Cilantro Lime Rice in Rice Cooker: Easy Recipe for Zesty Perfection

Ready to spice up your meals with a zesty side dish? Try this easy cilantro lime rice in rice cooker recipe, a Chipotle-inspired favorite that’s sure to become a staple in your kitchen. Preparing this flavorful rice is as easy as pressing play on your favorite music—you’ll breeze through the steps effortlessly. Say goodbye to boring meals and hello to an exciting culinary adventure right in your own home.

With this simple guide, you’re not just cooking rice; you’re creating a flavorful experience. So, grab your knife, zest some limes, and get ready to turn plain rice into a beloved Chipotle classic with professional flair!

Choosing the Right Rice for Cilantro Lime Rice

Craving that perfect Chipotle-style cilantro lime rice? Before you start cooking, the key to mastering this iconic dish begins with selecting the right type of rice. The choice of grain is crucial as it can make or break the final dish, much like choosing the right wine to complement a meal.

For cilantro lime rice, Jasmine or Basmati is the ideal choice. Why Basmati or Jasmine over others? This variety offers a light, fluffy texture after cooking, which is essential for this recipe. It remains firm and dry, holding up well against the bold flavors of cilantro and lime without becoming mushy or clumpy. Jasmine rice is what you typically would be served at any Chinese, Japanese, or Vietnamese restaurant, whereas Basmati is more commonly found at Indian restaurants.

I personally prefer Jasmine rice over all overs – not just because I’m Vietnamese – but for this particular recipe, the stickiness of the rice helps if you’re making this for tacos. My 11 year old son complains that his hard-shell tacos come apart too easily, but he discovered that if he puts jasmine rice at the bottom on his taco, it holds it together well enough for him to eat his taco without it breaking up too much. Basmati has some stickiness properties to them too but not as much as jasmine rice.

Cilantro lime rice topped with lemon in bowl on a table.

In comparison:

  • American Long-Grain: Typically firm and separate, making it suitable for hearty meals.
  • Jasmine: Known for its soft, sticky texture and is best used in aromatic dishes where a clumpier texture is desired. In this case of making tacos, the stickiness will help hold hard shell tacos together better!
  • Basmati: Its light and fluffy texture make it perfect for cilantro lime rice, ensuring each grain is distinct and well-coated with flavor.

Choosing Basmati ensures that your cilantro lime rice is not only tasty but also has the ideal texture to elevate your meal.

Ingredients and Variations for Your Cilantro Lime Rice

Ready to make some irresistibly zesty cilantro lime rice that bursts with freshness? At the heart of this popular dish are simple yet vibrant ingredients. Prepare for a flavor explosion with long-grain Basmati rice, zesty lime juice, and bright cilantro.

Cilantro lime rice topped with cilantro and lime in a wooden bowl with limes and cilantro leaves on a table.

But why stick to the basics? Feel free to experiment with different ingredients to make this dish your own. You’re the chef, and this recipe is your canvas.

Looking for a healthier option? Try substituting white rice with long-grain brown rice—just adjust the water and cooking time accordingly. Not a fan of cilantro? Mix up the herbs to suit your taste. This dish is incredibly adaptable and designed to please any palate while maintaining its fresh, bold essence.

IngredientStandard QuantityAlternative Options
Basmati Rice1 cupJasmine, American long-grain, Brown rice
Fresh Cilantro1/4 cup, choppedParsley, Mint (for variation)
Lime Juice2 tbspLemon, bottled lime juice
Lemon Juice1 tbspAdditional Lime juice, Vinegar

Whether you’re a fan of the classic Chipotle-style cilantro lime rice or eager to try new variations, the possibilities are endless. So grab those fresh ingredients, and let’s turn that rice into a fiesta!

How to Cook Perfect Cilantro Lime Rice in Rice Cooker

Imagine the irresistible aroma of lime and cilantro rice wafting through your kitchen. But first things first—you’ve got to prep it just right. The difference between good and great lies in the details, so closely follow these steps to ensure your grain game is strong.

Rinsing Rice: A Crucial Step

Begin your journey towards rice perfection by thoroughly rinsing your rice. Think of this as prepping your rice for its best performance. Rinsing removes impurities and excess starch, which can cause your rice to become sticky. This step ensures your rice will have the perfect texture.

Mastering Water-to-Rice Ratios

The key to perfectly cooked rice lies in the correct water-to-rice ratio. It’s essential for achieving the right consistency—neither too dry nor too mushy. Consult the table below for precise measurements depending on the type of rice you’re using.

Rice TypeRinseWater-to-Rice RatioCooking Time in Rice Cooker
BasmatiYes1 cup to 1.5 cups12 minutes
JasmineYes1 cup to 1.5 cups12 minutes
Brown RiceYes1 cup to 2 cups20-22 minutes

Seasoning: The Final Touch

Cilantro lime rice in a plate.

After your rice is cooked, it’s time to add the signature flavors. Stir in freshly chopped cilantro and the zest and juice of limes to infuse your rice with a fresh, zesty kick that’ll make your palate dance. Season carefully to enhance the natural flavors of the rice without overwhelming them.

