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Move over Chipotle and Cafe Rio! This Cilantro Lime Rice is loaded with a few secret ingredients to make the flavors pop! Ready in less than 30 minutes, this easy side dish recipe goes perfectly with all of your favorite Mexican recipes, and is delicious in burritos and bowls!

We love to add extra flavor to rice, making it a little more special and nutritious than the plain white version. Pair this simple side with Cafe Rio Black Beans, Cafe Rio Sweet Pork Barbacoa, and Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing for an at-home Cafe Rio experience whether you prefer their salads or burritos!

Side of cilantro lime rice in stainless steel pot

Easy Cilantro Lime Rice

I love going to Chipotle and ordering a burrito bowl with barbacoa, guacamole, black beans, salsa, and of course their Cilantro Lime Rice. Or Cafe Rio with their massive salads with a fresh tortilla as the base! But it’s just as delicious to make a copycat version at home, especially when we are having friends over.

One of the easiest ways to make plain white rice tastier is to cook it in broth instead of water. This little swap is so simple and brings in so much more flavor, no matter what else you’re doing with the rice. You can use homemade or store-bought chicken broth, or even stock cubes or better-than-bouillon mixed with water.

My next trick for making the most flavorful rice, especially in this Cilantro Lime Rice recipe, is blending the stock with a few other key ingredients before boiling the rice in it. My key ingredients this time are onion, garlic, cilantro, lime, and green chilies. Onion, garlic and cilantro taste amazing with most Mexican recipes, and the lime and mild green chilies add soo much flavor and tartness. Boiling the rice with all of these ingredients gives everything time to cook properly and merge together beautifully.

This easy Cilantro Lime Rice recipe takes just as long as regular rice to make. You don’t have to chop any of the herbs and vegetables up, just throw them in the blender and then cook the rice as usual. The difference in flavor for such little extra effort is phenomenal. You’ll be cooking this version every time you make rice!

Ingredients for Cilantro Lime Rice

  • Cilantro: Bright green and so refreshing, cilantro is showcased so well in this recipe! I added it into the rice when cooking, and also as a garnish before serving.
  • Lime: Lime juice brings a zesty, tart flavor to this rice side dish. It really elevates the other flavors!
  • Rice: I use white, long-grain rice in my cilantro lime rice recipe, however, another white rice like basmati or short-grain white rice would work perfectly as well.
  • Onion & garlic: Hello flavor! These two key ingredients take this cilantro lime rice to another level! Onion and garlic are such an addictive pair in savory cooking, and they really shine in this recipe!
  • Chilies: I used mild fire-roasted canned green chilies which you can find in the canned goods section of your grocery store, or buy online. If you like things spicy, you can always go for the chilies with more heat!
  • Broth: Instead of cooking the rice in water, I opted for chicken broth to add even more flavor, along with butter and salt. Vegetable broth would be a good vegetarian option as well!
individual ingredients for cilantro lime rice on marble counter, overhead shot

How to Make Cilantro Lime Rice

  1. Blend. Firstly, in a blender, combine all ingredients except rice and 1 tablespoon of the lime juice. Blend for 5 seconds, just to chop everything up so you don’t have any large chunks of onion or garlic, then pour into a medium-size pot with the rice and give it a stir.
  2. Boil. Next, place your pot over medium-high heat and bring to boiling, then cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender. Add the remaining tablespoon of lime juice and additional chopped cilantro and fluff with a fork before serving.

How do you store this recipe?

Store Cilantro Lime Rice in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. To reheat, place it in the microwave, covered, and heat until it is piping hot. You can also heat it on the stove. Just add a little water to the pot and heat it through on a medium heat.

Can you freeze cilantro lime rice?

Yes! This is a great recipe to make a double batch of and freeze some for later! Once cooled, seal the rice in a ziplock bag or airtight container and freeze for up to two months. When you’re ready to eat it, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and heat in the microwave or on the stove.

What goes with Cilantro Lime Rice?

Copycat Cilantro Lime Rice is great to add to burritos or as a side to all of your favorite Mexican dishes! Here are some suggestions:

Overhead shot of cilantro lime rice in stainless steel pot

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Cilantro Lime Rice
Yield: 6 servings

Cilantro Lime Rice

Move over Chipotle and Cafe Rio! This Cilantro Lime Rice is loaded with a few secret ingredients to make the flavors pop! Ready in less than 30 minutes, this easy side dish recipe goes perfectly with all of your favorite Mexican recipes, and is delicious in burritos and bowls!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup onion, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 bunch cilantro
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 small can diced green chilies
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice, divided
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup white long grain rice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

Instructions

  1. In a blender, combine all ingredients except rice and 1 tablespoon of the lime juice. Blend for 5 seconds, just to chop everything up so you don't have any large chunks of onion or garlic, then pour into a medium size pot with the rice and give it a stir.
  2. Place your pot over medium-high heat and bring to boiling, then cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender. Add remaining tablespoon of lime juice and additional chopped cilantro and fluff with a fork before serving.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 55Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 491mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 2g

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.