Cilantro lime rice recipe from Mexican cuisine is a delicious, easy vegan rice dish that you can make in 20 minutes. Very flavorful, moreish, vegan and gluten free.
I often prepare this lime cilantro rice for burrito bowls, one of our favorite Mexican meal to recreate at home. Though from Mexican cuisine, this rice is a wonderful addition in even Indian and continental meals.
It is super easy to make this rice, absolutely no more effort needed than cooking regular rice. Here I am sharing how to make cilantro lime rice recipe at home in instant pot and stove top. Enjoy!
I first tasted this irresistible chipotle cilantro lime rice many years back and I became a fan instantly. Then my friend shared a wonderful copycat recipe which I have been making ever since.
Somedays I make burritos with this rice but mostly I serve it as main meal with a salad or vegetable dish. As I said above this recipe is super versatile and you need not go all out to make a full Mexican spread. This alone will make a filling satiating meal.
While I have made this rice in instant pot, you can easily make it in a pan or pressure cooker too. Along with the step by step recipe of cilantro lime rice, I am also sharing some tips on how to make basmati rice fluffy, non sticky and flavorful. I hope you will try this out and enjoy as much as we do 🙂
About This Recipe
Cilantro lime rice is a popular rice dish from Mexican cuisine just like Spanish rice. Here the rice is flavored with garlic and tossed with lots of cilantro leaves or coriander leaves.
It is a very simple preparation, ridiculously easy to make yet tastes absolutely wonderful, flavorful and really addictive.
All you need to make lime cilantro rice are long grain rice like basmati, loads of fresh cilantro leaves, garlic and good olive oil. That’s it. With very few quality ingredients this rice comes together in minutes.
The mild flavor of basmati rice compliments the taste and flavor of cilantro so nicely while the lime juice brings everything together very well.
For best flavor I highly recommend using very good quality olive oil for this recipe. This rice is naturally vegan and gluten free too if you care.
You can serve this as side dish in any lavish spread or if you are lazy like me serve it as main dish with too. I have listed out some yummy serving ideas, please check in the notes section.
Do try out this easy homemade cilantro lime rice recipe and enjoy. It is
super easy to make
one pot recipe
vegan and gluten free
ready in 20 minutes
very close to chipotle’s in flavor and taste
Delicious, flavorful and fluffy
Rice– I always use basmati rice to make cilantro lime rice. You could use any long grain rice here. If it is unavailable you can use Jasmine rice. While traditionally white rice is used for this recipe, you can also brown rice or brown basmati rice. Just add required water according to the variety of rice you use.
Cilantro leaves– Rinse, thoroughly clean and chop the cilantro leaves very finely. Easiest way for this is to use a food processor or chopper. I always add tender stems of cilantro along with leaves. The stems have strong flavor and it is a good idea to use them.
If you want a very pronounced cilantro flavor use 1/2 cup more than mentioned in the recipe.
Lime– We are adding lime in two forms in this cilantro rice. Lime zest and fresh lime juice. Again the quantity can be varied as per taste. If lime is not available use lemon. It would be cilantro lemon rice then 🙂
Garlic– Freshly minced cloves as much as you like 🙂
Other ingredients– good quality olive oil, salt and water. Instead of water you can use mild vegetable stock or broth too.
How To Make Cilantro Lime Rice
Pick and rinse the basmati rice once or twice gently. Soak the rice in plenty of water 20 minutes.
Drain the soaked rice in a colander and spread on a plate. Set aside for 10 minutes. In the meantime rinse and chop the cilantro leaves finely. Peel and mince the garlic cloves too.
Heat olive oil in a heavy pan over medium heat. Add minced garlic and saute for few seconds. Do not brown them.
Now add the soaked and drained rice.
Saute the rice well to coat the olive well into grains. Saute until all the moisture in the rice is absorbed.
Now add 2 cups water, lime zest and salt to taste. Bring to a boil.
Cover the pan, reduce the heat and simmer for 8-12 minutes. Do not peak or stir the rice while it is cooking. After the time, remove from flame and let sit for 5 minutes. Open the lid and fluff up the rice gently with a fork or spatula.
Now add the lime juice and chopped cilantro leaves. Mix well yet gently without breaking the rice.
Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle more cilantro leaves. Place some lime wedges and serve cilantro lime juice warm.
Instant Pot Method
To make cilantro lime rice in instant pot here are the instructions.
Place the steel insert inside your instant pot and switch it on. Press saute mode.
Once it displays hot, add olive oil. Next add minced garlic and saute for few seconds.
Now add the soaked and drained rice. Mix well.
Stir in water, zest of lime and salt. For instant pot add 1.5 cups water only.
Cancel saute, close the instant pot and press manual or pressure cooker mode. Set time for 4 minutes and pressure valve in seal position.
Once cooked let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, open the IP and fluff the rice gently.
Add cilantro leaves and lime juice. Mix well and serve warm.
This cilantro lime rice is an excellent side dish in any Mexican, Asian or continental meal. It tastes very good with thai curries like yellow curry, green curry, red curry or panang curry, even Indian curries like kadai vegetables, kadai paneer etc.
How to make basmati rice fluffy and long?
One question that I am asked is this 🙂 Basmati rice is a very delicate variety of rice and by proper preparation and cooking you can make it super aromatic, fluffy and long.
First of all while rinsing basmati rice, do not rinse it more than once or twice. If you rinse it vigorously, basmati rice will loose its flavor.
Next soaking the rice for 20 minutes before cooking makes the cooked grains super long and fluffy.
Can I use butter instead of olive oil?
Yes, you can but it will be only vegetarian and not vegan.
What if I don’t have lime?
Use lemon juice and zest.
How long can I store this cilantro rice?
This rice tastes good when served warm and leftovers can be stored for 2 days in refrigerator and can be frozen for a month.
How to make this rice more flavorful?
Add tender stems of cilantro along with leaves and do not miss adding zest of lime for that extra flavor. You can also use some stock or broth instead of water.
More Mexican Recipes
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Cilantro Lime Rice
- 1 cup basmati rice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil light
- 3 garlic cloves peeled and minced
- zest of one lime small
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup cilantro leaves finely chopped, tightly packed
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- Pick and rinse the basmati rice once or twice gently. Soak the rice in plenty of water 20 minutes.
- Drain the soaked rice in a colander and spread on a plate. Set aside for 10 minutes. In the meantime rinse and chop the cilantro leaves finely. Peel and mince the garlic cloves too.
- Heat olive oil in a heavy pan over medium heat. Add minced garlic and saute for few seconds. Do not brown them.
- Now add the soaked and drained rice.
- Saute the rice well to coat the olive well into grains.
- Saute until all the moisture in the rice is absorbed.
- Now add 2 cups water, lime zest and salt to taste. Bring to a boil.
- Cover the pan, reduce the heat and simmer for 8-12 minutes. Do not peak or stir the rice while it is cooking. After the time, remove from flame and let sit for 5 minutes. Open the lid and fluff up the rice gently with a fork or spatula.
- Now add the lime juice and chopped cilantro leaves. Mix well yet gently without breaking the rice.
- Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle more cilantro leaves. Place some lime wedges and serve cilantro lime juice warm.