Instant Pot Chipotle Cilantro Lime Rice (Copycat)
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Delicious and filling, this Instant Pot Chipotle cilantro lime rice instantly elevates anything you serve with it. This easy copycat recipe is ready in less than 20 minutes thanks to the Instant Pot and pairs well with nearly everything.
Table of contents
You’ve likely tried cilantro lime rice at restaurants like Chipotle, but trust me that the homemade version is so much better and even more versatile!
Cilantro lime rice is traditionally paired with Mexican-inspired dishes like burrito bowls or fajitas, but it’s also a great vehicle for Indian dishes, as well! I love making a big batch of this cilantro-lime flavored Basmati rice in the Instant Pot and using it in a variety of dishes throughout the week.
Additionally, making this rice dish in the pressure cooker means it comes together in under 20 minutes which makes preparing meals during the week a breeze. If you’re looking for a go-to rice recipe, this is it!
How to make this recipe
Check out this complete list of ingredients and my step-by-step instructions to learn how to make the best cilantro lime rice in the Instant Pot!
- Basmati rice — I prefer Basmati over other rice varieties because it’s less starchy and much more light and fluffy, making it the perfect base for my favorite main course and rice dishes.
- Water — You’ll need water to cook and rinse the rice. Rinsing rice is a crucial step that removes excess starch. You’ll want to rinse the Basmati rice in a fine mesh strainer until the water runs clear.
- Cooking fat — I prefer using ghee or extra virgin olive oil when making this recipe, but you can also use avocado oil, if preferred.
- Salt — Kosher or sea salt is fine to use here, but be careful to not over-salt the rice. Always start with a little so you can add more, if needed. (Also, keep in mind what you’re serving the rice with so that the entire dish is not too salty!)
- Lime juice — I prefer fresh-squeezed, but you can use store-bought in a pinch.
- Cilantro — Wash and dry your cilantro thoroughly before chopping as fine or rough as you like and adding to the fluffy, cooked rice.
- Before you start cooking, rinse your rice using a fine mesh strainer until the water runs clear.
- If time allows, soak the rinsed rice in twice the amount of water for 30 minutes to remove the last but of excess starch. (You can skip this step if you are in a rush.) Drain the rice, and set it aside.
- Set your Instant Pot to saute on normal. Once it’s hot, add one tablespoon of ghee or olive oil in the inner steel pot. When that has melted and turned shiny, toast the drained rice for 30 seconds, until it has absorbed the fat. Press cancel.
- Next, add water and salt to the sautéed rice. Mix well to combine.
- Secure the lid, and set the steam valve to sealing.
- Pressure cook for 3 minutes under HIGH pressure.
- When the cooking cycle is complete, wait 10 minutes before moving the valve to venting to naturally release pressure. Then, open the lid, and let the steam escape.
- Add the remaining tablespoon of ghee or oil. Wait for a minute or two and then fluff the rice gently with a fork.
- Add lime juice and cilantro. Stir and fluff the rice with a fork to combine, and serve warm.
Ingredient swaps and substitutions
- Swap avocado oil for the ghee or olive oil. Really any light-tasting fat or oil will work. (This also makes this cilantro lime rice vegan!)
- Use brown Basmati rice in place of the white Basmati rice for a healthier, more fiber-filled twist.
Tips and Variations
- Spice this coriander rice up by adding some crushed red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper!
- If not serving immediately, remove the inner pot from the Instant Pot to prevent the rice from drying out or sticking to the bottom and burning.
- To amp up the citrus flavor in this Instant Pot Basmati rice dish, add grated lemon or lime zest. (This is a great way to use the whole lime and not just the juice!)
- When choosing limes for this rice recipe, avoid any limes with brown spots (especially if you plan to zest them) or any that are too hard to the touch.
While you can make this rice over the stovetop, I love cooking it with my Instant Pot. It is because an electric pressure cooker makes cooking during the week a breeze and gives you that cooked-all-day flavor in a very short amount of time.
