Easy Cilantro Rice (Chipotle Copycat)
Published Aug 23, 2021
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This cilantro rice recipe gives white rice a ton of flavor with lime juice and fresh cilantro! It’s great as a base for burrito bowls and taco salads.
I will never forget the first time I cooked rice with additional flavors mixed in… I vowed to never make plain rice again! Of course that hasn’t happened (I still like plain rice) but when I make a flavor-packed batch I’m extra impressed.
This cilantro rice is a copycat of Chipotle’s white rice and it’s such a great base for burritos and burrito bowls!
What Type of Rice to Use
There are so many different types of rice it can be kind of overwhelming when you look for rice at the grocery store! For this recipe I recommend using long grain rice. I’m using long grain white rice for this recipe (it’s what Chipotle uses), but you can also use long grain brown rice if you prefer.
Brown vs. White Rice
Fun fact: all white rice starts out as brown! “A milling process removes the rice’s husk, bran, and germ. This process increases white rice’s shelf life but removes much of its nutrition, including fiber, vitamins, and minerals.” (Source)
Because white rice loses a lot of its nutrients in processing, it is often fortified. In general, brown rice is higher in all nutrients, but white rice can be easier for people to digest and is still a great option in moderation.
I personally love brown rice and have used it to make cilantro rice before! The one thing to note is that you’ll want to check the package for specific cooking instructions but in general brown rice requires more water and a longer cook time.
Here’s What You Need
- long-grain white rice – if you don’t see “long grain white rice” look for Jasmine or Basmati rice which are both long grain options! Lundberg is usually my go-to rice brand. All of the products are high-quality and non-GMO.
- water – I recommend using filtered water to make sure no additional flavors are accidentally added in. You could also use vegetable broth to amp of the flavor of the rice!
- salt – to season the rice.
- fresh cilantro – you can actually use the stems and the leaves! The stems pack in a ton of flavor.
- lime juice – I recommend using freshly squeezed lime juice as opposed to lime juice that comes out of a container.
- lime zest – for extra lime flavor!
Do You Use the Cilantro Stems?
Yes, you can totally use the cilantro stems for this recipe as they have a ton of flavor. I usually use mostly leaves and then a bit of stems. In general I like the texture of the leaves better so I tend to only use the top portion of the stems.
How to Make Chipotle’s Cilantro Rice
Making Chipotle’s cilantro rice couldn’t be easier. You simply cook your rice according to package instructions, transfer to a bowl and toss with fresh cilantro, lime juice and lime zest! It’s so easy and so flavorful.
Can I Make This Rice in my Instant Pot or Rice Cooker?
Yes! You can definitely make this cilantro rice in your instant pot or rice cooker. I haven’t tested the instant pot method, but I have made this in my rice cooker and it turned out perfectly! I’m including instructions for both methods below.
- Place 1 cup white rice and 1 cup water and salt to the pressure cooker.
- Close the lid and set to manual cook on high for 4 minutes.
- Allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes and then carefully release any remaining pressure. Unlock and open lid.
- Fluff the rice and stir in the cilantro, lime juice and lime zest. Taste and add more cilantro, zest or juice to your preference.
- Serve and enjoy!
- Place the rice and salt into your rice cooker. Following the manufacturers instructions, fill to the appropriate waterline, close the lid and set to cook.
- Once the rice is cooked, open the rice cooker and fluff. Then transfer to a bowl and add in cilantro, lime zest and juice. Taste and add more cilantro, zest or juice to your preference.
- Serve and enjoy!
What to Serve with Cilantro Rice
This cilantro lime rice is so versatile! I love serving it as a side for a variety of meals. Here are some ideas:
- With tofu sofritas – this pairs perfectly with my copycat Chipotle sofritas! It’s also a great base for a burrito bowl or taco salad.
- With stir fry – this rice also pairs well with Asian dishes like my tofu stir-fry or Asian chicken sheet pan meal.
- Make a falafel bowl – this rice would add a ton of flavor to a falafel bowl and pair nicely with the Mediterranean flavors.
- With grilled chicken – I love this with my apple cider vinegar grilled chicken and veggies.
- With crispy tofu – this would be delicious with my crispy baked tofu and a side of vegetables!
How to Store and Reheat
Store the rice in an airtight container for 3-4 days in the fridge. To reheat, simply place in a microwave-safe bowl, cover with a damp paper towel and reheat for about 1 minute or until piping hot.
More Rice Recipes
- How to Make Cauliflower Rice
- Vegan Red Beans and Rice
- Slow Cooker Chicken Wild Rice Soup
- Kale and Sweet Potato Brown Rice Bowls
- Maple Balsamic Tempeh Bowls with Pumpkin Rice
- Vegetarian Cauliflower Fried “Rice”
More Copycat Recipes
- Bone Fish Grill Superfood Salmon Salad
- Panera BBQ Chicken Salad
- Starbucks Egg White Bites
- Tropical Smoothie Cafe Health Nut Smoothie
- Chopt Tomatillo Avocado Dressing
- 1 cup long-grain white rice
- 2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 3 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 teaspoon lime zest, or to taste
- Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add rice and salt to the water. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until the rice is tender, about 20 minutes. You can also cook the rice in a rice cooker or Instant Pot, if desired. See instructions below.
- Combine chopped cilantro with lime juice and lime zest in a bowl.
- Add warm rice, toss and serve.
- This rice is best served immediately but can be cooled and stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Reheat any leftovers in the microwave until piping hot.
- Brown rice: You can make this recipe with brown rice, you’ll just need to cook the rice longer, about 45 minutes or until the rice is tender and has absorbed the water.
- Rice cooker: To make this rice in your rice cooker, place the rice and salt into your rice cooker. Following the manufacturers instructions, fill to the appropriate waterline, close the lid and set to cook. Once the rice is cooked, open the rice cooker and fluff with a fork. Then transfer to a bowl and add in cilantro, lime zest and juice. Taste and add more cilantro, zest or juice to your preference. Serve warm.
- Instant Pot: To make this rice in your Instant pot, place 1 cup white rice and 1 cup water and salt to the pressure cooker. Close the lid and set to manual cook on high for 4 minutes. Allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes and then carefully release any remaining pressure. Unlock and open lid. Fluff the rice and stir in the cilantro, lime juice and lime zest. Serve warm.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Thanks for explaining the difference of white vs. brown rice. Never knew the exact reason brown rice is nutritionally better that white rice. Good information!
So glad it’s helpful, Carrie!
Great recipe! The flavors also work well with quinoa, which I prefer to rice.
When eating rice I always choose white to avoid digestion and gut issues I get with brown.
Further, brown rice is full of phytates and lectins, which bind to vitamins and minerals and prevent them from being absorbed. When you consider this added to the fact brown rice is not considerably higher in nutrients (white is higher in several nutrients like niacin) the bottom line is that brown doesn’t really come out ahead nutritionally. Interesting to note Asians use white rice over brown as well. Maybe they know something the Western world doesn’t. 🙂
So glad this recipe was a hit, Tom! Thanks so much for the review!
Thank you for the information.