Cilantro Lime Rice

This easy cilantro lime rice recipe is fresh and bright. Serve it as a side dish with Asian or Mexican food, or use it as the base of your next burrito bowl.

Cilantro Lime Rice

This cilantro lime rice recipe is even better than Chipotle’s.

Yup, I said it. This easy cilantro lime rice is fresh and bright, flecked with chopped cilantro, lime zest, savory scallions, and jalapeños for heat. It’s an epic base for a homemade burrito bowl—just add black beans, fajitas veggies, salsa, and guac!—but it’s also a versatile side dish. Serve it with Mexican fare like tacos or enchiladas, with an Asian-inspired meal like crispy sesame tofu, or with whatever you’re grilling. This recipe couldn’t be easier or more delicious. I think you’ll love it!

Cilantro Lime Rice Recipe Ingredients

How to Make Cilantro Lime Rice

This cilantro lime rice recipe is easy to make!

First, cook the rice. I recommend using long-grain white jasmine or basmati rice for this recipe.

  • Both these varieties cook quickly, in about 15 minutes.
  • They’re also fragrant and aromatic, so they add depth of flavor to the final dish.

For rice cooking instructions, see my guide to how to cook rice on the stove. You can also make Instant Pot rice or prepare the rice in a rice cooker. Tip: Rinse the rice before cooking to remove excess starch from the outside of the grains. Without rinsing, the cooked rice will be sticky. You want it to be fluffy for this recipe. 

When the rice is cooked, but still hot, toss it with garlic, scallions, and lime zest. Adding these ingredients while the rice is still warm helps it soak up their flavor.

Let it cool slightly, and then add olive oil, sea salt, diced jalapeño, lime juice, and cilantro. I wait to add these ingredients until the rice has had a chance to cool so that the cilantro and jalapeño don’t soften or wilt.

Season to taste and serve. That’s it!

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.


Not feeling white rice? Feel free to use another type of rice in this recipe.

Cilantro lime rice recipe

How to Serve Cilantro Lime Rice

This cilantro lime rice recipe is a fresh, flavorful side dish. I especially love it with Asian and Mexican-inspired dishes. Pair it with crispy sesame tofu or baked tempeh, or serve it alongside enchiladas or taquitos. It’s also a great addition to a taco bar!

Of course, à la Chipotle, the rice is a tasty base for burrito bowls too. Build your own with

…or check out my burrito bowl recipe. Tip: cilantro lime rice is delicious in a sushi bowl too!

How do you like to serve cilantro lime rice? Let me know in the comments!


This recipe is best on the day it’s made, but leftovers keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. Enjoy them cold or at room temperature, or pop them in the microwave to reheat!

Cilantro Lime Rice

More Favorite Rice Recipes

If you love this cilantro lime rice, try one of these easy rice recipes next:

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Cilantro Lime Rice

rate this recipe:
5 from 94 votes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Serves 4
This easy cilantro lime rice recipe is a great side dish for Asian or Mexican-inspired meals. Of course, we also love it in homemade burrito bowls!


  • 1 cup long-grain jasmine rice, rinsed well and drained
  • cups water
  • 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely minced
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • ½ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes or ¼ diced jalapeño, optional


  • Combine the rice, water, and 1 teaspoon of the olive oil in a medium saucepan with a lid. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes (or check the time listed on the package of your rice).
  • Uncover and fluff with a fork. Add the garlic, scallions, and lime zest and stir to combine. Let cool for 1 minute, then add the remaining 2 teaspoons of olive oil, ¼ teaspoon salt, lime juice, cilantro, and red pepper flakes or jalapeño, if using. Stir to combine and season to taste.



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Rate this recipe (after making it)

  1. Derrick

    Made this tonight. My first time ever attempting cilantro lime rice. Easy recipe to follow and it was delicious. I used fresh cilantro from our garden. So 👌. I guess it was good. My wife ate two helpings 😊

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Derrick, I’m so glad it was a hit!

