Make Chipotle’s Cilantro Lime Rice at home

Julie Falsetti
For The York Dispatch

My daughter is not a food nazi, but when my grandson was born she did her best to ensure that nothing passed his lips that came from a package or wasn’t organic. He was the toddler who opened the refrigerator and looked for broccoli. At 6 years old, he had never set foot in a fast food restaurant.

Of course, anyone who has ever raised a child knows that this couldn’t last. Once he started school, his classmates introduced him to a different cuisine. Carrot sticks and apple slices couldn’t compete with mini bags of chips.

Once a fast food virgin, at 13 he is now well acquainted with the offerings of chain restaurants. One of his favorite places to eat is Chipotle. Suddenly, Mom’s rice couldn’t stand up against the cilantro lime version at the restaurant. Undaunted, my daughter made a copycat version that my grandson deemed tasted as good if not better.

If you are a fan of Chipotle or just want a different flavor for your rice, cilantro lime rice is an easy dish to duplicate. Since Chipotle lists its ingredients online, with a little research I found that the only “surprising” addition in the cilantro lime rice was a bay leaf. I have a 6-foot laurel tree, so I had more than an ample supply of bay leaves.

The preparation of cilantro lime rice is fairly straightforward. You cook rice, then add lime juice, zest and cilantro. If you’ve never made rice except from a package, the first part might be a bit challenging. Begin by choosing a long grain rice such as Carolina. Minute rice or converted rice such as Uncle Ben’s won’t work. The actual cooking of the rice is a simple process. The recipe below will guide you through the steps.

Cilantro Lime Rice

1 tablespoon butter

1 cup long grain rice

1 bay leaf

2 cups water

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons lime juice

Zest of one lime

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

In a medium-size saucepan, heat the butter until it melts. Add the rice and stir for a few minutes until it is well coated. Add the bay leaf, water and salt and bring to a boil. Stir once. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to low.

Cook for 20 minutes. (I always use a timer.) During this period, don’t lift the lid and don’t stir. Then turn off the heat and let the rice sit covered for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, remove the bay leaf and add the lime juice, zest and cilantro. Fluff the rice with a fork to mix and serve.

— Julie Falsetti, a York native, comes from a long line of good cooks. Her column, From Scratch, runs twice monthly in The York Dispatch food section. Reach her with questions and comments at