Cilantro Lime Brown Rice is a great go-to side dish or base for a protein. I love whipping up a batch of this at the beginning of the week to serve with everything from asian meatballs to pan seared shrimp. It’s flavorful, easy to make, and healthy!

On a weekly basis I like to make different versions of this cilantro lime brown rice. Sometimes I’ll throw in some toasted coconut chips and a splash of coconut milk, other times I’ll add toasted chopped almonds or hazelnuts. A generous squeeze of lime juice or rice wine vinegar is also a great addition if I’m serving this with something heavy or creamy. I’m telling you, the options are endless with this simple brown rice recipe! 

overhead image of brown rice with chopped cilantro and lime wedges in a shallow bowl

Meal prep tips 

Since this is a great meal-prep dish, let’s chat about how to prepare and store this Cilantro Lime Brown Rice for use throughout the week, and even the month. 

This healthy brown rice side dish can be made up to 5 days ahead of time, although it’s best enjoyed within the first 3 days of making it. 

Store cooked brown rice, or the prepared cilantro lime rice in an airtight container in the refrigerator

How to Freeze Cilantro Lime Brown Rice

Looking to prepare it way ahead of time? You can also freeze this! To freeze this recipe, skip adding the cilantro and scallions, if using, until you are ready to eat it. 

Here’s the process: cook the brown rice according to the recipe instructions. Add the olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper; transfer to an airtight container or reusable zipper-lock bag and store in the freezer until ready to use.

Remove the rice from the freezer and let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator or quickly defrost in the microwave by placing a damp paper towel over the rice and microwaving on medium power for a few minutes (stirring every minute).

Reheat thawed rice in the microwave, add a few more teaspoons of olive oil and stir in the cilantro and scallions. Season the rice with salt and pepper and serve as desired.

45-degree angle of overhead image of brown rice with chopped cilantro and lime wedges in a shallow bowl

How to reheat cilantro lime rice

Transfer brown rice to a microwave-safe bowl and loosely cover with a damp paper towel. Heat for 1–2 minutes on medium-high power until warmed through; stir in a splash of olive oil and serve. 

How to use cilantro lime brown rice

Cilantro Lime Brown Rice

4.15 from 7 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Yield 3 cups (4 servings)
Category Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Author Lauren


Easy and healthy Cilantro Lime Brown Rice. A quick and versatile side dish for busy weeknights! Serve with asian meatballs, pan seared shrimp, or scooped into a burrito.


  • 1 cup dry brown basmati rice
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced lime zest (1 lime)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ chopped fresh cilantro
  • ¼ cup sliced scallions, optional


  • Bring two cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Rinse rice, then stir into boiling water. Bring water back up to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 30–40 minutes until water has been absorbed and rice is plump. 
  • Fluff rice with a fork then stir in olive oil, zest, salt and pepper; let cool slightly. 
  • Stir in cilantro and scallions, if using, season with additional salt and pepper to taste, and serve.


Zesting citrus: when zesting citrus, it’s important to only zest the colored part. Avoid zesting the pith, or the tender white layer underneath the zest. The pith is very bitter and will change the flavor of the dish. I recommend using a microplane to mince the zest.


Serving: 3/4 cupCalories: 192kcalCarbohydrates: 36gProtein: 3.5gFat: 3.5gSaturated Fat: 0.5gSodium: 293mgFiber: 2g
Like this? Leave a comment below!I love hearing from you and I want to hear how it went with this recipe! Leave a comment and rating below, then share on social media @zestfulkitchen and #zestfulkitchen!
overhead image of brown rice with chopped cilantro and lime wedges in a shallow Mexican-style bowl

Pin This Recipe

Love this recipe and want to save it? Pin this recipe!

Pin This Recipe
Dinner's on Me Tonight!
Subscribe now and unlock the exclusive 15-minute recipe I make every week!
chicken salad on lettuce on a white plate

Share it with the world


About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine,,, and more.

Learn More

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

How many stars would you give this recipe?


  1. 5 stars
    This recipe is so easy and so flavorful! I love that it uses brown rice too. Better than Chipotle! Thanks!

  2. 2 stars
    I made this rice but it had a bitter taste .. I probably did something wrong with the recipe.. or is that the actual taste?

    1. The bitter taste most likely came from zesting the lime too far into the pith. When cooking with citrus zest, you just want to use the thin layer of zest (the colored part) and avoid adding the white (pith) section of the rind.

  3. 5 stars
    No bitter taste here—we loved this!!! Used it to make burrito bowls at home. We used your fajita rice bowl recipe and riffed off of that for the filling. We will be using this recipe a lot!!