Cilantro Lime Basmati Rice | Chipotle Copycat Recipe

Don't wait in line for takeout! Make it yourself, instead.

When Chipotle came on the scene many years ago, I was pretty excited. After all, it seemed like they were doing things right: sourcing organic ingredients, choosing sustainably-raised meats, and generally offering patrons healthy options. While they’re still doing a lot of those things, it’s also pretty easy to eat unhealthily at Chipotle. Add cheese, sour cream, and choose a tortilla wrap instead of a burrito bowl and you’ll end up eating a surprising amount of calories! You can make smart ingredient choices at this fast-casual restaurant, or you can make their Mission-style burritos yourself at home with this Chipotle copycat recipe: Cilantro Lime Basmati Rice.

A single serving of their famous cilantro lime rice clocks in a 210 calories, 4 grams of fat, and 40 grams of carbohydrate. How is that even possible? I did some digging, and the reason that Chipotle’s rice tastes so buttery is, well, it contains butter. A pretty massive amount of it! It makes sense; after almost all restaurant food tastes good because of all the butter they put in it. I should know…I’m a former restaurant chef. But, we don’t need the butter to make our rice taste good! We made a few smart ingredient swaps to make our Chipotle copycat recipe taste just as good as the original (with half calories).

Our Version of Cilantro Lime Basmati Rice

Our Cilantro Lime Basmati Rice recipe contains nearly half as many calories and carbs–and no fat–all without sacrificing any flavor! This six-ingredient recipe features basmati rice, a long-grain rice with a fluffy texture and a nutty flavor. Add those features to its fragrant aroma and there’s no need to add butter to your rice to make it taste good.

We also added a secret ingredient: nutmeg. Talk about a simple addition, but it really makes the dish shine by bringing out the other flavors. It works by enhancing the rich flavor of the rice while accentuating the herbaceous cilantro and bright lime. You may not be able to taste the nutmeg itself, but you’ll definitely know it’s there.

Finally, our last ingredient hack is using low-sodium chicken broth instead of water. Rice is an exceptional ingredient because it will take on the flavor of anything it cooks with. If you cook it in water, it will just taste like rice. But, if you cook it in a flavorful broth, you’ll add an extra layer of flavor to the rice. Chipotle knows it, and we know it too. Using low-sodium broths help keep the salt level to a reasonable amount.

Allow Your Rice to Sit

This is the hardest part of this recipe: Standing by while the rice rests. I beg you, though, to have the patience to follow this step. It’s the reason that the rice is exceptional instead of just okay!

You see, basmati rice is a sticky, carbohydrate-rich rice. That’s the reason that we rinse it in step one. It has a tendency to stick to the bottom of the pot, and also to each other. For some dishes, you might want clumps of rice, but not for our Cilantro Lime Basmati Rice recipe. We want those grains to be individual and fluffy. So, allowing the rice to sit for 10 minutes before stirring it will let those starches relax and you’ll end up with the most exceptionally textured rice possible!

We can’t wait for you to try this incredible Chipotle copycat recipe. Let us know in the comments if you think it tastes as good as the original! Try making your own Cheesy Chicken Avocado Burrito Wraps with this rice, or make some pulled pork in the slow cooker for rice bowls.

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Chef Lindsay

Lindsay D. Mattison is a professional chef, recipe developer, and food writer. After graduating from Cascade Culinary School, Lindsay worked as the executive chef of a farm-to-table restaurant in Bend, Oregon. She is passionate about using local, organic ingredients and loves teaching home cooks how to incorporate seasonal food into their diet. While she spends most of her time writing these days, she still exercises her culinary muscles on the regular, taking any opportunity to create beautiful meals for her family. She lives with her husband in Colorado, where she enjoys the trials and errors of gardening.

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3 Comments

  1. I made this last night. It was really good. I would just add a bit more lime juice and cilantro to mine. Maybe a smidge more salt, but I know that defeats the low Sodium concept.

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