Cilantro Lime Rice Recipe

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One of the best things about getting burritos and burrito bowls from Chipotle is the Cilantro Lime Rice… it’s so tasty!

Cilantro Lime Rice being served in a bowl with bamboo spatula.

Fortunately, you can make your own flavorful Cilantro Lime Rice at home. It’s incredibly easy to make this recipe with only 5 simple ingredients: cooked white rice, lime juice, cilantro, butter and sea salt.

If you’re looking to try a new recipe your family will love for dinner tonight, give this easy side dish a try. It’s great with any number of meals, especially Mexican food!


  • 6 cups cooked white rice – I like to use Instant Pot Jasmine Rice
  • 2 tablespoons butter – or olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ cup lime juice – freshly squeezed
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro – minced


  • Pan, rice cooker or Instant Pot (for making rice)
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Juicer
  • Mixing bowl
  • Mixing spoon
  • Serving bowl
  • Serving spoon

By the Numbers: How to Make Cilantro Lime Rice

Step 1: Cook Your Rice.

The very first step for making lime cilantro rice is to cook your white rice. It can be cooked on the stovetop according to package directions, in a rice cooker or pressure cooker.

This recipe uses 2 cups of rice (uncooked) – you can use any type of long-grain white rice.

I typically make jasmine rice in the Instant Pot because I love how hands-off the prep is. Sometimes I use basmati rice from the Instant Pot instead (it’s drier and has more individual grains), but I personally like the stickiness of jasmine rice.

Jasmine rice in the Instant Pot after being fluffed.

If you’re using jasmine rice, be sure to rinse it really well under cold water (until the water runs clear) before cooking to avoid mush.

Hand in a strainer full of dry jasmine rice being rinsed.

The rice can be cooked in filtered water or something more flavorful like homemade chicken broth or vegetable broth.

While the rice is cooking, you’ll want to gather and prepare the remaining ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons of butter (or olive oil if you’re vegan)
  • ½ teaspoon of sea salt (I like Himalayan pink salt)
  • ¼ cup of fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 1 cup of minced fresh cilantro

Step 2: Stir Butter Into Warm White Rice.

Add 2 tablespoons of butter to your cooked white rice as soon as it’s done so the warmth helps melt the butter. Gently stir the butter into the rice, being careful not to break up the grains of rice.

Butter being stirred into plain white rice.

Step 3: Add Salt and Fresh Lime Juice for Flavor.

Once the butter is evenly coating the rice, sprinkle ½ teaspoon sea salt over the rice and pour in the ¼ cup of fresh-squeezed lime juice. Gently stir until everything is mixed evenly.

Sea salt and lime juice being stirred into white rice with butter.

I recommend using a juicer to squeeze the juice from fresh limes for this recipe. The stuff from a bottle just isn’t the same.

If you want even more lime flavor, you can add a little bit of lime zest in with the juice or while cooking the rice.

Step 4: Mix in the Fresh Cilantro Leaves.

The final step is to add the chopped cilantro to the rice and stir until everything is well combined and the cilantro looks like it’s evenly dispersed throughout the rice.

Chopped cilantro being stirred into the lime rice.

Step 5: Serve Your Delicious Cilantro Lime Rice.

Once it looks like everything is evenly distributed, go ahead and transfer your Cilantro Lime Rice to a large serving bowl to set on the dinner table.

Closeup of homemade cilantro lime rice.

Tips for Making Cilantro Lime Rice

Answers to all of your questions about making this simple recipe that is naturally gluten free and vegetarian.

1. What’s the best type of rice to use?

Any type of long grain rice works, including jasmine, basmati and other long-grain white rice varieties.

2. Can you make Cilantro Lime Rice with brown rice?

Yes, it can also be made with long grain brown rice varieties like brown basmati.

3. Can you use leftover rice?

You can use leftover rice, although I prefer to use freshly cooked rice. If you decide to go with leftovers, you’ll want to reheat it over low heat with a little water added to help rehydrate it before adding the other ingredients.

4. Can you used riced cauliflower?

Yes, you can make Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice using the same method. Start with cooked cauliflower rice like you would white rice and follow the directions from there.

The only difference is that you may need to let the cauliflower rice sit for a bit for the flavors to fully infuse.

5. Is this a Chipotle copycat recipe?

My recipe uses essentially the same ingredients as Chipotle’s cilantro lime rice. If you want to make a more precise copycat version, there are two main differences to note:

  1. Cook your rice with at least one bay leaf in the pot. Discard the bay leaf before eating the rice.
  2. Substitute fresh squeezed lemon juice for some of the lime juice.

That’s it! Otherwise, it’s exactly the same recipe, just simplified to make dinner prep faster and easier.

6. What if you have cilantro haters in your house?

I know there are people out there who think cilantro tastes like soap… I feel sorry for those people!

If you’re cooking for someone who’s not a fan of cilantro, try my Instant Pot Spanish Rice instead (it’s the same thing as Mexican rice). It still tastes amazing when you omit cilantro… if you omit it in this recipe then you just have lime rice!

7. What main dish pairs well with Cilantro Lime Rice?

This delicious recipe makes the perfect side dish for Mexican food. Some of my favorite Mexican recipes are:

8. What other side goes with this lime cilantro rice recipe?

Traditionally, beans are served with rice as a filling side dish in a typical Mexican meal. I have 3 bean recipes that pair amazingly well with this rice.

9. Tips to make meal planning easier?

If your family loves trying new recipes, but you’re short on time and hate wasting ingredients, check out The Dinner Daily.

They have this awesome service where they send you meal plans each week based on your local grocery store’s sales. And you can customize it to your family’s dietary preferences (such as being gluten free like me).

The Daily Dinner Food Preferences Chart.

That way, you get to try new dishes without needing to do any research while saving money on your grocery budget. I think most of us can relate to that need!

Pricing starts at only $4 per month, and The Dinner Daily also offers a two-week free trial as well so you can make sure it’s right for your family. Sign up for a free trial today.

Pin this post to your Mexican Food or Side Dish board.

Bowl of cilantro lime rice with bamboo serving spatula.

Easy Cilantro Lime Rice Recipe

This Cilantro Lime Rice Recipe is easy to make with any type of white rice and makes a great side dish.
5 from 1 vote
Print Recipe
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Recipe Servings: 6


  • 6 cups cooked white rice - I like to use Instant Pot Jasmine Rice
  • 2 tablespoons butter - or olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ cup lime juice - freshly squeezed
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro - minced


  • Pan, rice cooker or Instant Pot (for making rice)
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Juicer
  • Mixing bowl
  • Mixing spoon
  • Serving bowl
  • Serving spoon


  • While your white rice is still warm, gently stir in 2 tablespoons of butter until well combined.
    Butter being stirred into plain white rice.
  • Next, stir in the sea salt and lime juice until well combined.
    Sea salt and lime juice being stirred into white rice with butter.
  • Finally, stir in the cilantro so that it’s evenly distributed throughout the rice.
    Chopped cilantro being stirred into the lime rice.
  • Transfer your homemade Cilantro Lime Rice to a bowl to serve as a side dish.
    Cilantro lime rice being served in a bowl with bamboo spatula.

Nutrition Information Per Serving

Calories: 242kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 230mg | Potassium: 82mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 302IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 1mg

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