This cilantro lime rice is made in one pot in less than 30 minutes! Flavorful, fluffy and perfectly tender. Tastes just like the rice from Chipotle or Cafe Rio!
Whenever I’m back home in Arizona, I always make sure to visit Café Rio for a quick lunch or dinner. It’s one of my favorite restaurants and something I crave reguarly. I’ve also recreated a few more of their dishes to enjoy at home, including this slow cooker sweet pork and creamy cilantro lime dressing.
I absolutely love the lime and cilantro rice from Chipotle and Café Rio. We’ve been making this copycat recipe for years and I figured it was about time I shared it with you. If you haven’t made it, now is the time!
Cooking your own rice on the stove can seem a bit scary at first, but trust me, this recipe is super simple. It’s great for beginners and is made in just one pot in 30 minutes. You’ll have perfectly fluffy and tender rice every time!
We love using it to make burrito bowls, taco salads or alongisde our favorite ground beef tacos. It tastes amazing served with just about any Mexican meal. Once you make this recipe, you’re family is going to be begging you for more!
Tips for the best cilantro and lime rice
- Use REAL lime juice. None of that bottled stuff you can buy at the grocery store. Use the juice and zest from a fresh lime for the best flavor.
- Rinse the rice. Before cooking the rice, make sure to give it a good rinse under cold water. Simply place it in a mesh strainer and rinse until it runs clear. This will remove the extra starch and prevent it from becoming too sticky.
- Sugar. It may sound strange, but adding in a few teaspoons of sugar really enhances the flavor. It helps balance out the tang from the citrus and gives the dish the perfect hint of sweetness. You don’t have to add it, but I definitely recommend it!
- Stir ONCE. That’s right. There’s not a lot of stirring when cooking rice on the stove. After you bring the rice to a boil, turn the heat to low and then give it ONE quick stir. Then cover the pan with the lid and let it continue to cook for about another 20 minutes.
- Don’t remove the lid. While the rice is simmering, make sure not to remove the lid. I know it may seem tempting to give it a quick peak, but don’t! You want to keep the steam trapped so that it cooks properly and will easily loosen from the bottom of the pan.
- Fluff with a fork. Just before serving, use a fork to gently mix the rice around in the pot for about a minute. This will help break up any lumps, as well as allow any extra moisture to evaporate. Make sure to be gentle as you fluff, so that the rice doesn’t get mushy and holds it’s shape.
Storing + freezing
This rice will keep in the fridge for about 3-4 days if stored in an airtight container. You can also extend it’s shelf life by storing in the freezer. To freeze, simply add to a freezer bag (make sure it cools completely first) and seal any extra air out. Then place in the freezer for up to 3 months.
For best results, follow the steps below:
- Stove: Place in a saucepan and add a couple of Tablespoons of chicken broth. This helps keep the rice moist and fluffy, so it doesn’t dry out. Then turn heat to low and cover saucepan with lid. Let steam for a few minutes until warm, stirring occasionally.
- Microwave: Place rice in a bowl and pour in a few Tablespoons of broth to keep it moist and fluffy. Make sure to cover the bowl with a damp paper towel or small microwave-safe plate to allow it to steam. Then cook until warm.
Favorite meals to serve with:
Cilantro Lime Rice
- 2 Tablespoons salted butter , or olive oil
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic , 2 cloves
- 1 cup long grain rice
- 15 ounce can chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon lime zest , more if desired
- 2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice , 1 lime
- 3 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 1-2 teaspoons granulated sugar , optional
Salt and pepper, to taste
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-heat. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes. Stir in rice, chicken broth and lime zest. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low.
- Stir the rice once and then cover the pan with a lid and cook for 18-20 minutes. Remove lid and let water evaporate.
- Whisk together the lime juice, cilantro, sugar, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Then pour over rice and fluff with a fork.