lots of extra flavor.
  • Water or broth: I use water in the recipe video, but for more flavor, use a light broth (veggie broth or chicken broth are both excellent).
  • Lime: Fresh lime is best for this cilantro lime rice. After it’s cooked, stir fresh lime juice into the rice.
  • Cilantro: I love cilantro and add quite a bit to my rice. For this recipe, I chop the leaves and tender stems (leaving the hardier stems for stock). If you don’t love cilantro as much as me, leave it out and make plain lime rice (it’s still delightful).

How to Make Cilantro Lime Rice

Making cilantro lime rice at home is easy and tastes better than what you get at Chipotle. It’s more fluffy, flavorful, and fresh.

You want to rinse your rice for this recipe (my best tip for cooking perfect rice). I toss my rice into a fine-mesh strainer and place it under cool running water, moving the rice around with my fingers until the water runs clear. Rinsing the rice removes extra starch, making our cooked rice super light and fluffy!

Now, you’ll add the rinsed rice and chopped onion to a pot with some oil or butter and cook, moving them around so they toast evenly. Add minced garlic, and then pour in your cooking liquid, which can be water or broth.

How to Make Cilantro Lime Rice - Toasting the rice with oil and onion before adding water.

I cook the rice with a lid over low heat for about 15 minutes. Then, I remove the pan from the heat and leave it covered for another 10 minutes. This resting time gives the rice a chance to steam, which makes it perfectly cooked and fluffy. (This is the same method we use when cooking Mexican rice and coconut rice.)

When it’s ready, uncover the rice and use a fork to fluff it (be gentle). Stir in fresh lime juice and lots of chopped cilantro. Then enjoy!

Easy Cilantro Lime Rice

Storing Cilantro Lime Rice

Leftover cilantro lime rice lasts in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months (thaw overnight in the refrigerator).

Reheat in the microwave or over low heat in a pan with water or broth, stirring until warm. For fresh flavor, stir in extra lime juice and chopped cilantro just before serving.

What to Serve with Cilantro Lime Rice

I love this easy rice recipe and eat it with just about everything. Our family loves this with homemade refried beans or these incredible black beans. It’s always on the table when we make fajitas, enchiladas, and carnitas.

I add cilantro lime rice to my burritos. I especially love these spicy cauliflower burritos. It’s also excellent for rice bowls, and I love it with our cilantro lime garlic butter shrimp! And remember the guacamole and salsas! I love this fresh pico de gallo, corn and black bean salsa, and this roasted tomatillo salsa.

Best Cilantro Lime Rice (Chipotle Copycat Recipe)

Perfect Cilantro Lime Rice

  • PREP
  • COOK

How to make the best cilantro lime rice that tastes even better than your favorite restaurants! Substituting stock or broth for the water adds additional flavor. We love using chicken or vegetable broth. If you use stock, add salt to taste since the stock may already have some salt added.

Makes 5 cups rice

Watch Us Make the Recipe

You Will Need

1 ½ cups (280g) long-grain white rice

1 tablespoon olive oil or butter, plus more for serving

1/2 cup (70g) finely chopped onion (1 small)

2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)

2 ¼ cups (530ml) water, vegetable broth, or chicken broth

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, see notes

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 cup (30g) roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems


    1Place rice into a fine mesh strainer and rinse with cold water, moving the rice around with your fingers until the water runs clear. Drain well and set aside. This removes excess starch and helps the rice cook up fluffy and light.

    2Heat a medium saucepan with a tight-fitting lid over medium heat. Add the oil or butter. When hot, add the rinsed rice and onion. Cook, stirring often, until the rice turns from translucent to a brighter white and the onion is soft, about 3 to 4 minutes.

    3Add the garlic and cook, stirring it around the pan until fragrant but not browned, about 30 seconds.

    4Pour in the warm water or stock and stir, knocking any grains of rice stuck to the pan’s sides. Season with salt, reduce the heat to the lowest setting and cover with a lid. Cook, covered, for 15 minutes.

    5Remove the pan from the heat and leave alone (still covered) for 10 minutes.

    6Uncover and test a grain of rice. If the rice is still a little hard, put the lid back on and cook over low heat for another 5 minutes. If the rice looks too dry, scatter a tablespoon or two of extra water over it before placing it back on the heat.

    7When the rice is done, scatter the lime juice and cilantro on top. Use a fork to gently fluff the rice and incorporate the lime juice and cilantro. Serve.

