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CILANTRO LIME RICE

Cilantro Lime Rice – Nothing plain or boring about this flavorful green rice recipe! It’s easy to make and a great side side for Mexican, Tex-Mex, Asian and Indian cuisine. Plus, you’ll find easy directions for the stovetop, rice cooker or instant pot!

side angle view of a serving bowl filled with cilantro lime rice with items in the background.

What Is Cilantro Lime Rice?

Cilantro lime rice is a flavorful rice made with cooked rice, fresh cilantro, and lime. It easily takes plain rice to another level and is naturally vegan, gluten free, low-fat and oil-free!

This versatile rice recipe goes with all types of cuisines, and is especially great for quick, weeknight chipotle style burrito bowl – simply add beans, veggies, salsa (pico de gallo, fresh corn salsa, or mango salsa), and guacamole for a healthy, well-balanced meal.

Make your cilantro lime rice with white or brown rice, and cook it on the stove top, in an Instant Pot or rice cooker. It’s a simple side dish that you are going to love and find many uses for!

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side by side photos of the process of making cilantro lime rice on the stovetop.

Ingredients You’ll Need

In this recipe we’ll be simmering rice and adding lime and cilantro at the end creating a moist and flavorful rice that can be used in a variety of ways.

Here is everything you’ll need:

  • White Rice – My favorite long grain rice to use is basmati or canilla. For best results, it’s recommended to rinse the rice before cooking to remove any loose starch that can cause your cooked rice to get gummy. If using canilla rice, there is no need to rinse. This recipe was made using canilla rice. If using brown rice, it takes longer to cook so be sure to check package directions for using 1 cup of rice.
  • Liquids – Use water, or for more flavor use a combo of water and vegetable broth. Keep in mind if using all broth, the color may be little darker.
  • Salt – Add salt to taste. I use a generous pinch of mineral salt to start and go up from there to enhance the flavor of the lime and cilantro. I find I never need more than 1/2 teaspoon.
  • Bay Leaf – Can be optional.
  • Lime – Use about 2 – 3 tablespoons of lime juice, about 2 – 3 juicy limes (if your limes are dry, you’ll need a few more). Adjust the amount to suit your taste. And for a nice pop of lime flavor add a little lime zest to the cooking water!
  • Cilantro – You’ll want to use about 1/2 of a bunch of cilantro for every 1 cup of rice you use, using the leaves and a few small stems. I ♡ cilantro and added a little extra, but if you’re not a fan use less.

side by side photos showing the process of boiling and simmering cilantro lime rice.

How To Make Cilantro Lime Rice

Whether using the stovetop or rice cooker, making cilantro lime rice only requires a few simple steps:

  • Stovetop: Add the rinsed rice, water, garlic powder, bay leaf and salt to a medium sauce pan, add the water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook over a gentle boil for 18 – 20 minutes. Remove from heat, remove cover and let rest for 5 – 10 minutes. Remove bay leaf. Add the cilantro and lime, and fluff with a fork. Taste for salt and add more lime or cilantro to taste.
  • Instant Pot: Add the rinsed rice, water and salt to the bowl of your Instant Pot. Attach the lid and turn to lock the lid. Set the steam valve to SEAL. Cook white rice for 4-8 minutes. If using other rice, see this instant pot cooking chart. Allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes and then carefully release any remaining pressure. Unlock and open lid, remove bay leave. Let cool a few minutes, add cilantro and lime juice, fluff with a fork. Taste for flavor.
  • Rice Cooker: Add the rinsed rice, water (see manufacturer’s instructions for amount), garlic powder, bay leaf and salt to the bowl of your rice cooker. Pour the water overtop and cook according to manufacturer’s manual. When done, remove the bay leaf. Let cool a few minutes, add the cilantro and lime juice, and fluff with a fork. Taste for salt, and add more lime or cilantro to taste.

Recipe Tips & Suggestions:

  • Don’t add the cilantro right away. Before adding the cilantro, let the rice cool a bit, or the heat of the rice will cook the fragile cilantro turning it a dull, washed out green color.
  • Add black beans. Add a small can of rinsed and drained black beans to the cooked rice when mixing in the cilantro and lime juice for added protein and texture.
  • Don’t let your rice be out for more than 2 hours. Cooked rice is moist and known to be a breeding ground for bacteria. Just to be safe, store any leftovers within 2 hours.
  • Use cauliflower rice. Easily make this with cauliflower rice by simply cooking the cauliflower rice and adding the cilantro and lime at the end.

side by side photos of the end process of making cilantro lime rice.

How To Store Leftovers

Leftover rice can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 – 5 days, kept in an airtight container. If planning on storing leftovers, be sure to cool it quickly and store it within 2 hours to avoid bacteria growth.

Can You Freeze Cilantro Lime Rice?

Yes, rice freezes beautifully for up to 2 – 3 months if stored properly. To freeze, let the rice cool completely and store it in small or large portions using freezer friendly containers or baggies. Make sure to squeeze out any excess air before sealing. Use a marker to date the baggies or add dated stickers to containers.

