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Cilantro rice

My wife made this last night. Addictive.

Cook rice as usual, with 1 tsp. salt per cup of rice.

For each cup of rice:

2/3 cup cilantro, loosely packed
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped scalions
1 jalapeno (or to taste)
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp olive oil

Puree the above in a blender, add to the cooked rice, stir well.

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  1. I do a variation on this that calls for the rice to be mixed with toasted coconut and/or coconut milk. Yum.

    1. I've been looking for a good cilatro rice recipe! Thanks for posting! Do you think it works with any type of rice, or a type in particlar?

      1 Reply
      1. This sounds delicious! Thanks for posting it. Will try it for dinner tonight!

        1. Made this tonight - fantastic! Tangy and spicy and flavorful... thanks for the recipe.

          1. Robert,

            I tried your recipe last night and came out fantastic. Didn't have Jalapeno on hand so just used some dried chilli flakes. Ate it with simple grilled ribeye.

            Thanks for the recipe.

            1. This was not only delicious but visually pleasing as well. Great way to dress up rice! Thank you very much for sharing a new way to enjoy rice.

              1. Applause, applause...I made this tonight as a side dish for chicken mole! Robert, this reminds me of an Epicurious recipe for Korean Style Grilled Steaks with Spicy Cilantro Sauce and it is very similar to that recipe. I always told my sons I could eat that spicy cilantro sauce on a piece of bread I love it so much..but it's so much better and prettier on the rice! Thanks so much!

                4 Replies
                1. re: Val

                  The original came from some cooking magazine.

                  It tasted really familiar to me, took a long time to pin down the memory: Chipotle.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    Chipotle's rice is what immediately came to mind. I love that rice!

                    1. re: dimsumgirl

                      Yay Chipotle! I have tried replicating the rice at home but always used dried cilatntro, just not the same. I'll definitely try it this way.

                    2. re: Robert Lauriston

                      I make something similar which I based on Chipolte's rice. Yum.

                  2. Are the onions, scalions, and jalapeno raw or cooked when before you puree them?

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Spencer

                      The sauce ingredients are raw and lend fresh, bright flavors to the rice.

                      1. re: Val

                        Yeah, everything's raw, it gets wilted a bit from the hot rice but the flavors stay very bright.

                    2. I have some red jalapenos growing in the back yard. Bet that will add to the brightness. Thanks- I will make this this weekend.

                      1. I tried this and loved it, thanks for the recipe.

                        I added some coarsely chopped cilantor and scallion along with the puree, turned out great.

                        1. rick bayless has a related version of this green rice:
                          try adding pureed roasted or, as he recommends, boiled pablanos for another layer of flavor.

                          1. This recipe was adapted from a cooking magazine's adaptation of a recipe from Cafe Pasqual's in Santa Fe. Their chef Katharine Kagel has a couple of cookbooks out. Here's her recipe (unless this blogger revised it):


                            1. Thank you! I had a sit down fro 20 this weekend and gambled on your dish:) Raves all around! I thin next time, for fewer people, pine muts would be good, too.
                              But it was so easy to make the mix ahead and then just cook the rice while everyone was drinking........
                              Served w/ filet and roasted peppers/onion

                              1. Robert, I've also had many raves over this dish from people I've given the recipe to, just to let you know!

                                1. I *just* made this. Used brown basmati rice.

                                  It's fantastic.

                                  Thanks, RL.

                                  1. I love Chipotle's rice so I will have to try this recipe. Thanks for sharing, Robert!

                                    1. Does the measurement of "for each cup of rice" refer to the rice before or after cooking?

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: GSDlove

                                        It refers to the rice before cooking (ie, uncooked). This is a great recipe, although I remember adding a bit more lime juice and oil to get the ingredients to puree.

                                      2. This recipe is not too different from a Diana Kennedy Mexican recipe she calls green rice. But in that dish you saute the rice first over high heat until it begins to brown, then add milk (or a combination of milk and water) along with the other ingredients, including garlic, parsley and cilantro.

