Cilantro Lime Rice will transform taco night forever. Fluffy white rice is upgraded with colorful cilantro and fresh zesty lime to create the best side dish to accompany every Mexican dish you make! 

As much as we love cilantro tomato rice, we’re also in love with the zesty freshness created in this rice dish! We add this cilantro lime rice to burritos, serve it alongside Creamy Chicken Enchiladas, or using it as a side with other tex mex favorites like loaded nachos and taco casserole!

Cilantro Lime Rice in a bowl with lime with a green and yellow napkin

How to Make Cilantro Lime Rice

Basmati and long grain white rice are cultivated for their distinctive flavor profiles and are less starchy so they cook up drier and stay separated, which is perfect for cilantro and lime rice recipes. To make this cilantro lime rice recipe:

  1. RINSE: Rinse and drain 1 cup of basmati or long grain white rice (this keeps it from getting sticky).
  2. SIMMER: Bring water, rice, a bay leaf to a simmer.
  3. FLAVOR: Once cooked squeeze fresh lime over rice and add finely chopped cilantro, salt and pepper.

Rice recipes are the perfect side for pretty much any meal!

Cilantro Lime Rice in a saucepan with limes and cilantro

Serve with fish tacos, enchiladas, or even Easy Chicken Fajitas! Maybe a little chipotle cilantro lime rice for some color and a flavor punch!

For a healthier Keto or low carb version, make a cilantro lime cauliflower rice using riced cauliflower. Making a cilantro lime brown rice is healthy alternative as well because whole grain brown rice is loaded with fiber and complex B vitamins!

Cilantro Lime Rice in a bowl with lime

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How to Make Cilantro Lime Rice with Instant Rice

Talk about a time saver! Lime cilantro rice is even faster to make with instant! Just be sure to buy a basmati, or long grain white or brown rice and don’t over boil it because instant rice is par-cooked, so it’ll be easy peasy! Lime cilantro rice is so colorful and tasty, you’ll want to serve it all the time!

cilantro lime rice in a pot topped with parsley and lime wedges
5 from 6 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Cilantro Lime Rice

Cilantro lime rice gives white rice a zesty upgrade. Chopped cilantro and fresh lime juice are mixed with fluffy white rice to complement any Mexican meal.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Resting time 5 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 servings



  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup basmati rice or long grain white rice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup cilantro finely chopped
  • ½ lime juiced


  • Rinse rice and drain well.
  • Bring rice, bay leaf, water and salt to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook 15 minutes or until water is absorbed.
  • Remove from heat and let sit 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
  • Stir in lime juice, cilantro and salt to taste. Serve.


If using long-grain white rice, it will come out fluffier if it is washed several times until the water runs clear to remove the surface starch.
5 from 6 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 172 | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 0.3g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 155mg | Potassium: 72mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 0.2g | Vitamin A: 141IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 0.5mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American, Mexican, Tex Mex

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Cilantro Lime Rice with cilantro on top
Cilantro Lime Rice in a wood bowl with limes



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About the author

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Recipe Rating


  1. So yummy and super easy!! I accidentally forgot to add the salt, and ran out of cilantro at 1/4 cup, but used extra lime juice, and it was still delicious!! Next time, I’ll make sure I add the salt and have enough cilantro on hand!!5 stars

    1. I haven’t tried it so I can’t say for sure Leslie, but I think that should work. If you try it I would love to hear how it turns out!

    1. What kind of rice did you use? Long grain white rice needs a ratio of 1 cup rice to 2 cups liquid so it should come out fluffy in this recipe.

