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.
Bring 8 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. 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).
Long-grain rice (not Basmati): If using a long-grain rice other than Basmati, 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. Or, soak the rice in a large bowl of water for up to 30 minutes to help remove starch while conserving water.
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). If you're looking to buy a rice cooker, I use and recommend the Aroma Housewares Rice Cooker, which you can buy from Amazon.
Yield: 1 cup uncooked white rice makes 3 cups cooked white rice. 1 cup uncooked brown rice makes 4 cups cooked brown rice. This recipe will make about 6 cups Cilantro-Lime Rice, enough for 12 (1/2 cup) servings. That means it's great for plenty of burrito bowls and meal prep!
Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Freezer: Rice is one of the easiest things to freeze. I love to pack it into 2-cup portions (in plastic bags). Label, date, and lay flat in the freezer. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw as needed or add to soups or stir-fries straight from the freezer.