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Cilantro Lime Rice

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This cilantro lime rice is so fast and easy to make; you can transform basic rice even if you have already started cooking!


Main image for Cilantro Lime Rice


There are times I am just in the mood for restaurant quality meals. And nothing will make a basic rice dish feel fancier than this quick and easy cilantro lime rice.

Do you ever have those times when you have already started cooking rice, but you aren’t in the mood for plain rice? It’s too late to cook it in chicken broth or toast the long grain rice before cooking.

This recipe is the perfect rescue for you because you make this rice by adding the extra flavors at the end of cooking before serving. It doesn’t increase your cooking time, because you can prepare the lime and cilantro while the rice cooks on the stove top.

So even if you started your rice cooker and you just wanted to get something on the table, this will change it into a delicious recipe. That’s my kind of kitchen magic!

What is Easy Cilantro Lime Rice?

The main difference between cilantro lime rice and basic rice is two extra flavors: cilantro and lime. Those flavors change simple rice to an easy, bright dish that can go with so many different things.

There are many different variations, but I think the best rice is this recipe. It is so simple and keeps it so you can taste the flavor of each ingredient. 

Other recipes add so many extras, and I love being able to have a straight lime and cilantro rice flavor. It is the perfect side dish when you need a tasty, simple recipe.


Water, butter and rice in a pot, un cooked


What ingredients are in Easy Cilantro Lime Rice?

  • Water: the simplest way to cook rice
  • Butter: my favorite flavor burst that also keeps the rice from sticking together
  • Rice: my family prefers Jasmine Rice like restaurants use, but feel free to use basmati rice or anything you have
  • Lime zest: zest is tiny pieces of the skin of the lime, and it adds a burst of lime flavor without adding texture to the dish
  • Fresh lime juice: fresh is my favorite, and since you need lime zest, use the fresh limes you zested and squeeze all the juice out
  • Fresh Cilantro: a classic flavor mixed with lime that brightens the dish and adds a nice color pop to the rice 

Pro Tip: To squeeze the most juice out of your lime, be sure it’s room temperature first.

How to make Easy Cilantro Lime Rice:

  1. Rinse the rice.
  2. Cook the rice over medium heat.
  3. Stir in lime & cilantro.
  4. Serve!

Pro Tip: Do not skip the first step! Rinsing the rice helps remove extra starch that will leave you with perfectly fluffy rice that doesn’t stick together in a big clump.


Cooked Rice


What goes with Easy Cilantro Lime Rice?

There are so many options here! If this is your first time making this flavorful rice, think of Mexican food. What is your favorite Mexican meal?

Think of Chipotle’s cilantro lime rice, Cafe Rio rice, or any other restaurant lime and cilantro rice.

You can use it as a base for Pork Carnitas Bowl, which is rice with taco or burrito toppings, or on a Fiesta Salad.

We’re also fans of Pulled Pork Sweet Potato.  Such an easy quick meal that packs flavor!

I also love it for a variety of Proteins.

Chicken: Chicken Bacon Pineapple Kabobs, Mambo Chicken, Mexican Stuffed Chicken Breast, Ritz Cracker Parmesan Chicken and Imperial Chicken

Beef: Bacon Cheeseburger Quesadilla, Pepper Steak with Stew Meat, Instant Pot Pot Roast with Cream of Mushroom Soup, Sheet Pan Steak Fajitas, Polynesian Beef.

Is Cilantro Lime Rice gluten free?

Yes, every ingredient in this cilantro lime rice recipe is naturally gluten free.

This is a great recipe when you need a meal for your gluten free friends.


cilantro, lime zest and lime juice added to cooked rice


Is Easy Cilantro Rice vegan?

Cilantro lime rice as written is not vegan because it uses butter to cook the rice.

To make a vegan rice, use your favorite vegan oil or butter to cook the rice. 

How long does Lime and Cilantro Rice last?

For the freshest flavors, we recommend eating this recipe within 3 days after making it.

You can eat it up to a week after, but fresh herbs like cilantro wilt fast even when mixed inside a dish.


Cilantro Lime Rice all mixed up and ready to serve


Can you freeze Easy Cilantro Lime Rice?

Yes you can freeze cilantro lime rice! 

I love freezing rice because it gives me instant sides that I can pull out when I need something fast, like after I’ve made a big grocery run. 

If you have frozen homemade cilantro rice, a rotisserie chicken, and some salad, you have an instant dinner.

To freeze, just take your already cooked and cooled down rice, put it in a freezer safe airtight container, and freeze. 

When you are ready to eat it, pull it out and microwave until hot. Or add frozen rice to a medium saucepan with 1-2 teaspoons of water and heat until hot.


side view of rice in bowl with chop sticks


Is Easy Cilantro Lime Rice healthy?

Yes cilantro lime rice is healthy. This recipe has all whole food ingredients.

Whole grain (rice), fresh fruit (lime), fresh herbs (cilantro), and a small amount of butter. 

It is a great healthy food option when served with other foods to make a balanced plate, especially if you use a whole grain rice like jasmine or basmati.

Can dogs eat Lime Rice?

No, your dog cannot eat cilantro lime rice. Limes are toxic to dogs.

You can give your dog plain rice or rice with cilantro. But save this easy rice recipe for the humans at your table.


top view looking down at bowl of rice with chop sticks on the side


I don’t have Jasmine Rice. Can I still make Cilantro Lime Rice?

Yes! Jasmine rice (a long-grain white rice) is my absolute favorite, but it’s not the only kind of rice you can use. 

  • Long-grain rice will give you more light and fluffy rice.
  • Short grain rice will give you more sticky rice.
  • White rice is brown rice that has had the outer layer removed so it cooks faster. 
  • Brown rice takes longer to cook, but it has more nutrients than white rice. 
  • Black rice will add a nutty flavor and is fun to mix in with other colors of rice. 


cilantro rice in a bowl with chop sticks picking up some rice


Changing the type of rice you use will change your end result and flavors. Use your favorite kind of rice for a familiar flavor and texture.


Yield: 4 servings

Lime Cilantro Rice

Lime Cilantro Rice
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup Jasmine rice
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro


Rinse rice in warm water & drain.
Add water, and butter to rice.
Bring to a boil, stirring regularly so rice does not sick to bottom of pot.
Cover pot, and reduce heat to low.
Cook covered for 20 minutes.
Once rice is done, stir in lime zest, juice and cilantro. Mix well.
Serve immediately.

Originally Posted: Sept 2, 2014

Photos & Text Updated: May 10, 2024


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Suzanne Derryberry

Monday 4th of February 2019

I know this is a strange question , but if you don’t like the taste of cilantro what do suggest as a good alternative . I know either ya like it or you don’t ! Haha We don’t in this house . But love Mexican flavors


Saturday 9th of February 2019

Suzanne, I suggest just going with a lime rice if you don't like the taste of cilantro. Personally I don't like raw cilantro but I love cilantro cooked in recipes. So skip the cilantro and just make lime!

Carisa Smith

Tuesday 2nd of September 2014

I love cilantro lime rice. I always add a little garlic to mine!!


Tuesday 2nd of September 2014

Yummy! Great tip! Thank you!

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