Cilantro Lime Rice

If you love Chipotle’s or Cafe Rio’s cilantro lime rice, you’ll love this EASY homemade version. It’s fragrant and flavorful—the perfect side dish!

This dish comes together in 30 minutes and perfectly complements all of your Mexican dishes. Try this delish rice in Southwestern Burrito Bowl Bake or with Crazy Delicious Beef Barbacoa.

Cilantro Lime Rice in a bowl

Tastes Just Like Chipotle!

While I’m a huge fan of spanish rice, cilantro lime rice is one of my favorite side dishes to make, especially when we’re having carnitas! This recipe is really easy to throw together, you only need about 5 minutes to prep it. 

It always turns out SOOO flavorful, which is why we absolutely adore it. If you love cilantro & lime, this rice is for you! And really, it tastes just like Chipotle rice!

I’ve been making this rice with my restaurant style black beans for a few years now, and like I mentioned in that post, people are always requesting the recipe. It has evolved a little since my first attempt (original recipe pictured below), but that’s kind of how things go around here.

Handwritten cilantro lime rice recipe

How to Make Cilantro Lime Rice

RINSE. You start by rinsing the rice in cold water. Whaaat?! It helps reduce the amount of starch in the rice, which means the rice won’t end up mushy. We all want that, right?

SAUTE. Then you’ll saute the onion and garlic in butter or oil. Either works.

ADD. Next, add the water, chicken broth (more flavor), diced green chilies (secret ingredient), cilantro, and salt.

COOK. After about 15 minutes on the stovetop, the rice should be cooked to perfection.

SEASON. All that’s left to do is stir in the lime juice & zest.

REST & SERVE. Cover and let it rest, then serve it up while piping hot! This recipe is one we’ll make for years & years to come. It’s a family favorite!

What kind of rice is best? Any medium grain rice will work just fine! Some types are arborio or valencia rice. If all you have is long grain rice that will also work just fine!

Can you make it in a rice cooker? One of the first steps in this recipe is to toast the uncooked rice. After you toast your rice, you can cook it in the rice cooker with the chicken broth and adding the other ingredients afterwards.

How to make cilantro lime rice - rinsing the grains of rice

Serving and Storing

This has easily become one of the staples to any Mexican meal we have. Try serving the rice alongside some of these recipes:

Storing: This will last for about a week in the fridge. You want to cool the rice as quickly as possible before refrigerating it in an airtight container. I suggest that you only keep the rice for a day, so that you don’t lose too much moisture. The longer you keep the rice the more moisture you lose! 

Reheating: When reheating, you should add a splash of water and cover it with a lid. This basically allows the rice to re-steam itself.

Chipotle cilantro Lime Rice in a bowl

For more rice recipes, try: 

Did you try this recipe? Leave a ⭐️ rating below and share it on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest!

Cilantro Lime Rice |

Cilantro Lime Rice Recipe

If you love Chipotle's or Cafe Rio's cilantro lime rice, you'll love this EASY homemade version. It's fragrant and flavorful—the perfect side dish!
5 from 9 votes
Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Resting: 5 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 281kcal
Author: Andrea
Print Recipe


  • 2 cup white rice
  • 2 tbsp oil or butter
  • 1/4 cup yellow onion - finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic - minced
  • 1 3/4 cup water
  • 1 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 (4 oz) can diced green chiles
  • 1/3 cup cilantro - chopped
  • 1 tsp kosher sea salt
  • 2 limes
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  • Place rice in a mesh sieve and rinse under cold water for 1 minute.
  • Meanwhile, place a heavy bottom skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Heat oil or butter.
  • Shake rice to remove as much moisture as possible. Pour into hot pan and spread into an even layer. Toast for about a minute and a half, stir, spread evenly, then toast for an additional minute and a half. Add onion and garlic, cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Pour in water, broth, chiles, cilantro and salt. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce, cover, and simmer for 13-15 minutes or until the rice is cooked throughout. Remove from heat, add the juice of 2 limes and zest of one, cover and rest for 5 minutes before serving.


Serving: 6serving | Calories: 281kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 647mg | Potassium: 158mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 71IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 1mg


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Hi I'm Andrea!

Hotelier turned Food Blogger to help make your life simple, one recipe at a time.

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  1. 5 stars
    Cilantro Lime Rice can be paired with so many entrees! We love it with Cafe Rio Chicken, but have made it for a side for many other meals.

  2. 5 stars
    We use this rice all the time! We make it for burritos & salads or just as a side with some chicken. The flavor is subtle & delicious!

  3. 5 stars
    This is one of my go-to side dishes now! The flavor of this rice pairs well with so many dishes!

  4. 5 stars
    This rice is the best! We love making at home cafe rio style food & this is always a must & favorite! Love the hint of lime & it’s refreshing flavor.