There’s no denying that lime and cilantro are an iconic flavor duo. These bold, bright aromatics are fully responsible for all the added yumminess in this simple rice dish.
And these are the only fresh ingredients you’ll need to wake up that plain long-grain rice that I know is hiding in your pantry.
The nutty aroma that wafts through the house as the grains simmers away on the stovetop has become somewhat of a comfort to me recently, though I’m usually more of a noodle gal.
It’s similar to the scent of popcorn kernels bursting into fluffy morsels, and there’s not much that makes me happier than that.
Jasmine and basmati are two of the most popular varieties, but an American long-grain white variety also does the trick. These separate after cooking and have a firm, dry texture which isn’t sticky, so they’re ready to soak in all of that citrusy goodness.
My go-to method for cooking long-grain varieties is on the stovetop, but plenty of people swear by pressure cooking. If it’s rice cooker or bust for you but you’re in need of a new one, give our review of the best models on the market a once-over to help you choose the right appliance.
Any cooking method of your choosing will work to prepare this recipe, so do what’s best for you. You have options!
Stirred into the cooked rice just before serving to preserve the fresh flavor and color, the cilantro and lime zest awaken the grains with a zingy, fragrant pop, and the citrus juice invigorates each and every grain.Print
Tart lime zest and bright, fresh cilantro transform this simple rice dish into a mouthwatering side you’ll want to pair with everything.
- 1 cup long-grain white rice, rinsed
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, plus more to taste
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons lime zest (from 1 lime)
- 2 tablespoons lime juice (from 1 lime)
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Add the rice, water, salt, and oil or butter to a medium saucepot and stir to combine. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until the water has been absorbed, or according to package instructions.
- Remove from heat and set aside for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork. Stir in the lime zest and juice, and the cilantro. Season to taste with additional salt and serve.
- Prep Time: 5 mintues
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Category: Grains
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Side Dish
Keywords: cilantro, lime, rice
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Prep the Rice
Measure and rinse the grains to remove excess starch. I find the best way to do this is in a fine mesh sieve under running water.
For stovetop cooking, choose a pot that will hold at least twice the volume of the uncooked rice and water, or at least 5 cups minimum.
Measure the water and olive oil or butter. I think butter adds a rich, popcorny flavor, but feel free to use whichever you like. Measure the salt and keep it nearby if you need to add seasoning just before serving.
Step 2 – Cook
Add the washed grains, water, salt, and oil or butter in the saucepot, if you haven’t opted for an alternative cooking method. Place over high heat and give everything a quick stir to combine.
When the liquid comes to a full boil, cover the pot with a lid and reduce the heat to medium-low. A clear lid comes in handy, so you can see what’s going on in the pot.
Allow it to simmer until all of the water has been absorbed. This should take about 15 to 20 minutes.
Don’t lift the lid to check on things during the cooking process. Letting the heat escape can result in uneven cooking.
Remove the pot from the heat and set it aside for 5 minutes, with the lid on. The steam trapped inside will finish the cooking process.
Take off the lid and use a fork to gently fluff and separate the grains.
Step 3 – Prep Cilantro and Lime
To save time, prep the flavorful ingredients that are added just before serving while the rice is cooking.
Wash and dry all of your produce.
Zest and juice the lime. If you don’t have a juicing tool, you can use a fork inserted in the fruit when you squeeze to help extract the juice.
Remove the stems and chop the cilantro.
Step 4 – Add Cilantro and Lime
Stir in the lime zest, lime juice, and cilantro. Season to taste with additional salt if necessary, and serve warm.
You’ll Want to Play this Rice on Repeat
If you whipped up this recipe as a delicious last-minute side to pair with a weeknight dinner, great job! Grab a fork and enjoy.
Not sure what to serve it with? I’ve got your back.
Serving it alongside tacos or enchiladas is a tasty idea, though it’s hard to beat tucking it directly into a tortilla – try these vegetarian breakfast burritos for a delicious meal to start your day.
Poultry will also do the trick, and it’s almost as if this particular recipe was made for our jalapeno-lime marinated chicken.
How will you make the most of this simple, flavor-packed side dish? Share your ideas in the comments below! And don’t forget to give this recipe a five-star rating if you loved it.
Don’t just put the lime in this rice – or in the coconut! Try these recipes that harness the power of the tangy green citrus next:
- Chipotle Lime Salmon
- Peach and Corn Salad with Fresh Mint and Lime
- Vegan Cauliflower Buffalo Wings with Lime
Photos by Fanny Slater, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on October 11, 2013. Last updated on October 18, 2022.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Fanny Slater
Fanny Slater is a home-taught food enthusiast based in Wilmington, North Carolina who won the “Rachael Ray Show” Great American Cookbook Competition in 2014, and published her cookbook “Orange, Lavender & Figs” in 2016. Fanny is a food and beverage writer, recipe developer, and social media influencer. She was a co-host on the Food Network series “Kitchen Sink,” was featured on Cooking Channel’s longtime popular series “The Best Thing I Ever Ate,” and continues to appear regularly on the “Rachael Ray Show.”