Chipotle Cilantro Lime Rice (Copycat)

Learn the secrets to making Chipotle Cilantro Lime Rice in the comfort of your own kitchen. This copycat recipe starts with getting the right type of rice and cooking it in a non-traditional way. This rice is soft and fluffy with just the right amount of chew and no stickiness. Scroll down for a video to see how easy this is to make!

How do they do it?

Why is the Chipotle Cilantro Lime Rice so perfect?

I’ve taken a deep dive into cooking perfect, fluffy rice on the stove or using a rice cooker. By using Basmati rice, and cooking it in lots of water, much like pasta, I was able to most closely mimic their recipe.

You don’t have to use Basmati, though; I experimented with other kinds of rice and cooking methods and have outlined those as well.

Learn the secrets to making Chipotle Cilantro Lime Rice in the comfort of your own kitchen. This copycat recipe starts with getting the right type of rice and cooking it in a non-traditional way. This rice is soft and fluffy with just the right amount of chew and no stickiness.

What does short-grain, medium-grain, and long-grain rice really mean?

“Grain” refers to the rice’s length to width ratio, when cooked. More than likely, you’d be able to tell whether a rice is short-grain or long-grain just by looking at it. Medium is a tad more difficult, because sometimes it gets lumped (clumped?) into the short-grain category.

  • Short grain rice is a plump, stubby grain. This rice is most commonly used for making sushi. Short-grain rice has more starch, so it clumps together easily.
  • Long grain rice is slender and long, as its name suggests. Varieties include American white and brown rices, Jasmine rice, and Basmati rice. Long-grain rice has a firm, dry texture, and is best for side dishes, pilafs, and salads.
  • Medium grain rice is somewhere in between. It produces moist, tender, slightly chewy grains that stick to each other when cooked. Common medium-grain rices include Arborio and Valencia, which are used to make risotto, and Bomba rice, which is used in paella.

One thing I’ve definitely learned with all this rice cookery is to use the rice called upon in the recipe. All rice is not the same, since it has vastly different characteristics.

How many cups of rice will 1 cup uncooked rice make?

Wondering how much rice to make? Say no more.

  • 1 cup uncooked white rice makes 3 cups cooked white rice.
  • 1 cup uncooked brown rice makes 4 cups cooked brown rice.

Method 1: How to Make Perfect Basmati Rice on the Stove (preferred)

Even though I had cooked Basmati rice before, I had always cooked it using the typical method we’ve all been taught: measure a specific ratio of rice to water, bring to a boil, cover, and cook until all the water has absorbed.

Then I learned about a new (well, new to me) method for cooking Basmati rice, and it changed my rice-cooking life.

If you’ve always thought cooking rice was too tricky, this method is for you. It’s called the pasta method; if you can cook pasta, you can definitely make perfect rice.

  1. In a pot, heat at least 4 cups of water for every cup of rice you plan to cook.
  2. Add the rice when the water boils, and leave uncovered while it boils. Add a bay leaf to the water, (total game changer).
  3. After draining the rice, the final step is rinsing the cooked rice in hot water.
  4. Stir in lime and lemon juices, salt, and finely chopped cilantro while the rice is still warm. Perfection!

Learn the secrets to making Chipotle Cilantro Lime Rice in the comfort of your own kitchen. This copycat recipe starts with getting the right type of rice and cooking it in a non-traditional way. This rice is soft and fluffy with just the right amount of chew and no stickiness.

Method 2: How to Make Another Type of Long-Grain Rice on the Stove

If you don’t have Basmati rice, you can still use another type of long-grain rice and still have a great version of Cilantro Lime Rice.

I recommend rinsing the rice to remove excess starch before cooking it. I don’t know for a fact if Chipotle does that (probably not), but it will rinse some starch out of the rice and give you a fluffier product.

You could also add a teaspoon of oil to the pot of water. Chipotle uses rice bran oil, but olive oil works well for me.

  1. Rinse the rice before adding it to your rice cooker (less starch = less sticky rice).
  2. In a pot, heat at least 4 cups of water for every cup of rice you plan to cook.
  3. Add the rice when the water boils, and leave uncovered while it boils. Add a bay leaf to the water.
  4. After draining the rice, the final step is rinsing the cooked rice in hot water.
  5. Stir in lime and lemon juices, salt, and finely chopped cilantro while the rice is still warm.

Learn the secrets to making Chipotle Cilantro Lime Rice in the comfort of your own kitchen. This copycat recipe starts with getting the right type of rice and cooking it in a non-traditional way. This rice is soft and fluffy with just the right amount of chew and no stickiness.

Method 3: How to make rice in a Rice Cooker

I adore my rice cooker! It’s completely hands-free and all I have to do is push a button. Rice cookers usually come with a measuring cup that’s a little smaller than a standard cup. You simply count out the number of cups you’re making, then fill the cooker with water up to the level on the side that matches the number of cups you’re making.