                                        It's great stuff.

                                        6 Replies
                                        1. re: Mr. Cookie

                                          I can't wait to make this for DH this week--thank you. Sounds like you've made a lot of people very happy!

                                          1. re: nissenpa

                                            Do you think it would work tossed into angel hair pasta with bay scallops?

                                            1. re: Densible

                                              Don't see why not. I would probably sub lemon juice for lime though.

                                              1. re: Carb Lover

                                                I made it tonight over pasta and it was great. I did substitute lemon for lime juice and also added some chopped roasted tomatoes and some light coconut milk. Sauteed the scallops in a bit of oil and garlic.

                                                1. re: Densible

                                                  Made it tonight. Wonderful. Also subbed lemon (Meyer) for lime. Also cooked rice in homemade chicken stock.
                                                  Really delicious. Thanks to RL's wife.

                                                  1. re: oakjoan

                                                    I served it reheated to company the other night. Nuked it in micro for two minutes and it turned out fine. They loved it. I garnished with cilantro and toasted pine nuts. Served with a mexican meatloaf.

                                        2. A Warning: I made this last night and because recipe did not mention whether you seed or don't seed the peppers, I used the seeds of my peppers (my fault, I also used more peppers than called for); it was soooo spicy, I had to cook an extra 1/2 cup of rice to cut the heat a bit although still very spicy; I would suggest not using the seeds in the recipe; otherwise, it was very flavorful and good. I am actually surprised that with 30 replies, no one ever mentioned whether they used the seeds or not.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: paulgardner

                                            A good rule of thumb is that if a pepper has seeds, it's going to be a bit spicy. My guess is that's why no one mentioned it. We forget that some people aren't aware of that.

                                          2. This sounds so good I'm going to try it tonight.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: sweetnspicy

                                              I made this last night and its wonderful! didn't really measure ingredients, cooked basmati rice in chicken broth and added some garlic salt at the end. I'm bringing it to a Caribbean themed bbq, where it will be paired with some jerk chicken and curried goat!
                                              will let you know how it turned out!! This dish is so versatile, it can go with so many cusines!

                                              1. re: sds

                                                I made it and loved it! I mixed it with a couscous blend from TJ's and had a little chicken with melted pepper jack! Oh yea, I added about 6 mint leaves and thought it added a nice touch.

                                            2. I, too, find this recipe to be such a winner I am considering in investing in disposable surgical gloves to seed the peppers fearlessly. My contact-lens-wearing eyes would appreciate it. I use some kind of greenish yellow Mediterranean pepper.

                                              1. My wife can't hadle spicy very well so I substituted a 1/4 cup of red bell pepper rather than the jalepeno. It turned out quite well. I will try with the jalepeno sometime, too (when i'm eating on my own).

                                                Served inside of shrimp fajitas.

                                                1. This was incredible. I started with 1 1/2 cups of dry rice so I made 1 1/2 times the sauce. To add a little crunch, about five minutes before the rice was done I cut the kernels off two ears of fresh corn and stirred that into the rice. Then when the cooking time was finished I stirred in the sauce. So good!

                                                  1. I was totally blown away by this recipe, as was my boyfriend. Paired it with grilled chicken breasts topped with cilantro, red onion and white wine butter...amazing. Will most definitely make this again and experiment with other main dishes. Thanks so much Robert!!!!

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: pmbailey

                                                      I’ve spent a lot of time in Mexico and have several friends from South America – they don’t make their rice like Americans. I came up with a cilantro and lime rice recipe using their cooking method. This recipe makes about 3 cups of cooked rice, feel free to double or triple it!

                                                      In a small skillet sauté 2 large cloves minced garlic and half a med. onion, chopped, in about 2 Tbls. vegetable or olive oil for a few minutes. Rinse 1 cup of uncooked rice and add it to the onions/garlic. Sauté until the rice is opaque – you can add a little more oil if seems too dry. Add 2 cups chicken stock (I use bullion but not full strength due to the salt), and ½ tsp. cumin and put the lid on it. Stir occasionally for about 15 – 20 minutes on low heat until the stock is absorbed, check for doneness. If the rice is not done, add some more water and keep cooking with the lid on. When the rice is done toss in a handful of chopped cilantro, a Tbls or so of lime juice, and fresh ground black pepper (no salt needed if using bullion). This always gets rave reviews!