  2. It doesn’t work with medium grain rice. I used what I had: Goya medium grain white rice. I skimmed over the beginning regarding long grain rice having less starch, cooking drier and staying separated; I read it but it didn’t penetrate my brain. So, 1 Goya medium grain (rinsed well) and 2 c water in the rice cooker. For that kind of rice I usually use 1:1 or at the mot 1.5:1 water to rice. It boiled merrily, boiled over, leaving starchy overflow around the top and down the sides. When the rice maker said it was done, it was a gooey gummy starchy mess. ok, well, I’d make the best of it. I scooped it into a bowl, squeezed the juice of a whole lime into it, added a knob of good butter for good luck, and about 1/4 c of fresh rinsed, dried, and minced cilantro. It felt like I was stirring rice porridge. Gamely, I scooped some on each plate, along with a warm tortilla, shredded pork Carnitas, and passed the bowls of pico de gallo, sour cream, refried beans, shredded cheese, cilantro, diced avocado, etc. The latter were excellent; the rice, sadly, a disaster. A disaster of my own making, since I didn’t follow directions. Somehow I felt that using Goya rice would be ok, since Goya is a large producer of Hispanic food. Ummm no, Goya wasn’t a magic charm. FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS AND USE LONG GRAIN RICE!!!
    To add taste I sprinkled on some Tejin seasoning, and stirred in another hunk of butter. It didn’t help. The rest of dinner was delicious; the rice went in the trash.

    1. Oh no! So sorry to hear that PJ. Definitely long grain rice or basmati is the best for this recipe! It prevents exactly when you described.

    2. get yourself some basmati rice.. you will never be interested in any other white rice.. so delicious and wonderful texture!

  3. If making ahead, should cilantro and lime juice be added just before serving or can entire dish be reheated?

    1. The entire dish can be reheated Regina. I like to add extra lime juice and cilantro to refresh the flavors before serving.

  4. First, I am a big fan and save many of the recipes you post. Keep it going and compliments on your efforts and highest regards.

    I want to make a comment on cilantro which in no way is an indictment against you or any other cilantro lover. It is more of a question than anything.

    For me, and I know there are many others too, cilantro is about the most hideous green, poor excuse for a seasoning, nausea inducing, nasal assault stuff that exists that probably should have a place in biological warfare instead of gastronomic fare. And its insidious rise in popularity, at least with those that promote certain ethnic dishes, is a mystery to me. I am a baby boomer, born in the fifties and I do not recall even hearing the name cilantro until maybe 20 years ago. And even then it was not a common ingredient or a feature of any recipe. But now people put it in everything it seems;I exaggerate but only a little!

    Maybe us cilantro haters have a gene missing, or were the result of some super secret government experiment gone bad, but the stuff truly tastes like something that has lain in a sweat soaked T-shirt, in a compost pile for probably 10 weeks or more! I now find myself skeptically eyeing even Italian food when it has a touch of green in it! Oh, is there no hope for us cilantro challenged people?

    1. I have heard that some people think cilantro has a flavor like soap, or sweat. I am sorry you don’t enjoy the flavor, but I did enjoy reading your comment Henry!

    2. I felt the same way but was determined to adapt..I started very small..actually bought some preseasoned cilantro lime was salads or sandwiches used only a small amount n eased into it finding in small amounts I ACTUALLY liked it! Just start very small..try this recipe with less cilantro n more lime..I’m getting you’ll like it!

    3. Henry’s comments cracked me up, but I can so relate to what he’s saying. I’m a baby boomer too & we never heard about cilantro as kids. First time I tasted it I hated it, until I started making my own salsa. First time making it was bland, & then I realized it didn’t have cilantro. Bought some, what a diference. I don’t use it a lot, I make a southwestern salad with corn, black beans, lime juice & cilantro & this wonderful rice recipe of Holly’s. I make this a lot when I make seafood, it’s great with shrimp, fish, really any seafood & so good & refreshing. I did this recipe on my own after experimenting with cilantro, but it’s the same as Holly’s less the bay leaf, which I’ll try next time I make it. My whole family loves it!5 stars

    4. I thought only my boyfriend despised cilantro. It is my favorite vegetable! I eat about two bunches a week lol!

    5. Henry, you’re on the right path with your cilantro aversion! I had an Ancestry DNA test done, which also included sensory traits related to your DNA. There is actually one for cilantro! People either love it or hate it…it’s all in your DNA! :D