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Learn how to make this popular side dish at home with our easy Cilantro Lime Rice recipe! A staple at many popular Mexican chain restaurants like Chipotle and Cafe Rio, this simple but incredibly flavorful side dish takes less than 30 minutes to prepare and just a few ingredients.
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Cilantro Lime Rice Recipe
If you’ve ever eaten at Chipotle or Cafe Rio, you’ve likely tried their signature Cilantro Lime Rice. It’s soft and fluffy, with a hint of acidic lime flavor and tons of fresh cilantro.
You can customize this rice with more or less of the cilantro, depending on your personal preference. I also add a bunch of minced garlic, because, well, garlic makes awesome things even more awesome.
How to Make Cilantro Lime Rice
This simple side dish uses just a few ingredients – rice, limes, garlic and chicken broth – and takes less than 30 minutes from start to finish. Most of that time is hands off as the rice simmers and cooks.
- Toast the rice. Heat some oil in a pan and stir in some rice and the juice from 1 lime. Stir the rice constantly so it doesn’t scorch, and cook for a couple of minutes until the rice begins to turn a bright white.
- Season. Add some minced garlic and lime zest to the rice, stirring and cooking for a minutes or two to bring out the flavors.
- Simmer. Pour chicken broth and more lime juice into the pan and bring it to a boil. Cover the pot with it’s lid and turn down the heat. Simmer the rice for about 20 minutes.
- Finishing touches. Once all of the liquid is absorbed, fluff up the rice with a fork and stir in a bunch of cilantro.
Store leftover rice in the fridge in an airtight container. It can also be frozen for up to 6 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat in the microwave. You may need to add a small amount of water or broth to rehydrate the rice.
Absolutely! Just add the ingredients to the pot (skip the toasting part), following the cooking instructions for your rice cooker. I’ve linked to the appliance that I personally use and love. It’s affordable and gets the job done!
Long-grain white rice, such as basmati or jasmine, works well. These rice varieties have a fluffy texture and absorb the flavors of cilantro and lime beautifully.
Yes, you can use brown rice as a healthier alternative to white rice. Keep in mind that brown rice may require a longer cooking time and slightly more liquid. Adjust the cooking instructions accordingly and proceed with adding the cilantro and lime as usual.
How to Serve
It’s also perfectly paired with our favorite summer main dish, Garlic & Lime Grilled Chicken Kabobs. Don’t forget the bean! Serve alongside Slow Cooker Mexican Beans, Mexican Black Beans or Refried Beans.
- Resist the urge to lift the lid! The steam is essential to the cooking process and needs to be kept in the pot.
- Don’t like garlic? Leave it out.
- You can adjust the amount of cilantro used to your liking, or even use parsley if cilantro isn’t your thing.
- Toasting the rice is essential for imparting an additional layer of nutty flavor to the rice. Skip this step if you are pressed for time.
More Rice Recipes
- Authentic Mexican Rice
- Coconut Rice
- Bacon Pineapple Fried Rice
- Black Beans and Rice
- Cheesy Broccoli Rice
Garlic Cilantro Lime Rice
- 1 tablespoon olive or canola oil
- 1 cup long-grain white rice or basmati rice
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 limes zested and juiced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 3 tablespoons fresh minced cilantro
- Heat oil in a 3-quart saucepan or deep skillet. Stir in the rice and the juice of 1 lime. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes. Rice should turn a bright white.
- Stir in garlic and lime zest and cook for another minute.
- Stir in chicken broth and remaining lime juice and bring to a boil.
- Cover and reduce heat to low. Let rice simmer for 17-20 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed. Do not open the lid as the steam is needed for the cooking process.
- Fluff rice with a fork and stir in cilantro. Serve with additional lime wedges for garnish.