Make the totally addicting Chipotle Cilantro Lime Rice at home and save yourself a trip to pick up take out. This easy to make rice side dish is fluffy, bright and bursting with fresh lime to serve alongside those homemade burritos!

Cilantro Lime Rice with zested lime.

Cilantro Lime Rice

I mentioned before that I wasn’t a fan of Mexican food for years. Mainly because I only ever had Taco Bell and tacos from a little hole in the wall joint when I was a kid. I had no appreciate for true Mexican or Tex Mex food for that matter. Until I did. And now I simply can’t get enough of it.

We’ll chalk it up to a raging pregnancy craving for spicy burritos and tamales which is hilarious because I had never even had a tamale until that point in my life. Then, I decided to stroll into Chipotle to kill a burrito craving one day (Yes, I know Chipotle isn’t “real” Mexican) and Chipotle’s Cilantro Lime Rice stole my heart. Seriously. Gone. To the rice.

I decided to give it a go at making it at home and I’m so glad I did because my version of Chipotle Cilantro Lime Rice is even more flavorful with fresh lime flavor and a punch of zesty cilantro! It’s super easy to make and, way better than Qdoba Cilantro Lime Rice, if I say so myself. We never have to go to Qdoba or Chipotle again. Well, that’s a bit dramatic but you totally get what I’m saying here, right?

This Cilantro Lime Rice recipe is super easy to make and is totally kid friendly. In fact, my picky little guy requests the “fruity” rice on the regular now and I’m more than happy to whip it up. It goes so well with our favorite Baked Chicken Breast making for the easiest weeknight dinner imaginable.

Overhead shot of cilantro lime rice with lime wedges and cilantro on a wicker place mat.

Ingredients For Cilantro Lime Rice

The ingredient list for Chipotle Cilantro Lime Rice recipe is short so I wanted to keep it that way at home. I, also, wanted my rice to be much more lime-y than what I normally get at the chain restaurants to I added both lime juice AND lime zest….and a ton of it.

  • Long-grain White Rice – I love using Jasmine rice for this recipe but Basmati would work well, too. If you want to experiment you can also make Cilantro Lime Brown Rice by simply substituting the white rice with brown rice….however, you will have to adjust the cooking time accordingly.
  • Water – Duh, yes, you need water to cook rice and, although, I recommend using chicken stock to cook my rice normally for this recipe stick with water. You could also use coconut water if you’re looking to make a coconut rice but either way….skip the chicken stock for this one.
  • Salt – To season the water…..of course. Always, always, always salt your water before cooking rice. It’s the only time you can add flavor inside those little grains of heaven.
  • Limes – You’ll be using the zest AND the juice from two large limes. To add more flavor to the rice I like to use the zest and juice from one lime in the cooking liquid so the rice actually soaks up some of the lime flavors during cooking. THEN, I add the remaining zest and lime juice to the cooked rice to amp it up even more. It’s the BEST way to make Cilantro Lime Rice. Seriously.
  • Cilantro – I LOVE Cilantro so I add a ton but if you’re one of those crazy few that think Cilantro is nasty you can totally skip it and add chopped parsley instead.
Water in a pot with rice on a placemat.

How To Make Cilantro Lime Rice

It’s silly simple to make Cilantro Lime Rice and the great thing is you can totally use this during your meal prepping session. It reheats like a dream and is a great base for so many recipes!

  1. Rinse your rice in a fine mess sieve until the water runs clear. Drain and set aside.
  2. Add the salt and water to a medium saucepan with a tight fitting lid. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  3. Turn the heat to low. Add the rice. Then, stir in the juice and zest of one lime.
  4. Cover with a tight fitting lid and cook until the water is absorbed, approximately 18-20 minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat and allow the rice to rest, covered, for 10 minutes.
  6. Uncover the rice. Stir in the remaining lime zest, juice and all the cilantro.
  7. Fluff with a fork and serve.
Ingredients for cilantro lime rice in a pot.

What To Serve With Cilantro Lime Rice

It’s a fantastic side dish alongside these Fajita Stuffed Avocados or alongside a bowl of Pozole. We also like the freshness with this easy Shrimp Ceviche! And if you’re looking for a fiesta of sorts, we love these easy Chicken Enchiladas!

If you’re looking for something a little more low carb, make Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice by using my tips for easy Cauliflower Rice! Or make it spicy by adding a few tablespoons of chopped jalapenos to the mix.

You can even spice things up a bit by stirring in a bit of this Homemade Fajita Mix!

Overhead shot of cilantro lime rice in a pot with a wooden spoon.

Tips for Perfect Rice

  • Make sure you use enough water to cook your rice and keep an eye on it. If your water has been absorbed but your rice is still crunchy, add 1/4 cup of water.
  • Cook your rice on LOW heat. Too high of heat will cause the water to either boil over or evaporate too quickly causing all kinds of rice fail problems.
  • Be sure you have a tight fitting lid so that steam can’t escape. If your lid is lose the water will evaporate faster than the rice can absorb it leaving you with dry, crunchy rice. Not good eats.
  • Long grain rice is what you need, you can use brown rice but the consistency may be a bit softer and not as fluffy. Cauliflower Rice will work but just add the lime and cilantro to the end of the cooking process of your cauliflower rice.
Cilantro Lime Rice in a blue bowl.

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More Easy Side Dish Recipes

Cilantro Lime Rice in a blue bowl.

Get the Recipe: Cilantro Lime Rice Recipe

Chipotle copy cat Cilantro Lime Rice is super easy to prepare in minutes. The BEST side dish!
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  • 1 1/2 cups long grain white rice
  • 2 3/4 cups water
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 limes
  • 3/4 cup Chopped fresh cilantro


  • 1 saucepan


  • Rinse the rice in a fine mesh sieve until the water runs clear. Drain and set aside.
  • In a medium saucepan, bring the water and salt to a boil over medium-high heat.
  • Add the rice to the water. Stir in the juice and zest of one lime.
  • Cover the saucepan with a tight fitting lid and turn the heat to low. Cook the rice for 18-20 minutes or until the rice has absorbed the water.
  • Remove the rice from the heat and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
  • Uncover the rice. Stir in the remaining lime juice, zest and all the cilantro. Fluff with a fork and serve.


Rice can be made up to 5 days in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Calories: 176kcal, Carbohydrates: 39g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 397mg, Potassium: 86mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 146IU, Vitamin C: 7mg, Calcium: 24mg, Iron: 1mg