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How to Make Chipotle Cilantro Lime Rice With Chicken

Christie is a degreed writer, dog lover, master in the kitchen, candle and soap maker, and a general hobbyist of all things DIY.

How Does Chipotle Make Their Yummy Rice?

Briefly, in college, I was a food preparer at Chipotle, the popular line-style Mexican grill, founded in Denver, Colorado. As you might imagine, the job didn't pay much, but it did come with, not surprisingly, a free shift meal, and exceptionally good benefits.

I took note of the way the rice was prepared, and have since modified it slightly to match my own likes. In my opinion, this recipe is better. It's low-cost, quick, and gives you leftovers for days.

Zesty, Cilantro & Lime Rice

Zesty, Cilantro & Lime Rice


  1. 1 Cup Rice
  2. Chopped White Onion (for one cup, I usually do about a third of the onion)
  3. 1 Garlic Clove Minced (I sometimes just chop the clove into thin slices, and it tastes just as good)
  4. Sliced Limes (I usually use 2–3 limes, but this is where you can taste test to your preference)
  5. Chicken Bouillon (I usually always buy the Knorr's or Wyler's brand)
  6. Chopped Cilantro
  7. Stick Butter, Salted or Unsalted
  8. Olive Oil
  9. Cooked, Shredded Chicken
  10. Cubed Panela Cheese (I've used other Mexican cheeses, Panela is the best to use. It's a creamy, cow's milk cheese and does not melt easily when mixed with hot rice)
  11. Avocados (optional)
  12. Salt (optional)
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Shredded Chicken

Shredded Chicken

Cubed Panela Cheese

Cubed Panela Cheese


  1. Pour olive oil in your rice pot, I usually just eyeball about 2–3 tbsps.
  2. While the stove is heating up, drop two cubes small cubes, or one large cube, of chicken bouillon in 2 cups water. Microwave the cubes in the water until the cubes start to dissolve. This will be your water for the rice.
  3. Once the oil has heated a little, mix in your chopped onion and minced garlic and begin sautéing.
  4. When the onions have become slightly translucent, mix in your uncooked rice. Stir until rice is beginning to brown. (Toasting rice before cooking is a small step, seemingly traditional to Mexican culture, that brings out the grainy flavor in the rice and coats it with your onion/garlic flavor).
  5. Once the rice is browned, mix in your water/chicken bouillon mix. At this point, the pot will be very hot, and the water mixture might start steaming. Since the pan is already so hot, I can cook the rice on a very, very low setting, and it'll cook just fine.
  6. Drop in a small slice or two from your stick of butter. This step will coat the rice in delicious stickiness, making it tastier and easier for the lime, cilantro, and chicken to stick to the rice.
  7. Once the rice is finished, mix in your shredded chicken. I usually do about half a cup, but this step is easy to eyeball based on your preference of chicken-rice recipe. You can also sub out here for shredded pork, or whatever meat you're craving!
  8. Final steps: squeeze in your limes and mix, keep tasting based on your preference of lime. Mix in your chopped cilantro. Mix in your cubed Panela Cheese, and top it all off with salt! Here is where I sometimes put cubed or sliced avocados on the side of the dish when serving. It adds a nice touch of presentation!


Let me know in the comments how yours turned out! I've had a few friends ask recently for this recipe, so I wanted to share it!

© 2018 Victoria Desselle

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