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cilantro lime rice in a bowl with napkin
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4.81 from 21 votes

Copycat Chipotle Cilantro Lime Rice

Cilantro lime rice is packed with fresh herb and zesty flavors. Better than Chipotle’s, because it’s homemade and you get to adjust the flavors. A filling side dish to any Mexican meal (or Tex-Mex) especially in burritos.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 259kcal


  • Sauce Pan
  • Bowl


  • 1 cup long grain rice basmati rice
  • 2 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 2 teaspoon olive oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter optional, highly recommended
  • 3 tablespoon lime juice freshly squeezed
  • Zest of one lime
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves finely chopped


  • Rinse the rice : Always rinse rice before you cook it. This helps removes excess starch (surface starcand keeps it from sticking together. Rinsing gets rid of any dirt.
  • Place rice in fine mesh strainer or a bowl and rinse it for several times. Rinse by scrubbing rice gently with finger tips.
  • Saute : Another step I follow to make rice cook perfectly with separated grains. Heat up little oil (olive oil or canola oil). Saute rinsed rice in a heavy bottom sauce pan om medium heat. Keep stirring until rice begins to brown. This step will ensure rice is cooked perfectly and also every grain remains separated.
    Note : Sauteing rice in oil has another advantage. If you follow this step, rice will not stick to the bottom.
  • Water To Rice Ratio : We shared detailed recipe on how to steam rice a few days back which covers in detail information of everything about how to steam rice along with water to rice ratio for each type of rice. Check how to steam rice post for details. For long grain rice, use 1:2 ratio. For every 1 cup long grain rice, add 2 cups liquids. Once rice is sauted, add liquid of your choice – water or chicken stock to pack in more flavors. For vegetarian option, use vegetable stock.
  • Scrape rice sticking to the side of pan into the liquid.
  • Simmer and Cook : Simmer flame to medium low heat and bring water to boil.
    Pro-Tip: it’s important to cook rice in correct temperatures. If cooked on high heat, water will evaporate very quickly preventing rice from absorbing the liquids, thus you rice won’t get cooked as desired.
  • Cook uncovered until the water level drops below the surface of the rice. Then reduce flame to low. Now cover pan with lid (when almost 90% of water is absorbeand simmer cook for about 12 minutes.
    Note : Heat should be at it’s lowest temperature. Else rice will begin to burn at the bottom.
  • DO NOT Stir rice in between. Leave it untouched.
  • Let it Rest : Once cooked remove sauce pan from heat and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes undisturbed. Do not open the lid. This helps rice to cook through. Rice absorbs moisture from steam and makes it fluffy and perfect.
  • Flavor : Open lid. Add butter, lime juice, cilantro, lime zest and gently fluff it with fork or spatula. If needed add salt as per taste.
  • Serve



  1. Use long grain rice for best results. Wouldn’t recommend sticky rice types.
  2. Always rinse rice. This helps remove excess starch and rice stays separated.                                                                                                                                   NOTE (to rinse or not to rinse you DECIDE) - for those who disagree which rinsing rice, please remember this is how I always cook rice and this is how my mom always cooked rice for more than 40 years. Rinsing not just removes excess starch but also helps remove any dust or dirt in the rice. This isn't ASIAN dish where you would need sticky rice, so I do recommend rinsing rice, but I would leave the decision to you. If you don't want to rinse rice, go ahead, but note your cilantro rice would turn a but sticky and if you don't mind sticky rice you're good!
  3. Use chicken stock (or vegetable stock) to add more flavors to rice instead of plain water.
  4. Sautéing rice first in oil helps brings out flavors from the rice (long grain rice are aromatic and full of flavors) plus prevents rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  5. Begin with 1:2 ratio. It works perfectly for me all the time. In case if the ratio doesn’t work for you, reduce water level the next time you cook to 1 ¾ cup instead of 2 cups for every 1 cup long grain rice.
  6. For perfectly cooked rice, simmer heat to low and cook. Rice will absorb all the moisture from the steam and cook perfectly.
  7. Allow rice to rest once cooking is done, without opening the lid.
Nutritional Info – Please keep in mind that nutritional information provided is only a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on products used.


Calories: 259kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 11mg | Sodium: 201mg | Potassium: 213mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 357IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 19mg | Iron: 1mg