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If you are a Chipotle devotee or even just a regular customer, then you have likely tried their cilantro lime rice, which gets added into pretty much every burrito and bowl they make (there is a white and a brown rice version, seasoned similarly). The rice is addicting, and once you see how simple it is to make at home, you will realize that this can be yours as often as you like, served with whatever you feel like making for dinner.

It pairs so well with pork carnitas and some pico de gallo for a DIY, at-home Chipotle dinner. If you want to use all lemon or all lime instead of the combo of juices, go for it! The citrus rice recipe is pretty flexible.

Glass container of Cilantro Lime Rice.

Cilantro Lime Rice: (As good as Chipotle’s!) A perfect side or companion to Mexican and Southwestern dishes as well as Asian dishes and lots of other simple meals.

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Cilantro Lime Rice Ingredients

  • Rice – I recommend long-grain or basmati rice for the right fluffy texture.
  • Bay leaf – An unexpected addition, but Chipotle uses it in their restaurants’ recipe. It adds an extra layer of earthy, herbal flavor.
  • Vegetable oil – Some of the oil is cooked with the rice, and the rest is stirred in at the end.
  • Fresh cilantro – The fresh herbiness of the cilantro really lifts up the rice and adds great color.
  • Lime juice – Brightens the dish with great acidity.
  • Lemon juice – Even though the predominant flavor of this rice is lime, the addition of a bit of lemon juice gives the rice a roundness of flavor and more dimensionality. Chipotle uses a blend of both citrus juices, so it’s fully sanctioned! You can, however, use all lime juice if you like…or even all lemon for a cilantro lemon rice version.
Woman scooping Cilantro Lime Rice into a bowl.

How to Make Chipotle Cilantro Lime Rice

  1. Prepare to cook: Add the water to a pot and stir in the rice, bay leaf, oil, and salt.
  2. Cook the rice: Bring the mixture up to a boil, then cover and set to low heat to simmer. Cook for 18 minutes.
White rice cooking in pot on stove.
  1. Fluff: After the rice has cooled for a few minutes, fluff it with a fork to break it up and give it a nice texture.
Fluffing cooked white rice in pan on stove with fork.
  1. Season: Stir the cilantro, lime juice, lemon juice, and oil into the rice. Serve immediately, with your favorite fajitas or wrapped into a burrito!
Cilantro Lime Rice in a glass container on a marbled surface.

FAQs

What kind of rice should I use in cilantro lime rice?

Chipotle uses long-grain white rice in their recipe, but basmati is another fragrant and delicate option.

What goes with cilantro lime rice?

Cilantro Lime Rice is very versatile. Yes, it goes well with all Mexican and Southwestern dishes for sure, but it also pairs nicely with Asian dishes and lots of other simple meals. And you cannot go wrong with pairing it with some black beans or this black bean soup.

What is the secret ingredient in Chipotle cilantro lime rice?

There are two unexpected ingredients in Chipotle’s cilantro lime rice: bay leaf and lemon juice. Though they aren’t immediately apparent, these two ingredients add a lot of flavor and balance out the sharpness of the cilantro and lime. Boil the rice with a bay leaf to infuse its subtle flavor, and stir in a little lemon juice at the end with the lime juice for balance.

Storage and Tips

Leftover rice can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat it in the microwave or in a pot over low heat, stirring often.

If you are making cilantro lime rice for a crowd, double the recipe and use a bigger pot.

What to Serve With Cilantro Lime Rice

Steak Fajitas

Slow Cooker Barbacoa Beef

Cilantro Lime Chicken

Plate of Cilantro Lime Rice, salad, and salmon.

More Rice Side Dishes

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Cilantro Lime Rice

5 from 2 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 18 minutes
Total: 23 minutes
Servings: 4 People
(As good as Chipotle's!) A perfect side or companion to Mexican and Southwestern dishes as well as Asian dishes and lots of other simple meals.

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup long-grain or basmati rice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 teaspoons vegetable oil (divided)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Instructions 

  • Combine the water, rice, bay leaf, 1 teaspoon oil, and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, then cover and adjust the heat so that the mixture stays at a low simmer. Cook for about 18 minutes until the water has been absorbed. Remove the rice from the stove, and leave it covered for 5 more minutes.
  • Remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork. Blend in the cilantro, lime juice, lemon juice, and remaining two teaspoons oil. Serve warm.

Notes

  • Even though the predominant flavor of this rice is lime, the addition of a bit of lemon juice gives the rice a roundness of flavor and more dimensionality.  Chipotle uses a blend of both citrus juices, so it’s fully sanctioned!  You can, however, use all lime juice if you like…or even all lemon for a cilantro lemon rice version.
  • Leftover rice can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat it in the microwave or in a pot over low heat, stirring often.
  • If you are making cilantro lime rice for a crowd, double the recipe and use a bigger pot.

Nutrition

Calories: 170kcal, Carbohydrates: 37g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 590mg, Potassium: 61mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 24IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 18mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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