Copycat Chipotle Cilantro Lime Rice

Copycat Chipotle Cilantro Lime Rice

The cilantro lime rice from the restaurant chain Chipotle is one of their signature offerings. The flavorful blend of chopped fresh cilantro with the tangy zing of lime pairs perfectly with the seasoned beans, spiced meats, and salsas used in their burritos, bowls, and salads. It is very easy to re-create this menu item at home—the key is to use fresh ingredients, just like the restaurant does.

When chopping the fresh cilantro, don't worry about plucking all the leaves from the stems. In fact, cilantro stems infuse great flavor into recipes. Also, be sure to zest the lime first and then cut it in half and juice it. This makes it much easier to protect your fingers when running the fruit along a sharp grater. One small lime will yield enough zest and juice for this recipe.

Serve cilantro lime rice with stewed black beans, grilled chicken or barbacoa, and fun sides and toppings like cheese, guacamole, salsa, and sour cream.


  • 2 cups water

  • 1 cup long-grain white rice

  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped

  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime zest, from 1 small lime

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, from 1 small lime

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni & Eric Kleinberg

  2. In a 3-quart saucepan, combine water, rice, oil, and salt. Bring to a boil.

    Rice and water in a pot

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni & Eric Kleinberg

  3. Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes covered.

    Pot with the lid on tight

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni & Eric Kleinberg

  4. Stir in fresh cilantro, lime zest and juice.

    Lime and cilantro added to cooked rice

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni & Eric Kleinberg


Don't toss out those cilantro stems. Add a bundle to your pot along with the rice to infuse the dish with more cilantro flavor. Fish out the stems before adding the freshly chopped leaves and lime.

Recipe Variations

The long-grain rice used in this recipe can be prepared on the stovetop as shown above, but it can also be made in the microwave, Instant Pot, or rice cooker.

  • Microwave: Combine 2 cups water and 1 cup rice in a 2-quart microwave-safe dish. Cover and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Reduce setting to 50% power and microwave for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the microwave and let stand for 5 minutes covered. Then add the cilantro, lime juice, and zest as described. (Note that cooking times may vary due to differences in microwaves.)
  • Instant Pot: Place the rice in a fine-mesh colander and rinse thoroughly before placing in the electric pressure cooker. Add the rinsed rice, only 1 1/4 cups of water, and salt to the pressure cooker pot (less water is needed when making rice in an electric pressure cooker). Stir to combine. Lock the lid in place and select high pressure and 3 minutes cook time. When the timer beeps, turn the pressure cooker off and use a natural pressure release for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, do a quick pressure release. Stir in the vegetable oil, cilantro, lime juice, and zest.
  • Rice Cooker: Follow the same ratios for water, rice, and salt. Cook according to the manufacturer’s directions. When the rice is done, stir in the vegetable oil, cilantro, lime juice, and zest.


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