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.

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 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.

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.

More from Elise

121 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. CC0908

    I always make my rice too gummy. I never would brown the rice before I cooked it. The rice came out perfectly and was not gummy. The flavor was AMAZING! I typically don’t eat rice with any TexMex meal, so my husband suggested trying cilantro lime rice. This is my new “go to” recipe.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  2. Anua

    Amazing! Family favorite side dish! Simple and delicious!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  3. Ruth

    I have a large bag of Jasmin rice on hand. Would it work as well as basmati?

    Show Replies (1)
  4. Madison

    I have never made rice that is so delicious! I would give it 10 stars if I could. It’s the perfect blend of cilantro with lime and a hint of garlic. It is delicious!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  5. Dia

    Excellent! I’ve always been on the fence as to whether I even like cilantro. This delicious recipe convinced me that I indeed like it. It is a delicious recipe. I made it tonight as a side with taco burgers and everyone loved it. I can’t wait to use the leftovers tomorrow. Thinking burritos… :)

    xxxxxyyyyy

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