How to Make Chipotle Brown Rice: Quick Three-Step Method

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Cilantro lime garlic brown rice in bowl with a wooden background with a text "how to make chipotle brown rice"

Is Chipotle brown rice your usual order for a healthy meal? Are you curious about how to make Chipotle brown rice at home? Well, I have found the best recipe for you!

The first time I ate Chipotle brown rice, I couldn’t believe that brown rice could also taste so good. The restaurant’s recipe did wonders for the bland taste of brown rice and turned it into a truly flavorful dish. 

After trying countless recipes, I found a simple three-step one that tastes similar. Let’s get into it!

Three Steps to Make Chipotle Brown Rice

Cilica-lime basmati rice bowl.

Not all restaurant dishes are complicated, and Chipotle brown rice is a classic example.

I came to know from the restaurant’s official website that it uses only four ingredients such as brown rice, bay leaves, lime, and cilantro. It is even easier to use them in your dish. Just follow the steps mentioned below!

Step 1: Prepare the Brown Rice 

Chipotle prepares its rice in a specific way to get the flavorful taste in its cilantro lime rice recipe.

Unlike our usual way of cooking brown rice with only water, Chipotle infuses bay leaves. It is one of the main ingredients people miss while preparing Chipotle brown rice! 

Here is what you need to do:

1. Soak the brown rice in lukewarm water for about 30 minutes. It reduces the boiling time and also any stickiness in the cooked rice. 

Brown rice soaked in lukewarm water.

2. Next, strain the soaked rice in a sieve and rinse it under tap water until the drained water runs clear. 

Brown rice in a strainer.

3. Add one teaspoon of olive oil and sauté three to four bay leaves in a cooking pot. Bay leaf is important to get Chipotle-style brown rice, so don’t skip it! 

Bay leaves sauteed in olive oil.

4. Add the soaked and rinsed brown rice to the cooking pot and sauté everything for a minute or two. This way, the aromatic flavors of bay leaves get infused in the brown rice.  

Brown rice added to the pot.

5. Then, pour two and a half cups of water and half a teaspoon of salt for one cup of brown rice.

Teaspoon with salt above the cooking brown rice.

6. Cook the rice on medium-high heat until the water starts boiling. 

7. Once the water boils, turn the heat to medium-low, close the lid tightly, and cook the rice for at least 30 minutes

8. Turn off the stove once the cooked brown rice has a fluffy and tender texture. Note that it won’t have the same softness as white rice. 

Cooked brown rice with bay leaves in a pot.

Step 2: Prepare the Seasoning

This seasoning is the heart of our Chipotle brown rice. It adds a twist to our plain brown rice with a combination of lime and olive oil. 

1. In a bowl, add one tablespoon of olive oil and squeeze half a lemon for one cup of cooked brown rice. 

2. Add one minced garlic clove for more flavor. You can skip this step if you don’t like garlic. Also, don’t add more garlic, as it will overpower the lemon and cilantro flavor. 

3. Mix everything well using a fork and keep the bowl aside. 

Garlic and lemon juice mixed in a bowl.

Step 3: Combine the Rice and Seasoning

Once you have prepared your brown rice and seasoning, the final step is to combine them. 

1. Fluff the cooked brown rice using a fork and add the olive oil and lime mix. 

Olive oil and lime mix added to the cooked brown rice.

2. Add a generous amount of finely chopped cilantro to the rice. I recommend one cup of chopped cilantro per cup of brown rice

Chopped cilantro added to the cooked brown rice.

3. Use a wooden spoon to fold the rice gently with the cilantro leaves.

Cooked brown rice and chopped cilantro mixed well.

4. Once done, transfer your freshly made cilantro lime rice to a bowl and enjoy! 

Freshly made cilantro lime rice in a bowl.

You can also check out this YouTube video on how to make Chipotle brown rice.

How to Make Chipotle Brown Rice More Flavorful?

On a white wooden background, spices. taste enhancers for food.

Sometimes, I like to change the original Chipotle brown recipe slightly to make it tastier. Given below are some ideas to try. 

1. Use Long-Grain Brown Rice 

Instead of regular brown rice, try long-grain varieties like brown basmati rice or brown jasmine rice for Chipotle rice. 

