A savory and flavorful side dish, Cilantro Lime Rice is easy to make either on the stovetop or in the instant pot and pairs well with any of your favorite Mexican entrees from fish tacos to chicken fajitas. This recipe is super versatile and loved by all. Make a batch this week!

cilantro lime rice served in a white bowl with a fork

Our favorite local Mexican restaurant serves up the best version of cilantro lime rice, and this is my take on the classic side. It’s ready in under 30 minutes, and cooks up light and fluffy with plenty of delicious flavors. You can serve this as a side dish alongside chicken enchiladas, wrap it up in a burrito or add it into a bowl with all of your favorite Mexican ingredients for the ultimate burrito bowl. Yum!

ingredients in cilantro lime rice

This cilantro lime rice recipe is so simple and SO good. The flavors from the fresh cilantro and slightly tart citrusy lime make this rice dish super tasty!

  • Butter or oil. You’ll need a bit of butter or oil for cooking the onion and garlic.
  • Onion + garlic. Diced onion and minced garlic add delicious aromatic flavor to the rice.
  • Green chilies. You’ll need one small can of green chilies. Be aware that you can buy spicy or mild.
  • Salt. To bring out all of the flavors!
  • Broth. I recommend using a low-sodium broth because then you can control the amount of salt in the rice. Feel free to use vegetable broth to keep this recipe vegan.
  • White rice. I like to use Uncle Ben’s parboiled long-grain white rice because it cooks up nice and fluffy. Other rice varieties may be used, but you might need to adjust the cook time.
  • Cilantro. I know that there are many people who don’t enjoy cilantro. You can leave it out, if you prefer. However, what’s cilantro lime rice without the cilantro?! 😉
  • Lime juice. Definitely use fresh lime juice in this recipe!
  • Green onions. Delicious freshness in every bite!

cooking cilantro lime rice in a large pot

how to make cilantro lime rice on the stovetop

Making this rice dish couldn’t be any easier. You can either make it on the stovetop or in an instant pot. Here’s a rundown of how to make this recipe on the stovetop:

  1. Cook veggies. Melt butter or heat oil in a pot and then add the onion. Sauté about 5 minutes and until soft, add garlic and sauté for one more minute.
  2. Cook rice. Add green chilies, salt, broth and rice. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low and cook for 18 minutes.
  3. Serve. Once cooked, remove from heat and uncover. Fluff rice with a fork, and add cilantro, lime juice and green onion. Enjoy!

how to make cilantro lime rice in an instant pot

If you want this rice on the table in 10 minutes, you’re in luck, cilantro lime rice cooks up wonderfully in the instant pot!

  1. Cook. Push “sauté”, add butter/oil and onion. Cook, stirring until onion is soft, then add garlic and cook for another minute. Add green chilies, salt, 2.5 cups broth, and rice. Seal the lid (make sure steam valve is sealed) and push “cancel” (To get it off the “sauté” function) then cook on manual/high pressure for 3 minutes. Let cook, and when the cooking cycle is complete, let the pressure release naturally (which means, when it’s done and it beeps, don’t twist the pressure valve to vent) for at least ten minutes, then you can release the pressure after ten minutes.
  2. Serve. Turn the instant pot “off”, remove the lid, and fluff with fork. Add cilantro, squeeze the lime juice in, and green onion and give it a final stir. Enjoy!

stirring rice with cilantro and green onions

Pro tips

This is such an easy recipe, but here are several tips so that you end up with the best cilantro lime rice possible.

  • Rice varieties. I recommend using a parboiled long grain white rice for this dish. Short grain rice tends to be stickier, which doesn’t work as well in this preparation. Brown rice would work, you’ll just have to increase the simmer time to about 45-50 minutes. It may also be necessary to increase the amount of broth needed.
  • Lime juice. Bottled lime juice simply cannot compare to freshly squeezed lime juice. I highly recommend using fresh for this recipe!
  • Make it spicy. For a little added kick, cook diced jalapeño along with the onion. You can also use spicy green chilies instead of the mild variety.

cilantro lime rice variations

This is a basic recipe for cilantro lime rice, you can add a variety of other ingredients to make your own flavor combinations.

