Cilantro Lime Rice

Side DishMexicanGluten-FreeVegan

BEST cilantro lime rice, no kidding! Better than Chipotle's. Easy to make. Perfect with Mexican and Asian food, great in burritos.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Featured in 14 Citrus Recipes to Brighten Your Day

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.

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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.

How to make cilantro lime rice

Cilantro Lime Rice Recipe

  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin 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 tablespoons 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.

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.

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.

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

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Cilantro Lime Rice

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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194 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. LW

    When do you add the garlic?

    Show Replies (1)
  2. Lynn G.

    Love it! I cooked it in the instant pot. I browned the rice in a pan because the “saute” feature is too slow and not hot enough for me. Then I transfered to the instant pot, add the water, zest and salt. Press “manual and 4 mins”. When time is up, let it natural release. When it’s done, add lime and cilantro and stir it up. Voila!!It came out perfect! Thanks for the recipe.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  3. Laura

    Would Jasmine rice work the same as basmati rice? This is what I have on hand.

    Show Replies (1)
  4. Lenette

    This cilantro lime rice is so delicious. I added chicken broth from chicken I used for enchiladas with a few other ingredients and it made this recipe really flavorful.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  5. Linda

    Could this be made a day in advance? And if so would you still add the lime juice and cilantro at the end or do you wait until the next day and add when reheated?

    Show Replies (1)
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