How To Make Easy Instant Pot Cilantro Lime Rice

instant pot cilantro lime rice being cooked. recipe in post!

There aren’t many fast food menu items I crave, but the cilantro lime rice from Chipotle is one of them. The Bay Area has so many delicious, hole-in-the-wall Mexican joints that I’m spoiled for choice when it comes to tacos, burritos, and bowls. But that cilantro lime rice, man….it gets me every time!

As I write this, we are currently self-quarantining in Los Cabos, Mexico and I’m passing the time by experimenting with local heirloom veggies, fresh caught seafood, and endless amounts of tropical fruit. With all those exciting ingredients, it’s hard to feel like we’re missing out on restaurant food. But a few weeks ago, it dawned on me as I planned a meal of sea bass with mango salsa: this would be so much better if I could figure out a copycat recipe for Chipotle’s cilantro lime rice to go with it.

So of course, I did just that!

An Easy, Versatile Recipe For Rice

This cilantro lime rice recipe is perfect for busy weeknights. It takes about 5 minutes of active time to prepare, and using an Instant Pot or rice cooker means you don’t have to worry about burned or watery rice.

I also love the flavor combination of aromatic long grain rice with the brightness of cilantro and lime. It’s just complex enough to feel fancy without trying too hard or overpowering mildly-flavored proteins or veggies.

Instant Pot Cilantro Lime Rice Goes Great With:

  • Roast chicken

  • Flaky, white fishes like snapper, sea bass, or flounder

  • A flavorful, spice-rubbed pork loin

  • Black beans

  • Ground meat and veggies for a make-at-home burrito bowl

instant pot cilantro lime rice in a serving bowl on a wood table. recipe in post!

How To Make Instant Pot Cilantro Lime Rice

Ingredients

  • Long Grain White Rice: I used basmati, but jasmine works as well. Long grain rice has less starch than short grain, so they yield the fluffy texture this dish demands.

  • Water: I only specify 1 1/4 c water because I use an Instant Pot. Adjust if you’re cooking your cilantro lime rice using different equipment.

  • Avocado Oil: I always reach for the avocado oil when I want to use a mildly flavored, healthy cooking fat.

  • Salt: To enhance flavoring. I usually cook with pink Himalayan sea salt.

  • Cilantro: Chop it finely, but be sure to leave a few larger chunks. The irregular edges of the leaves add visual interest and a pop of color.

  • Limes: I use the zest and the juice for a double whammy of citrusy flavor.

Equipment

I used my Instant Pot to make Cilantro Lime Rice because I wanted to make this recipe as easy and hands-off as possible. But if you don’t have an Instant Pot, you can use a regular rice cooker or stovetop. Just follow adjust the amount of water and cook time to follow the instructions on your bag of rice. The result will be just as flavorful!

Another quick note on the Instant Pot: mine doesn’t have a rice cooking function, so I cooked the rice for three minutes at high pressure. If yours happens to have a rice cooking button, feel free to use it! Just double-check the water ratio to the Instant Pot manufacturer’s instructions to make sure your rice doesn’t come out too soggy or too dry.

Method

  1. Place the water, rice, oil, and salt in the Instant Pot and stir.

  2. Cook on high pressure for 3 minutes, then allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes before fluffing with a fork.

  3. Mix the remaining ingredients into the rice and stir until coated. Serve immediately.

instant pot cilantro lime rice on a plate with pork and roasted peppers. recipe in post!

Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice? Dooooo it!

This recipe can be easily modified to be used with cauliflower rice if you are Paleo, grain-free, or doing a Whole 30. Just sauté 3c cauliflower rice in the avocado oil, with a pinch of salt. Once it’s tender, stir in the lime and cilantro, and hey presto! Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice!

How To Freeze And Reheat Rice

We’ve all seen those packages of frozen grains in the supermarket freezer aisle. So if you love this cilantro lime rice as much as I do, there’s no reason not to make a double batch and freeze the extra, or incorporate this recipe into your weekly meal prep.

When I want to freeze extra servings of rice, I spread the freshly-cooked rice out on a cookie sheet to cool, then wait until it’s completely cooled to stir in the lime and cilantro. Then I grab two silicone storage bags and fill each one with 1 1/2 c of rice, seal it, and flatten it gently with my hand so it will stack well in the freezer.

Frozen bags of rice will keep for about 2 months. When you’re ready to use the rice, remove it from the freezer. You’ll notice it formed a solid brick inside the bag. Break it up into chunks, place it in a microwave-safe bowl, drizzle on about 1 tbsp water and cover with a damp paper towel. Microwave it on high for about 2 minutes, fluffing and checking its temperature at around a minute.

More Flavorful, Healthy Sides Like this:

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How To Make Easy Instant Pot Cilantro Lime Rice

This bright and citrusy side pairs well with mild and spicy dishes alike. And with less than five minutes of active time, it couldn’t be quicker or easier! Make this Chipotle copycat recipe at home today!

  • Author: Christine Tusher
  • Prep Time: 5 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 Minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 45 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 c un-rinsed, long grain white rice
  • 1 1/4 c water
  • 2 tsp avocado oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • juice and zest of 1/2 lime
  • 1/4c fresh cilantro, finely chopped

Instructions

  1. Place the water, rice, oil, and salt in the Instant Pot and stir.
  2. Cook on high pressure for 3 minutes, then allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes before fluffing with a fork.
  3. Mix the remaining ingredients into the rice and stir until coated. Serve immediately.

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