  1. Rinse the rice before adding it to your rice cooker (less starch = less sticky rice).
  2. Add a teaspoon of oil, the bay leaf, and a pinch of salt if desired. (I will always add a bay leaf to my white rice from now on, no matter what rice or what I’m doing with it! It’s just the best.)
  3. Follow your rice cooker’s manual for exact portions, but mine is something along the lines of 3/4 cup rice to 1 cup water (there is a special “rice” measuring cup that is equivalent to 3/4 cup).
  4. Toss with salt, citrus juice, and chopped cilantro at the end.

Bowl of delicious cilantro lime rice served in a yellow bowl with three lime halves next to the bowl.

What is the difference between brown and white rice?

While white rice is the most popular form of rice out there, brown rice is definitely gaining speed, especially for people who want to hold on to their rice nutrients.

First of all, rice is almost entirely carbohydrates, with small amounts of protein.

The main difference between white and brown rice is this: Brown rice is considered a whole grain, with fibrous bran, germ, and all. Fiber, vitamins, and minerals are all stored in the bran and germ.

White rice has had the bran and germ removed in processing, and so it’s technically less nutritious than brown rice. (But it’s still delicious!)

Brown rice takes quite a bit longer than white rice in terms of cooking, but here’s how to make Cilantro Lime Brown Rice, in case you need it.

Method 4: Chipotle Cilantro Lime Brown Rice

Craving Chipotle’s brown rice? Me too.

You can cook Cilantro Lime Brown Rice in a rice cooker (easy, because most rice cookers have a ‘brown rice’ button) or on the stove top. I prefer to use brown Basmati rice, but any long-grain brown rice will do.

Because brown rice takes a little longer, just follow the revised cooking times as outlined in Step 7 of the recipe.

White bowl of Chiptole's Cilantro Lime Rice, pictured against a light brown background.

What is a good rice cooker to use?

By the way, this is my current rice cooker. It’s compact, super simple, and does exactly what it’s supposed to do without fail. My sisters, Erin and Meredith, each have the same one, and we all love it.

Rice cookers can cook polenta beautifully, also, without stirring it for a million hours. It’s not just a one-job appliance. Some have slow cooker capabilities, too!

For about $30 on Amazon, it has over 6,100 positive reviews. That’s a whole lot of rice!

Hey, cilantro haters, this hot tip is for you: If you happen to be one of the millions of people who despise cilantro (it’s not your fault), you can ask for rice without cilantro at Chipotle. Yup!

They have a bowl of it just for you guys, and all you have to do is ask for it by name. And of course, you can make this version at home without it, too.

Now that you’ve mastered rice, you’re well on your way to creating your very own burrito bar! I hope there’s enough parking.

Find all of the Chipotle Copycat Recipes on this site. Or, click here to subscribe to emails and receive all the recipes in a beautiful mobile-friendly eBook, FREE!

Chipotle ChickenChipotle SteakChipotle Barbacoa (beef) • Chipotle Carnitas (pork) •
Chipotle Sofritas (tofu) • Chipotle Cilantro Lime RiceChipotle Black BeansChipotle Pinto Beans
Chipotle Fajita VegetablesChipotle GuacamoleHomemade Tortilla Chips
Chipotle Tomato Salsa (mild) • Chipotle Corn Salsa (medium) • Chipotle Tomatillo Salsa (medium) •
Chipotle Hot Salsa (hot) • Chipotle Honey Vinaigrette (salad dressing) •

Chipotle Cilantro Lime Rice - a bird's eye view of a white bowl with many colorful ingredients - click photo for full written recipe


A shot of cilantro lime rice in a white bowl.
4.94 from 30 votes

Chipotle Cilantro Lime Rice

Learn the secrets to making Chipotle Cilantro Lime Rice in the comfort of your own kitchen. This copycat recipe starts with getting the right type of rice and cooking it in a non-traditional way. This rice is soft and fluffy with just the right amount of chew and no stickiness.

Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Calories 117 kcal


  • 2 cups basmati rice unrinsed, or long-grain white rice, rinsed (see notes)
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1 bay leaf
  • teaspoon olive oil or rice bran oil, optional
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


To cook basmati rice on the stove top:

  1. Bring 8 cups water to a boil in a large pot. Add rice, 2 teaspoons salt, and the bay leaf. Stir and return to a boil. Boil uncovered for 12 minutes.

  2. Remove bay leaf. Using a fine mesh strainer, drain rice and rinse with hot water. Pour into a large bowl. 

  3. Stir in cilantro, lime juice, and lemon juice. Add remaining ¼ tsp. salt or additional salt to taste. Serve hot or at room temperature.

To cook long-grain rice on the stove top:

  1. Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a large pot. Add rice, 2 teaspoons salt, bay leaf, and oil if using. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes.

  2. Remove bay leaf. Stir in cilantro, lime juice, and lemon juice. Add remaining ¼ tsp. salt or additional salt to taste. Serve hot or at room temperature.

