Cilantro Lime Rice

$2.50 recipe / $0.42 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.94 from 16 votes
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If you’ve ever been to Chipotle, you know how good cilantro lime rice is and just how much flavor it can add to a meal. Luckily, it’s super easy and budget-friendly to make at home, too, so you take any meal to the next level just by switching out your plain white rice for this Cilantro Lime Rice recipe. It’s bright, flavorful, savory, and absolutely delicious. This Cilantro Lime Rice recipe is so good, in fact, that sometimes I make it a meal simply by adding some black beans and cheese. Done and done!

Overhead view of cilantro lime rice in a bowl garnished with lime wedges.

What Is Cilantro Lime Rice?

Cilantro lime rice is simply white rice flavored with lime and cilantro, but we throw in a couple more tricks to make it even more delicious and crave-worthy. It’s often served as a side dish with Latin or Tex-Mex meals, adding tons of flavor and color to the plate. But, since cilantro IS the main flavor in this rice, you definitely need to be a cilantro lover to like this recipe. If cilantro isn’t your thing, try our tomato rice instead!

Ingredients for Cilantro Lime Rice

The best part about cilantro lime rice is that you only need a few ingredients and it doesn’t take much longer than cooking plain rice, making it a total win. Here’s what you’ll need to make cilantro lime rice:

  • Long Grain White Rice: You can use any long grain white rice for this recipe, conventional, jasmine, or basmati. Conventional is the most budget-friendly, but you’ll get even more flavor with jasmine or basmati. Avoid medium and short grain rices as they tend to be sticky instead of fluffy.
  • Chicken Broth: Cooking the rice in chicken broth instead of plain water adds a LOT of flavor to the rice, including a deliciously savory base. If you want to make this vegetarian, look for a vegetarian version of chicken broth rather than a regular vegetable broth, which will turn the rice a brownish color, obscuring the cilantro’s pretty green color.
  • Cilantro: This recipe is all about the cilantro! Cilantro gives the rice a really bright and fresh flavor and a beautifully vibrant green color. Fresh cilantro is a must for this recipe, not dried.
  • Lime: Fresh lime also adds a bright flavor, and the tanginess of the juice is a nice contrast to the savory chicken broth. We use both the juice and the zest for maximum lime flavor.
  • Olive Oil: A little olive oil helps coat the cooked rice to give it richness and prevent it from getting to gummy as you fold in the fresh ingredients.

How to Serve Cilantro Lime Rice

Cilantro lime rice is a great side dish to go with any Latin or Tex-Mex meal, but it’s also great as a base to bowl meals, as a flavorful filling in burritos, or you could even use it as a base for a casserole. Try serving cilantro lime rice with shrimp tacos, cheese enchiladas, burrito bowls, chicken fajitas, or some saucy black beans.

Tip: Don’t Waste the Stems!

When using fresh cilantro, don’t toss the stems! Cilantro stems are very tender and have just as much flavor as the leaves, so as long as they’re thoroughly washed and finely chopped, they can be used right alongside the leaves in recipes like this. So you don’t have to spend time meticulously pulling the leaves from the stems and you’ll have less waste, too!

Cilantro lime rice in the pot with lime wedges.
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Cilantro Lime Rice

4.94 from 16 votes
This Cilantro Lime Rice recipe is bright, flavorful, easy to make with just a few ingredients, and will make any meal more delicious!
Cilantro lime rice in the pot with lime wedges.
Servings 6 (about 1 cup each)
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 20 minutes
Total 30 minutes


  • 2 cups long grain white rice (uncooked) ($0.52)
  • 3 cups chicken broth ($0.32)
  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro ($0.75)
  • 1 lime ($0.59)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil ($0.32)


  • Rinse the rice in cool water then let it drain well. Add the rice and chicken broth to a sauce pot, place a lid on top, and bring it to a full boil over high heat without removing the lid or stirring.
  • Once it reaches a full boil, turn the heat down to low, or just above low, and let the rice simmer for 15 minutes (no stirring or removing the lid). After 15 minutes, turn off the heat and let the pot rest for an additional five minutes.
  • While the rice is cooking, zest and juice the lime, and finely chop the cilantro. Add 3 tablespoons of the lime juice, ½ teaspoon of the lime zest, and 1 cup of finely chopped cilantro to a bowl with the olive oil and stir to combine.
  • Once the rice has rested off of the heat for five minutes, remove the lid and fluff with a fork. Drizzle the cilantro lime mixture over the rice, then gently fold to combine. Make sure not to stir the rice vigorously, or that can cause it to become mushy and sticky.
  • Taste the rice and adjust the lime or salt to your liking, then serve with your favorite meal.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.


