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Cilantro lime rice to serve with pineapple shrimp skewers.

Cilantro Lime Rice


Cilantro lime rice is a fragrant, flavorful side dish! Enjoy it in veggie bowls, and alongside cooked meats and grilled seafood. This authentic Mexican recipe is very similar to the restaurant-style Chipotle cilantro lime rice!


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or canola oil
  • 11/2 cups white Basmati rice
  • 12 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  • 21/4 cups hot water
  • 11/4 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 34 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lime juice
  • 3/4 cup cilantro leaves (no stems), chopped


  1. Add oil to a small heavy pot over medium heat. Add rice. Stir to cover all grains with oil.  Add garlic. Stir until a few grains of rice are lightly golden. Add water, salt and lime zest. Stir briefly. Allow the water to come to a roiling boil. Cover pot with a lid. Reduce heat to low/simmer.
  2. Let rice simmer undisturbed for 15 minutes. Remove pot from heat. Do not lift the lid! Let rice rest in the covered pot for 10 minutes.
  3. Lift the lid. Fluff up rice with a fork. This releases steam and prevents rice from becoming sticky. Sprinkle lime juice and cilantro on top. Continue to fluff and mix.



  • USE BASMATI RICE: Although this recipe can be made with long-grain rice, only white Basmati will deliver that authentic flavor and aroma that makes this popular dish so special.
  • SLIGHTLY GOLDEN-COLORED RICE: To ramp up the flavor profile, garlic and rice are sauteed together, and the rice is allowed to become just slightly golden like Chipotle cilantro lime rice.
  • WHITE CILANTRO LIME RICE: If you prefer an extra-white coloring for this dish, first saute the garlic in olive oil until fragrant. Add in the rice. Stir the these ingredients for about one minute (don’t allow rice to get brown). Quickly add water, lime zest and salt. Follow remaining recipe instructions.
  • TRY CHICKEN BROTH instead of water! This will give the dish a more savory flavor.
  • HOW TO STORE LEFTOVER RICE: To avoid bacteria growth, ideally refrigerate rice within an hour of making it. After it’s been completely cooled, transfer it to an air-tight container and place it in the refrigerator. Leftover rice stays fresh for one day.
  • HOW TO REWARM RICE: Place cold rice in a microwave-safe dish. Sprinkle a small amount of water over the top to provide some much-needed moisture. Microwave until desired temperature is reached. For food safety, leftover rice should only be reheated once!
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Keywords: cilantro lime rice, Chipotle cilantro lime rice, Mexican rice