Cilantro Lime Rice Instant Pot or Stove Top Chipotle Copycat

Cilantro Lime Rice Instant Pot or Stove Top

When Chipotle Mexican Grill came out with their Cilantro Lime Rice, it seems the whole country went wild over it. And with good reason: it’s delish! Best of all, it’s easy to make at home, whether you want to make Cilantro Lime Rice Instant Pot or Stove Top!

Shortcut Chicken Fajitas & Cilantro Lime Rice Instant Pot or Stove Top Chipotle Copycat

Shortcut Chicken Fajitas & Cilantro Lime Rice

I’ve had a recipe on my site, embedded in my recipe for a copycat Chipotle Chicken Recipe, Tastes Like Chicken, Chipotle’s Chicken, but now that I’m using my Instant Pot more and more (I can’t help it, I looooove my Instant Pot!) I thought it was time to give it that rice the credit it deserves. No worries, though, because even if you don’t have an Instant Pot, both the Instant Pot and the Stove-top methods for Cilantro Lime Rice are here.

About Cilantro Lime Rice Instant Pot or Stove Top:

But speaking of that Chipotle Chicken, I worked so hard on that recipe for months, and guess what? Chipotle Mexican Grill now has a whole list of all their ingredients for every single item they serve. I can say, I pretty much nailed the chicken but it would have been so much easier had I only known! Try that recipe if you have a chance, it’s fabulous.

What I didn’t initially pick up was the big surprise ingredient in Chipotle’s Cilantro Lime Rice. It has lemon. I can see it, now that I know that but wouldn’t have guessed it. I think it gives mo’ flavor so it’s included in my updated recipe. The other surprise? Chipotle uses plain white rice, not basmati. Bonus. Plain white IS cheaper.

This recipe is part of my Chicken Breast Meal Prep post, where I served it with Shortcut Chicken Fajitas (photo above) and then used this same rice in a marvelous Healthy Black Eyed Pea and Rice Salad (photo below). Of course, you’ll want to use this rice, too, when making any of my Copycat Chipotle recipes. The links for everything are all at the bottom of the page.

Black Eyed Pea & Rice Salad made with Cilantro Lime Rice Instant Pot or Stove Top Chipotle Copycat

Black Eyed Pea & Rice Salad

About Making Cilantro Lime Rice Instant Pot or Stove Top:

The real key to making any rice turn out perfectly on the stove or in the Instant Pot is to rinse that rice. Really rinse it. Its a pain, no doubt and takes a few minutes work but the payoff really makes all the difference in a great rice. I recently posted a recipe for Instant Pot Rice where I detail out all the information on the method and just why you want to rinse your rice.

If you want to scale your recipe up or down, remember that one cup of raw rice will make three cups of cooked. That makes rice one of the greatest bargains around.

Cilantro Lime Rice Instant Pot or Stove Top Chipotle Copycat

Cilantro Lime Rice

Saving Money on Cilantro Lime Rice Instant Pot or Stove Top:

So speaking of bargains, buy your rice in the larger bags rather than the boxes. Check different parts of the store. Look where all the rice is, usually on the bottom shelf, then check, if you have them, in the Asian, Mexican, and Indian or “Ethnic” areas of your store for the best pricing.

If you’re lucky, you may find the large bags on sale from time to time, especially during the Asian or Lunar New Year, or you might just find a great price at a place like Costco or Sams. Don’t be afraid of picking up the larger bags. Most rice is typically harvested once a year, so your rice won’t get “old” in a reasonable amount of time.

As far as “expiration dates” on rice (I’m testing you here, there is no such thing as an “expiration date”) don’t throw out rice (or anything else) indeterminately by any date stamped on the package. Try it out. Rice can get dryer as it ages and if there’s an issue, you’ll know it – your rice will be dryish and hard. Just use a little more water for the next batch. I’ve used rice several years old with no issue at all.

Cilantro Lime Rice Instant Pot or Stove Top Chipotle Copycat

Cilantro Lime Rice


Cilantro Lime Rice Instant Pot or Stove Top

Cilantro Lime Rice is the perfect side for any casual Mexican or Southwestern meal.

  • Author: mollie kirby
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 2 cups 1x


  • 2/3 cup rice
  • water as directed
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 lime, zested and juiced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, loosely packed


For both methods of cooking:

Rinse rice well. Place rice in a strainer (large enough to swish the rice around) and place strainer over a medium-sized bowl. Place in sink and allow tepid water to run over the rice and into the bowl, all the while swishing and rubbing the rice around. When the bowl is filled, dump & repeat five more times. Give the rice a shake or two to remove excess water. A few drips are ok, but dribbles mean shake again.

For Instant Pot:

Add rice to the Instant Pot liner and add 2/3 cup of water, oil and salt. Give the rice one stir only. Seal the lid and use the Rice function. When finished, allow to sit for five minutes, then release any remaining pressure. Open the Instant Pot, remove the liner and fluff with a fork. Add the lemon, lime, zest, and cilantro and gently stir. Serve immediately.

For Stove-Top:

Bring 1 1/3 cup of water to a boil in a medium-large saucepan. Add rice, oil, and salt and stir once. Add lid and reduce heat until rice is simmering very gently. Simmer for 15 minutes (unless directions on the rice give a different timing.) Turn off heat and let rice sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Add lemon, lime, zest, and cilantro and gently stir. Serve immediately.


When cooking rice on the stove-top, always make sure to have a big enough pan with a tight lid. Simmer very gently and watch in case of a boil-over.

If you’ve come to this recipe as a part of my Chicken Meal Prep, you’ll use one cup of the rice for the Fajitas and one cup for the Black Eyed Pea & Rice Salad.

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I’m sharing this recipe at Fiesta Friday #213 this week. It’s a fun round up of recipes shared by bloggers all over the world. Stop by and take a peek!

If you like Cilantro Lime Rice Instant Pot or Stove Top, you might also like:

Cilantro Lime Rice - Instant Pot or Stove Top. A perfect side for anything Mexican or Southwestern.

12 thoughts on “Cilantro Lime Rice Instant Pot or Stove Top

  1. Saved under my Instant Pot file in Pinterest. I’ve only cooked rice once in the Instant Pot and found I prefer it cooked in a rice cooker, but it is worth trying again. This recipe (with adjusted water and time) would probably be good with brown rice as well.

    • FrugalHausfrau

      I remember you saying that in a comment, I think. It took me several tries to get rice right, and it was one disaster after another with every recipe I tried. The first few times, Chance was on a special diet for his tummy, so it didn’t matter what the rice turned out like.

      When I make rice on the stove-top I almost always rinse it like this and that is the key. It was a big turning point for me. Now I love using the IP for rice and never having to watch it or worry about boil overs!

        • FrugalHausfrau

          I learned from a Chinese grandmother! She never measured, either. Rice up to the first knuckle of her finger, water up to the second!! I usually have some fingernails so that doesn’t work for me, lol!

  2. I’ve made this type of rice before Chipotle even existed! We have a store where they sell white rice and pinto beans in HUGE bulk bins for cheap. The store has a large Hispanic following and a section to go along with it. Good to see you nailed your chicken recipe, woot!

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Welll, after 56 times, lol!!! I could have just waited a year or two…I used make a green rice that had a lot of herbs in it, not just cilantro, too. That must be where you get all your chiles!

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