To cook long-grain rice in a rice-cooker:

  1. Add rinsed rice (see notes), water (according to manufacturer's instructions, see notes), salt (reduce to 1 teaspoon), bay leaf, and oil if using. Close rice cooker, plug in, and turn on. Cook according to manufacturer's instructions.

  2. When the rice is finished, remove bay leaf. Stir in cilantro, lime juice, and lemon juice. Add more salt to taste (I like 1/4 teaspoon). Serve hot or at room temperature.

To cook brown rice:

  1. Follow the instructions above using the following times: 40 minutes for Basmati on the stove top, 45 minutes for long-grain on the stove top, and 60 - 70 minutes for a rice cooker (or according to manufacturer's instructions). 2 cups brown rice makes 16 servings, 1/2 cup each (higher yield than white rice).

Recipe Notes

  1. If using long-grain rice, I recommend rinsing it before cooking it to remove excess starch. To rinse the rice, place it in a fine-mesh sieve under cool water and rinse until the water runs clear. Drain well before adding the rice to the pot or rice cooker. Alternatively, you could soak the rice in a large bowl of water for up to 30 minutes to help remove starch while conserving water.
  2. When using a rice cooker, it is important to follow the manufacturer's instructions for rice and water portions. Many rice cookers come with a specific "measuring cup" that may not be equivalent to a standard 8-ounce cup. They will also specify exactly how much water to use in relation to their measuring cup for best results. Those instructions supersede my quantities of rice and water here, but the other ingredients should remain the same (subject to your own taste preference, of course).

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  1. So interesting! Definitely going to have to try this!,

  2. Have you ever tried making this with brown rice?

    • I haven’t made it with brown rice YET, but I purchased brown basmati rice just this week and plan to try it out this weekend. I’ll comment again and let you know if anything changes with the recipe. Thank you for stopping by! :)

  3. I LOOOOOVE rice & for want to try this recipe. Is the rice fully cooked?

  4. Why is it called Chipotle Cilantro Lime Rice if there is no Chipotle in the receipe.

    • Hi Rebecca, it is called Chipotle Cilantro-Lime Rice because it is a copycat recipe of the rice served at Chipotle, the Mexican restaurant. “Chipotle” is describing the copycat element of the title, not the recipe ingredients. I am so sorry for the confusion. Same goes for my Chipotle Guacamole and Grilled Peppers & Onions, they are copycats from the restaurant. The Chipotle chicken, however, does actually contain chipotle peppers while also being a copycat recipe.

    • Next time read the damn article before making such an idiotic observation.

  5. Hey Meggan,

    Quick question: will the rice come out mushy or over cooked at all? Is there anything special I need to do to prevent that?

    • Hey there! If you follow the instructions you should have no problems at all. I did have some experiences with overcooking the rice and it happened 1). when I rinsed the rice before cooking it (you should rinse it AFTER), and 2). when I put the lid on the pot while cooking it (you should cook the rice UNCOVERED). And of course cook the rice for 12 minutes, not 20 or anything like that. It worked really well! I hope you find success and I hope you love the recipe. Thank you for stopping by!

    • Wow! Thanks for your response! I’m excited and will stop by to tell you how it goes. :) I’m pairing this rice with a Butter Curry. :)

    • Wha-what? Butter curry?! That sounds amazing. I love butter and I love curry so… yeah. Going to have to try that. :) Enjoy! And thanks for the idea!

  6. I watch the ladies season the rice at the local shop. They add the cilantro, salt, and then start stirring it. They actually spray the lime water from a spritzer, stir, spritz, stir, etc. until they get it flavored the way they want it.
    Just another method…

    • Dave, that’s a fabulous insight. That is why having a food blog is so fun, because that is probably yet one more way to ensure absolutely spot-on matching rice, and I never would have known it myself. That way no bite is overly flavored with lime and it’s distributed perfectly. Thank you for this idea, I’m definitely going to try it out on my next batch! I appreciate you stopping by!


  7. I made this with brown basmati rice and it was still hard and crunchy at 12 minutes. It ended up taking more then 40 minutes to cook

    • I actually made this today with brown basmati rice too. I followed the cooking time on the bag (40 minutes) but not the method. I used my method listed above – 8 cups of water per 2 cups of rice, cooked uncovered, rinsed afterward. The rice was soft and chewy and separated grains. It definitely takes longer with brown rice (unless you use a pressure cooker), but the method works.

  8. When I have had Chipotle’s rice, it seems like it is spicy. This recipe does not have any spice in it so is there a difference?

    • Tim, that’s an interesting observation. I guess I have never thought it was spicy, but cilantro can be quite overpowering at times. Although if you’ve had cilantro and you’re sure that’s not it, then I’m not sure. I’d never be so bold as to say it was a freak incident or that jalapenos somehow got randomly mixed in, but I just know that when I try my recipe, to me it tastes the same as theirs. I’m not sure! Here is how they describe their rice on the official Chipotle website: “Steamed white rice tossed with freshly chopped cilantro, a dash of citrus juice and a little salt.”

