Cilantro Lovers Mexican Rice

Cilantro is an herb people tend to either love or hate.  Guessing you can tell which category I fall into ♥

If you fall into the love category as well, then this rice needs to make an appearance at your table very soon.  It’s seriously addicting and be forewarned, it will steal the show.  A few months ago, a fellow food blogger hosted a rib showdown and served this rice as a side dish.  Showdown results:  “The BEST Barbecue Baby Back Ribs Showdown won by a Cilantro Rice Dish.”   I must say, her rib recipe was delish.

But this rice is better.

A few notes about the recipe before you dive in.  Yes it has serrano chiles in it.  No, it is NOT spicy!  If you’re not convinced, dial it down by going with a more mild chile.  Also, you may substitute long-grain rice in place of the medium grain (which can sometimes be challenging to locate).  I just find that the medium grain rice gives this more of a risotto-like texture.  Leftover dressing can be refrigerated and is superb tossed with grilled veggies, shrimp or use as a marinade.

One final reason to make this rice: it can be served warm or at room temperature!  Any cilantro-loving tailgaters out there?  This rice is for you!  Make ahead and bring along.   I would also advise bringing along extra copies of the recipe as well.

Spread the word!  Share the ♥


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced seeded serrano chiles
  • 2 cups medium-grain white rice
  • 3 1/4 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

Cilantro Dressing:

  • 1 1/4 cups (packed) coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 5 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon minced seeded serrano chile

For the dressing, combine all ingredients in processor. Blend until almost smooth. Season dressing with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill. Bring to room temperature; rewhisk before using.)

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and serrano; sauté until onion is translucent, about 9 minutes. Mix in rice; stir 2 minutes. Mix in broth and salt; bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and cook until rice is just tender and broth is absorbed, about 15 -20 minutes. Remove from heat. Let stand, covered, 5 minutes.

Transfer rice to bowl; cool to barely lukewarm, stirring occasionally, about 20-30 minutes.   Add 1/2 cup Cilantro Dressing.  Toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.)

3 thoughts on “Cilantro Lovers Mexican Rice

  1. Hi Ann, This is my first visit and I’m having a great time looking around. This cilantro rice is right up my alley. Gotta try it. Also, your sweet potatoes up above sound fantastic. I’ll be back.

    • Thank you Paula – I absolutely LOVE your food blog. Can’t wait to try those short bread cookies! The sweet potato fries are one of my favorites things to eat on this earth.

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