Brown basmati rice has a more pronounced nutty flavor with floral notes, whereas brown jasmine rice has a slightly sweet and floral taste. Both add a floral flavor to the cilantro-lime seasoning’s zesty flavor.

Apart from the taste, I love the long-grain brown rice’s fluffy texture. It elevates the dish by a notch.

2. Make it Spicy! 

Chipotle’s brown rice is refreshing but has almost no spice!

You can turn the rice spicy by chopping a few green chilies and adding it with coriander. If you feel too lazy to chop, throw in some dried chili flakes as per your spice tolerance. 

3. Add Dairy Products Like Butter or Cheese

Chipotle doesn’t add dairy products, like butter or cheese, to its brown rice. It makes the dish a healthy alternative to many fast food items. 

Nevertheless, I believe it’s okay to consume a bit of butter and cheese as long as you don’t go overboard! Both ingredients can add a savory taste to your Chipotle brown rice and make it more filling. 

What to Serve With Chipotle Brown Rice?

Cilantro brown rice goes well with almost every other Mexican dish. Yet, I highly recommend the suggestions below if you want to prepare a hearty meal.

  • Chicken Fajitas: The crispiness and juiciness of chicken fajitas pair well with the refreshing flavors of Chipotle brown rice. 
  • Beans and Guacamole: You can serve Chipotle brown rice with Mexican-style beans and guacamole for a vegan meal! Trust me, the flavor explosion is real. 
  • Cilantro Lime Shrimp:  Instead of preparing a whole other dish, you can marinate shrimp in the same olive oil and lemon mix. Then, cook it in oil or butter, and serve on the side with Chipotle brown rice!
  • Cajun-Spiced Potatoes: Any dish with potatoes has my whole heart, including cajun-spiced potatoes. All you have to do is make a cajun sauce, drizzle it on boiled potatoes, and serve. 
  • Shredded Beef: You can prepare authentic Mexican-style shredded beef for a protein-rich meal with brown rice. It is also a delicious option if you are having guests over.

Recipe Card – Chipotle Brown Rice

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Servings: One to Two people 


  • 1 cup of brown rice 
  • 2 ½ cups of water
  • 3 bay leaves
  • ½ lime 
  • 1 cup of cilantro 
  • 1 chopped garlic clove (optional) 
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil 
  • ½ teaspoon of salt 


  1. Soak brown rice in lukewarm water for 30 minutes. 
  1. Strain the rice and rinse it twice. 
  1. Sauté one teaspoon of olive oil and three bay leaves in a cooking pot. 
  1. Add the rice to the pot and toast it lightly for two minutes. 
  1. Add two and a half cups of water and half a teaspoon of salt to the rice. 
  1. Cook the rice on medium-high heat until the water starts boiling. 
  1. Turn the heat to medium-low and cook for about 40 minutes.
  1. Mix one tablespoon of olive oil and one chopped garlic clove in a bowl. 
  1. Squeeze half a lime into the olive oil and garlic mix and combine well.
  1.  Once the rice is cooked, add the prepared olive oil mix to it. 
  1.  Add one cup of fresh cilantro to the rice. 
  1.  Combine everything and serve!

Final Thoughts

A bowl of Chipotle brown rice has the power to refresh my mind on a particularly stressful day. Its recipe is also straightforward and takes only a few minutes if you have cooked brown rice. You just need to mix olive oil, lime, and cilantro and add it to the rice!


Does Chipotle use butter in their rice?

Chipotle doesn’t use any dairy products, including butter, in its rice recipes. It is best for people looking for dairy-free food options. 

What ingredients are in the rice at Chipotle?

Chipotle uses long-grain rice, cilantro, and lime juice to prepare its special brown rice. 

Chipotle brown rice vs white rice

Chipotle offers both brown and white rice to its customers. Brown rice is known for containing more fiber, whereas white rice has a fluffier and better taste. 

How many calories are in Chipotle brown rice?

Half a cup (4 oz.) of Chipotle brown rice contains 210 calories, 4 grams of protein, and 6 grams of fat. 

What type of brown rice does Chipotle use?

The type and brand of Chipotle brown rice depends on your location. Generally, the brand opts for flavorful long-grain brown rice varieties. 

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