      • Derrick

        She liked it so much, she asked me to make it again tonight. I think I made it even better this time

  2. Judy Smith

    5 stars
    So good, so simple! I threw in a tablespoon of Somos Mexican Chili Crisp instead of the jalapeños. 👍👍

  3. Sue

    5 stars
    I made this and it was so good! I cooked the rice in my zorirushi added a bit of olive oil, scallions, garlic and lime zest. Cooked the rice. After the rice was cooked, I added butter, salt, lime juice, cilantro, more olive oil and fluffed. It was amazing. Thank you for the recipe!!

  4. Donna

    I’m thinking of serving this with spicy orange chicken (Jalapeno peppers, orange/lime juice). The recipes have similar ingredients but would it be overkill? I want them to enhance each other. Would you recommend it?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Donna, I think that sounds great together.

  5. Wanda Goodman

    5 stars
    This is the best Mexican rice! If you’re considering not using the jalapeño, please reconsider. It’s good without it but just that little bit of fresh jalapeno took it to the next level. Thanks for sharing!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  6. Nancy Brennan

    5 stars
    I made it tonight and it was awesome. I used lime olive oil and I look forward to making it again !

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Nancy, I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  7. PJ

    5 stars
    Altough I forgot the red pepper flakes, I loved this! I used it in burrito bolws along with taco quinoa “meat” and other tex-mex fixings.
    I can’t wait to make it again 😉

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  8. Cecily

    Absolutely delicious! Love your recipes, really into meal planning and Love & Lemons is a very reliant source for good, healthy make-aheads, thank you!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Cecily, I’m so glad you’ve been enjoying the recipes! Thank you for taking a minute to let us know!

  9. Lexane

    5 stars
    This is a bit off topic, but the spoon in the photo is beautiful. Do you know where it came from? Thank you so much!

    Love love love your recipes!

  10. May

    5 stars
    Very easy and tasty. I used our rice cooker and did half white and half brown rice and it was a great base for our burrito bowls.

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the rice!

  11. CRK

    Is this rice dish meant to be served cold, room temperature or hot as it says it can be made ahead?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Cynthia, any temperature is fine. I serve it hot if I’m making it right then, room temp if I’m preparing other components, or cold if I’m eating it myself for lunch the next day. Hope that helps 🙂

  12. June

    5 stars
    I tasted cilantro lime rice at a restaurant while on vacation and I fell in love. I’ve been looking for the flavor and have bought different brands of preseasoned rice hoping for something similar. I thought I’d have to settle for mediocre until I found your recipe. This is it!!!! So simple, yet do profound! The flavor is amazing! I just made a huge pot and it’s just me, my husband and our son, but I don’t see this lasting for leftovers tomorrow! Lol. Thank you so much! Definitely a keeper!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi June, I’m so glad it was a hit and that you don’t have to settle for mediocre rice, ha ha 🙂

  13. summer

    Hi where can I find the video for this cilantro and rice recipe? thank you

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Summer, I don’t have a video for this one yet, but I’m slowly working on getting a video for each recipe.

  14. Jen

    Hi! Looking for make ahead bbq apps. Can I make the salsa and rice the day before and then prepare the peppers day of? Or what are your favorite apps?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Jen, can you let me know which peppers and salsa you’re referring to? (I’m not sure if you left the comment on the right recipe). The cilantro lime rice could be made the day before. If it gets dry in the fridge overnight, just stir in a little bit of water.

  15. Kim

    Served with sous vide salmon. Delish! Thank you for this recipe.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  16. Clelie Rich

    And for those of use who can’t tolerate cilantro, it’s a perfect rice base recipe to replace the cilantro with mint or parsley. I love my mint version!

  17. Dan Phillips

    Looks like a wonderful side with Blackened Chicken Tacos and Mango Salsa.

  18. Kate

    My husband and I truly enjoyed the cilantro lime rice. It was bright, fresh and perfect for our chicken rice bowl. Thanks so much.

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.