Storage, freezing, and reheating instructions
- Store cooled, leftover cilantro lime rice in an airtight container or plastic bag in the fridge
- Reheat leftover rice by adding a tablespoon of water for every cup of leftover rice. Mix well and pressure cook for zero minutes. When the cooking cycle is complete, move the valve to ‘venting’ to release pressure immediately.
- While you can freeze a lot of long- or short-grain rice varieties, we do not recommend freezing Basmati or Jasmine rice because it tends to crumble when thawed. Just make a fresh batch in under 20 minutes whenever needed!
Truly, any of my dal, paneer, masala, vindaloo, or other classic Indian dishes would pair perfectly with this chipotle lime rice, but here are a few to choose from:
- Finger-Licking Kadai Paneer
- Restaurant-Style Saag/Palak Paneer (Spinach and Cottage Cheese)
- Creamy Instant Pot Dal Makhani
- Gujarati Kadhi
- Goan Chicken Vindaloo
- Prawns Balchao
Lunch packing instructions
Cilantro lime rice makes for a great lunch box option along with beans and corn. If you are looking for exciting lunchbox ideas that can be made quickly and easily, check out my eBook – The Lunchbox Cookbook: Easy recipes for school and work lunches.
Frequently asked questions
Can I make this cilantro lime rice ahead of time?
Absolutely! This is a great side dish to meal-prep ahead of a busy week for grab-and-go lunches or to get dinner on the table quickly. I like to double or triple this recipe and keep a big batch of it in the fridge to use as needed.
Can I use brown rice?
Sure! The texture will likely not be as light and fluffy if you use long-grain brown rice instead of the white basmati rice, but it will still taste great. If possible, use brown Basmati rice when making this swap.
What if I’m one of those people who don’t like cilantro?
First, I urge you to try it if you think you don’t like it. Our tastebuds are always changing, so who knows? Even if you didn’t like cilantro as a kid, you may like it now! But if you’re one of the people who struggle with cilantro tasting like soap :(, you can simply omit it from this recipe or use basil for another great herb option. Thai basil, especially, would be a great swap!
Can I cook this on the stovetop?
You definitely can, but it will require much more babysitting than cooking it in the Instant Pot. (i.e., watching it so it doesn’t boil over, stirring to prevent it from sticking, and not being too far away so it doesn’t burn) I try to make my recipes as easy as possible, which is why I’m a huge fan of this popular kitchen gadget!
Instant Pot Cilantro Lime Rice
- 2 cups Basmati rice
- 2.5 cups water
- 2 tablespoons ghee or olive oil divided
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup lime juice
- ½ cup finely chopped cilantro
- Rinse the Basmati rice using a strainer till the water runs clear.
- Soak the rice in twice the amount of water for 30 minutes. You can skip this step if you are in a rush.
- Drain the rice and set it aside.
- Select the Saute program in the Instant Pot and set it to Normal.
- Add one tablespoon of ghee in the inner steel pot.
- Once the ghee heats up, add the drained rice.
- Saute the rice for about 30 seconds. Press cancel.
- Add water along with salt to the inner pot. Mix well.
- Close the lid and set the steam valve to sealing.
- Pressure cook for 3 minutes under high pressure.
- When the cooking cycle is complete, wait for 10 minutes before moving the valve to 'venting' to release pressure.
- Open the lid and let the steam escape. Add the remaining tablespoon of ghee. Wait for a minute or two and then fluff the rice gently with a fork.
- Add lime juice and cilantro.
- Stir and fluff the rice with a fork to combine. Serve warm, and enjoy!
- If not serving immediately, remove the inner pot from the Instant Pot to prevent the rice from drying out and sticking to the bottom.
- Reheating leftover rice – Add a tablespoon of water for every cup of leftover rice. Mix well and pressure cook for zero minutes. When the cooking cycle is complete, move the valve to ‘venting’ to release pressure immediately.
- To amp up the lime flavor, add grated lemon zest.
- Use olive oil or avocado oil instead of ghee to make it vegan.
Disclaimer: Approximate nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and can vary depending on the exact ingredients/brands used. If you have health issues, please work with a registered dietician or nutritionist.