Learn the secrets to making Chipotle Cilantro-Lime Rice at home. It all starts with the right type of rice cooked in an unusual way.
Sometimes in life, it’s the simplest things that are the best. After all, what is more satisfying than tucking into a huge scoop of Chipotle’s famous Cilantro-Lime Rice? It’s soft and fluffy with just the right amount of chew and a noticeable absence of stickiness. It’s friends with all the other ingredients on the menu and can work equally well on a burrito as on a salad. How do they do it? Why is the Chipotle Cilantro-Lime Rice so perfect?
Cooking perfect rice, cilantro-lime or otherwise, has been a goal of mine for quite some time. Over the years I brought my rice from crunchy and bland to properly seasoned and soft, but it was still sticky. I tried different varieties of rice: Jasmine, Basmati, long-grain, and short-grain. I never quite found what I was looking for.
Let me start off by saying: Although Chipotle uses long-grain rice, I found that I was able to most closely mimic their rice by using Basmati. I had tried Basmati in the past, but I cooked it using the typical method for all kinds of rice. That is, measure a certain ratio of rice to water, boil, cover, and wait until all the water has absorbed. I’ve read things about soaking rice 30 minutes prior, or rinsing it until the water runs clear, but none of that ever seemed to really make a difference.
Here’s the secret: For the perfect Basmati rice, it doesn’t actually matter how much water you use as long as it’s A LOT. You’ll need to use at least 4 cups of water for every cup of rice, and leave it uncovered while it boils. I have updated this recipe to include a bay leaf, recommended by many of the commenters below. The final step is rinsing the rice in hot water after it’s been drained. Stir in lime and lemon juices, salt, and finely chopped cilantro while the rice is still warm. And that’s it.
One last thought: Chipotle uses Rice Bran Oil in their rice. I have not added it here, and I don’t know if they add it to the water while the rice cooks or somehow add it at the end. I think the rice is delicious enough on its own without added oil.
It’s perfect, each and every time.
- 2 c. basmati rice
- 2 ¼ tsp. salt, divided
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 T. finely chopped cilantro
- 2 T. fresh lime juice
- 1 T. fresh lemon juice
- In a large pot, bring 8 c. water to a boil.
- Add rice, 2 tsp. salt, and bay leaf; stir, and return to a boil. Boil uncovered for 12 minutes.
- Remove bay leaf. Using a fine mesh strainer, drain rice and rinse with hot water. Pour into a large bowl.
- Stir in cilantro, lime juice, and lemon juice. Add remaining ¼ tsp. salt or additional salt to taste. Serve hot or at room temperature.
This recipe for Chipotle Cilantro-Lime Rice originally appeared at FoodPolitic.
Looking for more Chipotle-inspired food? Check out these links to recipes below!