What's The Ideal Amount Of Cilantro In Copycat Chipotle Rice?

There are many instantly recognizable parts of a meal from Chipotle Mexican Grill, but few are so fundamental as the chain's rice, subtly infused with the taste of lime and cilantro. But that latter herb can be a polarizing flavor choice, with even many fans turned off when the flavor is too intense. Luckily, we've zeroed in on the ideal amount to use when making Chipotle-style rice at home.

The proportion is easy to remember when using our copycat Chipotle rice recipe. For each cup of uncooked rice (roughly three cups once cooked), you'll need two tablespoons of finely minced cilantro, which is stirred into the cooked rice immediately before serving. As Mashed recipe developer Lindsay D. Mattison notes in the recipe, the more finely you chop this cilantro, the better and more evenly it'll integrate into the rice mix, ensuring a more consistent flavor. Keep in mind, however, that the more finely you chop your cilantro, the more of the herb you'll need to make up two tablespoons, as well. If in doubt, mix in half of this suggested amount and taste test, adding more as needed.

Using these proportions of rice and cilantro, home cooks looking for authentic Chipotle rice should also set aside a teaspoon each of lemon and lime juice for the final seasoning step, while a bay leaf should be thrown in with the cooking rice to infuse more subtle flavor.

Other finer points for perfect copycat Chipotle rice

If your copycat Chipotle rice still isn't quite right, you might be low on one fundamental ingredient: salt. When Chipotle revealed the secret to its cilantro lime rice, many were surprised to learn about the hefty dose of sodium that helps power the intense flavors. Each standard serving in a burrito or bowl contains around 350 milligrams of salt, or about 15% of the recommended daily amount, before adding any meat or other toppings. As recipe developer Lindsay D. Mattison suggests in our copycat recipe, add your salt a little at a time to see how the flavor changes to your liking, rather than adding in a bunch all at once. 

Those looking for the best results should also opt for a rice cooker instead of whipping up the copycat Chipotle rice on the stove. While you don't need the massive 55-60 cup models reportedly used by Chipotle, these simple appliances are vital to making perfectly cooked, always consistent rice in a hands-off way. Of course, rice isn't a full meal, so don't forget to flesh out your true restaurant experience with our copycat Chipotle chicken or copycat barbacoa.