Serving: 1CupCalories: 275kcalCarbohydrates: 50gProtein: 5gFat: 5gSodium: 440mgFiber: 1g
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How to Make Cilantro Lime Rice – Step By Step Photos

Chicken broth being added to a pot with rinsed rice.

Start by rinsing 2 cups of uncooked long grain white rice. Let it drain well, then add it to a medium pot with 3 cups of chicken broth. Place a lid on the pot and bring the broth to a full boil over high heat. Once it reaches a full boil, immediately turn the heat down to low, or just slightly above low, to keep the broth at a gentle simmer.

Cooked and fluffed rice in the pot.

Let the rice simmer for 15 minutes without stirring or removing the lid, then turn the heat off and allow the pot to rest, without removing the lid, for an additional five minutes. Finally, remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork.

Chopped cilantro and zested and juiced lime on a cutting board.

While the rice is cooking, zest and juice one lime. Rinse and finely chop about ½ bunch of fresh cilantro, or about one cup once chopped. Add the chopped cilantro, 3 tablespoons of the juice, and ½ teaspoon of zest to a bowl with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and stir to combine.

Cilantro lime mixture being poured into the rice.

Pour the cilantro lime mixture over the cooked rice, then gently fold it to combine. Be careful not to stir vigorously or fold too much as the more the rice is stirred the more it will become sticky. Just fold the ingredients together in a gentle motion.

Finished cilantro lime rice in a pot.

Serve the cilantro lime rice with your favorite meal and enjoy!

Close up overhead view of cilantro lime rice in the pot with lime garnishes.
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  1. Can this be cooked in a rice cooker. My rice cooker calls for equal parts rice to water. Any suggestions?

    1. Yes, you can make it in the rice cooker! If yours says 1:1 rice and liquid for long grain rice then go for it! Let us know how it goes.

  2. Wow, this is so yummy!!!!!!! I paired this with the Chicken Enchilada Soup but I could eat this on its own, it’s so scrumptious!

  3. I made this and served it with stir-fried snow peas – a little olive oil, salt, pepper, a little vinegar – sensational!

  4. would this freeze well? If so, for how long? the others in the house think cilantro tastes like so, but I love it.

      1. I always reheat in the microwave for 3 to 4 minutes! Just make sure the temperature is at least 165° or it’s piping hot throughout.

  5. I made this tonight and was so impressed! What a fancy dish and so easy to make. The taste was out of this world. I will definitely make again.

    1. For riced cauliflower, you’d need to use a different method because cauliflower does not absorb liquid the way rice does.

    1. You can do vegetable broth. It will change the flavor slightly and may make your rice a little more brown in color, though.

  6. I’ve made this recipe a few times and my partner and I love it. An excellent “dupe” for chipotle’s rice! We’ve made it with and without using the zest, and it’s good either way but the zest really add a lot of flavor so don’t skimp out!

  7. I saved this recipe a year and a half ago, and I finally made it. I don’t know why I waited so long, it’s so good and easy! I was tempted to add more broth because about 15 minutes into the simmer it looked like it had all absorbed, but I’m so glad I didn’t touch it because the rice was cooked perfectly.

  8. Made this to go with your white bean and spinach pepper jack enchiladas. My meat-eating roommate loved everything as did I, so good!

    1. Yes, you can do brown rice instead, but be aware that brown rice has a much stronger flavor than white rice so it will compete with the flavor of the cilantro and lime. Brown rice needs more liquid and a longer cooking time, so you’ll probably need more like 4-4.5 cups of broth and about 40 minutes of simmering time.

  9. I made 4 cups last night in my instant pot and it came out perfect. I did a 1:1 ratio (4 cups rice and 4 chicken broth) and used jasmine long grain rice because that was all I had in the pantry. All you do is hit the rice button and let it sit for 15 minutes on slow release as I read somewhere on the internet. I served this with black beans and fish tacos for a party. I will definitely make this again and LOVED how easy the instant pot was for making rice.