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Make this super-flavorful version of cilantro lime rice in the Instant Pot or on the stovetop. It’s a quick and easy base for burrito bowls or accompaniment to tacos and more.

instant pot cilantro lime rice in a white bowl
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Why we love this recipe

Cilantro lime rice is easy to love. This version makes a good thing really great. It amps up the flavors a bit with:

  • Basmati rice, quickly sautéed in butter or oil
  • Plenty of garlic
  • Veggie or chicken broth instead of water — though you can use water if you prefer
  • A generous dose of lime juice and zest
  • Just the right amount of cilantro

You can make it in the Instant Pot for hands-off convenience or right on the stovetop.

What you’ll need

Here’s a glance at the ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe.

ingredients in bowls
  • Basmati rice is my favorite long-grain variety due to its almost magical flavor and aroma. It really elevates this dish and has a particular affinity with cilantro.
  • Using broth instead of water adds another layer of savoriness to this dish. If you don’t need to keep it vegetarian, use a good-quality chicken broth. If you’re using veggie broth, choose one with a clean flavor profile. Reduced-sodium Imagine No Chicken Broth is my favorite boxed veggie broth by far, since it somehow magically has the flavor profile of a good chicken stock rather than being weirdly red and tasting tinny or sweet, as some other vegetable broths can do. If you’d rather not use broth or don’t have any on hand, you can use water without making any additional changes to the recipe.
  • A combination of lime juice and zest creates a more nuanced lime flavor than juice alone. This recipe is quite tangy, which is how we like it — you can reduce the lime juice if you prefer.
  • We use a generous but not overwhelming amount of cilantro. That said, some varieties have a fairly aggressive flavor while others are positively mellow, so taste yours before using and adjust as necessary.

How to make it

Here’s an overview of what you’ll do to make a dreamy batch of cilantro lime rice in the Instant Pot or on the stovetop. There are two easy phases. You’ll put some of the ingredients in before cooking and stir in the rest afterward. You can see the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get all the details in the recipe card below.

step by step
  1. First you’ll briefly sauté the rice and garlic in the butter or oil until it smells toasty and wonderful.
  2. Pour in the broth, salt, and pepper and give it all a good stir.
  3. Stovetop: Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the rice steam for 10 minutes more. Instant Pot: Cook on manual, high pressure, for six minutes, then let pressure release naturally.
  4. Stir in cilantro, lime juice, and zest. That’s it!

Expert tips and FAQ

What’s the best liquid ratio for white basmati rice?

Different brands of basmati rice vary slightly, so it pays to read the package. I usually use Lundberg, which calls for a 1 to 1 1/2 ratio of rice to liquid when cooked on the stovetop. When cooking in the Instant Pot, from which virtually no steam escapes, I reduce the liquid to 1 1/4 cups because I like it slightly softer — you can reduce it to 1 cup if you prefer your rice slightly firmer.

If your brand of rice calls for a different liquid ratio, you can use that guidance for stovetop cooking and reduce it proportionally for the Instant Pot.

Can I make this recipe in advance? What about leftovers?

Since this recipe is quick to make and the freshness of the cilantro and lime juice is on full display, it’s a good idea to make it shortly before you’d like to serve it the first time. That said, leftovers will keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for a weekand can be reheated in the microwave.

More favorite side dishes for tacos

instant pot cilantro lime rice in a white bowl

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instant pot cilantro lime rice in a white bowl
5 from 2 votes

Cilantro Lime Rice (Instant Pot or Stovetop)

By Carolyn Gratzer Cope
Make this super-flavorful version of cilantro lime rice in the Instant Pot or on the stovetop. It's a quick and easy base for burrito bowls or accompaniment to tacos and more.
Want to save this recipe?
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Ingredients 

  • 1 tablespoon (14 grams) butter or safflower oil
  • 1 cup (180 grams) white basmati rice
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 ¼ cups (300 ml) vegetable or chicken broth (Instant Pot) or 1 1/2 cups (350 ml) (stovetop) — see note 2 below
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup (30 grams) chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Zest of 1 lime, grated on a rasp

Instructions 

  • Melt the butter or heat the oil in a medium pot set over medium heat on the stovetop, or in a 6-quart Instant Pot using the sauté function.
  • Add the rice and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for a minute or two, until it smells toasty and wonderful.
  • Pour in the broth, salt, and pepper and give it all a good stir.
  • Stovetop: Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to maintain a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the rice steam for 10 minutes more.
  • Instant Pot: Position lid and set vent to sealing. Cook on manual, high pressure, for six minutes. Pot will take a couple of minutes to come up to pressure before the countdown starts. When timer sounds, let pressure release naturally.
  • Fluff rice with a fork and stir in cilantro, lime juice, and zest.

Notes

  1. Using broth instead of water adds another layer of savoriness to this dish. If you don't need to keep it vegetarian, use a good-quality chicken broth. If you're using veggie broth, choose one with a clean flavor profile. Reduced-sodium Imagine No Chicken Broth is my favorite boxed veggie broth by far, since it somehow magically has the flavor profile of a good chicken stock rather than being weirdly red and tasting tinny or sweet, as some other vegetable broths can do. If you'd rather not use broth or don't have any on hand, you can use water without making any additional changes to the recipe.
  2. Different brands of basmati rice vary slightly, so it pays to read the package. I usually use Lundberg, which calls for a 1 to 1 1/2 ratio of rice to liquid when cooked on the stovetop. When cooking in the Instant Pot, from which virtually no steam escapes, I reduce the liquid to 1 1/4 cups because I like it slightly softer — you can reduce it to 1 cup if you prefer your rice slightly firmer. If your brand of rice calls for a different liquid ratio, you can use that guidance for stovetop cooking and reduce it proportionally for the Instant Pot.
  3. This recipe is quite tangy, which is how we like it — you can reduce the lime juice if you prefer.
  4. We use a generous but not overwhelming amount of cilantro. That said, some varieties have a fairly aggressive flavor while others are positively mellow, so taste yours before using and adjust as necessary.
  5. Since this recipe is quick to make and the freshness of the cilantro and lime juice is on full display, it's a good idea to make it shortly before you'd like to serve it the first time. That said, leftovers will keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for a week and can be reheated in the microwave.

Nutrition

Serving: 1, Calories: 202kcal, Carbohydrates: 22g, Protein: 8g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g, Cholesterol: 28mg, Sodium: 589mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 2g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Sides
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @umamigirl or tag #umamigirl!

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About Carolyn Gratzer Cope

Hi there, I'm Carolyn Gratzer Cope, founder and publisher of Umami Girl. Join me in savoring life, one recipe at a time. I'm a professional recipe developer with training from the French Culinary Institute (now ICE) and a lifetime of studying, appreciating, and sharing food.

5 from 2 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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