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Chipotle Cilantro Lime Rice

Let’s learn how to make Chipotle’s famous Cilantro Lime Rice at home and EVEN BETTER! It takes less than 30 minutes to make and turns into the perfect meal when served with some chicken and veggies.

If you’re a big Chipotle fan, you’re definitely familiar with their cilantro lime rice. They have a regular white rice option as well as a brown rice version that are both equally delicious! It’s one of my favorite things about the restaurant and luckily, some Chipotle employees have shared a few secrets here and there of how to make the rice.

Chipotle’s Version

Apparently Chipotle simply cooks the rice grains in water with a bay leaf and then they add the salt, oil, cilantro, lime juice, and lemon juice all after the rice is done cooking. Some sources say they use rice bran oil but it can be both hard to find and more expensive. I also think it doesn’t add that much flavor.

How to Make it Better

To make it better, we’re first going to toast the basmati rice in a mixture of butter and olive oil. Both butter and olive oil have a beautiful rich flavor that really takes this to the next level. Also, when you toast the rice, it adds a nice nutty flavor you don’t get at Chipotle.

The only way I make rice is by cooking it in salted water so that’s exactly what we’re going to do. It turns out a lot less salty and more flavorful when you add the salt for the rice to cook in compared to adding it to cooked rice. 

I like to use long grain basmati rice that’s parboiled but regular basmati rice or jasmine rice will work too.

And finally, my favorite part that makes this perfect, GARLIC! In my opinion, no dish (or at least 90% of dishes) is complete without garlic. It makes everything better. Chipotle should definitely start adding garlic to theirs too, just saying.


A lot of people find making rice to be quiet tricky but trust me, if you follow these steps carefully, you’ll nail it each time.

  1. Rinse your rice very well. I find rinsing to work a lot better and more quick compared to just soaking it in water. Just place the rice in a fine-sieve strainer and run it under water while stirring it around until the water run clears – about 2 minutes.
  2. After rinsing it, heat a pot over medium heat and add the olive oil first and then the butter, minced garlic, and rinsed rice. Toast the rice with the garlic for 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Then add the hot water, salt, and the bay leaf and turn up the heat to bring the water to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, drop the heat to low and cover. Simmer for 12 minutes.
  4. After 12 minutes, turn off the heat and let it sit covered for 5 to 10 minutes to cook all the way through. 
  5. Uncover and fluff it up with a fork and now you have the perfect rice.

Once the rice is cooked and fluffed, add lime juice, lemon juice, and cilantro. And that’s it!

What to Serve it With

The possibilities are endless! The best way to enjoy it though is in a homemade Chipotle bowl or burrito. Add your favorite toppings like fajitas, corn, salsa, sour cream, cheese, some protein, and lettuce. 

If you want to make Chipotle’s Chicken at home and even better, here’s the best recipe! The marinade still works perfectly for a vegetarian substitute like tofu.


  • Did you know the stems of cilantro are just as flavorful as the leaves? Just chop them up finely along with the leaves to add to this rice.
  • If you are used to cooking jasmine rice, use that instead of basmati. Just adjust the water ratio as needed.
  • This recipe uses less water than a lot of recipes call for. I find that when I use more water than this, the rice gets mushy and not as fluffy as I’d like it. Steaming the rice at the end with the heat off helps to continue cooking it without any more water.


Chipotle Cilantro Lime Rice

Let's learn how to make Chipotle's famous Cilantro Lime Rice at home and EVEN BETTER! It takes less than 30 minutes to make and turns into the perfect meal when served with some chicken and veggies.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Side Dish
Servings 5


  • 1 1/2 cups long-grain basmati rice rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons fresh garlic finely minced
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • juice of 1 whole lime
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup cilantro finely chopped


  • Rinse the rice in a fine-mesh sieve with cool water until the water runs clear to remove any excess starch. Another option is to soak it in cool water for 30 minutes. Drain well.
  • Bring 2 1/2 cups of water to a boil in a kettle.
  • To a pot over medium heat, add the olive oil, butter, garlic, and rice. Stir to coat all the rice grains with the butter and oil. Toast the rice for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add the hot water, salt, and bay leaf. Stir and then bring to a boil. Once boiling, drop the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 12 minutes.
  • After 12 minutes, turn off the heat. Leave it covered for 5 to 10 minutes until the rice is perfectly cooked and tender.
  • Take off the lid and fluff the rice with a fork.
  • Transfer the rice to a bowl. Add the lime juice, lemon juice, and chopped cilantro and mix. Serve warm!
Keyword 30 minute dinner, chipotle, copycat recipe, restaurant remake, rice recipe
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
    • Safa
    • September 8, 2021

    5 stars
    I was so pleased with this recipe. I didn’t have bay leaves so I tried substituting that with a bit of oregano and thyme and it worked really well. Paired it with your Chipotle Chicken recipe as well and could not stop eating!

      • September 8, 2021

      Ahh Safa so happy to hear you loved the recipe! Glad the bay leaf substitute worked

    • Umm AnNisa
    • February 13, 2022

    5 stars
    Asalam Alakium. Made this tonight with a birria taco recipe from another popular instagram cook (eatwitzo) and it was AMAZING. For my first time making both recipes, I felt like it would Definitely be a hit in any restaurant and be most ordered. Thanks for sharing. (Chipotle can learn a thing or two from you, just saying….won’t be going there anymore I MAKE IT EVEN BETTER AT HOME 🎉🎉🎉) Thanks for sharing

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