    • Chipotle cooks their rice in a rice pot and while it is cooking, several whole bay leaves are added to the pot. Once the rice is taken from the pot, sunflower oil is added to the pot and the bay leaves are removed. If you’ve ever had bay leaves you know that it has a certain spiciness to it. After the bay leaves are removed, the rice is portioned out into four separate pans and left in heated shelves until they need more rice on the line, the kosher salt, cilantro and lemon/lime mixture are stirred in just before the rice is sent to the front line to be served to the customers.

    • Woah Autumn! Thank you!! Hey Meggan, I am making this right now! Thank you for the dinner idea!!!

  9. Made this tonight, and it was outstanding. Better than the famous chains! Halved the recipe so shortened the cook time by a few minutes. Just awesome!! Great great tips!

    • Awww shucks, Jess, that’s so great to hear! I’m glad it worked for you and that you enjoyed it. :) Thank you for coming back tonight to leave a comment and let me know. That’s so nice of you!

  10. I just love chipotle’s rice. not sure which came first – wahoo’s tacos or chipotle, but I first had this rice at wahoo’s in socal when they only had a few chain of restaurants.

  11. Do we need some curry or gravy to eat with this as a munch? Pls do let us know

  12. How well does this keep in the fridge? I want to make it ahead of time for a party

    • I have never actually made it ahead of time so I cannot say for sure. I do make batches of rice frequently which I store in the fridge, and I reheat small portions for fried rice or adding to soup or whatever, and it works great. In this case, I guess I would say add the salt and lime juice and cilantro right before serving, rather than before refrigerating. You’ll have to decide on a way to reheat the rice though. I don’t know how well this would, but if it were me, I’d probably reheat it in a dry non-stick skillet. Good luck!

  13. Hi Meggan-
    Do you have portions for making this recipie for a crowd (about 40 servings)? Thanks, Julie

    • Hi Julie, I wish I did but I truly don’t. I’ve never made this recipe other than the version listed above. I guess I would just triple the recipe twice… at least. Good luck, I wish I could offer more advice!

  14. I did not want to try this, because boiling rice uncovered seemed so contrary to the way I have been taught to cook rice. Holy moly, I am soooo glad I did. That was the fluffiest, most perfect rice I have EVER made! It was just like Chipotle’s! Now every rice recipe I make will be made this way! I loved it!! Thanks!

    • Thank you Olivia! I know, it’s a weird way to cook rice and I didn’t believe it either at first. Thanks for giving the crazy idea a shot, so glad it worked for you and that you liked it!

  15. I like it even better with some zest of lime in it, too. gives it a “warmer” flavor.

  16. I used this method for my rice a few weeks ago. I followed each step exactly except I used chicken broth instead of water. But I plan to use the same method again for this recipe but using water instead. I’ll say that my rice was perfect! It was completely cooked, not musy or sticky.

    • Rhonda, I love using chicken broth when I cook rice, especially brown rice! It tastes so great. I haven’t tried it with this method or with Basmati rice, but I’m glad it worked for you and that you liked it. Thank you for letting me know!

    • Rhonda, I love using chicken broth when I cook rice, especially brown rice! It tastes so great. I haven’t tried it with this method or with Basmati rice, but I’m glad it worked for you and that you liked it. Thank you for letting me know!

  17. This is such a great simple twist on plain rice! I am having a taco bar today and you know, I’m going to make this to have on the side! Thanks Meggan!

  18. hi.. just a lil confused, why do you have to rinse the rice with water after its cooked? wouldnt it get soggy?

    • It definitely doesn’t get soggy. So with normal rice, when you cover it, it absorbs all the water and when it is done, you are left with just rice in the pan and no water. With basmati rice, you cook it uncovered in tons of water, more than would ever be absorbed. You rinse it at the end to get rid of the excess starch so the grains stay separated and don’t clump together. I know, it sounds like a weird way to do it, but it definitely works. It’s actually the way the say to cook the rice on the package (well, they offer like 3 methods) so it is no ground-breaking revelation on my part! I would not SOAK the rice when it’s cooked, just put it in a fine mesh strainer and give it a rinse.

  19. i worked at chipotle, this is close. All we did was cook the rice with water and bay leaves in a rice cooker, then we added salt and citrus (mostly lime) juice.

  20. Hi! I just wanted to add that yes, excess water is key to non-sticky rice. BUT I read a blog not long ago that perfected my basmati rice making. Wash rice, soak the rice in excess water for half an hour before cooking, then use a ratio of 1 cup rice : 2 cups water and cook like normal rice (on high until boiling, then cover and simmer for 15 mins). With this method you don’t have to strain, which can get messy.

