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Cilantro Lime Rice

Learn how to make the Best cilantro lime rice - better than Chipotle's and better than Cafe Rio on the stove top OR your in your rice cooker! This Cilantro Lime Rice is easy to make and I've even included directions for stove top or slow cooker so you can use white or brown rice! 
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups long grained rice, rinsed and drained (may sub brown rice for Rice Cooker Version)
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1-2 jalapenos, chopped, seeded and deveined (optional)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 14.5 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons mild diced green chilies (from 4 oz. can green chilies)
  • 3 cups low sodium chicken broth (may sub vegetable broth)
  • Freshly cracked salt and pepper to taste
  • 1-2 tablespoons butter (optional)
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon lime juice


Stove Top Directions

  • Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add rice, red onions and jalapenos and and saute 3-5 minutes or until onions are tender. Add garlic and cumin and saute 30 more seconds (adding more oil beforehand if necessary).
  • Add beans, green chilies and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low (dial should be a little above lowest setting) and simmer for approximately 15-20 minutes or until rice is tender, stirring a couple times towards the end of cooking and covering again.
  • Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for 10 minutes-don't peak! Stir in butter to melt (optional) and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in lime juice and cilantro.

Rice Cooker Directions

  • Add rice (long grain white or brown), chicken broth (amount according to your rice cooker), 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon onion powder, dash of cayenne pepper, black beans (optional), and 3 tablespoons mild diced green chiles.
  • Set rice cooker to white or brown rice cook setting according to which rice you are using. Once rice is cooked, stir in butter to melt and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in 2 tablespoons lime juice and 1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro, chopped.


***Ingredients are for stovetop directions.  I have included substitutions in the rice cooker recipe. You can easily customize this rice by stirring in sour cream, cheese, etc. after cooking and garnishing with avocados, etc. You can also cook with a can of drained tomatoes.


I am often lazy when it comes to sides, so if you want to eliminate all chopping and make this Cilantro Lime Rice strictly “dump and run” you can use the following substitutions:
  • Substitute the chopped onion with 1 teaspoon onion powder.
  • Substitute minced garlic with 1 teaspoon garlic powder.
  • Substitute minced jalapenos with pinch-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper.

Tips and Tricks

Cilantro Lime Rice is easy to make but here are some tips for successful rice every time:
  • Rinse and drain rice thoroughly:  rice contains a lot of starch which will cause the rice to stick together and can even make it mushy once cooked. To eliminate the mushy problem, it is crucial to remove the extra starch from the rice by rinsing it with cool water in a fine mesh sieve until the water runs clear – don’t shortcut this process!
  • Use a nonstick pan. It is essential your pan is nonstick because the rice will soak up all the liquid, evaporating the protective barrier between the rice and the pan.
  • Sauté rice:  toasting the rice adds another dimension of rich, complex, nutty flavor.  It also coats the rice in a protective toasted shell which helps them remain individual grains and not clump.
  • If liquid evaporates before rice is done: then add just a little liquid, keeping in mind that the rice will continue to steam for 10 minutes once it’s removed from heat, so it doesn’t need to be 100% cooked once liquid is gone.
  • If rice is still wet: don’t worry, it will continue to absorb the 10 minutes while it is steaming.  When you remove the lid after 10 minutes, you can let the rice sit an additional 5-10 minutes to dry out.
  • Let it steam:  don’t shortcut the 10-minute steaming process as it gives the rice time to finish cooking and firm up which in turn, makes it fluffier.
  • Use a fork to fluff the rice: instead of a spoon or a spatula because the tines help separate the rice grains whereas a spoon can mash or break the grains.
  • Salt and pepper to taste: if your Cilantro Lime Rice tastes like it's missing something - it is probably salt. I add a decent dose of freshly cracked salt and pepper to my rice before serving - just make sure you taste your rice as you season.


This Cilantro Lime Rice recipe stores beautifully!
  • Refrigerate:  Let Cilantro Lime Rice cool to room temperature then transfer to a tightly covered airtight container or to several small containers for meal prep. Store in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days.
  • Microwave: For small portions, microwave rice in a microwave safe container with a couple teaspoons water for 60-90 seconds or until warmed through.
  • Stove:  For larger portions, transfer Cilantro Lime Rice to a nonstick skillet along with a dash of water or chicken broth.  Heat over medium heat, stirring often until warmed through.


This easy Cilantro Lime Rice can also be frozen:
  • Let the rice cool completely before transferring to a freezer bag (recommended) or freezer-safe airtight container.  If using a bag, squeeze out as much excess air as possible to prevent freezer burn.
  • Label and freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Let rice defrost overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Reheat in the microwave or stove as directed above.