Home Appetizers & Sides Cilantro Lime Brown Rice

Forget Chipotle – make cilantro lime brown rice at home! Fluffy brown rice gets an upgrade with a healthy dose of lime and cilantro. Pair it with Mexican grilled corn and a strawberry basil margarita!

Cilantro Lime Brown Rice

Recently my father asked me how I like to prepare brown rice, and it was a nice reminder of one of my favorite side dishes: Cilantro Lime Brown Rice!

It’s super easy, light in texture and goes with a seemingly endless number of meals!

Here are a few of my favorites meal pairings:

  • Served under a plate of grilled chicken and grilled pineapple
  • Inside an overstuffed burrito filled with steak, black beans, corn, guacamole and cheese (or in a homemade burrito bowl!)
  • Alongside kale sautéed with garlic
  • In a bowl topped with mexican grilled corn (and copious amounts of cotija cheese)
  • Or by itself with a wedge of lime!
Chopped cilantro

I just love the smell of fresh cilantro. It’s refreshing and evokes the thought of summer grilling (probably because the first thing I do when the weather warms up is grill corn and slather it with cheese and cilantro).

There are some people who really, really, really hate cilantro. It was a running joke at my last job that two of the women I worked had “the cilantro disease” – they both thought cilantro tasted like soap and refused to go near any food that had cilantro on it.

For the longest time I thought they were both just being dramatic, but then I saw an article about how it’s a real thing! Did you know about this?

Apparently people who can’t stand the taste of cilantro have sensitive olfactory-receptor genes that pick up the smell of aldehyde chemicals that exist in both cilantro and soap, and thus to them cilantro tastes like soap. That’s crazy!

I’m so happy that I do not have such a sensitivity because I freaking love cilantro.

Cilantro Lime Brown Rice

A few tips for making cilantro lime rice:

  • I love making a big pot of this rice and them divvying it up into separate containers to use as a side with different meals throughout the week. Weekly meal prep FTW!
  • If you’re lucky enough to have a rice cooker, feel free to make it with that – but since I don’t have one my instructions are written for the old school saucepan method.
  • I also love to make mine with an abundance of lime: juice in the water I’m prepping the rice in, juice and zest when I mix it all together. ALL THE LIME. If you’re not as into lime as much as I am, feel free to cut back wherever you see fit.
Cilantro Lime Brown Rice

Total aside: Ever wondered what it looks like behind the scenes of these food photo shoots?

Why don’t I show you, because sometimes I’m in the middle of shooting and I have this moment of, “Really, Leslie? Really?” and this was one of those moments:

Behind the scenes of food photography

But to prove it’s not completely ridiculous (okay, fine – it is, but humor me), it resulted in this photo below:

Worth it.

Cilantro Lime Brown Rice

Serve your cilantro lime brown rice with:

After you’ve made this recipe, please consider coming back to share your experience with others by leaving a comment below with a star rating!

Cilantro Lime Brown Rice

5 from 1 vote
Fluffy brown rice gets an upgrade with a healthy dose of lime and cilantro!
Print Recipe
Pin Recipe

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 4 servings



  • 1 cup brown rice, uncooked
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons butter, or butter substitute if vegan
  • Juice of up to 2 limes, divided
  • cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 ½ teaspoons garlic salt, or 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic + 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Zest of 1 lime



  • In a medium saucepan, bring rice, water, butter and juice of 1 lime to a boil over high heat. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Let it cook, undisturbed, for 40 minutes.
  • Leave the lid on and remove from heat to let it steam an additional 10 minutes.
  • While rice finishes cooking, roughly chop the cilantro and zest 1 lime.
  • Fluff finished rice with a fork. Add juice of remaining lime, cilantro, garlic, salt and lime zest and stir to combine.
  • Serve immediately, and with a lime wedge if you feel so inclined. Enjoy!


Calories: 222kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 930mg | Potassium: 136mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 265IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 1mg

Course Entree
Cuisine Mexican
Author Leslie Kiszka
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