Cilantro Lime Rice

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

  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6


  • 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


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.

cilantro-lime-rice-method-2 cilantro-lime-rice-method-3

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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  • Kathryn

    Good flavor, easy to make. Will definitely make it again. Thank you for sharing.


  • Jordan

    I use this recipe all the time! It is always a hit! Thanks for sharing

  • Diana

    A huge hit! Very tasty, and easy to make! Thanks for sharing the recipe


  • Sandra

    I just made this and it is amazing, my whole family love it and said I should have made double the recipe.


  • Greta Richardson

    Excellent! I also made a ginger corn dish with sweet onions & green onions, butter, and many guests mixed it with the rice, delish!


  • brenda

    Súper easy … thank you for the small video too. the whole family including my grandson loves it.


  • Becky

    Love this recipe because it is quick and easy. I also added a little corn.

  • Jill

    This is delicious and so easy to make. Definitely adding to my recipe box


  • low and slow

    Gonna make this today and I think I may add some cilantro stems to the rice cooker,kinda like a bouquet garni.

  • Keith

    Looks great. Was thinking about substituting the rice with quinoa.

  • Sandra

    This rice was AMAZING! I made it for my son’s graduation party. Everyone loved it. People were coming back for seconds and thirds. It was simple to make and leftovers were great for taco bowls. Thank you for sharing your recipe.


  • Nicole Shaw

    This was awesome!!


  • Cindy

    Turn out perfect, even with long grain rice! Followed the directions word for word and it was yummy!


  • Sara

    Easy recipe, very good! Great with thin strips of flank steak marinated with lime juice, olive oil, onion garlic and diced cilantro and grilled.


  • Cassandra

    Super easy recipe and super delicious!


  • Angela

    I’m a rice lover anyway but this takes the cake! I was so good and that lime really sets it off. Thanks for this simple and tasty recipe!


  • Lisa Scherer

    I love this. It’s so fresh. My husband, who is a picky eater loves it too! The leftovers were delicious the next day. I will make this again and again.


  • Wanda

    I have never had much success in making rice. When I volunteered to make rice for my son’s 38th birthday party I was a little worried. But i made not only one but two batches with success both times. This was a huge success and my only regret was there were no leftovers for me.


  • Corina

    Look forward to making this recipe. I’ve had Chipotle ‘s lime rice and it is so bland that I had no idea it was supposed to be cilantro and lime in their recipe.

    You’ve got them beat.

  • di

    I want to prepare this rice to go with baked salmon and shellfish. What seasoning would you recommend for cooking the salmon?

  • alex

    This was damned good! Tastes just like what they serve at my job! Now I get to cut the middleman and make my own! My latina wife had never had this rice, or didnt notice, said she really likes it! Making this again for the 2nd consec night, this time with carnita instead of shredded chicken! ***only change i would make this time is to use 2Tb instead of 3Tb of lime this time, it was slightly over powering. Also tasted great prior to adding the cilantro and juice. Thanks!


  • Kristen

    I followed the recipe as is and it turned out absolutely delicious!!


  • Joan

    I added a little extra lime and salt and it turned out really good.


  • Andromeda

    This is by far the best cilantro lime rice recipe I’ve tried. However, following the recipe as written, the rice came out a little dry. Maybe next time I’ll use 2 1/2 cups of water instead of just the 2 1/4 cup. Some grains of rice were still undercooked. After finished cooking, I tasted it and felt it needed a little more salt. So, I lightly sprinkled seasoned salt and it was perfect! I also used Jasmine rice. Definitely a keeper!


  • Amber

    I’ve tried many cilantro lime rice recipes and this is by far the best. The whole family loves it!


  • Emily

    Have made this several times to go with chicken tacos. My family and I love it!!! Thank you for sharing!


  • Maryann

    Tried it today, and it was Great! I will use this recipe again. Thank you for sharing.


