Inspired by the ever so tasty rice at Chipotle, this recipe for Cilantro Lime Rice is easy to make and addictively good! With the perfect balance of fresh lime juice, olive oil, salt, and chopped cilantro you will be craving more with each bite!
First off, I LOVE the rice at Chipotle! I can't get enough of it. It's perfectly seasoned, has hints of lime, and plenty of fresh cilantro to brighten it up. In fact, to be honest, I think their rice may be my favorite part about Chipotle.
So that's why I decided to develop my own cilantro lime rice recipe. That way I can have it at home anytime I like!
And just like Chipotle my recipe uses basmati rice and simple ingredients. The result is a rice that can compliment any latin inspired main dish like my black beans recipe. It also works great as a burrito filling or as a base for bowls.
Just 6 ingredients are needed to make this flavor packed yummy side dish!
- Basmati Rice- It is a light and fluffy type of rice found at the foothills of the himalayas. Basmati rice has a unique nutty aromatic flavor that makes it special. Chipotle uses basmati rice for their version as do I, but any type of rice will work.
- Bay Leaf- Used as an aromatic to add more layered of flavor.
- Sea Salt- I used fine sea salt in this recipe.
- Olive Oil- The oil adds yet another layer of flavor and a touch of fat to balance out the acid from the lime juice.
- Fresh lime juice- Make sure to use fresh lime juice. Concentrated lime juice is much too acidic in taste.
- Cilantro- Fresh herbs work best.
How To Make Cilantro Lime Rice
This recipe is quick and easy to make with no complicated steps or long cooking time.
To begin, you prep the rice by rinsing and draining it well. Then you add the rice, water, bay leaf, and salt to a medium saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil. Next, you cover the saucepan with a tight fitting lid, turn the heat down, and simmer the rice on low for about 15 minutes. Then remove the rice from the heat with the lid still tightly secured and allow it to sit for another 5 minutes.
Once your rice is steamed, lay it out on a sheet pan for about about 5 minutes to cool. Then put the warm rice in a large bowl. Now, drizzle the olive oil, half of the lime juice, and fresh chopped cilantro over the rice before tossing to combine. Finally, taste the rice and add more lime juice and salt as needed. To serve, top with more fresh chopped cilantro.
Tips For Success
- Water to Rice Ratio: Typically most brands of basmati rice will cook perfectly using the ratio of 1.5 cups of water to every 1 cup of rice. This general rule of thumb will almost always result in properly cooked basmati rice. However, if your package tells you differently then you should follow the directions on your package.
- Drain Well: It is very important that you drain your basmati rice well after rinsing. By not doing so you risk adding more water than needed to the rice, which can result in mushy rice.
- Salt: Don't forget the salt in the recipe when cooking the rice. This is the most effective way to season any type of rice.
- Tight Lid: The lid of your saucepan needs to fit tightly in order for the rice to properly steam. It is also important that you don't remove the lid and allow any steam to escape at any time during the cooking process.
- Simmer: Any type of rice must be cooked at a simmered in order for it to steam properly. If you cook it too fast the grains will break open and the texture will potentially be ruined.
How To Store
You can store leftovers in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer up to 3 months in an airtight container. For the best results, I recommend letting frozen rice thaw out at room temperature before reheating
Then reheat using one of the methods explained here.
This Cilantro Lime Rice is amazing because it's...
- Addictively good
- Light and fluffy
- Full of hints of lime and fresh cilantro
- The perfect side dish or filling
- Cheap and easy to make
I hope you enjoy this rice! It is truly one of my all time favorite copycat recipes and saves me lots of money by not going to Chipotle! A total win for me.
More Mexican Inspired Recipes
- The Best How To Make Guacamole Recipe
- Vegan Ceviche with Hearts of Palm
- Tasty Jackfruit Carnitas Recipe
- Vegan Refried Black Beans Recipe
If you try this recipe please let me know how it turns out by leaving a comment and rating. You can also hashtag #danceswithknives with a photo of your creation on Instagram where you can find me @dances_with_knives.
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Cilantro Lime Rice (Chipotle Inspired)
- 2 cups basmati rice
- 3 cups water (or follow package directions- see notes)
- 1 bay leaf
- ¾ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 pinches garlic powder (optional)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3-4 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- ¼ cup fresh chopped cilantro (more for garnish)
- To prepare the rice, first cover it with water in a medium bowl and swish it around to remove any excess starch. Then drain the rice using a fine mesh sieve and rinse again until the water runs almost clear. Then drain the rice as well as you can. You want to remove as much excess water as possible from the rinsing or your rice will be mushy.
- Put the rinsed and drained rice, water, bay leaf, salt, and pinches of garlic powder (if using) into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. *See notes below about the amount of water.
- Once the rice has come to a boil, cover the saucepan with a tight fitting lid, lower the heat, and simmer for 15 to 18 minutes making sure not to remove the lid at any point. If your pot has a clear lid you will be able to see when the water has been absorbed by the rice. If you don't have a clear lid you can take a peek at 15 minutes, but be sure to put the lid back on quickly. Once the rice is done, remove it from the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes with the lid tightly on.
- When the rice is done, fluff it with a fork and lay it out on a sheet pan to cool for about 3-5 minutes. I do this because tossing hot basmati rice can make it break into little pieces.
- Put the warm rice into a large bowl then drizzle with the olive oil, half of the lime juice, and chopped cilantro. Then toss to combine.
- Now, taste your rice and season with more lime juice and salt if desired.
- To serve, top with more fresh chopped cilantro.
- Use the rice as side dish, in bowls, burritos, and more!
- Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 7 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months in an airtight container or freezer bag.