Cilantro Lime Rice

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Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Cilantro lime rice is the best rice for burrito bowls, and pretty much any Mexican food, right? (Cilantro haters, please look away, this one’s not for you.) It works well with Asian dishes too.

But you don’t want to just toss plain rice with cilantro and lime juice and call it a day. Well, you could, but the rice wouldn’t be close to as good as it could be. Cilantro lime rice made well is irresistible. As in, “as soon as you finish one batch, you’ll want to make another” irresistible. Or, “take your hands off my food, this is all for me” irresistible.

Tips for making the best ever cilantro lime rice? First, use basmati long grain rice. It’s more aromatic than plain rice and the flavor complements the cilantro and lime.

Cilantro Lime Rice

Second, start by lightly browning the rice in some olive oil. It’s how we normally make rice pilaf or Spanish rice. The browning brings out wonderful flavor in the rice that you can’t get any other way. This is the main difference between this recipe and other recipes you may find online for cilantro lime rice.

Finally, use fresh limes and toss some grated lime zest in with the water that you add to the rice. The lime oils in the zest will infuse the rice with lime flavor as it cooks.

At the very end, after the rice is cooked and fluffed, you’ll add in chopped fresh cilantro and lime juice.

Cilantro Lime Rice Recipe

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  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbps olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups basmati long grain white rice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Zest of one lime
  • 3 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 cup lightly packed chopped cilantro, leaves and tender stems

Method

1 Brown the rice: Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan on medium high heat. Add the raw rice and stir to coat with the olive oil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the rice has started to brown.

Add the garlic and cook a minute more.

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2 Add water, salt, zest, then simmer: Add water, salt, and lime zest to the rice. Bring to a rolling boil, then cover and lower the heat to low to maintain a very low simmer.

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Cook undisturbed for 15 minutes (check your rice package instructions), then remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes.

Fluff the rice with a fork.

3 Stir in lime juice and cilantro: Transfer the rice to a serving bowl. Pour lime juice over the rice and toss with chopped cilantro.

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Serve with chicken, steak, shrimp, Mexican or Asian food.

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Cilantro Lime Rice

Showing 4 of 8 Comments

  • Laura

    Thank you, this was delicious!

  • Evelyn

    I made this tonight exactly according to the recipe and my husband and I really liked it. It made a nice side dish to baked salmon topped with caramelized onions. All erved with a nice white wine, naturally.

  • Toni | BoulderLocavore.com

    This is so pretty! I can imagine so many dishes it would pair beautifully with.

  • Amina

    I love this, thank you! I’ve tried to make cilantro rice before but I never thought of using the lime zest. Brilliant.

  • Jeff McNeal

    I make sort of the same thing, but use 2 C of rice & 4C of a combination of chicken broth, ground onion and chopped roasted Big Jim chilies. Same prep for the rice, when it’s browned add the 4C mixture plus the cilantro baking in a covered dish in a 350 degree oven for about 22 minutes (I’m at sea level). Fluff, spread out on a baking sheet and sprinkle with fresh lime juice. Great in a burrito or just in a bowl with spiced chicken or other meats.

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