Cilantro Lime Rice

4.75 from 4 votes

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Cilantro Lime Rice is a flavorful twist to Mexican Rice or plain white rice. Perfectly steamed long grain white rice is toasted first and cooked in an herb and stock blend with lime juice and zest added after steaming. I have a few tricks that keep this different from the many Chipotle Cilantro Lime Rice copycat recipes out there.

Cilantro Lime Rice in white bowl

How to Make Cilantro Lime Rice

For this Mexican rice dish I use a white long grain rice, and instead of water, give it an extra flavor boost from chicken stock blended with the cilantro.

A tip I’ll share with you is to rinse the rice to remove all starch, it tends to make the rice clumpy, and we want light and fluffy.

The rice is toasted in butter with the chopped onion and garlic for a pilaf style instead of just being steamed.

For the rice to completely absorb the chicken stock and get fluffy, I lay a kitchen towel over the saucepan and put the lid back on top after it’s steamed, too.

saucepan with linen towel and lid

I see a lot of copycat recipes out there for the Chipotle restaurant chain’s version, and their cilantro lime rice copycat recipes usually are steamed white rice tossed with chopped cilantro and lime juice squeezed on top at the end.

This Cilantro Lime Rice recipe holds true to many authentic Mexican and Tex Mex restaurants, NOT the restaurant Chipotle’s Cilantro Lime Rice versions.

Tip From Kevin

Why this recipe works

  1. I rinse the white rice to remove starches that keep the rice from being fluffy
  2. Blend the cilantro with the chicken stock in lieu of plain water to cook the rice in
  3. Let it sit for 10 minutes with a kitchen towel under the lid after it’s been cooked (see above photo)
  4. Remove lid, add the lime juice and zest after it’s been steamed, and fluff before serving
close up of bowl of Cilantro Lime Rice

The result is a wonderfully fluffy and flavorful Mexican rice dish. For another wonderful, flavored rice dish, try my Green Rice (Arroz Verde), made using chiles.

Perfect served with any Mexican meal like Carne Adovada or Ground Beef Enchiladas alongside with Mexican Pickled Carrots and  Authentic Refried Beans.

Finish the meal with sweet apple empanadas or churros. Enjoy!

over head shot of Cilantro Lime Rice in bowl with Mexican condiments

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Cilantro Lime Rice

Cilantro Lime Rice

4.75 from 4 votes
My cilantro lime rice gets rinsed, toasted in butter, onion and garlic and steamed in chicken stock blended with cilantro. Lime juice and zest top it off.
Servings: 4
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 28 minutes
Resting Time: 10 minutes
Total: 33 minutes



  • Over medium heat in a medium saucepan melt the butter and sauté the onion for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Rinse the rice until water runs clear to remove starch. Shake excess water out and add rice to saucepan with onion and garlic. Toast for 3-4 minutes.
  • In a blender add chicken stock and all but 2 tablespoons of the cilantro leaves. Blitz for 30 seconds and add to toasted rice. Stir to combine.
  • Bring to a boil, cover with lid, lower heat to simmer and steam for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and place kitchen towel under lid and allow to rest at least 10 minutes.
    steamed cilantro lime rice pot with towel
  • Remove lid and towel, add lime juice and half the zest. Fluff rice with a fork and serve with remaining 2 tablespoons cilantro and lime zest on top.


Calories: 380kcal | Carbohydrates: 67g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 19mg | Sodium: 543mg | Potassium: 349mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 735IU | Vitamin C: 15.2mg | Calcium: 52mg | Iron: 1.3mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican, Tex Mex
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
Cilantro Lime Rice in white bowl


Whether in the kitchen or on the grill, you’ll find me cooking American favorites with a love for BBQ, Mexican and Tex Mex. I’m passionate about making tasty food because life’s too short to be bland!

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  1. 4 stars
    Hi Kevin,
    I’ve made your rice twice. A little tip it comes out better in a skillet than a sauce pan. I usually make Spanish or Mexican rice in a skillet. Using the saucepan it comes out too wet. Otherwise the flavor is spot on.

  2. 5 stars
    This rice looks perfectly fluffy, Kevin! I love all your tips and tricks too! A must try recipe for sure!!

  3. 5 stars
    We have tacos often and this flavourful rice would be an awesome side to go with! Love cilantro!

  4. 5 stars
    This Cilantro Lime Rice looks simply spectacular, Kevin! The perfect side for so many mains and, honestly, I could make a meal of just this!