If you’ve fallen in love with Chipotle’s cilantro lime rice and are looking to recreate it, you’re in luck! This is the easiest cilantro lime rice recipe that’s also a pretty convincing copycat. Plus, this recipe is naturally vegan!
You can make cilantro lime rice in a rice cooker really quickly for added simplicity, or make it on the stovetop (instructions below).
Tips Before You Get Started
- If you’re making rice on the stove, read this guide to get all the best tips to make rice on the stove.
- Use the right pot. Depending on how much rice you’re making, make sure you use a big enough pot for your rice. For small batches of rice, I use a small 2qt saucepan like this one. For bigger batches, use a good enamel covered dutch oven like this one that won’t break the bank.
- Keep in mind that not all salts are created equal. I mainly cook with kosher salt, but if you don’t have any on hand season to taste.
- For the best cilantro lime rice, use fresh ingredients. Juice your lime yourself instead of buying bottled lime juice, and use fresh cilantro.
- Use medium or long grain white rice for best results. You can make brown cilantro lime rice or make this with jasmine rice, but medium or long grain white rice works best.
- You can make this recipe ahead of time, which makes it perfect for meal prep. I generally try to keep cooked food no longer than 3-4 days in the fridge, so that’s the guidelines that I follow. Store it in tight-sealing containers like these ones to ensure it stays fresh.
How to Make Cilantro Lime Rice
You can make this recipe on the stovetop in less than 25 minutes. To start, rinse your rice for a minute or two. In an appropriately sized pot, add oil and heat up over medium heat.
Add the rinsed rice, a bit of kosher salt and toast the rice, until the rice turns a bit translucent. Add water and bay lead and bring to a simmer. Once it simmers, reduce the heat to low, cover and set a timer for 17 minutes. Resist the temptation to touch that lid!
While the rice is cooking, juice 1 lime and set aside. Rinse and chop ⅓ bunch of fresh cilantro and let aside.
Once the 17 minutes are up, turn off the heat, set a timer for 5 minutes, and don’t touch that lid! Seriously, resist the temptation to take a peek. I know it’s super nerve wracking to let things cook sometimes without being able to see it. BUT, if you want the best rice you need to be patient and not let the steam escape.
Once the 5 minutes are up, uncover the rice and fluff the rice with a fork. At this point you can either transfer the rice to a cookie sheet or large plate, or keep in the pot.
Give the rice around 2 minutes to cool a bit, sprinkle the cilantro over the rice and add lime juice. Gently fold everything in. Add a little more salt, to taste (I added about ½ teaspoon more).
Cilantro Lime Rice (Chipotle Copycat!)
- 1 cup long grain white rice
- 2 cups water
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp Kosher salt, divided
- 1 tsp canola oil
- 2 tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice about 1 large lime
- 1/3 bunch cilantro chopped
- Place the rice over a fine mesh strainer and rinse until the water runs clear, about 1-3 minutes.
- In a 2qt saucepan, heat up 1 tsp canola oil over medium high heat.
- Add rinsed rice to the pot with oil and toast the rice for 30 seconds to a minute, until the rice starts to turn translucent.
- Add 2 cups of water to the pot, half a teaspoon kosher salt, and a bay leaf. Stir together and cover. Cook over low heat for 17 minutes.
- Once time is up, turn off the heat and let the rice rest, covered, for another 5 minutes.
- Once time is up, uncover and fluff witha fork. Transfer the rice to a cookie sheet if you'd like.
- Sprinkle cilantro, lime juice and remaining salt over the cooked rice. Gently fold in with a spatula or fork.
- Serve and enjoy!
How to Cook Cilantro Lime Rice in a Rice Cooker
To make cilantro lime rice in a rice cooker, rinse your rice, add the rice, water, salt and bay leaf to the rice cooker. Once the rice finishes cooking, proceed with the rest of the recipe normally.
What Goes with Cilantro Lime Rice?
One of my favorite things about this rice recipe is how versatile it is. There’s no shortage of things that you can eat with cilantro lime rice. You can serve it with black beans, like in this spicy black bean soup. You can also serve it with Mexican Shrimp, with lentil soup, and so much more.
How to Reheat Rice
When reheating cilantro lime rice in the microwave, put the rice in a bowl and add about a teaspoon of water. Gently stir it together, and cover with a damp paper towel. Microwave in 30 second intervals until heated through.