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Close up of rice in a serving platter
5 from 2 votes

Cilantro Lime Rice - Instant Pot or Stovetop

Cilantro Lime Rice is bright and zesty with subtle latin tones. It’s a fast and easy recipe that is great in burritos, Mexican bowls, or served alongside your favorite Mexican main dish.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Latin
Servings: 8
Calories: 192kcal
Author: Borrowed Bites

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ medium onion diced (yellow or sweet)
  • 2 cups long-grain white rice
  • 2 tsp garlic minced
  • zest of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 - 4 cups water depending on cooking method
  • juice from 1-2 limes depending on personal taste
  • 1 cup cilantro chopped (about 1 small head)

Instructions

Instant Pot Instructions

  • Turn the Instant Pot to saute and allow to get very hot.
  • Saute oil, onion, and rice until onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and lime zest and cook for 30 more seconds.
  • Turn off Instant Pot. Add salt and 3 cups of water. Close the lid and turn the venting knob to "Sealing." Select the "Rice" function (will cook for ~20 minutes). After cooking, let pressure release naturally for 10 minutes (don't open the lid or move the venting knob). Then move knob to "Venting" and open the lid once steam has escaped.
  • Fluff the rice thoroughly with a fork. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and the juice from 1-2 limes (add more or less to reach your preferred level of limey-ness). Fluff with a fork again to incorporate cilantro and lime juice. Serve.

Stovetop Instructions

  • Allow a medium sauce pan to get hot over medium-high heat. Saute oil, onion, and rice until onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and lime zest and cook for 30 more seconds.
  • Add salt and 4 cups of water. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 20 minutes (should be softly simmering). Don't open the lid. After 20 minutes, remove from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes with the lid on.
  • Fluff the rice thoroughly with a fork. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and the juice from 1-2 limes (add more or less to reach your preferred level of limey-ness). Fluff with a fork again to incorporate cilantro and lime juice. Serve.

Notes

Tips & Tricks
  • Zest the limes before juicing them… much easier! 
  • Mix the rice well while it is toasting. When every granule gets coated in oil or butter it prevents sticky, clumpy rice. 
  • Fluff the rice really well for the best texture. To fluff, use a fork (never a spoon) and scratch the tines across the surface of the rice, starting shallow and moving deeper as you go. 
  • To get the most juice out of your limes, juice them with a pair of tongs. Less strain on your hands, no sticky fingers, and no wasted juice.
  • This is a moist rice. If you prefer it slightly less moist, just let it cool an extra few minutes after mixing in the cilantro and lime juice. This will let extra steam/moisture escape before serving.
 
Freeze and Reheat Instructions
Make rice according to directions, but don't add lime juice or chopped cilantro at the end. Fluff onto a baking sheet and allow to cool fully. Freeze in storage container or disposable pan. Reheat covered at 300°F for 30 minutes straight from frozen or 20 minutes if partially thawed. Fluff again and top with fresh lime juice and chopped cilantro.