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Cilantro Lime Rice (Chipotle’s Copycat)

This copycat version of Chipotle’s Cilantro Lime Rice boasts flavors of toasty brown rice, tangy lime and earthy cilantro. It’s a refreshing spin on your traditional bowl of brown rice and certain to be your new favorite side dish.

This copycat version of Chipotle’s Cilantro Lime Rice is certain to become a staple in your kitchen.

At any given time you can look in our fridge and you’ll find a big container of this Cilantro Lime Rice. In fact, it’s become such a staple recipe in our home that it’s no longer included on our weekly meal plan—we just know to make it whenever we’re running low.

It’s a fantastic side dish to almost any meat, can be topped with an egg and eaten for breakfast or used as the starting point for a variety of bowls. The browned rice, fresh cilantro and lime juice provide a true burst of flavor. Once you make this recipe once, it’ll become a staple in your refrigerator too!

Why we love it

  • Simple to make
  • Versatile
  • Filled with fiber and other nutrients
  • FlavorFULL!

Do I need to rinse my rice before cooking it?

Yes! Before you dive into cooking, you’ll need to rinse your rice. Rice tends to come with a good amount of surface starch. Rinsing off the excess starches prevents your rice from turning gummy during the cooking process. A thorough rinse also allows the individual grains to cook better.

To do this, place it in a fine, mesh colander and run cool water over it in the sink. Use a swirling motion with your hand while rinsing the rice to free it from excess starch.

Is browning the rice necessary?

Browning your rice brings out a wonderFULL toasty, nutty flavor that you just can’t achieve any other way. While it’s not absolutely necessary, browning your rice will set the flavor profile apart from any other Cilantro Lime Rice recipe you’ll try. If you have time for the extra step, we highly recommend it. If you don’t, no problem!

Making Cilantro Lime Rice with a Rice Cooker or Instant Pot

If you want to make your rice in a rice cooker or Instant Pot, no problem.

Toast your rice in a skillet (recommended but not required). Add rice, water and salt to the rice cooker or Instant Pot and turn on the rice setting. Once finished, allow the rice to sit for 5 minutes with the lid off. Fluff it with a fork and add lime juice, cilantro and beans.

Do I need to use fresh-squeezed lime juice?

While fresh is best, we often use bottled and it tastes wonderFULL! When shopping for a bottled version, just make sure the only ingredient is lime juice.

If using fresh: Our secret to lime squeezing success is using a citrus squeezer. We like to think we’re semi-strong gals, but to be completely honest, squeezing limes hurts our hands. Citrus squeezers don’t cost much and they make life so much easier. They also extract twice as much juice.

This Bellemain Citrus Squeezer is the one we keep on hand and has been a saving grace when extracting freshly squeezed citrus juice.

Storing and reheating your rice

Store your rice in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 6 days.

Reheating on the stove: You can reheat your rice in a skillet by adding a few tablespoons of water and a little bit of EVOO to rehydrate the grains.

Reheating in the microwave: To reheat rice in the microwave, place it in a bowl with a few tablespoons of water. Cover the bowl with a damp paper towel and microwave in 30-second intervals until warmed through. Fluff rice between each interval.

Ways to reinvent your leftovers

  • As-is, served as a simple side dish (paired with meat, fish, Asian food, Mexican food, the sky is the limit!)
  • As the base for bowls. Our personal favorite is a burrito bowl—just add beans, veggies, salsa and avocados.
  • In a burrito (bean, breakfast or meat)
  • Topped with a sunny-side-up egg for breakfast
  • Used in a stir-fry
  • Paired with grilled kabobs
  • Stuffed in peppers
  • With a falafel bowl and a few scoops of hummus

If you think Chipotle’s Cilantro Lime Rice is good, just wait until you try this!

If you make this Cilantro Lime Rice, let us know how it turned out! We’d love to hear what you think in the comments below. You can also snap a photo of your finished rice and tag us on Instagram using @FULLforLifegal and #FULLforLife so we can see. Enjoy the deliciousness!

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Cilantro Lime Rice (Chipotle’s Copycat)

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5 from 1 review

  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x


This copycat version of Chipotle’s Cilantro Lime Rice boasts flavors of toasty brown rice, tangy lime and earthy cilantro. It’s a refreshing spin on your traditional bowl of brown rice and certain to be your new favorite side dish.



Optional Addition: (boost in flavor and protein)

  • 1 (15 oz. can) black beans, drained and rinsed


To brown the rice: (If you’re in a hurry, skip browning.)

  1. Rinse rice in a fine mesh strainer to remove excess starches.
  2. In a large pot, heat 1 teaspoon EVOO over medium-high heat, then add the rice and begin toasting. The aroma will soon fill your kitchen and you’ll begin to see the color of the rice change. At this point, you know it’s time for liquid. Add water, bring to a rolling boil and head to step 3 below.

To prepare the rice:

  1. Rinse rice in a fine mesh strainer to remove excess starches.
  2. Add water to a medium-large pot. Bring to a rolling boil. Add rice and a teaspoon of EVOO.
  3. Cover and reduce heat to maintain a very low simmer. Cook undisturbed for about 45 minutes, until the rice is tender and has absorbed the water.
  4. Turn off heat and let the pot sit, covered, for 10 minutes before removing the lid and fluffing with a fork.
  5. Stir in 4 teaspoons EVOO, lime juice, cilantro, salt and beans. Toss and transfer the rice to a serving bowl. Enjoy!


Always check for FfL-friendly ingredients.

We recommend organic ingredients when feasible.

These herb shears are an amazing way to minimize chopping. They save so much time in the kitchen and are something we would highly recommend if you frequently use fresh herbs in your meals.


Sesame oil or coconut oil can be used in place of EVOO.

Add finely chopped jalapeño or crushed red pepper flakes for a spicy version.

For even more amazing flavor, use 1/2 teaspoon Jane’s Krazy Mixed-Up Salt in place of Himalayan pink salt.

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Category: Recipes
  • Method: One Pot, Too Easy

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1 Comment

  1. Jody

    I made this recipe and browned the rice as suggested in the intro. It was definitely worth the extra step. My family loved it!


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