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Cilantro Lime Rice Pilaf is an easy side dish that goes perfectly with any Mexican-inspired meal. It is full of zippy lime flavor and cilantro.

Cilantro lime rice pilaf in a white bowl.

Mexican food might be our favorite cuisine ever. The kids repeatedly ask for it for dinner, and what can we say, we give in a lot! Can you blame us though? What’s not to love? Garlic, oregano, lime, cumin, oh my! These classic flavors blend together into a masterpiece. Every time we get a hankering for tacos or flautas, we are sure to have a side of black beans and cilantro lime rice. We’ve even been known to eat leftover cilantro lime rice plain! Please don’t judge us. It’s just that good. 

What kind of rice should I use in Cilantro Lime Rice Pilaf?

Any all purpose long or shot grain white rice is acceptable. Do not use any easy-cook or specialty rices like arborio, minute rice, or quick rice.

Can this recipe be made with brown rice?

Yes it can, but the steaming time on the rice will need to be increased significantly. Instead of 15 minutes, steam the rice with the lid on for 50 to 60 minutes.

Why should I toast my rice?

Toasting your rice before adding liquid adds a significant amount of flavor to your rice. While it is certainly not a required step in cooking rice, it is worth the few extra minutes simply for the added flavor.

What is rice pilaf?

Rice pilaf is a dish where rice is cooked in a seasoned broth. There are a variety of rice pilaf dishes and each has their own unique flavor.

How much lime juice is in 1 lime?

Limes vary in size and juiciness. On average, one lime yields about 2 tablespoons of lime juice. When picking out your limes, give them a gentle squeeze. The firmer they are, the less juice they have in them. Before juicing, roll them on the countertop with your palm to make it easier to release the juice from the fruit.

Close up view of cilantro lime rice with a wooden spoon.

Storage and Reheating Instructions: 

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat single serving portions with a scant amount of water in 30-second intervals until warmed through. 

If you like this recipe, you may be interested in these main dishes that it would go well with:

Watch the video below where Rachel will walk you through every step of this recipe. Sometimes it helps to have a visual, and we’ve always got you covered with our cooking show. You can find the complete collection of recipes on YouTubeFacebook Watch, or our Facebook Page, or right here on our website with their corresponding recipes.

Cilantro lime rice pilaf in a white bowl.
Cilantro Lime Rice Pilaf is an easy side dish that goes perfectly with any Mexican-inspired meal. It is full of zippy lime flavor and cilantro.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 white onion diced
  • 2 cups long grain white rice (jasmine or basmati)
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter (optional)
  • 1/2 cup freshly chopped cilantro
  • Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add in onion and saute 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add in rice and toast 3 minutes, until rice is lightly toasted.
  • Pour in chicken broth and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  • Reduce the heat to low and cover with lid. Simmer 15 minutes, until all liquid has been absorbed and rice is tender.
  • Stir in lime juice, cilantro, and butter until melted. Add more salt, to taste. Serve hot.


Calories: 318kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 998mg | Potassium: 238mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 115IU | Vitamin C: 16.3mg | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 0.8mg
Course: Side
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Rice Pilaf
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