                                                      I also use this method to make incredible Spanish rice! I add some chopped peppers (I prefer fresh green chiles, but you could use bell peppers) to the onions and garlic. After you sauté the rice (before you add the chicken stock) add a heaping Tbls of tomato paste (or canned chopped tomatoes, but then add only 1 ½ cups chicken stock). Add the chicken stock, cumin and cook as above. No cilantro or lime juice.

                                                      This method of cooking rice is super easy and very versatile! I teach a lot of my friends to cook and this is always one of the first dishes I teach them to help them gain their confidence in the kitchen!

                                                      1. re: kasden

                                                        Oops!!! I meant cook the rice until it's translucent!

                                                        1. re: kasden

                                                          Your recipe sounds great! I googled 'cilantro rice recipe' this evening and found this thread. Made the original recipe to go with grilled shrim tacos, and we loved it. I think I'll try yours next! :)

                                                      2. So i first googled "cilantro rice" this was the first to come up, i tried it , and although the family was skeptical at first, one taste and they LOVED IT! ps. i had to to work with what i had at home, no scalions but it was still great. : ]

                                                        1. Made this with quinoa. Loved it! Thanks.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: TRex

                                                            Great idea!!! I might have to try that as well.

                                                          2. Thank you for a wonderful recipe. I made this for dinner tonight, and it was awesome! I used all the ingredients except the scallions. I used half a vidalia onion, one teaspoon of lime rind, one teaspoon of lime juice, and added a pinch of cumin powder. Also, I finely chopped the ingredients instead of pureeing them. Furthermore, I cooked the rice just as I would Mexican Fried Rice--I added all the ingredients during the cooking process. It was great!

                                                            1. Great idea to puree everything before adding - I'll have to try that. I often make rice that's similar, but without the jalapeno or chopped onion (just chopped scallion), but adding peas. I just chop up everything and mix it and the peas into the rice at the end. The flavor also reminds me of Chipotle!

                                                              1. if i cook the rice in chicken broth (which has sodium), do i not add 1 tsp of salt ?

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: cres911

                                                                  I wouldn't, at least not the first time. If it seems underseasoned, I'd add some the next time.

                                                                  1. re: cres911

                                                                    Start without it, and taste. You can always add salt.

                                                                  2. Quick answer if possible pls - am serving this tonight - can I mix the cilantro/etc with the hot rice now or will the colour deteriorate? If yes, how long in advance of serving? Thx

                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                    1. re: ElizabethS

                                                                      The closer to serving time the brighter the green will stay.

                                                                      1. re: ElizabethS

                                                                        I assembled it just before serving - it was delicious - but surprised this morning to see the leftover rice still had great colour so I could have prepped it earlier in the day with no loss

                                                                        1. re: ElizabethS

                                                                          In my experience if you add green purees and hold them hot for long there is a change in the color of green that you have. From bright spring green to a deeper more olive green. While still green not as striking or pleasant.

                                                                        2. re: ElizabethS

                                                                          I think it's best to mix as soon as the rice is cooked so it absorbs more flavor.

                                                                        3. This is one of my favorite recipes of all time. I make it every time I make anythinn remotely mexican or tex-mex.

                                                                          1. Whenever I have extra cilantro in danger of going bad, I make something very similar to this (minus the scallions and the oil, and finely chopped rather than pureed) and freeze it in ice cube trays with a little water. Then I can just grab a cube to stir into hot rice - I make my rice like pasta, so the cube goes in during the steaming stage. Quick and painless, and I don't think the flavor suffers at all.

                                                                            1. I made this recipe tonight, and everyone loved it. Thanks for posting, Robert!

                                                                              1. Can the puree be made in advance? Would it keep OK overnight?