Cilantro Lime Brown Rice

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cilantro lime brown rice recipe

Yep, this cilantro lime brown rice tastes just like Chipotle’s! Chipotle’s burrito bowls are my go-to “fast food” meal when we’re in a hurry. Likewise, this homemade brown rice has become a kitchen staple. It’s so versatile.

If you have this cilantro lime brown rice in the fridge, you can throw together a meal in a hurry. Add beans or cooked eggs, top with some salsa or guacamole, and you’ll have a burrito bowl in ten minutes. If you have leftover greens or vegetables, this is the perfect way to use them up.

cilantro-lime brown rice ingredients

This cilantro lime brown rice is also a great side dish that will round out any of your Mexican-themed meals. It starts with a base of perfectly cooked brown rice, a healthy whole grain. I often stir in a can of well-rinsed black beans for some extra protein.

I originally created this recipe for my cookbook, Love Real Food. If you haven’t tried those burrito bowls yet (page 142), you have been missing out on a delicious and quick weeknight meal. I’m sharing the recipe for the rice here, just in case!

brown rice with cilantro and citrus juice

Cilantro Lime Brown Rice Ingredients

I modeled this recipe off Chipotle’s ingredients for their cilantro lime rice. Chipotle says, “We simmer the whole-grain rice with bay leaves to add savory flavors, then season it with lemon and lime juices and toss it with cilantro for a slightly tart, fresh taste.”

Here’s what you’ll need to make this recipe:

Long-Grain Brown Rice

Long-grain brown rice is key. I love its slightly nutty flavor and the natural separation of the grains. I typically buy the Lundberg Farms brand (red bag).

Bay Leaf

We’ll cook the rice with a bay leaf, which infuses the rice with a subtle layer of savory flavor.

Fresh Cilantro

Chopped cilantro adds a burst of fresh flavor to this rice recipe. It’s not complete without it.

Lime Juice

You can’t make cilantro lime rice without lime! You’ll need the juice from about 1 medium lime for this recipe.

Lemon Juice

That’s right, there’s lemon juice in your cilantro-lime rice! Lemon brightens up the flavor and rounds out the lime. Chipotle uses a lime-and-lemon citrus juice blend for their recipes, but we’ll use a squeeze of fresh lemon juice instead.

Olive Oil

You’ve probably noticed a light sheen on Chipotle’s rice, and it’s because they’ve added oil. Stirring in a little oil adds richness and prevents the rice from clumping together. Chipotle uses canola, sunflower or rice bran oil, but I like to use minimally processed extra-virgin olive oil instead.

cilantro lime rice recipe

Uses for Cilantro Lime Brown Rice

Cilantro lime rice goes great with your Mexican and Tex-Mex meals. Here are some serving ideas.

Make Burritos or Burrito Bowls

Serve this rice with any combination of the following:

Serve as a Side Dish

Cilantro lime rice is the perfect side dish. Here are some entrées that would go well:

Please let me know how your rice turns out in the comments. I’m always so eager to hear from you.

cilantro lime rice in burrito bowl


Cilantro Lime Brown Rice

  • Author: Cookie and Kate
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 ½ cups 1x
  • Category: Side dish
  • Method: Cooked
  • Cuisine: Mexican

This cilantro lime brown rice recipe is the perfect side dish for Mexican meals! It tastes just like Chipotle’s, and it’s so easy to make. Recipe yields 4 ½ cups, enough for 4 servings.



  • 1 ½ cups long-grain brown rice or brown basmati rice, rinsed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice (from about 1 lime)*
  • 1 ½ teaspoons lemon juice (from 1 small lemon)
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt


  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. Pour in the rinsed rice and drop in the bay leaf. Give the mixture a brief stir and let it boil for 30 minutes, reducing the heat if necessary to prevent overflow.
  2. Drain the rice, return it to the pot, cover, and let it rest for 10 minutes off the heat. Discard the bay leaf and fluff the rice with a fork.
  3. Add the cilantro, lime juice, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and stir to combine. Taste and add additional salt if necessary (I usually add an extra ¼ teaspoon). Cover until you’re ready to serve.
  4. Leftover rice will keep well in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 5 days.


Recipe originally published in my cookbook, Love Real Food (page 142).

Change it up: For some extra protein, stir one can of well-rinsed black beans (or 1 ½ cups cooked black beans) into the rice after cooking.

▸ Nutrition Information

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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