Cilantro Lime Rice is so flavorful and delicious, you’ll want to serve it with all of your meals. It’s the perfect side dish for any Mexican-inspired meal.
Plain rice is fine, but it can’t hold a candle to this cilantro lime rice. This rice is simply bursting with flavor. After the first time I made it, I couldn’t believe I’d been living without this rice for so long.
I’ve found that it pairs nicely with just about any main dish. I serve it with carnitas quite often, but it also goes really well with chicken fajitas or as a replacement for regular rice in our favorite verde wet burritos.
Secret to Flavorful Cilantro Rice
There are a few secrets that will make your cilantro lime rice extra flavorful. It does make a big difference how you cook the rice, and also what type of rice you use.
Just adding cilantro and some lime juice to cooked white rice will not yield as tasty of rice as you’ll get if you follow these instructions.
What Rice to Use
First, start with using a long-grain Basmati rice. I not only like the texture of this rice better than regular long-grain rice, I think it soaks up more of the flavors, too.
If all you have on hand is regular long grain rice, that’s okay. It won’t ruin the recipe. However, other variations of rice might – for instance, short or medium grain rice won’t cook the same or produce the same fluffy, dry rice results.
This recipe calls for ½ cup uncooked rice, which will result in about 2 cups of cooked rice. If you require more, or want to have some leftover for later, you can just double the recipe.
We find that 2 cups of rice is more than enough for the two of us, and there’s always leftovers.
I always rinse the rice before cooking it to remove some of the starch. This will result in a fluffier rice.
Toast the Rice
The next step that I find really important for creating super flavorful rice is to brown the rice before you cook it.
You can do this in the same saucepan you’re going to cook the rice in. Add a little olive oil to the saucepan and heat it over medium-high heat until shimmering. Then add the rinsed rice and let it toast to a light golden color, stirring frequently to keep it from burning.
Once most of the kernels are toasted, you can add in the minced garlic, salt and lime zest. Stir that around to combine it. Then add the water, bring to a boil, cover, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook the rice for around 17-20 minutes.
Combine and Rest
Once the rice is cooked, remove it from the heat and fluff it with a fork. Then add the lime juice and cilantro and stir. Let the rice sit for about 5-10 minutes to soak up and incorporate the flavors of the cilantro before serving.
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Cilantro Lime Rice
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup basmati long grain white rice
- 1/2 clove garlic minced
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp lime zest
- 1 cup water
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 1/4 cup lightly packed chopped cilantro leaves and t
- Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the rice grains and stir to coat with the olive oil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the rice has started to brown. Add the garlic and cook for one minute more.
- Add the water, lime zest and salt. Bring the rice to a boil, then cover and lower the heat to low. Cook the rice for 15 minutes. Remove the lid quickly to check the rice. Return it to the heat if the rice is undercooked.
- Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Add the lime juice and chopped cilantro. Stir to combine.
- Be sure to toast the rice before cooking it, to give it loads of extra flavor.
- You can add minced garlic to the rice after cooking, for an extra twist.
- Leftover rice can be stored in the freezer in an airtight contain or plastic wrap for up to a month.