Better than Chipotle.
You don’t have to know Chipotle’s famous Mexican cilantro lime rice to guess that this recipe tastes really, really good. Fluffy white rice combined with bay leaf, lime, cilantro, and onion makes a fantastic side dish — a little more “dressed up” than plain white rice, but almost as effortless. It’s a Chipotle dupe, done better.
All About This Mexican Cilantro Lime Rice Recipe
I used to think there were two types of rice: plain white and plain brown. Within those, you could find short grain, long grain, and the like. But it essentially boiled down to (sorry — pun!) those two basic categories.
But rice can be much more than a plain-Jane scoop of grain. Rice makes an excellent blank canvas for lots of variations. Cooking ingredients into the rice itself makes rice a flavorful dish that stands all on its own.
This easy cilantro rice is a prime example. Onion, bay leaf, lime, and a generous amount of cilantro are all you need to transform plain white rice into a truly tasty side with almost no effort.
Recipe Notes: Cilantro Lime Rice
- Choose the right rice. Any long-grain white rice will do. Long-grain rice generally has less starch than short-grain rice, making it fluffy and light. I like to use basmati rice.
- Can I substitute brown rice? Definitely. Just increase the amount of liquid per the package directions.
- How do I make this dish? Easy. Cook the rice with the bay leaf, onion, oil, salt, and water. Fold in the lime, zest, and minced cilantro, and eat!
Can I Use the Cilantro Stems?
Yes, please! Cilantro is a soft herb, meaning that the stems are edible. The same is true of parsley. They have the same great flavor as the leaves, so don’t waste them.
How to Store Fresh Cilantro
Have leftover cilantro? You can keep it fresh for about two weeks if it’s stored correctly. Read how to store fresh cilantro and other fresh herbs here.
Start to finish, you can have this fresh vegan rice dish on the table in about 20 to 25 minutes. This is a very versatile rice recipe, but pairs especially well with (you guessed it) Mexican food, plus seafood and grilled meat and vegetables.
Love cilantro rice and Mexican food? You’ll also love:
Mexican Cilantro Lime Rice
- 1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice, such as basmati
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced small
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
- 2 1/4 cups cold water (or whatever your rice package directions say)
- 2 limes, zested and juiced
- 2/3 cup cilantro, leaves and stems, finely chopped, plus more to garnish
- Sliced jalapeño pepper to serve (optional)
- Rinse the rice under cold water to release some of the excess starch.
- Heat a medium sauce pot over medium heat. Add the oil. When the oil is warm, add the diced onion, garlic, rinsed rice, and bay leaf. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring, until the onion starts to turn translucent.
- Add the water, salt, and garlic. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook, covered, until the water is fully absorbed, about 20 minutes.
- Remove the lid. Fluff the rice with a fork. Remove the bay leaf. Stir in the lime juice, zest, and cilantro. Taste for seasoning. Serve hot with sliced jalapeño pepper and a few stems of cilantro as a garnish, if desired.