This cilantro lime rice is fluffy long grain rice that’s flavored with garlic, plenty of cilantro and fresh lime juice. An easy side dish that pairs perfectly with Mexican and Asian cuisines, and takes just minutes to put together.

I make Mexican food for dinner at least once a week, and my family always requests easy cheese enchiladas, hearty chile colorado, succulent Instant Pot carnitas, and this simple, but totally satisfying cilantro lime rice.

A blue pot filled with cilantro lime rice.

Cilantro lime rice is a classic dish that’s been made popular by restaurants, and the good news is that it couldn’t be any easier to make. All you need is a handful of ingredients and about 20 minutes to produce perfect rice.

Ingredients for Cilantro Rice

Bowls of ingredients including rice, seasonings and cilantro.

The ingredients for this recipe are a simple blend of long grain rice, olive oil, juice from limes, fresh cilantro, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper.

How do you make cilantro lime rice?

Start by cooking the rice in a little olive oil until it’s lightly toasted. Next, add fresh garlic and cook for one more minute. Add cumin, water, salt and pepper, then bring the mixture to a boil. Cover the pot, then cook until the rice is tender. Stir in fresh cilantro and lime juice, then fluff the cooked grains with a fork and serve.

Step by step process shots showing rice cooking in a pot.

Tips for the perfect dish

  • Long grain rice works best for this dish. You can use standard long grain rice, or Basmati rice.
  • It’s important to use fresh lime juice, as it has a much better flavor than the bottled kind.
  • This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled to serve a crowd.
  • You can use brown rice for this recipe, but you’ll need to add more liquid and increase the cooking time to 40 minutes.
A bowl of cilantro lime rice surrounded by chips, beans, pork and salsa.

Recipe FAQs

What goes with cilantro lime rice?

The beauty of this dish is that it goes well with so many main course options! The obvious choice is to serve it with Mexican food such as burritos, enchiladas or rice bowls. That being said, this rice is also great with stir fries, grilled steak or chicken, and baked fish.

How long does cilantro lime rice last?

Cilantro lime rice will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 4 days which makes it great for meal prep. Reheat leftover rice on the stove top or in the microwave.

Flavor Variations

This rice is great as-is, but you can add other ingredients to change up the flavors or even turn it into a main course offering.

  • Vegetables: Try adding some colorful veggies such as diced tomato, corn, red bell pepper, roasted green chiles, green onions or diced zucchini.
  • Protein: Make it a main course by adding black beans, ground beef or turkey, diced grilled chicken or pinto beans.
  • Cheese: Try stirring in a sprinkle of shredded cotija, cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese.
  • Spices: You can add other seasonings to your rice such as chili powder, crushed red chili flakes or ground coriander.
  • Broth: Swap out the water for chicken broth or vegetable broth for even more flavor.
Shredded pork served with corn salsa and rice.

You simply can’t go wrong with this rice. It’s packed full of flavor and is always a hit with both kids and adults.

More Mexican food favorites

Cilantro Lime Rice Video

5 from 13 votes

Cilantro Lime Rice

AuthorSara Welch
A blue pot filled with cilantro lime rice.
This cilantro lime rice is fluffy long grain rice that's flavored with garlic, plenty of cilantro and fresh lime juice. An easy side dish that pairs perfectly with Mexican and Asian cuisines, and takes just minutes to put together.
Time
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Serves 6

Ingredients 

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups long grain white rice uncooked
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/3 cup cilantro leaves chopped
  • cilantro sprigs and lime wedges for garnish optional

Instructions 

  • Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  • Add the rice and cook for 1-2 minutes or until lightly toasted. Add the garlic and cook for one minute, stirring constantly.
  • Add the cumin, water, salt and pepper. Bring the pot to a boil.
  • Cover the pot and turn the heat down to low. Simmer for 15 minutes or until rice is tender.
  • Uncover the pot, then stir in the lime juice and cilantro. Fluff the rice with a fork.
  • Garnish with cilantro sprigs and lime wedges if desired, then serve.

Notes

  1. Long grain rice works best for this dish. You can use standard long grain rice, or Basmati rice.
  2. This rice will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 4 days which makes it great for meal prep. Reheat leftover rice on the stove top or in the microwave.

Nutrition

Calories: 153kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 2g | Sodium: 325mg | Potassium: 129mg | Vitamin A: 45IU | Vitamin C: 8.4mg | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 0.6mg

Hello! I’m Sara!

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Recipe Rating




Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I’ve tried lots of recipes in search of a ‘good’ cilantro lime rice. This one is the best one yet! The additional flavors fill out the profile and don’t overpower each other. Thank you!

  2. 5 stars
    Great way to pump up the flavor on plain white rice and perfect side dish for Mexican food themed dinners.

  3. 5 stars
    Thank you so much! The flavors are perfect and I can’t wait to try this recipe!

  4. 5 stars
    I love cilantro lime rice and this recipe looks refreshing and delicious! I love making batches of this weekly for food prep. This recipe is delicious!

  5. 5 stars
    I LOVE cilantro and can’t wait to try this! This recipe will definitely be added to my weekly taco night menu.

  6. 5 stars
    One of my absolute favorite rice dishes. This is so easy to make and so flavorful! I love to have this dish when I’m serving Mexican food.

  7. 5 stars
    I love cilantro lime rice. It goes so well with anything but I especially love making rice bowls with it. Thanks!

  8. 5 stars
    This is very easy and the rice is super flavorful. It goes really well with my homemade pork carnitas.