Overhead view of a bowl of Smoky Chipotle Meatballs with Cilantro Lime Rice.

Smoky Chipotle Meatballs with Cilantro-Lime Rice

Looking for something simple to make that is both flavorful and fragrant? Well look no further than these Smoky Chipotle Meatballs with Cilantro-Lime Rice!

This recipe stars U.S.-grown basmati rice and comes to us from our friend Cara Harbstreet of Street Smart Nutrition in partnership with USA Rice.

  • Servings
  • Prep Time
    20 min
  • Cook Time
    40 min
  • Total Time
    1 hr


Smoky Chipotle Meatballs

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • ½ cup bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup minced red onion
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground chipotle
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

Cilantro-Lime Rice

  • 1 cup brown basmati rice
  • 4-5 cups water
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
  • 2 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • 2 tablespoon lime juice
  • ⅓ cup finely chopped cilantro
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • kosher salt and pepper to taste

For Serving

  • diced cherry tomatoes
  • grated queso fresco
  • additional cilantro
  • crema or sour cream


To Make the Brown Rice

  • Gently rinse and drain the uncooked rice and measure the water. Bring the water to a boil, salt the water to taste, then add the rice. Reduce heat and maintain a steady boil for 30 minutes, uncovered.
  • Drain the cooked brown rice in a colander, then return to the saucepan. Cover, then allow the rice to sit (off heat) for 10 minutes while you finish preparing the meatballs and garnishes.
  • Remove the lid and fluff with a rice paddle or fork. Add the remaining ingredients for the Cilantro-Lime rice and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with the accompanying meatballs and garnishes.

To Make the Meatballs

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Add all ingredients for the meatballs to a large mixing bowl. With clean or gloved hands. Mix together, being careful to overwork the ground beef to avoid a tough texture.
  • Once well mixed, shape into golf-ball-sized meatballs (about ¾ oz) and place on a lined baking sheet ½" to 1" apart. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the outside of the meatballs begins to brown and the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F.

To Serve

  • Assemble the bowls by serving the Cilantro-Lime Rice topped with ¼ of the prepared meatballs. Top with diced tomatoes, additional cilantro, grated queso fresco, and crema or sour cream if desired. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

If using a rice cooker, reduce the amount of water to 1¾ cups. Add the water, rice, and salt to the bowl of the rice cooker and follow the settings/directions for brown rice (adjust cook time as needed).

This dish is great for leftovers when you double the batch!