    • I have seen recipes that suggest soaking rice in water to remove excess starch. I know it definitely works; I just find it easier to strain the rice after cooking it and giving it a rinse. I guess it depends on the size of your strainer! Still, I’d like to try your method and see if it works better. Thank you for the suggestion!

  21. The secret to fluffy rice, isn’t a lot of water. It’s cooking the raw rice first in oil, until the rice is clear, then adding in twice as much water by volume as rice, salt and any seasoning you want IN the rice, such as a bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then stick the lid on, reduce your heat to low for 15 minutes, then turn off the heat and let it steam for 15 minutes. Open, use a fork to fluff the rice, none of it sticks, and there’s no draining, or rinsing.

    • I could see this method being very effective because you cook the rice first in oil which would prevent sticking. I have a few baked rice dishes that start that way and it always yields fluffy, individual grains. Great method!

  22. Well well! I was googling for a cilantro rice recipe….and look what came up! Going on my dinner table tonight :)

  23. Tried this over the weekend and it came out perfect. Exactly like Chipotle. My new mission is to figure out how they make their pinto beans. Any ideas?

    • Hi Kristyn, I haven’t made their pinto beans myself, but here’s what I dug up from the site. I imagine it would take some trial & error to get it right. I’ve added that recipe to my to-do list! “Simmered with onions, garlic, oregano, and chipotle-chili adobo.”

  24. Can I make this but with regular long grain white rice

    • Hi Jennifer, the technique I have outlined above (cooking with a ton of water, leaving the pot uncovered) won’t work with regular long-grain rice. If I were going to use regular rice, I would rinse it first to remove as much starch as possible (to prevent sticking) and then cook the rice according to the package directions. Chipotle uses regular long-grain rice so you should be able to, too! I just had better luck with the basmati. Good luck!

  25. What temperature are you cooking the rice at for 12 minutes.  When i place it on low heat the boil slowly goes down.  Would u recommend I keep it at medium heat ?

    • Hi David, sorry that wasn’t clear from the recipe! You’ll want to keep it at medium heat or even medium-high, whatever temperature is required to keep it boiling. I use a gas stove so medium heat works for me to keep it at a boil. On an electric stove it might be different, but probably not much. If you have any other questions please let me know!

  26. Hi Meggan,

    Rice and masoor dal – called dal – chawal, are a staple in our culture. We eat them every single day, made from scratch every singly day!! We make varieties of flavored rice – atleast 12 and more in some regions of our country, and equal number of varieties of dal. Most if not all of these varieties call for fluffy, soft yet non-sticky rice. For generations people in our culture have been cooking rice uncovered on stove, a perfect make, every single time. As a matter of fact, the first thing young girls are taught to make in the kitchen is making perfect rice.  I have never heard of rinsing the rice after it is cooked, though. That is interesting, however. I shall try that for today’s lunch. Your method of cooking rice and the choice of masoor dal to go with it, suggests, you have quite some expertise with Indian cuisine – both cooking and tasting! Keep up the good work of spreading joy!

    • Hi Esther, thank you so much for your comment! I am definitely no expert (at anything, never mind Indian cuisine!) but I struggled with making rice to my satisfaction for a long time until I found this method. If you do not normally rinse the rice, I will have to try leaving that step out myself again (I can’t remember if I tried it when I was working on this recipe). I love how you said that you have been cooking rice uncovered on a stove for generations… it seems so crazy to me and many others and yet it’s perfect every time. You have warmed my heart with your stories. Thank you so much.

  27. As for the rice, are there any nutrients left after this cooking process?  Yikes!

    • Hi Jennifer, I assume this is a rhetorical question? ;) Because no, probably not. It’s my understanding (based on reading the package the rice comes in), anytime you rinse rice at all, you are rinsing away whatever nutrients the rice was enriched with.

  28. I currently live outside the U.S. and I barely remember Chipotle… Now I can save myself the waiting in line cause this rice is amazing!! Perfect recipe, I followed it to a t (along with your black beans and chicken recipes- did the best I could with that one) and it was all really delicious. I don’t think I will ever cook rice with a lid again! 

    • You are so sweet, thank you! The chicken gets easier with practice. I used to feel like – how will I ever make this! Now I can make it in my sleep. I also love that you get at least two batches out of it, that takes away some of the pain of the process. I love the rice too. I am working on a rice cooker method and also using regular long-grain rice. I think they are both good but I still like this original way the best (with no lid). Thank you so much for letting me know what you tried and how it went. It makes my day!

  29. Hi! I just want to say that I use Minute Rice Premium Rice in a rice cooker and it works great! I just at lemon juice, lime juice and salt to taste. Add chopped cilantro, top with some mozzarella cheese and a little sour cream ( this is how my 5 year old devours it at Chipotle and at home!) Its great!! Pretty darn close to the real thing.  