  • Angela

    Seriously the BEST Cilantro Lime Rice I have had. Super easy, super flavorful. Actually BETTER than Chipotle.
    I paired it with Achiote Pork and Fire Roasted Tomato Sauce, all tucked inside a warm corn tortilla. Thank you for this excellent recipe!


  • Karen

    AWESOME!! Made this for company to accompany Tandori Chicken and it went together very well. I only had 1 cup of brown basmati rice and 1/2 cup white jasmine rice, so cooked it together for 30 minutes.


  • I make this rice probably once a week for homemade fresh burritos and it is irresistible we love it in my household!

    I make this rice probably once a week for homemade fresh burritos and it is irresistible we love it in my household!


  • Beverly Oard

    It was light and delicious


  • D

    This Is a fabulous rice dish. I tweaked mine with a dash of sugar 1/8 tsp + 2 tsp. Fresh Serrano Chile, Red onion and scallions with the green tops, all chopped fine. In with the cilantro and lime. I real like this rice.


  • Jenn

    Can I use just the super fast Minute Rice and mix after it’s ready?

  • Allyson

    I want to make this for camping and prepare it in advance. Has anyone done this? Is it just as yummy reheated?

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Allyson! Emma here, managing editor. I’d recommend reheating it by dribbling two tablespoons of water over the top of the rice and covering it loosely with foil. Reheat over medium-low heat and stir occasionally so that the bottom doesn’t burn and the rice reheats evenly. If the rice seems a little crunchy or chewy toward the end of reheating, dribble another tablespoon or two over top. (Reheated rice has a tendency to be kind of hard and chewy!) Let us know how it works! Enjoy your camping trip!

    • Karen

      I cooked mine ahead of time, fluffed it and then just microwaved it for one minute before serving and added the cilantro & lime juice. That is if you have a microwave in your camper. There is never any leftover at my house, but I’m sure it would be good.

  • Debbie Pennebaker

    I love this recipe. It’s easy and delicious


  • Kathy

    We enjoyed it, I did add some extra salt at the end though. We served it with bacon wrapped chipotle BBQ shrimp.


  • Thereaa

    This is amazing!! I added a handful of quinoa as well when i was browning the rice. Perfect base for our “bowls”. Thank you!


  • Julie

    This is the BEST, my family LOVES it! The first time I made it with the Basamati rice but we prefer it with regular long grain white rice. Both ways are great and easy!!


  • Sarah

    Making this tonight with Thai grilled shrimp, debating replacing the water with coconut milk, fingers crossed!

  • Amy

    This is by far the best cilantro lime rice I’ve ever eaten. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe.


  • Steve

    I’ve been adding 1/4 cup of gochugaru (Korean red pepper powder) at the end of the saute to make a chile, lime and cilantro rice which is quite delicious. Like your Spanish rice, but with a deeper flavor and a little heat.

  • Terinna Rath

    If I double the recipe do I need to double the cook time?

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Terinna! Emma here, managing editor. No, you shouldn’t need to double the cook time. Check it after it’s been cooking for 10 minutes; the rice should be tender all the way through. If it’s not, recover the pan and cook another 5 minutes, or until the rice is cooked through, before removing from heat. Enjoy!

  • Mr. Smiley Dude

    Can this be made using Uncle Ben’s 90 second microwaveable rice if I add cilantro and lime? If so, would it taste the same?

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Mr. Smiley! Emma here, managing editor. Yes, you should be able to replicate this recipe by stirring in the cilantro and lime juice at the end of cooking. We haven’t tested it with Uncle Bens, so I can’t say if the recipe will be quite the same, but if you like Uncle Bens usually, then I think you’ll like this recipe made with it!

  • Rita

    My new favorite rice. Good with everything!


  • Jennifer

    This recipe is perfect! I get delicious, fluffy rice each time


  • Ingrid

    Delicious Rice! My kids 2 and 4 years old love it. Thank you for the recipe.


  • Helen

    Just made this tonight. I decided to add whole kernel sweet corn to mine. It was amazing! Will be made in my house hold regularly.


