Easy Recipe for Cilantro Lime Rice
on Apr 21, 2022, Updated Apr 03, 2023
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If you love adding flavor to your rice, this recipe for cilantro lime rice is a must have in your cookbook. It’s amazing how a little garlic, lime juice, and cilantro can take plain white rice to new heights.
Taco nights will never be the same once you add this savory and delicious side to the menu.
Cilantro lime rice is great with fish tacos, in burrito bowls or on its own.
This recipe uses white rice, but you can make it with jasmine rice or even brown rice if you want to.
Cilantro Lime Rice Ingredients
All you need are a few basic ingredients to take your plain rice to flavor town.
Sure, you could buy some prepared rice if you’re in a hurry. But this easy recipe is so simple, you can’t go wrong.
Here’s what you need:
- Olive Oil
- Long-grain rice (basmati rice), washed
- Minced garlic
- Salt, to taste
- Zest of one lime
- Fresh lime juice, to taste
- Fresh cilantro leaves
How to Make Cilantro Lime Rice on the Stove Top
Gather your ingredients before you get started. I recommend pre-measuring before you cook so you can quickly add items one at a time.
Toast the Rice
First, measure out the rice and give it a good rinse. Set aside until ready to toast.
TIP: I also recommend measuring the water and lime zest ahead of time.
Toasting the rice will really bring out the flavor in this dish. You may skip this, but it’s worth the extra step!
Place olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat and add the garlic and rinsed rice.
Stir constantly for 2 minutes until garlic is fragrant and some of the rice begins to toast and turn slightly golden.
Add the water, salt and lime zest to the saucepan.
Bring water to a boil over high heat.
Then cover and reduce heat to simmer for 10-12 minutes, until rice is fluffy and all cooking water is absorbed.
While the rice is cooking, measure the lime juice and chop the cilantro leaves.
You can leave them large, finely chop or use a combination of sizes according to your preference.
TIP: If you are using this recipe for meal prep, don’t add the cilantro until you are ready to eat.
Season Rice with Zesty Lime Juice and Cilantro
Cilantro lime rice is best served immediately as a side dish with your favorite Mexican food. It also stores well in the refrigerator and tastes great when reheated.
When rice is done, remove from heat and stir in the lime juice, olive oil and the cilantro leaves.
Serve immediately and enjoy!
Cilantro Lime Rice Variations
This is one of those easy recipes that is super versatile and really is all about the seasoning.
If you want to change it up, try a different type of rice or grain or one of these other ingredient swaps.
Cooking instructions will vary on some of the grains so be sure to follow the cooking instructions on the package if you make this change.
- Brown Rice
- Cauliflower Rice
- Cous Cous
- Add sesame oil instead of olive oil for a nutty flavor
- Try using vegetable broth or chicken broth instead of water
- Add some diced jalapeños with the cilantro to spice it up
- Use garlic powder if you don’t have minced garlic
What to serve with Cilantro Lime Rice
The best part about this wonderful side dish is that it goes with almost everything. You can use it as a side dish, filling for tacos or as a full meal after snacking on this Southwest corn dip with cream cheese.
Next time you are cooking one of these main dishes, don’t forget the rice!
- Burrito Bowls
- Shrimp Tacos
- Chicken legs
- Black Beans
- Salsa Verde
- Chili Lime Shrimp
How to Store Leftover Cilantro Lime Rice
When stored in the refrigerator, you can enjoy your leftover rice in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
To reheat leftover cilantro lime rice, place it in a microwave safe bowl and heat for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between.
For best results, stir in more fresh cilantro after reheating.
Tips and Tricks
This delicious recipe takes plain rice to the next level with a combination of fresh cilantro and lime juice that really pops.
Typically, you can cook rice with water or broth as you normally would with a few added seasonings and stir in the rest after cooking.
Do you have some cilantro haters in your household? That’s ok. I do too!
You can still enjoy this rice if you don’t like cilantro because the leafy herb is only added at the very end.
Enjoy the lime flavor of the rice by adding the lime juice to the cooked rice first and removing some. Then add the cilantro to the rest.
Chipotle cilantro lime rice was an instant hit and many other restaurants now offer this practically perfect side dish.
If you don’t want the homemade version of this recipe, there are several store bought options.
In my opinion, the best one is Vigo Cilantro Lime Rice. It’s a great bag of rice to keep on hand in case you don’t have fresh ingredients.
Yes! You can toast the rice first on the stove if you like. Or skip that step and just put the garlic, water, lime zest and salt in with the rice and use the rice cooker as you normally would.
Once the rice is done, stir in the lime juice, olive oil, and cilantro and enjoy!
Print the Recipe Card – Cilantro Lime Rice
Print and save the step by step instructions so you can enjoy this easy cilantro rice recipe any time.
Cilantro Lime Rice
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice, rinsed
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 1/3 cup water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- lime zest, from one lime
- 2 Tablespoons lime juice
- 3/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- Measure out the rice and give it a good rinse. Set aside until ready to toast. I also recommend measuring the water and lime zest ahead of time.
- Place 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat and add the garlic and rinsed rice.
- Stir constantly for 2 minutes until garlic is fragrant and some of the rice begins to toast and turn slightly golden.
- Add the water, salt and lime zest to the saucepan.
- Bring water to a boil over high heat, then cover and reduce heat to simmer for 10-12 minutes, until rice is fluffy and all cooking water is absorbed.
- While the rice is cooking, measure the lime juice and chop the cilantro leaves. Leave leaves large, chop them fine or use a combination of sizes according to your preference.
- When rice is done, remove from heat and stir in the lime juice, remaining olive oil and the cilantro leaves.
- TIP: If you are using this recipe for meal prep, don’t add the cilantro until ready to eat
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.