Cilantro Lime Rice (Chipotle Copycat)


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Cilantro lime rice is a bright and zesty recipe! This Chipotle copycat is so easy to make and really infuses so much flavor into your basic bowl of rice. Use it as a side dish for any chicken, pork, or beef main, or as the base of a burrito bowl or grain bowl.

Cilantro lime rice in a serving bowl.

Rice is truly a blank slate for so much color and flavor. Mexican rice gets an earthy spin with tomatoes and cumin. Spanish rice gets a tinge of yellow sweetness from saffron. And today’s recipe for cilantro lime rice gets fresh herbal flavor with fresh cilantro, zesty lime juice, and flavorful garlic. Plus, it tastes just like your favorite staple item at Chipotle!

A simple bowl of rice adds a delicious fluffy texture to any meal. But once you add a few simple ingredients to it, it magically transforms. So grab your bag of rice and let’s get cooking!

Ingredients for cilantro lime rice in a bowl.

Cilantro Lime Rice Ingredients

For this recipe, a long-grain rice is ideal as it produces firm grains that become light and fluffy after cooking. That makes it perfect for using as a side dish or as the base for any bowl.

  • Rice: You can use long-grain white rice or brown rice. There’s just a slight difference in cook time for each type. Today, I’m using a long-grain white Jasmine rice.
  • Cilantro: A small handful of finely chopped fresh cilantro adds a pop of green and fresh flavor.
  • Lime Zest & Juice: Using both the zest and juice of a lime really amps up the flavor.
  • Garlic: Minced garlic that’s sauteed in oil adds savory flavor without being pungent.

How To Make Cilantro Lime Rice

  1. Heat the olive oil in a pot over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and saute for about 30 seconds, until fragrant.
  2. Add the rice and salt to the pot, then give it a stir for a minute before adding the water.
  3. Bring the pot to a boil, cover, and reduce the heat to low. Let it simmer for 12 to 15 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender.
  4. Remove the pot from heat (keep it covered) and let it steam for about 10 minutes.
  5. Then, add the lime juice, lime zest, and chopped cilantro. Give everything a good toss, and serve immediately!
Cilantro lime rice in a bowl with spoon.

Ways to serve it

This cilantro lime rice pairs well with virtually any Mexican dish, from chicken fajitas to ceviche to huevos rancheros. You can also pair it with a protein and side of veggies for a perfectly balanced meal. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Carne asada: Grill up some carne asada for that smoky delicious flavor, and top it with a few spoonfuls of pico de gallo and a side of rice.
  • Carnitas: If you want juicy and tender shredded pork with crispy, flavorful edges, make my slow cooker carnitas. Serve it up with a side of rice, fajita veggies, and dollop of guacamole.
  • Barbacoa: Let your slow cook cooker do all the work (again) with this barbacoa recipe! Shred it, serve it with the rice, and drizzle chipotle sauce or lime crema on top for the finishing touch.

A heaping spoonful of cilantro lime rice.

Storage Options

  • To store for the week: Let it cool to room temperature, then place it in an airtight container in the fridge for 4 to 5 days.
  • To freeze for later: Store in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.
  • To reheat: Thaw it in the fridge overnight, then microwave a portion for a minute, or saute it on the stovetop, until warmed through. You can also give it a quick squeeze of lime for freshness.

if You Love That Cilantro Lime Flavor

You can also make these delicious recipes that highlight my favorite cilantro lime pairing.

I hope you love this cilantro lime rice as much as I do! Once you make this recipe, let me know your thoughts in the comment box below. Your review will help other readers in the community.

Cilantro lime rice in a bowl.

Cilantro Lime Rice (Chipotle Copycat)

4.89 from 52 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan


Cilantro lime rice is a bright and flavorful dish that will freshen up any meal. It's easy to make and comes together quickly. Watch the video below to see how I make it in my kitchen!



  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 ½ cup water or broth
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced (about 2 tablespoons juice)
  • ½ cup finely chopped cilantro


  • Rinse the rice in a fine mesh sieve until the water runs clear. Set aside.
  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds, until fragrant.
  • Add the rice and salt, and stir the rice for a minute, lightly toasting it.
  • Add the water, bring it to a boil, cover the pot, and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 12 to 15 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender.
  • Remove the pot from heat (keep it covered) and let it steam for an additional 10 minutes.
  • Add the lime juice, lime zest, and chopped cilantro. Stir everything together and serve immediately!


Calories: 206kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 299mg | Potassium: 81mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 135IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Chipotle rice, Cilantro Lime Rice, Cilantro Rice
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

Recipe originally posted May 2020, but updated to include new information for your benefit!

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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Recipe Rating


  1. We loved it, although there was a very strong lime flavor. Next time I will cut the juice in half. This will be in regular rotation.5 stars

  2. I tripled the recipe and followed directions, but it turned out hard and mushy. I used a heavy duty cast iron pot with a lid. Maybe I will try again with my insta pot.2 stars

    1. Hi Heidi – not quite sure how it can be both hard and mushy? Unfortunately, not a lot of guidance I can give there. Sorry!

  3. Very simple, very good. AS someone with food intolerances this Rice and the cilantro Limes Chicken legs where the First food in 5 years someone( friend) Made for me! Both of US remade IT several Times by now, though WE prefere using parsley over cilantro.
    If anyone ever Claims Rice IS boring, their really should try this, IT IS flavorful, but Not so much, that IT overszadows whatever IT IS served with4 stars