  • Susa

    Great Recipe.

  • Rozan Esparza

    I always use chicken broth to make my spanish rice. Do you think it would change the flavor too much?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Rozan, I’ve made it with water and with chicken broth and for this particular rice I think you get a cleaner and brighter flavor with water.

  • Debbie

    Used more lime for our taste but this recipe is a winner at our house. Fresh taste and simple to make


  • Kelly K

    This recipe is really simple and a staple now with our Mexican-themed dinners. Luckily everyone in our house LOVES cilantro. Thanks!


  • Joyce

    can you use brown rice to make this

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Joyce, I haven’t tried making this with brown rice, but it’s a great idea! I would use brown basmati rice or a long grain brown rice. Check the package for the right amount of liquid to add and the longer cooking time.
      UPDATE: I did make it with brown basmati rice, and it works great! You just need to cook the rice longer. My brown rice took 1 3/4 cups of liquid for 1 cup of rice, and took 40 minutes to cook.

  • Emily

    Can you make this using 20 minute rice???

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Emily, depending on the package long grain rice will take 15 to 20 minutes to cook, so you always want to use whatever cooking time the package says for your particular rice. If your rice package says the rice cooks in 20 minutes, then use 20 minutes.

  • Sarah

    I made some over the weekend but have quite a bit leftover together with a corny salsa.. Do you think I could combine them into a fried rice? I’m wondering how to re-purpose

  • Loretta

    I’m preparing a taco bar for a big crowd. Can this be made in advance and reheated without sacrificing quality? If so, best method? Thanks!

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Loretta, rice is usually best made fresh, otherwise it tends to dry out if you chill it.

  • Aurora

    Should the rice be washed first before browning?

  • NG

    Decided to use the organic chicken broth to cook rice…my sister loved it.
    Thanks for the recipe!

  • SeliMliH

    Hey Elise,

    Thank you so much for the cilantro lime rice recipe. I am planning on making this rice dish on Friday for my Husband and kids. I wanted to know can I substitute the Jasmine Rice for Basmati?

    Will it yield the same delicious results?

    Thank you

    • Elise Bauer

      Hello SeliMliH, jasmine rice has its own unique flavor. I haven’t tried using it to make this cilantro lime dish, but it should work. Let us know how it goes if you make it!

    • Pat

      Tried it with Jasmine (the nutty flavorakes this my fav rice for everything.) it came out great!!

  • Lynnette Bennett

    Mmm mmm! Delicious! We made this recipe in our rice cooker and it turned out great! Paired it with my secret recipe for chicken and chile enchiladas verde. Better than eating out at an authentic Mexican restaurant! Thanks!

  • Nelson Valentin

    Had cilantro rice first in Tampa. Used recipe and came out as great. I did substitute 1 cup of chicken stock for water and placed some fine cut cilantro while adding water and zest. It’s time cooking rice for me.

  • jan

    What about using a rice cooker… would it work for this recipe? I can’t wait to try this!

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Jan, if you use a rice cooker you won’t be able to get the extra flavor that comes from browning the rice unless you do so in a separate pan. But, that said, it will still be good.

      • Theresa

        Planning to make this weekend! If I brown first in a pan then transfer to a rice cooker will that work?

        • Emma Christensen

          Hi, Theresa! Emma here, managing editor. As long as it’s ok to have oil in your rice cooker, then I think this should work just fine!

  • Anita

    Extremely tasty! I also put mine in the oven – 350 degrees for 45 minutes (I am at 5,300 ft). It was absolutely to die for and went beautifully with home made chili rellano & fresh tomato salsa!


  • 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 served with a nice white wine, naturally.

  • Toni |

    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.

  • Linda

    Looks delicious! Should I rinse the raw rice several times like I usually do before cooking or does it need to be completely dry to brown properly?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Linda, my guess is that it needs to be completely dry. Some rices require rinsing, but the brand I use does not.

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