This simple yet flavorful Rice Cooker Cilantro Lime Rice will take your rice game to a new level with just a few easy steps. Avoid the hassle of cooking rice on the stovetop and say hello to an effortless, versatile, and delicious side dish that bursts with so much flavor!
Your rice cooker can transform everyday white rice into the perfect side dish for Taco Tuesday or any Mexican dish.
I’d like to share one of my favorite rice varieties—cilantro lime rice—that lets the fresh, vibrant flavors of cilantro and lime truly shine. It’s quick and easy and will become your new go-to for fluffy rice for meal prep or on busy weeknights.
I love serving this simple side with tacos, fajitas, or a homemade burrito bowl. While cilantro lime rice is traditionally made on the stovetop, I have discovered the easiest method is to let my trusty rice cooker do all the work.
Why you'll love this recipe
This fragrant rice is flavorful with the fresh flavors of cilantro and lime. The acid from the lime zest and juice balances the taste of the rice for a super satisfying side.
You only need a handful of basic pantry ingredients to make fresh, aromatic rice perfect for any Mexican-inspired meal.
The best part of using the rice cooker method is that with just the press of a button, you're freed up to focus on cooking the main dish or enjoying time with family and friends.
This simple side dish takes just a few minutes of hands-on time.
Here are the simple ingredients you need to make this easy cilantro lime rice recipe:
- Long-grain rice - Basmati or jasmine rice is ideal. I use quality aged basmati rice; extra-long grain basmati rice works well, too. I purchase mine at a local Indian market or a nearby grocery store. You can use long-grain brown rice instead - it will impart a slightly nutty flavor and more fiber. Brown rice takes longer, but it's well worth the wait. Measure your cup with the cup that came with the rice cooker.
- Fresh cilantro - There is no need to separate the stems and leaves for the cilantro; finely chop.
- Fresh lime - Organic lime is preferable, especially for the lime zest. Please don't use the stuff that comes in a plastic "lime" - it cannot compare to fresh lime juice and lime zest!
- Oil - I used grapeseed oil; I recommend a neutral oil.
- Cold water - the rice vs. water ratio depends on your specific rice cooker. It also depends on whether you're using brown rice or regular rice. Follow the instructions per your rice cooker. Count the number of cups you’re making, then fill the rice cooker with water to the level on the side that matches the type of rice and the number of cups you’re making.
See the recipe card for quantities.
Here are some substitutions you can try when making this versatile side dish:
- Long-grain rice - use brown basmati rice or brown jasmine rice instead of white long-grain rice.
- Cilantro - use chopped fresh parsley or chopped fresh oregano, marjoram, or basil.
- Lime - use lemon juice instead, or you can skip the lime.
- Grapeseed oil - use olive oil, coconut oil, melted vegan butter, or avocado oil instead.
- Water - replace the cups of water with vegetable broth or un-chicken broth, or use seasoned vegetable paste mixed with hot water in place of water. Let cool to room temperature before putting it in the rice cooker to cook the rinsed rice.
Here are some variations you can try when making this:
- Spicy - add a chopped jalapeno; remove the seeds. Or add a dried arbol chile before cooking the rice.
- Add a bay leaf and remove once the rice has cooked.
- Flavor - add onion powder or a pinch of cumin seeds when cooking the rice. Or add garlic salt, garlic powder, and ground cumin to taste.
- Herbs - Add herbs such as fresh oregano, marjoram, basil, or parsley in addition to or instead of cilantro, after the rice has been cooked.
- Garnish with sliced green onions.
How to make Cilantro Lime Rice in a Rice Cooker
It's easy to make this delicious side dish, even if it is your first time.
Rinse the rice several times to get the excess starch out so the rice is less likely to stick.
Step 1: Wash the rice several times in a bowl or over the sink in a fine mesh sieve until the water runs clear. I do this around six or seven times.
Step 2: Drain the rice well before transferring it to the rice cooker. I first add the oil to the rice cooker bowl and grease the inside before adding the rice, water, and salt.
Step 3: Add the rice, water, and salt to your rice cooker. Stir gently with a spatula so that the water covers the rice evenly. Close the rice cooker lid.
Step 4: Cook on the Plain setting according to the rice cooker instructions; the rice cooker will beep when ready. Carefully open the lid with oven mitts. Fluff the cooked rice with a rice paddle or spatula.
Step 5: Stir in the chopped cilantro, lime zest, and lime juice. Taste, and add salt, lime juice, and cilantro to taste.
Hint: For best results, once the rice is cooked, unplug the machine and place the rice cooker bowl on the counter on top of a towel. Then, place a clean towel on top once you fluff the rice and add seasoning. I avoid the "warm" setting in the rice cooker to prevent overcooking.
Which setting should be used for the rice cooker?
I often use the "plain" setting for long-grain white rice and "brown" for brown rice. Refer to the instruction manual for another type of rice.
The rice maker has preset programs and measurement lines for white rice and brown rice.
Brown rice takes longer to cook - depending on how much rice you cook, it can take 60-90 minutes. White rice takes about 30 minutes, give or take.
Rice cooker - I love my rice cooker; it makes cooking rice a breeze!
I purchased this 5.5-cup rice cooker at a local store. It's an excellent size for small to medium-sized families. It came with a rice paddle and a rice cup for measuring.
Why did my rice turn out dry?
If your rice turns out dry or slightly crispy burned on the bottom, you need to add more water next time.
Once it has cooled, refrigerate the leftover rice in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
To reheat, I recommend using the microwave to retain moisture. Sprinkle a small amount of water on top of the rice, cover with a microwave-safe lid slightly ajar, and cook until heated through.
Here are some tips for making the perfect rice with your rice cooker:
- Refrain from filling or rounding the cup that came with the rice cooker when measuring the rice.
- Rinse the rice several times in cool, fresh water until the water is clear.
- Place the oil in the rice cooker and grease the sides before adding the rinsed rice and salt. Add cool water to the appropriate line in the rice cooker bowl.
- Stir gently with a silicone spatula to ensure the rice is evenly covered with the water before closing the top and pressing the appropriate button to cook the rice. The machine will release steam, so do not place it directly under a counter.
It is recommended to rinse the rice several times because excess starch in rice causes cooked rice to clump. For best results, rinse the rice to get separate grains of cooked rice.
It depends on the type of rice and the quantity. A cup of white rice can take around 30 minutes to cook.
Cooking a cup of rice is enough for 2 people - you will likely get 2 to 4 servings, depending on what else you are serving with the rice.
Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:
Rice Cooker Cilantro Lime Rice
- Rice paddle or spatula
- 1 cup white long-grain rice rinsed, measured per rice cooker cup, basmati or jasmine rice
- Water fill to the appropriate level on your rice cooker (1 for 1 cup rice).
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
- ½ teaspoon pink Himalayan salt plus more to taste
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro stems and leaves
- Zest of one organic lime
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice juice from about ½ large lime
- Add the rinsed long-grain rice, water, grapeseed oil, and 1 teaspoon pink salt to your rice cooker. Stir gently with a spatula so that the water covers the rice evenly. Close the rice cooker lid.
- Cook on Plain setting according to the rice cooker instructions until the rice cooker beeps that it is ready.
- Once cooked, fluff the rice with a rice paddle or spatula, stir in the chopped cilantro and lime juice. Add additional salt to taste. Unplug the cooker and remove the rice from the rice cooker to prevent overcooking.
Resplendent Kitchen offers nutritional information for recipes contained on this site as a courtesy. Although resplendentkitchen.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information from online calculators, these figures are estimates.