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Better than Chipotle’s this Cilantro Lime rice is flavorful white rice, fluffy and tender. Loaded up with fresh herby cilantro and a burst of zesty lime juice. This rice is a family favorite and the perfect side dish for all your Tex Mex and Mexican meals.

Cast iron pot filled with cooked white cilantro lime rice.


 

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All about this Cilantro Lime Rice

This Cilantro Lime Rice is a staple, it’s the perfect side dish for Tex Mex and Mexican meals. This is one of those recipes that gets made over and over, and it deserves a spot in your family recipe box.

Perfectly fluffy and tender rice is cooked in savory chicken broth and loaded with fresh herbaceous cilantro and tangy lime juice and zest.

Serve this tender rice recipe alongside some chili lime chicken, burritos filled with crisp pork carnitas, or in a burrito bowl topped with some barbacoa

Ingredients Needed

Ingredients needed to make cilantro lime rice laid out on the counter.
  • Rice: long grain white rice. More information on types of rice below.
  • Oil: use a drizzle of a neutral tasting oil, avocado oil is a great option.
  • Chicken Broth: a low or no sodium chicken broth brings a nice flavoring to the rice instead of using plain water for cooking.
  • Salt: enhances the flavor.
  • Cilantro: use both the leaves and stems when you chop it up, there’s lots of flavor in the stems.
  • Limes: using both the zest and the juice gives a nice fresh, citrus flavor.

What is the best type of rice to use? 

This recipe works best with a long grain white rice. Long grain rice is slim and long, four to five times longer than it is wide. After cooking, the grains remain firm, separate and fluffy. We don’t want our end result to be a sticky rice, we want each grain to be it’s own.

Types of long grain rice:

  • American long white rice: basic, and classic. Easy to find and not expensive in most markets.
  • Basmati rice: a very popular choice for Mexican rices. 
  • Jasmine rice: one of my new favorites to use when making Mexican rice and this cilantro lime rice. It has a fragrance when you fry it up and cooks beautifully. 

How to Make

How to make Cilantro Lime Rice, showing frying the rice in a large skillet, then adding the broth and salt, stirring to bring to a simmer.
  1. Rinse the rice. This is an optional step. I have found some people who are scared the rice will pop while frying in oil if it’s wet, but I have no issues with frying wet rice. To rinse the rice place into a fine mesh strainer. Pour water over the rice and rinse until the liquid runs clear. This helps remove excess starch and any other impurities on the surface of the rice. Another option would be to soak the rice and then strain out the excess water. 
  2. Fry the rice. Pour a small amount of oil in the skillet. We want to fry the rice until it’s starting to turn golden. Stir the rice while it’s frying to prevent burning. This is also the time where I add my onion, so it can saute while the rice is toasting. 
  3. Add in broth/water. With this recipe, since it has minimal ingredients for flavoring, I like to use a chicken broth. You can use a vegetable broth, or you could use water. Add in other seasonings, salt, garlic. 
How to make white mexican rice with cilantro, showing white rice after cooking then cilantro, lime zest and lime juice being added.
  1. Let the rice come to a boil. Keep the heat up while pouring in the broth. It will sizzle when it hits the pan, but it’s fine. Let it keep heating to a boil. Then cover the pan and turn the heat to low. 
  2. Let the rice simmer on low while covered. Don’t lift the lid. I find that 25 minutes is perfect for 1-2 cups of rice. More rice can require more cook time. Brown rice also requires longer cook time. 
  3. After 25 minutes of cooking. Remove the pot from heat. Keep the lid on. Let the rice rest for 10 minutes before removing the lid and fluffing the rice with a fork. 

FAQs

Do I need to rinse my rice?

It’s a personal preference. I do always rinse my rice. It helps to remove any impurities on the rice. It has no effect on the toasting of the rice, add it wet directly into the skillet for cooking.

Can I make this using brown rice?

Cilantro Lime rice can be made using brown rice, you will need to follow the directions for the rice you are using on the water to rice ratio and the cooking time will increase.

Why do I toast the rice before cooking it?

Toasting the rice before cooking adds a wonderful toasty, nutty flavoring and it also helps the texture of the cooked rice, it prevents mushy rice and leave you with a nice fluffy rice.

