This Cilantro Lime Brown Rice recipe is a tasty and aromatic side dish. The flavorful combination of fresh cilantro and tangy lime juice makes it a popular choice for Mexican and Southwestern-inspired dishes. We love this Chipotle copycat!
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Side dishes bring personality to your plate. Other popular sides include this flavorful Mexican Street Corn and this garden fresh Pasta Salad without Mayo. Check out all of our wholesome Side Dish Recipes for more inspiration.
Why YOU will love this recipe
- Making this copycat of Chipotle’s cilantro lime rice at home gives you control over the quantity and freshness of the ingredients.
- The rice adds a fluffy and slightly chewy texture to your meals and the chopped cilantro adds a pop of color with a clean, herbal taste.
- It is a simple and quick dish to prepare, ready for both novice and experienced cooks.
- This recipe is also naturally gluten-free and vegan. Bonus!
This fresh-tasting recipe is a lovely side dish to be served with something spicy. Try this Jerk Chicken which features a really flavorful and traditional marinade.
Find the full ingredient list, with measurements, in the recipe card below.
- brown rice – We typically use long grain brown rice but you could substitute short grain, jasmine rice, brown basmati rice, or even white rice. Choose your favorite but remember that each rice variety will vary in cooking time.
- lime – Fresh lime juice adds that bright and zesty flavor. You could also substitute lemon juice.
- cilantro – Fresh cilantro leaves taste fresh and clean. Learn how to prep and store cilantro.
- garlic – Lends that delicious umami to the rice.
- olive oil – This does double duty creating a tasty sauce as well as preventing the rice from sticking together.
- sea salt – An essential seasoning to bring out the best of your ingredients.
- saucepan for cooking rice – We recommend a pot that is at least 3 quarts so the rice isn’t overcrowded and can evenly cook.
- sharp knife and cutting board – For prepping the ingredients. We use an 8″ Victorinox chef’s knife.
- mixing bowl and spatula – For stirring together the ingredients. A medium-sized mixing bowl will be perfect. The small spatulas for stirring are one of our favorite kitchen tools.
Scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom for the FULL recipe details.
First, start by cooking the rice. You can use the package instructions or this easy stovetop method for cooking brown rice.
Meanwhile, while the rice is cooking, whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, and sea salt in the medium-sized mixing bowl.
Then, stir in the minced garlic and cilantro.
Let the garlic soften in the juice while the rice finishes cooking. This mellows the strong flavor of the garlic.
Next, add the cooked and warm rice to the cilantro-lime mixture and stir well to coat.
And that is it! Now you are ready to serve.
Freshness matters a lot in this dish. Use freshly squeezed lime juice and vibrant, crisp cilantro leaves for the best flavor.
Try to avoid using bottled juice if possible, as it lacks the brightness of freshly squeezed juice.
- Perfect for a filling in burritos or a burrito bowl, in tacos or a taco bowl like this Taco Rice Bowl with Ground Beef.
- Make a vegetarian entree by adding a plant-based protein like black beans,
- This is a great side dish for summer grilling. Try it alongside these yummy pork kabobs!
- Smother the rice with Chicken Vindaloo – a delicious red curry dish that goes perfectly with the cool cilantro rice.
- Add some heat by including minced jalapeño peppers. Remove the seeds and membranes for milder heat or leave them in for more spice. You could also add chili powder, cayenne pepper, or hot sauce to the rice mixture.
- Substitute rice with quinoa for a protein-rich and gluten-free option. This is how to make quinoa in an Instant Pot in 5 minutes.
- Create a super fresh side dish and add more fresh herbs like parsley or basil.
- If you’re looking for a low-carb option, use cauliflower rice instead of traditional rice. Check out how to make cauliflower rice.
Yes, you can use white rice if you prefer. The flavor will be slightly different, but it will still be delicious. You may need to adjust the cooking time accordingly as white rice generally cooks faster.
Fresh cilantro is ideal for the cool and crisp flavor, but you can use dried cilantro in a pinch. However, dried cilantro won’t provide the same vibrant flavor and aroma as fresh cilantro.
- Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It should stay fresh for 3-4 days. Reheat it in the microwave or on the stovetop with a splash of water or vegetable broth.
More brown rice recipes
**This recipe was originally posted on April 22, 2016. Updated on February 16, 2020, and updated again on October 1, 2023, with recipe notes, writing, and photos.**
If you’ve tried our Cilantro Lime Rice, please rate the recipe and let us know how it turned out by leaving us a comment below. We’re always interested in feedback!
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Cilantro Lime Brown Rice Recipe – Chipotle’s Copycat
- Start by cooking the brown rice. Use the package instructions or this stovetop method.
- Meanwhile, in a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, and sea salt.
- Then, stir in the minced garlic and chopped cilantro. Let the garlic marinate while the rice finishes cooking.
- Next, add the cooked rice to the cilantro-lime mixture and stir well to coat all of the rice.
- Serve warm.
- Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It should stay fresh for 3-4 days. Reheat it in the microwave or on the stovetop with a splash of water or vegetable broth