Cilantro Lime Rice, Chipotle Style

by Heather

Do you know what one of the most requested fast food copycat recipes is?

Chipotle rice.

chipotle rice recipe copycat

That yummy, fluffy, white rice loaded with rich Mexican flavors of lime and cilantro.

Luckily, it’s probably the easiest fast food recipe to replicate- and not so bad on the health scale either, especially if you swap in brown rice.

First you have to know how to cook rice to give it that great restaurant quality texture. This isn’t the time time for instant, 5 minute, or boil-in-bag rice. It’s time for the real deal. I promise it’s worth it.

brown basmati rice

The traditional method to cook rice is to match the liquid to rice ratio of 2-1.5 to 1; bring to a boil; then simmer until the water is absorbed, often up to an hour.

It works fine, but you often end up with wet, heavy, gummy rice. No way you’re matching Chipotle’s style with that.

Instead, try this:

How to Cook Fluffy Rice {without a rice cooker}

It’s as easy as spaghetti! Bring a pot of water to boil. Add desired rice quantity. Boil uncovered for 40 minutes. Drain rice {just enough to get rid of excess water- don’t try to completely drain.} So far it’s just like cooking pasta.

Put rice back in pot and cover. Let sit off the heat for 10 minutes. The final 10 minutes allows the rice to steam in the remaining moisture. When it’s done, you’ll have fluffy, light, airy, rice- even when making the traditionally heavier brown rice. Easy!

how to cook brown rice

Now that you know how to cook rice perfectly, let’s make it Chipotle style. Like I said, beyond easy.

I like to use brown basmati rice for this recipe, but if you must, go ahead and use white basmati rice.

Cilantro Lime Rice | Chipotle Rice

by Heather Neal

Keywords: entree side vegan vegetarian Southwest Mexican


  • 1 cup cooked brown basmati rice
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/8 tsp salt


Mix all ingredients together and serve.

See above for the best method of how to cook brown basmati rice.

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Gina @ Running to the Kitchen January 4, 2012 at 9:26 am
I just found out the last time I was in Chipotle that they have a brown rice version. I was in heaven!
Heather January 4, 2012 at 10:40 am
Whaaat they do?! I need to check that out!
Nicole Rivera January 4, 2012 at 1:36 pm
What?! Really?! A brown rice version IN THE STORE? That's so cool! I am such a dope with making brown rice for some reason, I am going to try out this technique to see if I can master it already!
Gina @ Running to the Kitchen January 4, 2012 at 1:46 pm
Yep! at least at the one I was at in Florida!
Emily @LivingLongfellow January 4, 2012 at 10:40 pm
So, we love Chipotle rice, but only use a rice cooker. Every time I've attempted to boil rice, I've burned it. I wonder if it's possible to master this kind of rice in a cooker. Any idea?
Marilyn Pena June 30, 2012 at 2:45 pm
I use the rice cooker all the time. The trick to the cooker is starting with less water and adding as you do. Sometimes when the time is up the rice is still hard. I just add a little water and start it again. Haven't burned or under cooked rice since then. I am cooking brown rice as I type. I'll let you know how it turns out,
Amy ~ Eat. Live. Laugh. Shop. January 5, 2012 at 8:24 am
There is something special about their rice. Thanks.
Modern Gypsy January 6, 2012 at 2:16 pm
Boil rice for 40 minutes? I know white rice would end up as a gooey mess in that much time, so is this specific for brown rice? I've always found it too dry and heavy for my taste, but if this actually makes it closer to white rice in texture, I don't mind giving it a try!
Brenna @ Almost All The Truth January 6, 2012 at 10:58 pm
Yum! I don't like to frequent fast food often, but Chipotle does have very good rice. I'll have to see if we can try this soon!
Tracy January 7, 2012 at 6:38 am
Yes, the chipotle around me in Georgia, also now has brown rice. It is good.
Maureen | Tatter Scoops January 10, 2012 at 8:16 pm
This looks so delicious. Thanks for the recipe :D
Shelli August 6, 2012 at 7:27 pm
This is actually terrible. I cooked according to these instructions and it turned out to be a big pot of gooey mess. It went into the trash immediately. Please follow the instructions on the bag of brown rice for the best results.
Heather August 7, 2012 at 7:59 am
I'm sorry it didn't turn out for you! If it ended up being gummy, try using more water to boil the rice. There needs to be enough that the rice doesn't absorb it all. You can also try shortening the cooking time. Or just cooking it the way the bag says. ;) I like the fluffier texture of boiling then steaming though.
Heather August 29, 2012 at 10:20 pm
An added suggestion: I cook brown rice in my pressure cooker. The instruction booklet that came with it gave instructions for rice, both white and brown along with dried beans, etc. The first time I tried to cook brown rice was just in a pan the way I do my white basmati rice. It was too al dente for me and my DH didn't like it either. But in the pressure cooker, it came out perfectly and with only 10 min of time with the pressure on (plus time to get the pressure built up). It's the only way I cook it now. I'm just about to try this recipe. My DH just went to Chipotle the other week and raved about this recipe. As we're trying out a new way of eating inspired by the "Body Confidence" book, this is close to something you'd find in those meal plans. Can't wait to taste it!
Heather September 2, 2012 at 4:14 pm
What a great suggestion! I've never tried a pressure cooker or rice cooker, but with the number of times I cook rice, maybe I should give it a try! Good luck on your new eating journey!
Stacy Stone September 18, 2012 at 10:16 am
I recently made my first visit to Chipotle and loved it! I had a chance to visit with the manager and commented on the wonderful flavor of their Cilantro-Lime Rice. He said they cook their rice with bay leaves in it. I will be trying it this week. I, too, have tried cooking brown rice the above method before and ended up with gooey. I do believe less cooking time will do the trick - can't remember if I set my timer, but have young kiddos and can easily get sidetracked!
Shannon Luoma October 22, 2012 at 9:54 pm
You have to continually add water to keep the rice from burning. 40 minutes is way too long, even for brown rice. It gets gummy and mushy. Try 30-35 minutes instead it will turn out better.
Laura November 13, 2012 at 8:08 pm
It would help if the instructions indicated exactly how much rice and water is needed. This information matters tremendously when cooking rice.. especially brown rice.
Heather November 14, 2012 at 8:59 am
With this method it doesn't matter- it's like cooking pasta. You drain off the extra water. :)

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