Cilantro Lime Brown Rice Recipe

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!

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

A plate of cilantro lime brown rice.

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!
Cilantro brown rice on a plate.

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.

Ingredients

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.
Ingredients on a counter.

Equipment

  • 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.
Our Pick
Wood Handled Mini Spatulas
  • Cute colors.
  • Useful and easy to clean.
See it on Amazon

Instructions

Scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom for the FULL recipe details.

Step 1

First, start by cooking the rice. You can use the package instructions or this easy stovetop method for cooking brown rice.

Step 2

Meanwhile, while the rice is cooking, whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, and sea salt in the medium-sized mixing bowl.

Ingredients being whisked in a bowl.

Step 3

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.

Fresh herbs and garlic being stirred into the juice and oil mixture.

Step 4

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.

Cilantro lime mixture being stirred into a pot of warm rice.

Expert tip

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.

Cilantro brown rice on a plate.

Recipe variations

  • 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.

Serving suggestions

  • 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.

FAQS

Can I use white rice instead of brown 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.

Do I have to use fresh cilantro for this recipe?

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.

Storage tips

  • 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.
A plate of cilantro brown rice.

More brown rice recipes

Curry Chicken Brown Rice Bowl

Chicken Fried Brown Rice Recipe

Chicken Fried Brown Rice

A taco rice bowl topped with salsa, sour cream and guacamole.

Taco Rice Bowl Recipe with Ground Beef

a bowl of chicken and rice salad.

Chicken and Rice Salad with Fresh Basil and Lemon

**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!

Be sure to follow me on social media! We love pinning to Pinterest, sharing on Facebook, and posting pics to Instagram. See you there. 🙂

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

A plate of cilantro lime brown rice.

Cilantro Lime Brown Rice Recipe – Chipotle’s Copycat

Sharon Rhodes
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!
5 from 53 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 384 kcal

Ingredients
  

Instructions
 

  • 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.

Video

Notes

Storage tips

  • 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

Nutrition

Serving: 4Calories: 384kcalCarbohydrates: 74gProtein: 7gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 482mgPotassium: 282mgFiber: 3gVitamin A: 135IUVitamin C: 5.9mgCalcium: 40mgIron: 1.8mg
Keyword cilantro lime brown rice
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Similar Posts

18 Comments

  1. I only make rice in my fancy high dollar rice cooker. (Only because i’ve never been able to make rice otherwise)
    I wonder if i just throw all of these ingredients together and let it all cook together. I don’t see why that wouldn’t work.

  2. Ohhh, you just gave me the idea to use garlic! I make cilantro lime rice often and never measure so something is either too Limey or too cilantroey, thanks for outlining measurements I can use! One thing I always do is add a bay leaf to the rice, even if done after the rice is cooked and is staying warm in a covered pot. It really adds a surprising depth of flavor. Thanks again, I can’t wait to try with garlic.

    1. Thanks Cara! It’s ironic you say that because one of my reasons for starting this website was so I had a reference for myself when I cook. Like usually I would just throw a pinch of this and a pinch of that but not write it down or remember after the fact. I hope you love it! Great idea about the bay leaf too. It’s a seasoning I under-utilize.

  3. Looks great. Lime will definitely give it some awesome flavor, thanks a lot

  4. such a great idea to add cilantro and lime to rice. totally increases the flavour. love it!

  5. You know, I’ve never been to Chipotle? Is that insane or what? My husband and his buddies used to go there multiple times a week, and the cilantro lime rice was a staple for him. I bet your version is delicious, and I see it paired with some black beans in the near future. Easy, healthy dinner for me and the girls! 🙂

    1. Chipotles is new to me since moving. There wasn’t one in Burlington where I lived before and I have been making up for lost time!! I’m feeling much better about it now that I can recreate the experience myself. Plus, their salsa isn’t my favourite. I hope the girls gobble it up! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.