Cilantro Lime Rice is an easy, healthier version of Chipotle’s, and is bursting with fresh lime and cilantro flavor.  Serve in burrito bowls or as a side dish!

bowl of cilantro lime rice with sliced lime on top

**This post was originally published in July 2013.  I’ve updated the recipe, text and photos, and have also included step by step instructions.

I’ll never forget the first time I went to Chipotle’s for a burrito bowl.  My mind was instantly blown, and I knew I’d never want a traditional burrito again.

My favorite part?  The Cilantro Lime Rice, of course.  

I’m a huge fan of cilantro (and lime!), and loved the pretty green flecks and the fresh flavor of that rice.  

Naturally, I had to create my own version ASAP. 🙂

overhead shot of bowl of cilantro lime rice with limes and cilantro on top

Why you’ll love this Cilantro Lime Rice recipe

  • It’s a quick and easy recipe that’s bursting with fresh flavor, and appeals to the pickiest of eaters.
  • This recipe includes only (4) simple ingredients!
  • You control the amount of fat and sodium in this recipe, making it a healthier option.
  • This rice is perfect for burrito bowls or as a side for tacos, enchiladas and more.
  • It’s naturally gluten and dairy free.

Recipe ingredients

There are only (4) main ingredients in this recipe. 

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Oil.  The oil keeps the cilantro lime rice from becoming too sticky.  I used olive oil, but you can use any oil that you have on hand.
  • Long grain white rice.  Basmati rice would make a good substitute as well.  If you’d like to use brown rice, adjust the cooking time as per package instructions.
  • Sea salt.  I use 1 teaspoon of sea salt per 1 cup of rice.  Use less if you prefer less sodium.
  • Lime zest.  The zest is just as important as the actual lime juice as it adds so much flavor!
  • Lime juice.  1 large lime normally yields about 2 tablespoons of juice, so make sure that you have two limes for this recipe. 
  • Cilantro.  The cilantro stems are not bitter, so feel free to chop your cilantro stems and all!

overhead shot of cilantro lime rice recipe ingredients

How to make Cilantro Lime Rice

This recipe is incredibly easy and is done in about 25 minutes!

cilantro lime rice before and after fluffing

Prepare the rice.  Heat the oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat, then add the rice.  Cook the rice, stirring often, for 2-3 minutes or until golden.  Add the salt and water and bring to a boil. 

Once boiling, cover and reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 20 minutes or until the water has been absorbed.

Steam the rice.  When the rice is done, let stand covered for 10 minutes to steam.

cilantro lime rice before and after mixing in the cilantro and lime

Fluff the rice.   Fluff the rice gently with a fork.

Mix in the lime and cilantro.  Add the lime zest, lime juice and chopped cilantro, and mix gently with your fork until combined.

front shot of bowl of cilantro lime rice with cutting board in background

Why do you fry rice before cooking?

Frying the rice in oil before simmering helps separate the grains, which results in rice that’s far less sticky.  

This technique also toasts the rice, which adds a nutty flavor.  

This is also a great time to add aromatic ingredients like onion, garlic or spices, to further enhance the flavor of your rice.

Recipe notes

  • Add more or less lime juice and cilantro to suit your taste.
  • The cilantro stems are not bitter, so feel free to chop your cilantro stems and all!
  • You can also use brown rice in this recipe.  Simply adjust the cooking time according to package instructions.
  • I use 1 teaspoon of sea salt per 1 cup of rice.  Use less if you prefer less sodium.

distant shot of cilantro lime rice in white bowl with sliced lime and cilantro on top

Serve cilantro lime rice with the following:

Chicken enchilada bake

Chicken tostadas by Cooking Classy

Fish taco bowls

Sweet potato black bean enchiladas

Tequila lime chicken

Turkey tacos

Yield: 6 servings

Cilantro Lime Rice

bowl of cilantro lime rice with sliced lime on top

Cilantro Lime Rice is an easy, healthier version of Chipotle's, and is bursting with fresh lime and cilantro flavor.  Serve in burrito bowls or as a side dish!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 cup long grain white rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 1 1/2 limes)
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add the rice and cook, stirring often, for 2-3 minutes or until lightly golden. Add the salt and water, and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 20 minutes. When the rice is done, remove from heat and let stand covered for 10 minutes.
  2. Fluff the rice gently with a fork, then add the lime zest, lime juice and cilantro and mix in with your fork just until combined. Serve and enjoy!

Notes

  • Add more or less lime juice and cilantro to suit your taste.
  • The cilantro stems are not bitter, so feel free to chop your cilantro stems and all!
  • You can also use brown rice in this recipe.  Simply adjust the cooking time according to package instructions.
  • I use 1 teaspoon of sea salt per 1 cup of rice.  Use less if you prefer less sodium.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 80Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 357mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 1g

Nutrition information is mean to be an estimate only. The numbers will vary based on the quantity consumed, brands used and substitutions that are made.


 

 

Sharing is caring!