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!
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
- 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.
How to Make Cilantro Lime Rice – Step By Step Photos
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.
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.
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.
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.
Serve the cilantro lime rice with your favorite meal and enjoy!