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Cilantro lime cauliflower rice is the best, simplest, and most delicious paleo and low carb substitute for traditional rice. Made with 4 ingredients and ready in roughly 10 minutes, with pops of fresh cilantro, zesty lime, and rich coconut cream. It’s the ultimate side for your favorite Mexican-inspired dishes!

Cilantro lime cauliflower rice, garnished with a lime wedge, in a white bowl on a marble countertop.

🍚 What Makes This Recipe So Good

  • Cauliflower rice is pretty universally accepted nowadays, so I’m sure you don’t need me to wax poetic about how magical this veggie-turned-low-carb-rice-alternative is. Cilantro lime cauliflower rice takes everything you love about the original, and adds flavor and creaminess that puts it over the top.
  • It’s super quick, super easy, and only needs 4 ingredients. Seriously. In 5-10 minutes you’ll have the perfect side dish for an array of Mexican, TexMex, and Latin dishes. I like to serve my cilantro lime cauli rice with Mexican chicken or cheesy salsa chicken, vegan enchiladas, shrimp fajitas, or even as part of a nutritious taco salad or the base for a burrito bowl.
  • To keep things really easy, I like to use frozen cauliflower rice. Literally all I have to do is pop it in the microwave to steam it, then mix in the rest of the ingredients. I love it so much I typically keep bags of cauliflower rice in my freezer for any last-minute “oh no what will we have with this” moments. If you prefer using fresh cauliflower that is totally an option – I’ve outlined the steps below!

👩🏼‍🍳 Chef’s Tips

  • When it comes to the cilantro, lime juice, coconut cream, and salt, add less than the recipe calls for to start. That way, you can taste as you go and add more of a particular ingredient as you see fit. You’ll get your perfectly balanced cilantro lime cauliflower rice that way! Remember, you can always add more of an ingredient, but you can’t take it back out if you add too much.
  • It’s a totally optional step, but feel free to drain the excess liquid from the bowl before serving your cauli rice. Draining the leftover lime juice and coconut cream will keep the cauliflower rice fluffy and light. If you leave the liquids in, you’ll have a wetter, slightly creamier bowl of rice.
  • If you’re one of the 4-14% of the U.S. population who thinks cilantro tastes like soap, don’t worry. You can swap it out with another fresh herb, like chives or parsley or even Thai basil. Of course, it wouldn’t be cilantro lime cauliflower rice without the cilantro, but you get the idea.

🔪 How to Rice Fresh Cauliflower Yourself

If you don’t have frozen pre-riced cauliflower stockpiled in your freezer like… um… some of us… You can actually make your own from a head of fresh cauliflower super easily. Here’s how:

  1. Start by cutting the head of cauliflower into small florets.
  2. Fit your food processor with the grate attachment, then add the cauliflower florets. Work in batches as needed to avoid overfilling the food processor bowl. I typically only fill it 75% or so.
  3. Pulse the cauliflower florets until you’re left with small, uniform pieces that are roughly the size of grains of rice. If you have larger florets that don’t break down as well, remove them from the food processor and transfer the rest of the riced cauliflower to a bowl. Add the large florets back to the food processor and pulse them on their own until they resemble rice.
Cilantro lime cauliflower rice, garnished with a lime wedge, in a white bowl on a marble countertop.

🌮 Mexican-Inspired Recipes We Can’t Get Enough Of

Recipe By: Cheryl Malik
5 from 3 votes

Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice

Prep 5 minutes
Cook 5 minutes
Total 10 minutes
The easiest, tastiest side dish for paleo, low carb, and vegan Mexican recipes!
4 servings


  • Large microwave-safe bowl glass or ceramic
  • Plastic wrap or lid for microwave-safe bowl
  • Microwave
  • Fork
  • Large wooden spoon or silicone spatula


  • 3 cups riced cauliflower fresh or frozen
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro more or less to taste
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh lime juice juice from approximately ½-1 medium lime, to taste
  • 4 tablespoons full-fat, unsweetened coconut cream at room temperature, see Notes; plus more as needed
  • ½ teaspoon salt more or less to taste


For the Riced Cauliflower

  • Add riced cauliflower to large microwave-safe bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap or lid, then place bowl in microwave.
  • Microwave cauliflower 3 minutes, then carefully remove bowl from microwave and uncover. Fluff cauliflower rice with fork, then replace cover and return bowl to microwave.
  • Microwave 2 minutes more, until riced cauliflower is tender. Note: frozen riced cauliflower may need longer in microwave.
  • When rice is fully steamed, carefully remove bowl from microwave and uncover. Fluff cauliflower with fork, then set aside to cool slightly.

For the Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice

  • Add chopped cilantro, fresh lime juice, coconut cream, and salt to bowl with steamed cauliflower rice. Gently stir until all ingredients are blended and liquids are fully incorporated.
    Ingredients for cilantro lime cauliflower rice in on a light marble countertop.
  • Taste cauliflower rice and add cilantro, lime juice, coconut cream, or salt as desired. When satisfied with flavor of rice, drain excess liquid (optional) and serve cauliflower rice warm with desired entrée.


  • Draining the excess liquid is optional, but it will help the rice stay fluffy and light. If you don’t drain the liquid, your rice will be creamier and more wet.
  • Coconut Cream: Do not use coco lopez or coconut creamer – they aren’t the same thing as coconut cream and they will throw off the flavor of the dish.
  • Steaming Cauliflower: To steam the riced cauliflower on the stove, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the riced cauliflower and cover the skillet with a lid immediately. Cook the cauliflower, shaking the skillet or stirring the rice occasionally, 5 to 6 minutes or until the cauliflower is hot and cooked through.
  • Leftovers: Refrigerate leftover rice in an airtight container up to 5 days.

Approximate Information for One Serving

Serving Size: 1servingCalories: 56calProtein: 2gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 3gSodium: 316mgPotassium: 165mgTotal Carbs: 5gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gNet Carbs: 3gVitamin A: 15IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 21mgIron: 0.01mg
Nutrition Disclaimers
Number of total servings shown is approximate. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes.
Nutritional values shown are general guidelines and reflect information for 1 serving using the ingredients listed, not including any optional ingredients. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands and types of ingredients used.
To determine the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by the desired number of servings. Result will be the weight of one serving.

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  1. I decided to make this because I had all of the ingredients on hand. Then, I was blown away by how delicious it is! This recipe is a keeper!5 stars

  2. This was soooo good and super easy too. Everyone loved it5 stars

  3. Hi Cheryl,

    Its a must try for vegetarian. Definitely going to try for my kiddos! Can i add basil leaf to make it more healthy?5 stars

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