Chipotle Cilantro Lime Rice Recipe (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.

Chipotle cilantro lime rice in a white bowl.

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 (aka “the pasta method”), I was able to 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.

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 along the way is to use the type of rice listed in a given recipe. Each one has different characteristics, so if you swap in a kind that hasn’t been tested, you might not get the result you are hoping for.

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.

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 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).
    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.
  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!

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.

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 instructions on how to make Cilantro Lime Brown Rice are in the recipe card below, in case you are interested.

Method 4: Chipotle Cilantro Lime Brown Rice

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?

This is my current rice cooker (Culinary Hill may earn income if you make a purchase through this link). 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!

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.

Chipotle cilantro lime rice in a white bowl.

Chipotle Cilantro Lime Rice Recipe (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.
4.92 from 109 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 114kcal
Author: Meggan Hill

Ingredients

  • 2 cups basmati rice unrinsed, or any long-grain white rice, rinsed (see notes)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt
  • teaspoon olive oil or rice bran oil, optional
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro (or omit or sub parsley)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice from 1-2 limes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice from 1-2 lemons

Instructions

To cook basmati rice on the stove top:

  • Bring 8 cups water to a boil in a large pot. Add rice, bay leaf, and salt to taste (I like 2 teaspoons). Stir and return to a boil. Boil uncovered for 10 to 12 minutes (for me it's always 12, but some readers have reported mushy rice after 12 minutes, so keep an eye on yours).
  • 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. Season to taste with salt (I like an additional 1/4 teaspoon). Serve hot or at room temperature.

To cook any long-grain rice on the stove top:

  • Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a large pot. Add rice, bay leaf, oil if using, and salt to taste (I like 2 teaspoons). Stir and return to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes.
  • Remove bay leaf. Stir in cilantro, lime juice, and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt (I like an additional 1/4 teaspoon). Serve hot or at room temperature.

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

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

  • 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).

Video

Notes

  1. If using a different 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).

Nutrition

Calories: 114kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 35mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 4IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @CulinaryHill or tag #CulinaryHill!

Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This form collects your name, email, and content so that we can keep track of the comments placed on the website. For more info check our privacy policy where you will get more info on where, how and why we store your data.
This form collects your name, email and content so that we can keep track of the comments placed on the website. For more info check our privacy policy where you will get more info on where, how and why we store your data.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. Laura Jeronimus

    My family loves Chipotle. So, tonight I thought I would try this recipe. They said it tasted like Chipotle maybe even better!! It was adorable, the kids kept thanking me for making it!! It’s already a family favorite!! Thank you for sharing this great recipe. It was so wonderful of you to share the different ways to cook it as well. I did the rinse recipe with the stove top for a long grain rice.
    Fantastic :)5 stars

  2. Tammy

    New favorite. So much better than store bought. Love it with the Turkey Tacos!5 stars

  3. Jason Zheng

    Thank you!5 stars

  4. Alicia White

    I cannot stand cilantro. Is there a good substitute for it? Or, is it OK just to leave it out?

    1. Meggan

      Hi Alicia! You can substitute fresh parsley, or leave it out completely. 😊 – Meggan

  5. Brittany Harris

    Yum! Didn’t use lemons…just one juicy lime5 stars

  6. Ed

    Easy and everyone liked it as much as Chipotles.5 stars

  7. Eva

    I’ve never made rice before and I want to make this for an adult birthday party for a large group. I’m going to use a rice cooker. Can I make this the day before and had the juices and cilantro the next day? If so, how would I store this and reheat? Or what would you suggest?

    1. Meggan

      Hi Eva, Yes! I would recommend reheating in a dry nonstick skillet, and definitely add the citrus juices and cilantro so the rice doesn’t become soggy. – Meggan

  8. Heidi

    If you double the recipe, should I add an extra bay leaf or is one still good?

    1. Meggan

      Hi Heidi! I would add a second one if you’re doubling the recipe. Thanks! – Meggan

  9. Rita

    I would like to make this tonight for a baby shower lunch at work tomorrow. How is it for reheating in a crock pot? Thank you

    1. Hi Rita, it will work just fine. You rinse the rice after it’s cooked, so there isn’t excess starch that could make it sticky. It will work really well. Thanks! -Meggan

  10. Shea

    Can I sub the cilantro with dried cilantro?

    1. Hi Shea, sure if you want to! If you like it, that’s all that matters. Thanks! -Meggan

  11. Debbie Olson

    This recipe was amazing and delicious. The entire family enjoyed it. I even added black beans and pulled pork and made it a meal in a bowl. I would recommend this to anyone that loves Chipotle.5 stars

  12. Roxana

    Great recipe! Tastes exactly like Chipotle.5 stars

  13. Nicole

    Has anyone tried to put this in a crockpot or have another proven method to keep it warm for a taco bar party without it getting sticky?

    1. Hi Nicole! If you follow the “pasta method” and cook the rice uncovered in a lot of water, and if you rinse it at the end as the recipe says, I don’t think your rice will get sticky. There won’t be anything to make it stick. I haven’t stuck the rice in a crock pot myself, but I just don’t see how that could happen. I hope this helps! Thanks. -Meggan

  14. Shawn Salmon

    Do you still drain off water if using Jasmine and the stove top method? 4 cups of water with 2 cups of rice seems like a lot otherwise. It doesn’t say drain it in the steps.

    1. Matias

      She said 4 cups of water per 1 cup of rice…which seems an even more imbalanced ratio. Rice bags always say to put twice as much water as rice. Four times more water, though? I don’t understand.

    2. Meggan

      Hi Matias, yes! It’s the “pasta method” and it’s the way to cook basmati rice so it mimics Chipotle’s. I’ve outlined it in Method #1 in the post if you would like to read more. :) It seemed imbalanced to me too the first time I tried it. Sorry for any confusion! – Meggan

    3. meggan

      Hi Shawn, step #2: “Remove bay leaf. Using a fine mesh strainer, drain rice and rinse with hot water. Pour into a large bowl.” Unless you’re referring to a different one where it’s not listed. I’ll go take a look at all of them and see if anything seems wrong. Thanks for pointing that out! You definitely want to drain it off. -Meggan

  15. Michelle

    Absolutely amazing. Just like the real deal! 5 stars

  16. Rico jimenez

    Thank you so Very Much! My son has been craving the rice since quarantine. It came out so good!

  17. Amanda Aguirri

    I made the rice, black beans, and chicken. They all tasted great – beans were a bit too spicy for me though. While my family loved the meal, we all agree it doesn’t taste anything like Chipotle!
    Thanks for the recipes. I will be making them again for sure.5 stars

  18. Litz

    This was delicious! I was always taught to pan fry rice before putting it into the boiling water so I did it with this recipe too and it came it delicious just like Chipotle! Thank you.5 stars

  19. Julie Eldredge

    I did the basmati “pasta method” just like the recipe and it worked beautifully. I loved the result because the rice was incredibly separate. I have been looking for a method to cook rice like I find in Indian restaurants. I have found it!!!!5 stars

  20. Char

    Yummy! I made this using basmati rice and I did use cilantro. It was perfect with my spicy seared scalllops!5 stars

Scroll to top