Cilantro Lime Rice

Cilantro lime rice is a bright and flavorful dish that will freshen up any meal. Use it as a side dish for a seafood plate or as a base for a chicken or carnitas burrito bowl. Either way, this recipe is so easy to make and makes cooking rice a little more fun than usual.

Cilantro lime rice in a serving bowl.

Here at Downshiftology, I’m all about simplicity. Especially when it comes to the basics. Whether it’s chicken or pork, all you need to do is play around with a few seasonings and herbs. And once you’ve figured that out, you can turn any single ingredient into something completely different.

Today we’re turning the spotlight on a most loved pantry staple: rice. This simple grain adds a delicious fluffy texture to any meal. But once you add a few simple ingredients to it, it magically transforms.

Enter this cilantro lime rice. You’ve got fresh cilantro, zesty lime juice, and flavorful garlic. And it tastes just like your favorite staple item at Chipotle. So grab your bag of rice and let’s get cooking!

What Type Of Rice To Use

For this recipe, a long-grain rice is ideal. This type of rice 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 a bowl.

There’s long-grain white rice, brown rice, Basmati rice, and so forth. You can choose your favorite. But I’ll be using a long-grain white Jasmine rice.

Making cilantro lime rice.

How To Make Cilantro Lime Rice

Besides cooking the rice, the rest of the dish comes together easily.

  1. Make sure to always rinse your rice before cooking. I normally rinse it in a fine mesh sieve, then drain it and set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Then add the garlic and saute for about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the rice and salt, then give it a stir before adding the water.
  4. Bring it to a boil, cover, and reduce the heat to low. Let it simmer for 15 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender.
  5. Remove the pan from heat (keep it covered) and let it steam for about 10 minutes.
  6. 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 Cilantro Lime Rice

I’d say this cilantro lime rice pairs well with both Asian and Mexican flavors. Pair it with a source of protein and a side of veggies for a perfectly balanced meal. Here’s a few ideas to get you started.

Protein Options: 

Veggie Options: 

A heaping spoonful of cilantro lime rice.

Storage Options

You can meal prep this rice ahead of time and store it in the fridge for up to 5 days. To reheat, simply microwave it for about a minute or give it a quick saute on your stovetop. You can also give it a quick squeeze of lime for freshness.

If you want to freeze this, store it in freezer-safe containers for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to eat, you can either thaw it in the fridge overnight or instantly microwave it. Microwave for about 2 minutes, stirring it through halfway.

More Rice Dishes

Cilantro Lime Rice Recipe Video

While it’s easy to make this recipe, it always helps to watch a quick one minute video. Give it a watch below!

And if You Love That Cilantro Lime Flavor…

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

Cilantro lime rice in a bowl.

Cilantro Lime Rice

4.97 from 33 votes
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
Total Time: 30 mins
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!


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup long grain white rice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cup water, or broth
  • 1 lime, juice and zested
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped


  • Rinse rice in a fine mesh sieve until water runs clear, drain well, set aside.
  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Then add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds.
  • Add the rice and salt, and lightly toast and stir the rice for a minute. Then, add the water.
  • Bring it to a boil, cover, and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes until the water is absorbed and rice is tender.
  • Remove the pot from heat (keep it covered) and let it steam for 10 minutes.
  • Add the lime juice, lime zest, and chopped cilantro. Toss 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: Cilantro Lime Rice, Cilantro Rice
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73 comments on “Cilantro Lime Rice”

  1. Late to the party, but this was amazing! I didn’t see any comments regarding doubling the recipe, so I wanted to let anyone else know that it can be done! We’ve made it twice in three days it was such a hit! Thank you!!5 stars

  2. Better than Chipotle!5 stars

  3. Added this great rice to Buddha bowls with quinoa, veggies, roasted chickpeas and pesto. Definitely a good recipe. 5 stars

  4. Cilantro lime rice
    Love it and so simple to make
    I cook it weekly now

  5. I made this recipe but with using quinoa, and it was delicious!! This is going on the “Make Again!” list 😋🤤4 stars

  6. I made this delicious rice over the weekend. My family and I enjoyed it very much. In addition, I added red and green bell peppers for added flare. Thank you for this great receipe.5 stars

  7. Love this recipe alongside carne asada. The only addition I make is to add a can of black beans to make it more filling!5 stars

    • Glad you enjoyed this cilantro lime rice! It really is the perfect addition to a carne asada plate or tacos :)

  8. I love your method for cooking the rice. I have been making it this way for years. The ratio of water to rice if perfect and it comes out great every time. I made it exactly as written with the exception of adding a little finely chopped jalapeno along with the lime and cilantro. Delicious! Thank you for a fabulous recipe.5 stars

  9. Thanks dear Lisa we are grateful5 stars

  10. Made this rice recipe for first time, didn’t use the salt, but it turned out soo good we all loved it even my 23 month old granddaughter m. Served it with carnita taco’s. Making it again today with Chile verde chicken enchiladas. YUM!! The best ever thanks for the recipe 5 stars

    • Happy to hear everyone enjoyed this recipe Cathy! It really is the perfect addition to taco night :)

  11. Perfect! Tasted just like Chipotle’s but better! I made this in a rice cooker and paired it with the Slow Cooker Barbacoa recipe.5 stars

  12. Can you use instant rice

  13. I want to try this!  Can it be used with minute rice as well?  How many servings does this recipe have?

    • Hi Lisa – I will always put the servings in the recipe card down below, but it’s 4 servings! As for rice, you can add the same flavors to it if you’d like.

