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Here’s how to make cilantro lime rice: the perfect staple for any meal! This easy side dish recipe comes together with little effort.

Cilantro Lime Rice
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When it comes to side dish recipes…this one is a staple everyone needs. Try this easy Cilantro Lime Rice recipe! Sure, you can make a pot of rice as a side. But add cilantro, lime juice and lime zest and it catapults it to an entirely different level. The ways to serve it are endless: use it in burrito bowls (Chipotle style!), tacos, or as a side for grilled shrimp skewers. It’s incredibly versatile, and we find ourselves making it often. Really, any meal is better with a little cilantro lime rice!

How to make cilantro lime rice

This cilantro lime rice recipe is fast and easy: and only includes a few extra steps to boiling up a pot of rice. But for the amount of flavor it adds, you’ll want to make it this way every time! It takes a pot of rice from bland to irresistible. Here are the basic steps:

  • Cook the rice. It starts basic! Use any long-grain rice.
  • Stir in salt and garlic powder, then steam 10 minutes. Remove the rice from the heat. Quickly uncover and add garlic powder and salt, then cover and let it steam. This allows the seasonings to infuse while the rice steams.
  • Stir in chopped cilantro, lime juice and lime zest. Then uncover and stir in the cilantro and lime! Using both juice and zest infuses the entire pot with tangy flavor.
Cilantro lime rice

Use brown rice or white rice (make sure it’s long grain)

White rice is best flavor-wise for cilantro lime rice, in our personal opinion. But do you prefer brown rice? There are some health advantages of brown rice vs white rice. Use either one here! Here’s what to know:

  • Use long grain rice either way. Short grain doesn’t result in the best texture for this style of rice.
  • Brown rice works with the same instructions: just cook it for 45 minutes instead of 15!

The portion size of this cilantro lime rice recipe

This recipe is written for 1 cup of rice, which experts typically say is 4 servings of rice. But this is a pretty modest serving size, if you ask us! We’ve written the recipe below for 1 cup rice to make it easy to multiply into larger quantities. Use the ratio 1 cup dry rice equals 3 cups cooked.

  • Make 1.5 times the recipe to yield about 1 cup rice per serving.
  • Or, double the recipe to make 6 cups total. This makes more for leftovers, too! Remember when reheating rice, add a few tablespoons water to help it re-hydrate.
Shrimp Bowl
Use cilantro lime rice in a shrimp bowl for an easy (and tasty) dinner

How to chop cilantro…fast!

The only area of technique in this cilantro lime rice recipe? Chopping the cilantro! If you’re not used to doing this, it can feel like it takes ages. Fortunately, we’ve got a quick way to do it:

  • Quickly remove the leaves: Hold the root ends of the cilantro with your non-cutting hand. Use a large chef’s knife to scrape off the leaves in a downward motion. Then use your fingers to remove any large stems from the cilantro leaves.
  • Chop the cilantro: Holding the top of the blade with your non-cutting hand, rock the blade back and forth to chop the cilantro. Pull the leaves back into a pile and go over them with the knife several times until the pieces are the size that you’re looking for!
  • Watch the video: This video is helpful to show the process!

Ways to serve cilantro lime rice

If we listed all the ways to serve this cilantro lime rice recipe…we’d write a book! (Actually, that’s an interesting concept…) Here are a few of our top ways to serve it:

How do you love to serve cilantro rice? Let us know in the comments below!

Cilantro lime rice

This cilantro lime rice recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free.

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Cilantro Lime Rice

Easy Cilantro Lime Rice

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 2 reviews

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
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Here’s how to make cilantro lime rice: the perfect staple for any meal! This easy side dish recipe comes together with little effort.


  • 1 cup* long grain white rice**
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest


  1. Add the rice to a saucepan with 2 cups water. Bring it to a boil, then cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until the water is completely evaporated. While the rice cooks, prep the cilantro, lime juice and lime zest. 
  2. Remove the cover and stir in the salt and garlic powder. Return the cover and allow to steam for 10 minutes. Uncover and stir in the cilantro, coconut oil, lime juice and lime zest. Refrigerate leftovers; to reheat, heat on the stovetop or in the microwave with a few tablespoons water until warmed and moist (you may need to add a pinch more salt). 


*This recipe makes 4 modest servings. For larger servings, make 1.5 or 2 times the recipe.

**You can also use this method with brown rice if you like. Follow the same instructions, but simmer for 45 minutes in Step 1.

  • Category: Side dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mexican inspired
  • Diet: Vegan

Love cilantro?

Of course, we know lots of haters. But not us! Here are a few top cilantro recipes to use this tasty herb:

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Alora L says:

    I literally love this recipe, it’s delicious and good for just a random little snack. Thank you for the recipe!

    1. Lorelei says:

      I ADORE this recipe! Thank you for sharing, it’s so delicious. I have a few sensory issues with smell so ive found that if you use butter, the coconut smell isn’t such an issue (BTW this is not meant to say that this recipe isn’t good because of the coconut, its just a little note for those who also have smell issues :))

  2. Rick Olps says:

    I really like this recipe because I love cilantro, but the nutrition facts do not list sodium. With 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt I believe that’s over 600mg of sodium. I’m on a low sodium diet and I’m sure there are others so I either do not use salt or cut back on the amount suggested. My only suggestion is to include sodium in nutrition facts.

  3. Roya K says:

    Hi! This sounds delicious but may I ask why you chose coconut oil?

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      You could use any fat! We like the taste of the coconut oil.

  4. Helen Smith says:

    Question, I read your how to make rice like pasta. Sounds good as mine often is sticky. OK, then the cilantro rice recipe says to cook the rice the traditional way.
    So which is it? I’d like to make this recipe with your pasta way of cooking rice.
    Please advise. Thanx

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      Hi! Both methods work, use the boiled method if you prefer a more al-dente rice vs sticky.