    • Bonnie, this is awesome! I really need to update the recipe to reflect more methods of preparation, and this is going on the list. Thank you so much for sharing your experience! Adding cheese and sour cream makes everything better… ha ha! My 3-year old loves the rice with their salad dressing on top. :)

  30. I’m not sure what happened, but this turned out WAY overpowered with lime or salt (or maybe both) when I made it for dinner. It was just a bit too much. I cut the recipe in half with the amount of rice I used, but I don’t know what happened. I am gonna try it again though! 

    • I am so sorry about that, Jenn!!! Over salted food is the worst. It’s just not fixable! Here’s hoping your next attempt works out better. When you halved the rice, I assume you halved the salt/lime too?? :(

  31. I just made the rice (basmati) for the first time tonight using the Stev top method following the directions exactly. Understanding I may have done something wrong, here are my comments. After rinsing the rice with hot water and straining it the best I could it still seemed very wet. After adding 2 tbsp lime and 1 tbsp of lemon it was just way to wet. I’m guessing I didn’t get enough water out during straining. What else should I have done?

    Last, the lemon and lime was way to strong especially compared to Chipotle’s. I’m just going to cut the amount in half the next time I try to make this recipie.

    Any comments/suggestions welcome.

    • Hi Mike, I am so sorry you had some problems with the recipe. It sounds like you probably did everything right. I have never done anything to deliberately “dry” the rice and it has always been fine for me, but now I want to go and make it again and assess more closely how “wet” the rice is. Because clearly you had issues, and I’m really sorry about that. I will also test the amount of lemon and lime juice, maybe I had weak citrus?? What a disaster, I’m so sorry about that! I will retest this within a week and reply to you with my findings. So sorry again.

  32. This recipe works well with these directions.

    NOTE: It DOES NOT work with a 1/2 batch.. Tried it ‘halving’ the ingredients and there was way too much lemon/lime. Also, after ~ 11 1/2 minutes of boiling, my pot ran out of water.

    • Good to know, thank you!! I never tried making a half batch, and now I never will. Thanks for your help.

  33. I have always made basmati rice using the ration 1 cup rice:1 ¾ cup water and it comes out perfect. I fear you are using too much water. 

    • The way I’m making it, you end up pouring off the excess water. In your version, do you do the same? Or is all the water absorbed? I imagine if you used exactly the right amount of water (as you are probably doing) the rice wouldn’t need to be drained. I am planning to experiment with this recipe again soon so I’ll try your way! Thanks for sharing.

  34. Chipotle does rinse their rice until all the water runs clear and they use bay leafs when cooking it

    • Hi Anna, do they really rinse their rice? That’s awesome. I mean, it totally works for me in terms of getting it to be so separated and not sticky at all. And yes, the bay leaves are everything. They change the flavor of the rice so much, for the good! Thanks for your comment.

  35. So the rice to water ratio On the back of my basmati rice bag is a little different then your instructions sink don’t know what to follow … The back of my bag says 2 cups of rice and 3 cups of water . And your instruction say 2 cups of rice with 8 cups of water

    • Hi Desiree, I think there is more than one way to make the rice. I make it with 8 cups of water (or 6 or 10 or some large amount) and then drain off the excess after 12 minutes (and also boil it uncovered). I’m not sure how the bag you are reading says, but if you were going to COVER the rice and try to have it absorb all the water, then 8 cups of water would be way too much. 3 cups might be more appropriate. But since I drain the excess water off and rinse the rice until the water runs clear, 8 cups works fine. But of course it’s up to you! Feel free to follow the instructions you see there. :)

  36. I made this tonight in my rice cooker and it was delicioussss. I realized too late that I didn’t have any lemons so I just left it out. The lime flavor was kind of strong but in a really good way. We still have a ton left so I’ll be having more for lunch and probably dinner tomorrow!

    In my experience, reheating rice in the microwave works just fine if you give it a heavy sprinkling of water beforehand and then cover it. So that’s how I’ll probably try it tomorrow :)

    Thanks for sharing this recipe (and continuing to update it with additions/corrections, I feel like that’s super rare)!!

    • Hey Krys! I’m glad you liked it! Yeah, it’s really good without lemon too (at least in my opinion). My favorite sentence: “Kind of strong but in a really good way.” I’ve reheated it in the microwave too with water just as you described, works really well! Yes, I’m always trying to improve my recipes, the Mexican Rice and Chipotle Chicken are other ones that are constantly being updated. :) Thank you so much! Have a great weekend. :)

  37. I don’t know what I did wrong but the 12 minute boil and hot water rinse turned my rice into a mush-fest. So disappointed because this seemed to work for so many people. Anyway, future cooks beware–if your rice looks done, take it off! I noticed mine looking a little too soft but went with it. R.I.P. 2 cups of basmati rice.

    • Hey there, I’m so sorry to hear that! Not sure what happened. I would be curious to know how long they have written on the package you bought to cook the rice. Sorry again about the wasted food (and time and sanity). :(

  38. The reason you rinse the rice until the water runs clear is to clean it and get chemicals off. It also helps to keep the rice from sticking together or becoming to starchy. I made this recipe though, and it is absolutely delicious! Thank you!