Serving Ideas

Up close look at cilantro lime rice with specks of fresh cilantro and lime halves that have been juiced.

Storage and Reheating

  • Storing Leftovers: store in a sealed container inside the refrigerator for 3-5 days.
  • How to Reheat Rice: place in a microwave safe container with a small amount of water (1 tablespoon per cup of rice) and heat until rice reaches 165 degrees F. OR use a pot on the stovetop, again, adding the 1 tablespoon of water per cup of rice and heating on medium heat, stirring to prevent sticking until rice reaches 165 degrees F.
  • Freezing: store cooked rice in a freezer safe container for up to 2 months. To thaw, remove to the refrigerator overnight.

More Tex Mex Side Dishes:

Perfect Cilantro Lime Rice

5 from 14 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Servings: 6
Author: Serene
Cilantro Lime Rice. This tender, fluffy rice is flavored with fresh zesty lime juice and chopped cilantro. Perfect for serving alongside chicken, fish, or shrimp. 
Cast iron pot filled with cooked white cilantro lime rice.

Ingredients  

  • 1 tbsp oil olive oil, avocado oil
  • 2 cups long grain white rice* rinsed*
  • 4 cups chicken broth low sodium
  • ½ tsp lime zest
  • tsp salt
  • 1 tsp fresh lime juice
  • ½ cup cilantro chopped

Instructions 

  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Add the rice and stir, coating with the oil.
  • Continue cooking, while stirring the rice to prevent burning or sticking until the rice is starting to toast.
  • Pour in the chicken broth, keep the heat at medium heat. Stir in the salt.
  • Bring mixture to a simmer. Cover the skillet with a lid. Turn the heat to LOW. Cook covered for 25 minutes. (don't remove the lid during this time)
  • After 25 minutes, remove the skillet from the heat, keeping the lid on. Let the rice sit for 10 minutes, undisturbed.
  • After resting 10 mintues, remove the lid, fluff the rice.
  • Stir in the chopped cilantro, lime zest and fresh lime juice. Serve warm.

Video

Notes

  1. Types of long grain rice:
  • American long white rice: basic, and classic. Easy to find and not expensive in most markets.
  • Basmati rice: a very popular choice for Mexican rices. 
  • Jasmine rice: one of my new favorites to use when making Mexican rice and this cilantro lime rice. It has a fragrance when you fry it up and cooks beautifully.
2. Rinsing Rice: To rinse the rice place into a fine mesh strainer. Pour water over the rice and rinse until the liquid runs clear. This helps remove excess starch and any other impurities on the surface of the rice. Another option would be to soak the rice and then strain out the excess water. 
3. Storing Leftovers: store in a sealed container inside the refrigerator for 3-5 days.
4. How to Reheat Rice: place in a microwave safe container with a small amount of water (1 tablespoon per cup of rice) and heat until rice reaches 165 degrees F. OR use a pot on the stovetop, again, adding the 1 tablespoon of water per cup of rice and heating on medium heat, stirring to prevent sticking until rice reaches 165 degrees F.
5. Freezing: store cooked rice in a freezer safe container for up to 2 months. To thaw, remove to the refrigerator overnight.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 258kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1159mg | Potassium: 222mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 130IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 1mg

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

Like this? Leave a comment below!

Photography by KJandCompany.co

Recipe first published February 25, 2020. Updated April 26, 2023, recipe has been changed. Removed the addition of green onion and garlic to keep flavoring simpler and overall easier to make.


Welcome to my kitchen!

Welcome to the House of Yumm!! My name is Serene. I’m the food photographer, recipe developer, and official taste tester around these parts.

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4 Comments

  1. My dear friend, this is my absolute go-to recipe for rice!  I have made this a half-dozen times, and will continue doing so for an easy, flavorful rice dish.  I have made it with chicken, beef, and pork.  Tonight it is the side for a crispy-skin duck breast dish I am making.  

    Simply perfect!  Thank you so much for sharing this with the world.

    Respect!
    Jeff in Houston.

  2. This was really good! I used veggie broth in order to keep it vegan. My hubby typically won’t eat white rice. But, I served him a piece of honey ginger salmon over a bed of this rice and he gobbled it all up!! Thank you, this recipe is a keeper. I’m excited to use leftovers to make a burrito bowl.