Related Article: If you love the ease and flavors of this cilantro lime rice recipe, you might also enjoy our recipe for Instant Pot Cilantro Lime Rice, which offers a speedy alternative using the popular pressure cooker.

What to Serve with Cilantro Lime Rice

Imagine your cilantro lime rice: fluffy and aromatic with hints of citrus and cilantro—what’s next? Taking this dish to the next level involves pairing it with the right components to create a complete and satisfying meal.

Proteins for Pairing

Consider the sizzle of grilled chicken, the rich taste of juicy steak, or the slow-cooked delight of barbacoa heaped atop your cilantro lime rice. These combinations make a meal that’s comforting and fulfilling.

Related Article: If you’re curious about what specifically complements chicken, check out our guide on what goes with chicken for more delicious ideas.

For a touch of Chipotle’s culinary style at home, why not build your own burrito bowl? Add savory carnitas, and you’ve got a meal that could rival any restaurant.

Burrito bowl with chopped tomatoes and cilantro rice on a table.

Vegetarian and Vegan Options

For those on a plant-based diet, there’s no shortage of options. Consider adding Chipotle’s sofritas or a colorful mix of tofu fajitas to your rice. These aren’t just alternatives; they’re flavor-packed choices that stand tall in any meal.

Sauces and Sides for a Complete Meal

Don’t forget the extras! Drizzle some Chipotle-Honey Vinaigrette over your dish for an instant flavor boost, or add sides like black beans or fajita veggies to round out your plate.

To further complement the dish, consider adding a generous dollop of guacamole. Its creamy texture and rich, savory taste blend beautifully with the zesty lime and fresh cilantro in the rice, making for a harmonious combination.

With these extras, your cilantro lime rice will be anything but boring, whether you’re making it for a quiet night in or a big party. For more insights on these flavorful additions, see our articles on What Is Chipotle Sauce and What Is Guacamole.


Cilantro lime rice crafted in a rice cooker is a simple yet transformative dish that pairs beautifully with a variety of meals. With its bright flavors of zesty lime and fresh cilantro, this rice will take any dish from ordinary to extraordinary.

Whether you choose to enjoy it alongside a sizzling protein, mix it into a vibrant burrito bowl, or complement it with a side of creamy guacamole, cilantro lime rice is versatile and always delicious. Embrace the ease and flavor of making this delightful rice in your rice cooker, and let each meal shine with a touch of gourmet flair.

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Cilantro Lime Rice in Rice Cooker


Make meals more interesting with this zesty Cilantro Lime Rice, prepared effortlessly in your rice cooker. This simple yet flavorful dish combines fresh herbs and citrus to complement any meal, especially Mexican and Asian cuisines.


  • 1 cup Basmati rice
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Optional: 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper or a pinch of red pepper flakes for heat


  • Step 1 – Rinse the Basmati rice under cold water until the water runs clear.
  • Step 2 – Add the rinsed rice, water, lime juice, lemon juice, and salt to the rice cooker. Stir gently to distribute the liquids and seasonings evenly.
  • Step 3 – Secure the lid on your rice cooker and set it to cook. For Basmati rice, the cooking time is typically around 12 minutes, but follow your rice cooker’s instructions as settings can vary.
  • Step 4 – Once the rice is cooked and the cooker switches to ‘warm’ or ‘off,’ let it sit for about 10 minutes to steam further. Then, fluff the rice with a fork, and gently stir in the chopped cilantro and lime zest.
  • Step 5 – Serve the cilantro lime rice warm as a delightful side dish!


Can cilantro lime rice be made ahead of time?

Yes, you can make cilantro lime rice ahead of time. It stores well in the refrigerator for up to three days and can be reheated with a splash of water to maintain moisture.

Is a rice cooker really better than cooking rice on the stove?

A rice cooker can be a more convenient and foolproof method for cooking rice, especially for those who don’t want to monitor a pot on the stove. It provides consistent heat and has a set-and-forget feature that makes it ideal for busy individuals.

However, stove-top cooking can yield excellent results as well and offers more control for those who prefer to adjust the cooking process as needed. The choice depends on your cooking style and convenience preference.

Do I have to use fresh cilantro and lime juice, or are bottled versions acceptable?

While fresh cilantro and lime juice are recommended for the best taste and freshness, you can use bottled lime juice and dried cilantro in a pinch. Keep in mind that the vibrant zest and bright flavor of fresh ingredients are part of what makes this dish special, so use fresh whenever possible.

How can I make my cilantro lime rice spicier?

Add a diced jalapeño or a sprinkle of red pepper flakes when cooking to introduce some heat to the dish.

Can I incorporate cilantro lime rice into a meal prep routine?

Absolutely! Cilantro lime rice is excellent for meal prep. It holds up well in the fridge for up to three days and reheats nicely. Portion it into individual containers alongside your choice of protein and veggies for a ready-to-go meal that’s both convenient and flavorful.