    • How did it turn out using the minute rice? I am going camping and was thinking of making this but with minute rice! 

  14. BEST CILANTRO RICE EVER!!! I actually feel like it has far more flavor than chipotle’s!!! This recipe is definitely a HIT!!!! 5 stars

  15. This is way better than the Chipotle lime rice!!5 stars

  16. If I could give this recipe 10 stars, I would. Seriously, after you make this cilantro lime rice, you’ll never want to eat any other rice recipe again! I’ve been actually making it several times a week, ever since I discovered it on Lisa’s blog. This recipe made me get back to rice, after not making it for MANY years. Thanks so much Lisa!5 stars

  17. Excellent flavour in the rice. Made it with chicken stock and served with cilantro lime chicken. My two year old liked this too!5 stars

  18. I never comment on recipes….and I’ve made a few copycat chipotle rice recipes and this is hands down the best!! I have a rice cooker and don’t usually cook rice on the stove. But this turned out perfect!!! Even my picky eaters liked it! I did only use half a lime because my kids don’t like lime as much as I do. Thanks!!5 stars

  19. This rice is just perfect 👌 
    Teamed it with some Soy Salmon, Made a sauce of Soy,ginger,garlic and honey and cooked this in foil.
    The rice accompanied this perfectly,
    Thanks Lisa for the perfect rice 5 stars

  20. I thought I was the rice queen until you created this masterpiece and it’s so easy! I can’t believe I never thought of this. Absolutely delicious and it goes with pretty much everything I cook. Thanks Lisa, you are AWESOME!5 stars

    • Hi Natalia- So glad you enjoyed this rice recipe! It really is a staple that can pair nicely with just about any meal :)

  21. I just made it and it was soo good! Finally a great side dish that is not boring as plain white rice! Thank you so much for your tips and recipes, Lisa! Next on my list: tuna salad ;)5 stars

    • Yay, glad you enjoyed this side dish! Can’t wait for you to make both the tuna and chicken salad 😊

  22. I’ve never been able to make perfect rice before and I did it finally-with this recipe! I highly recommend trying it, will absolutely make it again. Followed recipe exactly-thanks Lisa!5 stars

  23. Lisa this rice is delicious! How would you do this with brown rice?5 stars

    • Hi Trista- You can find instructions on how to cook brown rice in my “How To Cook Rice” post :) Then just add the same ingredients.

  24. Holy WOW. The FLAVORS, the texture, EVERYTHING about this recipe is so incredible. Thanks to Lisa’s rice cooking hacks/tips, this was my first EVER rice making success!! Can’t beat that it was for this delicious dish. 5 stars

  25. Thank you! This rice turned out well! And normally mine doesn’t! I will now follow your tips and tricks and has made this turn out good! The recipe was simple to follow and fresh and clean tasting! Thank you!5 stars

    • Hi Christina- Wonderful! Happy to hear the few tips I had helped create the perfect batch of rice :)

  26. One of many Downshiftology recipes I made for Cinco de Mayo.  Made with the carnitas and also served with the carnitas bowl.  It will be a great side dish for ANY Mexican meal.  YUM!!!5 stars

  27. The only word I can use to describe this recipe is amazing!!!!! Easy to make and delicious! 5 stars

  28. Easy and tasty. My daughter especially enjoyed this recipe.  5 stars

  29. I made this delicious rice today to celebrate “Cinco de Mayo” and my family loved it! I just added a little bit of chopped raw white onion when I mixed the cooked rice with the cilantro and lime! Thank you so much for sharing!5 stars

  30. Never stop making and sharing these simple tasty recipes. This is a delicious rice dish that is easy to make and is very quick, thank you.5 stars

  31. I always saute my Spanish rice, but never thought to saute white rice. This is such a nice change to plain rice side dish. Served with pulled pork tacos. Will make often. Thank you.5 stars

  32. This was the simplest and Quickest way to Jazz up a meal. Two thumbs up.5 stars

  33. I made this with jasmine rice. It’s so good and so easy. :)5 stars

  34. Yum! I love cilantro and lime together. It’s a match made in heaven. This looks so good and looks really easy to make too. Saving it for later.5 stars

  35. Cilantro Lime Rice is simply my favourite. I have never tried adding garlic to the recipe though. Love the spin.5 stars

  36. I have this recipe saved to make for Cinco de Mayo tomorrow! I love the combination or lime and cilantro!5 stars

  37. Why would you use white rice? Even long grain is bad isn’t it?

    • Hi Michelle – white rice is a great gluten-free side dish option. And no, I don’t believe rice is bad. Rice can definitely be enjoyed in moderation as part of a healthy diet.