How To Reheat

  • Refrigerated: When reheating the rice, add a splash of water over the top to loosen the clumps of dried grains. Reheat the rice in a pot over medium-low heat on the stovetop, stirring occasionally until heated through. Or heat in the microwave, covered, using 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval, until rice is warmed through.
  • From frozen: If using in warm stir fries and casseroles, no need to thaw, use it frozen as the heat of the dish will warm it up. If using for other dishes, let thaw in the refrigerator for a few hours and heat on the stovetop or microwave as mentioned above.

top down view of freshly made cilantro lime rice in a pan with fork.

How To Use Cilantro Lime Rice

This flavorful rice in can be used in and served alongside all types of cuisines. Here’s a just a few ideas on how to use cilantro lime rice.

top down view of cilantro lime rice in a serving bowl with items around.

If you try this cilantro lime rice recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment and rate it below. I love to hear what you think, or any changes you make.

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CILANTRO LIME RICE

Cilantro lime rice is easy to make and a great side side for Mexican, Tex-Mex, Asian and Indian cuisine. It’s vegan, gluten free, low fat and oil free recipe. Cook your rice with the stovetop, rice cooker or instant pot!

  • Author: Julie | The Simple Veganista
  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4
  • Category: Side
  • Method: Simmer
  • Cuisine: Vegan, Mexican, Tex-Mex

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 cup long grain rice (my fav is basmati or canilla)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon mineral salt
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped (leaves and a few stems)
  • 23 limes, juice of (about 23 tablespoons)

Instructions

First step: To rinse the rice or not? It is recommended to rinse rice before cooking to remove any loose starches that may make your cooked rice to become gummy. I almost never do this, but if you find your rice does become gummy, you may need to make a habit of it. If using canilla rice, which calls for skipping this step to keep all the nutrients, I’ve never had a problem with gumminess using this rice.

Stovetop: Add the rice, water, garlic powder, bay leaf and salt to a medium sauce pan, add the water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook over a gentle boil for 18 – 20 minutes. Remove from heat, remove cover and let rest for 5 – 10 minutes. Remove bay leaf. Add the cilantro and lime, and fluff with a fork. Taste for salt and add more lime or cilantro to taste.

Rice Cooker: Add the rice, water (see manufacturer’s instructions for amount), garlic powder, bay leaf and salt to the bowl of your rice cooker. Pour the water overtop and cook according to manufacturer’s manual. Once the rice is finished, remove bay leaf. Let cool a few minutes, add the cilantro and lime juice, fluff with a fork. Taste for salt and add more lime or cilantro to taste.

Instant Pot: Add the rice, water and salt to the bowl of your instant pot. Attach the lid and turn to lock the lid. Set the steam valve to SEAL. Cook white rice for 4-8 minutes. If using other rice, see this instant pot cooking chart. Allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes and then carefully release any remaining pressure.

Serves 4

Store: Leftover rice can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 – 5 days, kept in an airtight container. If planning on storing leftovers, be sure to cool it quickly and store it within 2 hours to avoid bacteria growth. To keep longer, store in the freezer using freezer safe containers or baggies for up to 2 months.

To Reheat: Add a splash of water over the top to loosen the clumps of dried grains. Reheat the rice in a pot over medium-low heat on the stovetop, stirring occasionally until heated through. Or heat in the microwave, covered, using 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval, until rice is warmed through.

Notes

Add a little lime zest to the water before cooking to add a nice pop of lime flavor.

Don’t add the cilantro right away, let the rice cool a bit, or the heat of the rice will cook the fragile cilantro turning it a dull, washed out green color.

Add a small can of rinsed and drained black beans to the cooked rice when mixing in the cilantro and lime juice for added protein and texture.

Keywords: cilantro lime rice

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9 Comments

  1. Mince the tender cilantro stems and add when the rice is done. The stems are more robust, stand up well to the heat and impart even more flavour than the leaves.

  2. Can I use left over rice to make this recipe?

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      This recipe is for uncooked rice – but you can reheat your leftover rice, adding garlic powder during warming, and lime and cilantro at the end. I hope that helps!

  3. Leigh Anne says:

    Could I use Birdseye frozen Southwest rice and add the lime, garlic, black beans and cilantro? The frozen rice had red peppers, carrots and peas in it already.

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      Great question, Leigh! Yes, you can frozen rice. Just cook it according to the package directions, adding in the lime and cilantro at the end. Enjoy!

  4. OMG!! Made this this tonight in my rice cooker. Double the seasoning and lime juice as I used 2 cups of rice. This was amazing, my husband said this was better than Chipotle. Only used a 1/4 of the Cilantro (not a huge fan). But the flavor was amazing!!!

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      So glad this was a success! Thanks for sharing, Amy! Cheers :)

  5. Jennie Jarvis says:

    Can’t wait to try this! I bought your cookbook, and I use it regularly, so I know this will be awesome! Just FYI, you left Bay Leaf off the ingredients list. It’s in the directions, but you might want to include that in the ingredients too. :)

    Keep doing all the awesome things you do!

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      Thanks for the FYI, I’ve updated the post and recipe card to include the bay leaf! And thank you for picking up the ebook, glad you’re finding it useful! Enjoy the rice! Cheers :)

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