Chipotle Copycat Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice

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Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice is a refreshing, low-carb side dish that goes with any meal! Made famous by Chipotle Mexican Grill, it’s a veggie-packed alternative to traditional rice that’s also keto-friendly. With just 5 ingredients, create a delicious dish that you’ll feel good eating too.

titled: Chipotle Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice Copycat


Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice

As much as I love Chipotle’s cilantro lime rice, it isn’t low-carb or keto-friendly… which is why I was so excited to see cauliflower rice at Chipotle!

Unfortunately, it didn’t last very long at the restaurant, but this copycat version is just as tasty and so easy to make. Plus, you can have as much as you want and make it whenever you’d like.

Lime and cilantro go together so well — I make this yogurt sauce all the time! — add just enough flavor to go from bland to grand without overwhelming the rest of the meal.

And since cauliflower is a pretty neutral–tasting veggie, it’s the perfect base for that herb and citrus pairing!

ingredients for chipotle's cauliflower rice

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Cauliflower – Look for white, not yellowed, florets that are firm and densely packed. The stem and leaves should be bright green and not soft or wilted.

    I like to grill the florets before grating them, so this recipe for Chipotle’s cauliflower rice won’t work with frozen riced cauliflower. The texture is better with fresh anyway.
  • Olive Oil – This is what I always use for cooking, but any neutral oil that can handle higher temperatures would work! Avocado oil is probably the best substitute.
  • Limes – Freshly squeezed lime juice tastes so much better than the bottled stuff. And if you’re craving extra lime flavor, add some zest too!

    You’ll need 2 to make the lime and cilantro cauliflower rice, plus more for serving if you’d like.
  • Cilantro – Be sure to wash and pat dry before picking off the leaves — there’s usually dirt and grime hidden in the bunch.

    Speaking of, you’ll only want to use the leaves for this recipe. You can discard the stems or save them to make a yummy sauce.
  • Salt – Our flavor-maker! Feel free to start with a smaller amount or season to taste. I prefer to use kosher salt.
chopped cauliflower that has been washed

How to Make Chipotle’s Cauliflower Rice at Home

  • Grill or sauté — DON’T boil.

If you leave the florets raw, even grated, they will be crunchy and a little hard to chew.

But you don’t want to overcook them or your cilantro lime cauliflower rice will just be a soggy mess.

Toss the florets in a hot grill pan on the stove and cook until golden brown and slightly tender.

You can also use a regular gas grill outside, but you’ll need something to contain the florets.

Toss them in a grill basket or wrap them up in a foil packet and cook until just slightly tender.

And if you don’t have any kind of grill, then a regular ol’ skillet will do the job. You’ll want to grate the florets first, then sauté in oil before tossing with the other ingredients.

  • Shred a whole head of cauliflower.

Since we’re cooking the florets first, it’ll be a lot harder to grate them by hand. Instead, toss them into a food processor with a shredding blade attachment.

A regular blade will just create a paste.

If you plan on ricing first, then use the smallest hole on a box grater. The pieces will end up a bit smaller and with less of a “bite” than the food processor, but still tasty!

  • Toss with remaining ingredients while warm.

Combine riced cauliflower with chopped cilantro, lime juice, and salt in a mixing bowl and toss until everything is evenly distributed.

The “grains” will absorb the flavors best while still warm, so don’t let them cool too much first!

cooked cauliflower in a cast iron grill pan

Prep Ahead

  • Fit food processor with shredding blade
  • Clean and chop cauliflower
  • Juice limes
  • Chop cilantro

Kitchen Tools You Will Need

  • Quality Knives and a big solid Cutting Board make prepping a breeze and are well worth the investment.
  • Cast Iron Grill Pan – Makes it easy to get that yummy charred flavor without having to step outside your kitchen!
  • Food Processor with a shredding blade attachment
  • Mixing Bowl – I like to have a variety of sizes on hand, and this set has them all.
  • Citrus Juicer – This gets every last drop out, which makes juicing limes so much easier.
riced cauliflower in a food processor

Serving Suggestions 

Enjoy lime and cilantro cauliflower rice on its own, as a side dish, or topped with your favorite meats and veggies!

I love making my own little burrito bowl with grilled chicken and bell peppers or leftover barbacoa (also a Chipotle copycat!). 

Chipotle’s cauliflower rice is also tasty with full-fat sour cream and Sriracha — both are keto-friendly — for a spicy, creamy snack. Just be sure to include them in your carb counts.

Storing and Reheating Lime and Cilantro Cauliflower Rice

Leftovers will keep for 3-4 days when stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Unfortunately, this dish does not freeze well.

Reheat cilantro lime cauliflower rice on the stovetop for the best texture. Warm a little olive oil in a nonstick skillet, then add your leftovers and cook over low heat until warmed through.

Cauliflower Rice Chipotle FAQ

Is cauliflower rice good for keto?

Yes, riced cauliflower is very low in carbs so it’s perfect for anyone following a keto diet or trying to reduce their carb intake.

Does cauliflower rice taste like white rice?

It does not, instead tasting more similar to quinoa with a more tender texture. 

However, cauliflower rice is a wonderful low-carb alternative to rice grains and a great way to get more servings of veggies in too! 

It’s also a lot healthier, boasting plenty of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other nutrients. Win-win!

Was the cauliflower rice at Chipotle discontinued?

Chipotle’s cauliflower rice was a “limited-time offering” in 2021, debuting in January and being removed from the menu later that year.

Thankfully, you can make it whenever you’d like with this easy copycat recipe!

chipotle's cauliflower rice covered in toppings

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closeup of chipotle lime cauliflower rice in a bowl with lime wedges and cilantro

bowl of cilantro lime cauliflower rice

Chipotle Copycat Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice

Donna Elick
Make Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice with 5 simple ingredients. It’s a bright and zesty side dish that goes with all your Tex Mex favorites!
5 stars from 1 review
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Tex Mex
Method Stovetop
Servings 4


  • 1 head of cauliflower, thoroughly washed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • juice from 2 limes, about 2 ½ tablespoons
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, washed and dried
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • Remove greens from the cauliflower head. Chop the washed cauliflower into 4 quarters by making cuts lengthwise, down through the core. Then, angle your knife to remove the core from each quarter. With your hands, separate the florets. Wash the florets and pat dry with a paper towel.
  • Place 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a grill pan over medium heat. Add the cauliflower florets. Brush the florets with additional olive oil. Heat for 20 to 30 minutes, turning occasionally, until golden brown and slightly tender.
  • Remove from the grill pan and place in a food processor with the shredding blade attachment. Shred the cauliflower on low until all pieces have been added.
  • Remove the shredded cauliflower rice from the food processor and place in a medium bowl. Add the chopped cilantro, lime juice, and salt.
  • Serve immediately as a side, or top with your favorite meats and veggies.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 98cal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 626mg | Sugar: 3g | Fiber: 3g | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 1mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Chipotle Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice Copycat - PIN

Originally published June 2024

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  1. 5 stars
    Absolutely loved this cilantro lime cauliflower rice! So easy to make and tastes just like Chipotle’s.

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