    • Thank you Maddie! Yes, you lost the nutrition but also lose the chemicals! Great point! Thanks. :)

  39. Of course it matters how much water you use when cooking rice!!!! That is why you are not successful!!! The ratio is always 2 parts water to 1 part rice! Bring to a boil , cover tightly! Turn down heat to med and let the rice cook until tender. About 10 to 15 minutes depending on how much rice you are cooking.

    • Hi Jan, the way I cook the basmati rice in this recipe, it works out perfectly as long as you use plenty of water. Normally I’d agree with you (for long-grain rice), but this is the method suggested on the back of the basmati rice package.

  40. I made this recipe tonight with long grain rice. I saute my rice first, then add boiling liquid, water in this case, so I used that method. Used the bay leaf. After the 5 minuterest, I fluffed and added the lime and cilantro. LOVE!! 

    • Yes, that’s a GREAT way to do it! That’s how I make my Mexican Rice and my Puerto Rican Rice (well I bake them after the saute of rice and boiling water addition). So good. I should test this recipe that way too! Thank you Chef Danna. :)

  41. Awe, ty. I’m am not a chef ~ it’s a family nickname. :) Just wanted you to know I enjoyed the recipe, as did my family. There was none left!! That’s rare with rice around here! 

  42. Hi, I don’t know if this will help, but…I was recently told by an employee (while standing in line to get some of that delicious rice) that Chipotle uses 6 bay leaves per batch, however, I don’t know the size of their pot or cooker. I figure if we keep adding pieces to the puzzle, we will eventually have the exact recipe. Hope this helps.

    • Hi Melissa, thanks for that tip! I feel like I just need to get a job there. I wonder if they make you sign an NDA. ;) I have heard they use a rice cooker (someone else commented on this post at one point). But like you said, what size is that pot? Could be some kind of crazy industrial rice cooker. Who knows! Thanks for the info though, much appreciated!

  43. Hi, is the boil time the same if you use 1 cup rice instead of 2 cups? thanks! will try this tonight!

    • Hi Jade! Yes, should be fine (if you’re using basmati). if you’re using Long-grain rice it may need an extra couple of minutes, but I’m not sure. Shouldn’t be a huge difference in time though!

  44. Do we use oil in the basmati rice as well? We are making it for our marriage bible study tomorrow! YUMMY!

    • The oil is optional! You can use it in the Basmati rice. You don’t have to! I realize I didn’t get back to you in time and that you already made this (or didn’t make it, since I didn’t get back to you). So sorry about that. Thanks for your comment!

  45. I just deleted my previous comment. I’m going to retest the rice cooker method and see how it comes out for me. Sorry about the salt. In the basmati/stove top method obviously most of the salt ends up the liquid which is drained off, but that wouldn’t be the case in a rice cooker. So I need to fix the recipe. Thanks for letting me know and sorry about that.

  46. Man- bloggers sometimes get some unkind feedback!  I am making this recipe tomorrow- but even if it doesn’t come out great- thanks for taking the time to help some of us out there who want to cook delicious food but don’t have the natural inclination to do so.  ;)

    • Well thanks, Katie! Yes, we do. Sometimes it is deserved, though. :) Generally we aren’t professionals (although I’m working on my culinary credentials) so I just take it in stride. I hope you love the recipe! I really appreciate your comment. XO

  47. Hi! I have a long grain Basmati rice that I like to use, so that would seem to fall under two different categories for cooking. Should I just following the cooking instructions on my box of rice or can I use just the long-grain method from your recipe? Mine says to use 1 cup of rice, 1 1/4 cups of water, combining all ingredients in the pan until brought to a boil. Then I cover and simmer for 15 minutes…

    • Hi Stephanie, is it regular rice that just happens to come in a box? I think you could do either method and it would work. What you have described is pretty close to my standard plain-rice recipe. Feel free to follow the box instructions! Thanks for your question.

  48. I am going to give your rice cooking method a try even though I have a method that makes very good rice. I am trying out your method because I just made your Pork and it is amazing. Thank you for sharing can’t wait to eat everything together.

    • Hi Abby, thank you for giving the rice a try! There are so many good ways to make rice. Also happy to hear you enjoyed the pork! I think it’s soooo good. Take care!

  49. I made this tonight and my family said it was even better than Chipotle! Absolutely amazing! Thanks for sharing! I can’t wait to try the black beans, guacamole, and corn salsa recipe you have posted!

    • Wow, thank you so much Brandi! That makes my day, really. :) I appreciate you! I hope you enjoy the other recipes as well.

  50. Making this for a graduation party for 150!  I am planning half brown and half basmati. I normally bake my rice  Using Alton Browns oven baked recipe. I think baking it wil make it easier to make such big batches?  Do you think this will work well for this recipe? 