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • Brown rice: Forget the package directions and cook brown rice like you would pasta. Fill a large pot with lightly salted water, add the brown rice, and then let it cook, uncovered, at a simmer for 30 minutes. Drain and add it back to the pot off the heat with a lid covering it so it steams for an additional 10 minutes (this method is from Saveur, making perfect brown rice.) From there, stir in sautéed onion, garlic, fresh lime juice, and cilantro.
  • Salt: If you plan to use stock, you may not need to add salt. Taste the stock before adding to the rice to determine if you need to add a pinch or two of additional salt.
  • Cilantro substitute: If you are not a fan of cilantro, substitute it with chopped fresh parsley or leave it out.
  • The nutrition facts provided below are estimates.
Nutrition Per Serving Serving Size About 1/2 cup / Calories 119 / Total Fat 1.6g / Saturated Fat 0.3g / Cholesterol 0mg / Sodium 60.8mg / Carbohydrate 23.6mg / Dietary Fiber 0.6g / Total Sugars 0.5g / Protein 2.2g
AUTHOR:  Adam and Joanne Gallagher
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33 comments… Leave a Review
  • Suzanne May 13, 2024, 8:47 pm

    If you are lucky, your town’s best Mexican Restaurant has Green Rice on the menu. This cilantro rice is the absolute best. Such a flavor explosion. If you’ve never had this you have to make it! I was blown away the first time I tasted this version of Mexican Rice.

  • Molly May 7, 2024, 8:52 pm

    This recipe was so delicious! The garlic really adds to the flavor and I loved the toasted rice. My only adds were including 3 garlic cloves instead of 2, and stirring in the zest of one lime with the juice. Delicious!!

    • Joanne May 8, 2024, 1:07 pm

      Hi Molly, I am so happy you enjoyed it! Love that you bumped up the garlic and lime!

  • Di Lan Minehan April 8, 2024, 9:31 pm

    Delicious recipe! This will be my go-to recipe for cilantro lime rice!

  • Holly Oesterle March 31, 2024, 10:02 am

    It was Soo good, that I had to make it again today! And I doubled the recipe! Shared some with my downstairs neighbor and she thought it was delicious!! This rice is literally the simplest, most yummiest ever!

    • Adam March 31, 2024, 4:14 pm

      Yay! Doubling this recipe is a good idea 🙂 P.S. you can share a photo on Instagram and tag us.

  • Holly Oesterle March 30, 2024, 6:05 pm

    Just made this and it’s soooooooooo delicious!! Made mine with bone broth (trying to be healthier) spot on! This is my go to recipe! Thank you for sharing!! Will be checking out more of your recipes!

  • John January 27, 2024, 6:54 pm

    This is now a goto at our house. Simple, easy to make and such wonderful flavor. It is just as good or better reheated. Great in tacos as well but a perfect side dish for a lot of things.Thanks!

  • Luci Love January 2, 2024, 8:45 pm

    Bravo! Easy and flavorful recipe Does not disappoint. Thank for this recipe. This is a keeper.

  • Lydia April 10, 2023, 7:24 pm

    Seriously so good and the instructions were very easy to follow. Will def be making again!

  • Deborah George September 23, 2022, 3:05 pm

    I too love Chipotle’s cilantro lime rice. Making it at home is so much better. Your recipe is spot on, just more flavor. Loving it. I also made the pork carnitas, fabulous.

  • mary January 22, 2022, 6:47 pm

    Absolutely delicious, I added lime zest and more garlic, it was great!!

  • Tiffany November 15, 2021, 4:56 pm

    Not generally a fan of cilantro but this rice is SO GOOD. So good.

  • Annette November 7, 2021, 1:25 pm

    Hello! This looks delicious and the reviews sound great. I am making a Mexican feast for a few close friends in a few days, and I would like to double this recipe. Normally, I would just make a recipe twice, just to get it right! Is there a way I could just double this? I realize that I can’t just double the water when doubling the rice. Do I have to change the cooking time? Thanks for any help you can offer. I love your website!!!!!

  • Elizabeth September 22, 2021, 5:54 pm

    Made the “cilantro lime rice”with garlic and onions. The flavors are delicious and not over powering. I decided to chop fresh spinach with my cilantro for an additional fresh green leafy vegetable to go with the fresh herb.

  • Saul Clamen April 22, 2021, 3:06 pm

    I just finished making your pea soup with basil and I had to say something first of all i would call the recipe heavenly pea soup with basil and secondly it has got to be the easiest soup to make ever. Thank you for this and your other recipes


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