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Cilantro Lime Rice Recipe

My cilantro lime rice recipe makes a delicious and zesty side dish for so many tasty meals. It takes only a few minutes to prep, and within 20 minutes you’ll have a steaming hot bowl of comforting, flavorsome rice. Eat it alone, or enjoy it with your favorite Mexican food - it’s an affordable, versatile, wonder-dish!



You might have enjoyed cilantro lime rice at a Tex-Mex or Mexican restaurant but have you tried making it at home? To be honest (and not remotely humble!), my vegan cilantro lime rice recipe is better than any I’ve had in a restaurant. You can enjoy it as a side to loads of awesome dishes, they don’t even have to be Mexican.

How to make cilantro lime rice? Well, you’re in luck as it’s incredibly easy to make. I confess I used to be terrible at making rice. It would end up burnt or mushy. But with a bit of persistence, I learned the formula for getting it right every time. So now I’m pleased to pass on my wisdom to you!

This vegan cilantro lime recipe is super easy to scale up, so I often cook it when friends come around. Serve cilantro lime rice with some vegan chili, guacamole, salsa, and tortilla chips, and you’ve got yourself a feast. You can adjust quantities to get the flavor to your liking - let your tastebuds guide you!

Read on to discover how to make cilantro lime rice.


My cilantro lime rice is super versatile and makes a great side dish for many delicious meals. Here are a few ideas:

how to make Cilantro Lime Rice

  • Use lemon instead of lime, and enjoy it with a vegan Moroccan tagine.
  • Swap cilantro for parsley, and pair with Mediterranean or Middle Eastern dishes.
  • Adjust the quantities if you want to make a bigger batch. Just make sure the water to rice ratio stays the same.
  • Top your cilantro lime rice with slices of fresh chili, or pickled jalapenos. Turn the heat up as high or low as you like!
  • Instead of water, use some vegan broth for extra flavor.

Cilantro Lime Rice Recipe

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Servings: 2

Here’s what you need:

Main Ingredients
  • 1 cup white rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 tsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped
  • ½ cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 green chili, finely chopped
  • 1 lime’s zest
  • 2 lime’s juice
  • Sea salt
  • Avocado (optional)


  • Rinse your rice thoroughly in cold water, until the water runs clear
  • Add your rice, cold water, and 1 tsp of olive oil to a medium-sized saucepan.
  • Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer. Simmer for around 20 minutes (but check the timing detailed on the packaging of your rice). Cooking times can vary depending on the type of rice you use. I used Jasmine rice which took 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, finely chop your garlic, chili, cilantro, and scallion, and zest one lime.
  • When the rice is cooked, remove it from the heat, uncover, and fluff up the rice with a fork. Add the garlic, scallions, and lime zest, and mix well to combine. Leave to cool for a couple of minutes.
  • Add the other 2 tsp of olive oil, lime juice, cilantro, chilies, and a dash of salt. Stir again to combine and taste to check the seasoning.
  • Serve up in a bowl with some extra lime wedges and an optional garnish of fresh chili pepper slices. I also added some sliced avocado to mine, but feel free to get creative! It makes a great side for 2 people or a main dish for 1.

Top Tips

  • Here are a few top tips to make sure you get the best out of your cilantro lime rice!

    • Make sure your pot has a tightly fitting lid. This will stop the rice from burning and will make sure it cooks evenly throughout. If the lid does not fit tightly, the water will evaporate and the rice may end up burned to the bottom of the pot, and undercooked.
    • When adding your rice to the water, make sure every grain gets submerged in water.
    • Don’t forget to try our recipe for guacamole! It’s a great accompaniment for this cilantro lime rice recipe.
    • Grill some slices of tempeh in a Mexican-inspired marinade and pair with vegan cilantro lime rice, and some salsa.
    • Cilantro lime rice isn’t just for Mexican cuisine! Enjoy it with a vegan Thai curry full of tofu and crunchy veggies.
    • Serve vegan cilantro lime rice with our spicy Buffalo Cauliflower Wings, to make it a meal.
    • Our Creamy Chickpea and Cauliflower Curry is also excellent with cilantro lime rice.

To Wrap It All Up...

My cilantro rice recipe makes a simple side dish for any season. Rice is carb-rich so it provides a fast burst of energy to keep you active. White rice is in fact a favorite choice amongst athletes following a workout as it helps replenish muscle glycogen. So if you’ve been at the gym, or feel a bit depleted after work, my cilantro lime rice recipe is a great choice.

When I’m cooking for friends and I have to cater to different tastes, I like to make a few different dishes and a big batch of cilantro lime rice to go with them. My regulars are a mild Indian curry, a hot Thai curry, and a bowl of vegan chili. Basically, anything that goes with rice will work! Let your friends help themselves, and you’ve got an easy, stress-free dinner party.

If you’re lucky enough to have leftovers, you can pop them in the fridge and enjoy some cilantro lime rice for lunch with next day, with some freshly steamed veggies. Yum!

Frequently Asked Questions

Whilst my cilantro lime rice recipe is incredibly simple, it’s not unheard of for your rice to end up overly starchy, mushy, or burnt. Make sure to rinse your rice thoroughly. If you don’t rinse, it will end up overly starchy and sticky. Different types of rice use different ratios of rice to water. For most, it is 1 part rice to 2 parts water. Always check the instructions on the packaging. 

Add your rice and water to a pan, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, give the rice a stir then re-cover and reduce the heat to as low as possible. Do not remove the lid when the rice is simmering, or the heat will escape. When you have reached the end of the recommended cooking time, try a grain of rice to ensure it is cooked. If it is not quite ready, let it cook for another few minutes.

Make sure to cool the rice down as quickly as possible to avoid bacteria developing. To cool it quickly, spread it into a thin layer on a tray or baking sheet. When cool, pop it into an airtight container and chill in the fridge immediately for up to 1 day.

To reheat on the hob: put in a pan with a splash of water. Cover with a lid and cook over low heat, stirring regularly until steaming hot throughout.

To microwave: put your cilantro lime rice in a microwaveable dish with a splash of water, cover, and microwave for 1-2 minutes. Stir with a fork then heat for a further 1-2 minutes until piping hot.

To oven heat: pop your cilantro lime rice into an ovenproof dish and add a splash of water. Cover with foil and bake it in an oven preheated to 300℉ for 15-minutes.

Never reheat rice anymore than once!

If you love this recipe…

Why not try these other easy vegan dinner ideas?

Roasted Kabocha Squash With Orange Tahini Sauce

Tomato Basil Soup With Sourdough Croutons

General Tso’s Tofu

Creamy Chickpea And Cauliflower Curry

Baked Plant-Based Mac And Cheese

Mexican Tortilla Lasagna

Hearty Minestrone Soup

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