  51. Hi, I work at Chipotle and can confirm that we definitely wash our rice (a few times because of how much we cook at once). I figured I’d let you know that your recipe is pretty much the same as we use. Good job!

  52. Wow! Just wow! I made the brown rice (in rice cooker), Pico de Gallo, guacamole, grilled onions and green peppers. I made the tofu that Chipotle makes from another website cause I didn’t see it on here. But everything tasted EXACTLY like Chipotle! My family loved it too and went back for more! Great job!

    • This makes me so happy Trey! I am working on the tofu recipe so yes, it isn’t on the site yet. Glad you loved everything though. Makes my day!

  53. Used your method and it was fantastic! Will always make my rice this way. Thank you!

  54. Made this on the stove for a potluck. Everyone loved it! Great recipe!

  55. Hi Meggan,
    Would I be able to substitute wild rice for this recipe? I read that it is gluten free and I realize that it’s not something Chipotle uses.

    • Hi Steven, you can definitely try it! Wild rice takes a lot longer to cook, as I’m sure you know, so you can basically just follow the instructions on the package for it (but add a bay leaf and stir in the juice and cilantro at the end). I’m sure you know this but all rice is gluten free, not just wild rice! At least to the extent that the manufacturer takes care to monitor the condition of the packaging plant. Thanks for your question, I hope this helps.

  56. I just have to say I just made this and the carnitas, and they are DELICIOUS. EXACTLY like Chipotle and better. I am a terrible cook, especially with meat, but this turned out perfectly and it’s going to become a staple. THANK YOU!

  57. I just made this and it came out crunchy after 12 minutes and the hot water rinse. Flavor was good. Followed recipe exactly using basmati rice. I tried again at 15 minutes… still crunchy :(

    • Hi Brooke, I’m so sorry you had issues. The only thing I can think of is that it is the rice itself. I don’t want to say your rice is old or low-quality, but new rice that is imported will perform better than old rice that is domestic. But if the rice is still crunchy after 15 minutes, you can just cook it until it’s tender. Or, you can put a lid on it to create steam. You certainly don’t have to give up, there’s still hope! Overcooked rice can’t be saved, but undercooked rice just needs to cook longer. It’s hard for me to know exactly what the problem is without being there in your kitchen with you. I’m so sorry about that and that you had issues.

  58. Good recipe. Thank you. However you had said “Although Chipotle uses long-grain rice, I found that I was able to most closely mimic their rice by using Basmati”. Just want to inform you that Basmati Rice is long grain rice.
    It is considered the King of Rice.

  59. My daughter recently decided that she will ONLY eat Chipotle rice, and I thought this recipe would save me from her craziness, but she still won’t eat it. The rice is perfect. It is the combination of flavors after it is cooked.  The first time, I said I’d just omit the lemon next time because it is WAY to citrusy.  Just made it again, adding only the lime and cilantro.  It still is sadly “not right”.  Is there a “right” kind of lime, or some other secret I could be missing? Have used the basmati rice method and the rice has been beautiful. It just doesn’t taste right :-(

    • The only thing I can think of is that, I think, Chipotle uses a spray bottle to add the citrus juice. I can’t remember if someone commented on that in this post, or if I heard it from a friend who worked there. But maybe somehow using a spray bottle prevents the flavor from being too concentrated? Because I think you’re right. Their rice has the same flavor but it is somehow muted. Or maybe I’m just crazy. I mean, I love this recipe, but it’s clearly not exactly right. I don’t think it’s a different kind of lime. Let me ask around. I’ll report back if I learn anything else!

  60. Forgive me if I am overlooking something but I know you mention in the recipe and also in a post that the oil is optional. I am wondering if you can share some more on this as to advantages of using or skipping, etc or if there is a cooking method that makes a difference whether you use it or not. I am going to use the slow cooking method but we are making a large amount for a large gathering…and just was curious to have some more insight from you. Thanks!

    • Sorry, I meant “rice cooker” method :(

    • Hi Angie! I only tested the recipe without oil because someone who cannot eat (or does not eat) fat asked me about that. While you can make the rice without oil, I don’t recommend it. It will taste better and cook better with oil. No question, hand’s down. The recipe worked without it, but I was almost surprised by it and felt a little uncertain reporting those results. If you have no reason to avoid the oil, please use it. I will feel a lot better about your prospects if you do! I hope this is helpful. Please let me know if you have any questions. -Meggan

  61. I made this rice in my rice cooker and your copycat Chipotle chicken recipe and it was a huge hit at my house. I can’t wait to try your other recipes! Thank you!

  62. Made this last night and it was fantastic! My 3yr old always asks for extra rice with her chipotle kids meal and this let’s me give her more if she wants it!
    Also, I’m Pakistani and my mom, grandma, and great grandmother were taught to make rice this exact way. It makes the most perfect, fluffy, separated rice grains ever. Goes way back :) thanks for bring up this method!

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