Santa Fe Cilantro Rice with Garlic

This simple Santa Fe Rice with Cilantro and Garlic is the perfect spring dish made with fresh garlic and herbs! You’ll love this flavorful rice recipe!

cilantro garlic rice in a white bowl with cilantro and lime on the side

Simple Santa Fe Cilantro Rice with Garlic

Springtime is a great season for enjoying herbs and spices, storebought or homegrown! My recipe is a Simple Santa Fe Rice with Cilantro and Garlic. Garlic and herbs are both abundant in the spring and the two are highlighted so nicely in this simple rice dish.

You don’t have to use cilantro if you don’t want to. Basil, parsley, and oregano are all really good in this. The rice is so flavorful that you can serve it as a side or use it as a base for something like a burrito bowl or even to serve sautéed vegetables and a grilled piece of meat over. The best part? You can make it on the stovetop or in the rice cooker! Thomas got me this rice cooker (Aroma 20-Cup (Cooked) Digital Rice Cooker) for my birthday and it is awesome (hello timer setting!).

Enjoy this simple staple.

rice in a white bowl

Can I use brown rice for this recipe?

This recipe works great with brown rice, just adjust the amount of broth accordingly to have the proper amount of liquid for cooking brown rice, since brown rice often needs more liquids to cook.

What other herbs work well instead of cilantro?

Parsley is an easy and milder alternative to cilantro. Other herbs that would taste great with this recipe are basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, and chives. Thinly chopped scallions also taste great when mixed in.

Do I need to rinse rice before cooking it?

Rinsing rice removes some starch and can keep rice from getting too sticky. It also can rinse any debris off the rice. Rinsing rice can also wash off vitamins and minerals if you buy fortified rice. Whether you rinse your rice or not usually comes down to how much you want your rice to be sticky or not. It’s up to you!

Image of Santa Fe Cilantro Rice with Garlic

Simple Santa Fe Cilantro Rice with Garlic

  • Author: Melissa Griffiths
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 3 cups 1x


This simple Santa Fe Rice with Cilantro and Garlic is the perfect spring dish made with fresh garlic and herbs! You’ll love this flavorful rice recipe!



  • 1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Juice of 1/2 of lime or lemon
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (or herb of your choice)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1/4 tablespoon ground cumin (if using cilantro, omit if using other herb)


  1. Combine the rice, broth, and slat in a large saucepan over med-high heat. Bring to a boil. Decrease the heat to simmer and add the lime juice, butter, cilantro, garlic, and cumin. Stir, cover, and simmer 15-20 minutes, until rice is tender.
  2. OR
  3. Toss everything in the rice cooker and let it cook until done.
  4. Serve hot.

  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stove
  • Cuisine: American
Nutrition Information: YIELD: 6 SERVING SIZE: 1/2 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 139.4 Fat: 2.1g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 320.8mg Carbohydrates: 26.1g Sugars: 4g Protein: 3.5g Vitamin A: 39.7µg Vitamin C: 2.9mg

Keywords: cilantro rice, cilantro rice recipe, garlic rice, garlic rice recipe, best rice recipe, easy rice recipe, rice dish, side dish recipe, easy side dish, best side dish

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This post was originally published in 2015 and has been updated in August 2019.

Spring herbs and garlic in Simple Santa Fe Rice with Cilantro and Garlic bring fresh flavor to this dinner staple.

Simple Santa Fe Rice

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About Melissa

I have a lot going on, and I’d much rather spend my time enjoying my messes than fretting about what I’m going to make for dinner. Over the past few years, I’ve nailed down a few strategies that helped me keep my kitchen running like a well-oiled machine, so I started Bless This Mess to help other mess-loving parents solve the nightly dinner delimma—no stress, no drama, just really great food your whole family will love. Read more...

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It was only recently that I have developed a taste for Santa Fe rice with cilantro and garlic when I made one myself. Thanks for sharing!

This recipe was a wonderful change from plain rice. Our family really enjoyed this Rice recipe Thanks For sharing Recipe

I make this rice ALL THE TIME. It’s so good. But I just noticed it says 1/4 tablespoon cumin. I always put in 1/4 teaspoon, am I supposed to be using more?!!

but I don’t see the garlic!

I love Santa Fe rice with cilantro and garlic recipe. I need to add tomatoes to recipe and it would be perfect. Thanks for sharing!

I love your idea. It’s so simple, and looks so good. I think I would squeeze a wedge of fresh lime on top too. I’ll have to try this sometime. Thank you for your post, Melissa.

Ha ha…was just writing up my shopping list for next week’s meals…decided to take a break and stop in to see what you have been up to…..guess I will scratch off the Spanish Rice-a-Roni and replace it with this recipe to go with the Enchiladas. Thanks Melissa!!

Fresh, simple sides like this are just the best. This would go with anything! Happy eat seasonal!

There’s nothing better for us busy busys than a quick and flavorfilled recipe. I love steeping my rice in broth, so much added flavor!

I’m with Liz, I need a rice cooker!! I always love cilantro rice when we eat out for Mexican food so I don’t know why I haven’t made it at home. Glad to have your recipe now!

Fresh herbs make everything better, for sure, and this rice is something I know my family would love! I’m thinking it would be great tucked inside of fish tacos.

A rice cooker has been on my “to-buy” list for a long time now. I always mess up rice when I make it on the stove, because I’m usually not paying enough attention! I am cilantro freak, so I know I’m going to love this rice!

Bless This Mess - About Me

I’m Melissa, and I want to help you feed your family wholesome food.

As a hobby farmer and mom of five, I’m all about keeping it simple in the kitchen. I want healthy meals that feed my family well, and then I want to get back to my (messy) life. Let’s work together to find something yummy for your dinner table.