  • Vegetables. Try adding diced tomato, corn kernels, red bell pepper, or diced zucchini.
  • Beans. Stir in a can or two of drained pinto or black beans.
  • Cheese. A sprinkle of cotija, cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese would definitely be tasty.
  • Spices. For a little extra zip add in chili powder, crushed chili flakes or ground coriander.

bowl filled with rice topped with cilantro and lime

serving suggestions

Cilantro lime rice easily pairs with a variety of protein options and Mexican dishes. Serve it on the side or make a burrito bowl with some seasoned chicken, black beans, guacamole, and pico de gallo! Here’s some other delicious pairing options:

Beef enchiladas

Crockpot chicken fajitas

Crispy beef tacos

Shrimp fajitas

storing and freezing recommendations

This is a great make-ahead side because it will keep well in the fridge for up to about 5 days. And then through the week, you can use it to make burrito bowls or as sides for other meals you make.

  • Storing leftovers. Place any leftover rice in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to about 5 days.
  • To reheat. Pop it in the microwave and cook for 30 second intervals until warm. You can also give it a quick stir in a saucepan or skillet on the stovetop.
  • Freezing. Place leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container or a freezer-safe baggie in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

fluffy cilantro lime rice topped with lime wedges

Cilantro lime rice is one of my family’s favorite side recipes ever! Trust me, everyone will LOVE this flavorful dish and it’s SO easy too! If you enjoy this recipe, be sure to give my Mexican Brown Rice a try.

If you try this cilantro lime rice recipe, let me know! Leave a comment and if your family loves this recipe as much as mine does, be sure to give it a five star ⭐️ rating! Also, tag @kimscravings on Instagram with a picture of your creation. It’s so fun to see what you’re cooking! Be sure to subscribe to our mailing list to receive more healthy delicious recipes straight to your inbox.

cilantro lime rice served in a white bowl with a fork
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Cilantro Lime Rice

A savory and flavorful side dish, Cilantro Lime Rice is easy to make either on the stovetop or in the instant pot and pairs well with any of your favorite Mexican entrees from fish tacos to chicken fajitas.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter or cooking oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 (3 ounce) can diced green chilies
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups chicken stock or broth (2.5 cups if using instant pot)
  • 2 cups Uncle Ben's parboiled long-grain white rice
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • juice of one lime
  • 2 green onions, chopped

Instructions 

STOVETOP DIRECTIONS:

  • In a medium pot over medium high heat, melt butter and add onion. Sauté about 5 minutes and until onion is soft, add garlic and sauté for one more minute.
  • Add green chilies, salt, broth and rice. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low and cook for 18 minutes.
  • Once cooked, remove from heat and uncover. Fluff rice with a fork, and add cilantro, lime juice, and green onion.

INSTANT POT DIRECTIONS:

  • Push “sauté”, add butter/oil and onion. Cook, stirring until onion is soft, then add garlic and cook for another minute. Add green chilies, salt, 2.5 cups broth, and rice. Seal the lid (make sure steam valve is sealed) and push “cancel” (To get it off the “sauté” function) then cook on manual/high pressure for 3 minutes. Let cook, and when the cooking cycle is complete, let the pressure release naturally (which means, when it’s done and it beeps, don’t twist the pressure valve to vent) for at least ten minutes, then you can release the pressure after ten minutes.
  • Turn the instant pot “off”, remove the lid, and fluff with fork. Add cilantro, squeeze the lime juice in, and green onion and give it a final stir.

Notes

*This recipe makes 4 cups of rice. You can easily cut the recipe in half, if you don't need that much.
**Feel free to use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth to keep this dish vegan.
 
 
Photos by Molly at Yes to Yolks.
Serving: 0.5cup, Calories: 219kcal, Carbohydrates: 40g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 8mg, Sodium: 209mg, Potassium: 183mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 155IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 23mg, Iron: 1mg

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