Copycat Chipotle Cilantro Lime Rice

Copycat Chipotle Cilantro Lime Rice

The Spruce / Kristina Vanni & Eric Kleinberg

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 25 mins
Total: 30 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Yields: 4 cups

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 recreate this menu item at home—the key is to use fresh ingredients, just like the restaurant.

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 salt
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro (finely chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Copycat Chipotle Cilantro Lime Rice ingredients

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni & Eric Kleinberg

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

    Rice and water in a pot

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni & Eric Kleinberg

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

    Pot with the lid on tight

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni & Eric Kleinberg

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

    Lime and cilantro added to cooked rice

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni & Eric Kleinberg

  5. Serve and enjoy!


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 the electric pressure cooker). Stir to combine. Lock lid in place and select high pressure and 3 minutes cook time. When 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 manufacturer directions. When the rice is done, stir in the vegetable oil, cilantro, lime juice, and zest.