Cilantro lime dressing is a quick and easy recipe you can make in 5 minutes with 7 simple ingredients.

It’s bright, zesty, and packed with fruity, fresh, and herby flavors.

Serve it on salads, grain bowls, veggies, tacos, and anything Southern or Mexican-inspired.

cilantro lime dressing in a glass bowl with a silver spoon

Dietary Note: this recipe is suitable for a vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free diet. It’s low in cholesterol and saturated fats.

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What is cilantro lime dressing?

cilantro lime dressing spooned out of a bowl

Cilantro lime dressing is made by blending fresh cilantro, extra virgin olive oil, maple syrup, garlic, grated ginger, fresh lime juice, and salt.

This recipe is inspired by Southern and Mexican cooking, and the dressing is excellent with ingredients such as black beans, sweet potatoes, corn, tacos, and greens.

Try it with black bean salad, sweet potato salad, quinoa lentil salad, or Buddha bowl.

Similar recipes include chermoula, honey mustard dressing, and chimichurri.

Ingredients and substitutions for cilantro lime dressing

Ingredients for cilantro lime dressing

Quantities are in the recipe box at the bottom of the page.

Fresh cilantro

Fresh cilantro or fresh coriander is the main ingredient in this dressing and can’t be replaced.

Lime juice

Substitute fresh lemon juice for lime juice.

Extra virgin olive oil

Substitute regular olive oil or avocado oil for extra virgin olive oil.

Maple syrup

Substitute honey, agave syrup, date syrup, or brown sugar for maple syrup.

Garlic

Substitute garlic powder for fresh garlic.

Ginger

Fresh ginger can’t be substituted.

Salt

We recommend using sea salt or kosher salt.

black bean salad with hand holding a spoon and lime in the background
Black bean salad with roasted sweet potatoes and cilantro lime dressing.

How to make cilantro lime dressing + Nico’s tips

Adjustable US cups + grams measurements in the recipe box at the bottom of the page.

Rinse the cilantro before use and shake most of the water off, or pat it dry with a clean kitchen towel.

Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor: the thinner stems and leaves of the cilantro, fresh lime juice, maple syrup, fresh garlic, peeled and grated ginger, sea salt, and extra virgin olive oil.

Tip: We recommend using a medium-size or small food processor. A large food processor might not be able to catch the ingredients. Use the smaller stems of the cilantro, as they are packed with flavor.

cilantro, lime, ginger, and maple syrup in a blender

Blend until the coriander is finely processed. You might need to scrape down the sides of the food processor once or twice.

Taste and adjust for salt and maple syrup. The dressing should be bright and fresh but with a mild, sweet undertone.

Tip: The dressing won’t be completely smooth and you should still be able to see small cilantro pieces. Avoid over-blending as this will heat up the fresh lime and cilantro deteriorating their flavor.

Cilantro lime ingredients after blending

How to store cilantro lime dressing

Make ahead: You can make the dressing for meal prep and have it in the fridge ready to use.

Refrigerator: Store it in an airtight container, such as a mason jar, for 4 to 5 days.

Freezer: Transfer to a freezer-friendly jar or in ice cube trays and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw slowly in the refrigerator.

cilantro lime dressing in a bowl

Serving suggestions

Lime and cilantro are staples in Southern, Mexican, and Tex-Mex cuisines.

They are delicious with roasted sweet potatoes, corn, bell peppers, grilled vegetables, avocado, quick pickled onions, black beans, white beans, pinto beans, roasted carrots, rice, and quinoa.

Cilantro Lime Dressing on roasted carrots and cannellini beans
Mashed roasted carrots topped with cannellini beans tossed in cilantro lime dressing.

We recommend trying it with:

Microwave stuffed sweet potato with pickled red onion and black beans
Microwaved sweet potato stuffed with black bean salad, sour cream, and pickled red onions.

Variations

Creamy cilantro lime dressing

green goddess dressing in a mason jar

To make a creamy cilantro lime dressing, substitute 1/2 cup of mayonnaise or vegan mayonnaise for half of the oil in the recipe card.

Another option is to cut the mayonnaise in half and replace it with the same quantity of Greek yogurt or unsweetened non-dairy yogurt. Even sour cream works!

Finally, a wholesome way to thicken the dressing is to add a ripe avocado. You’ll have a delicious creamy dressing, and you can even use it as a dip.

Spicy cilantro lime dressing

cilantro lime dressing in a bowl

To make a spicy version of this dressing, add a jalapeño pepper to the blender with the other ingredients.

More dressings

Cilantro lime dressing in a glass bowl with a silver spoon and a blue cloth

Cilantro Lime Dressing

By: Nico Pallotta
4.86 from 7 votes
Cilantro lime dressing is a quick and easy recipe you can make in 5 minutes with 7 simple ingredients.
It’s bright, zesty, and packed with fruity, fresh, and herby flavors from the limes and cilantro.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Course: Dressing & Sauces
Cuisine: American

Equipment

  • Food processor or blender

Ingredients

  • 1 packed cup fresh cilantro leaves and thin stems, discard thicker stems.
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil substitute avocado oil.
  • ¼ cup lime juice about 2 limes.
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup substitute honey.
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 1 inch ginger peeled and grated
  • 1 teaspoon salt add more or less to taste

Instructions 

  • Rinse the cilantro and shake most of the water off.
    To a food processor add, 1 packed cup fresh cilantro, ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, ¼ cup lime juice, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, 1 small clove garlic, 1 inch ginger (grated), and 1 teaspoon salt.
    cilantro, lime, ginger, and maple syrup in a blender
  • Blend until the cilantro is finely processed.
    Taste and adjust for salt and maple syrup before serving.
    Cilantro lime dressing in a glass bowl with sweet potatoes and lime on the side

Notes

Nutrition information is an estimate for 1 serving of cilantro lime dressing out of 6 servings.
STORAGE
Make ahead: You can make cilantro lime dressing for meal prep and have it in the fridge ready to use.
Refrigerator: Store cilantro lime dressing in an airtight container, such as a mason jar, for 4 to 5 days.
Freezer: Transfer to a freezer-friendly jar or in ice cube trays and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw slowly in the refrigerator.
ALSO ON THIS PAGE

Nutrition

Calories: 104kcal, Carbohydrates: 6g, Protein: 0.2g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 7g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 391mg, Potassium: 55mg, Dietary Fiber: 0.2g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 286IU, Vitamin B6: 0.02mg, Vitamin C: 4mg, Vitamin E: 1mg, Vitamin K: 19µg, Calcium: 13mg, Folate: 4µg, Iron: 0.2mg, Manganese: 0.2mg, Magnesium: 4mg, Zinc: 0.1mg
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Nico and Louise in the kitchen

Hi! We are Nico & Louise

Welcome to The Plant-Based School, a food blog with easy, tasty, and wholesome recipes.

Our aim is to help you and your family eat more veggies through delicious recipes with simple ingredients.

Easy right?

4.86 from 7 votes (4 ratings without comment)

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7 Comments

    1. Hi Cindy,

      for a dressing like this extra virgin olive oil is the healthiest option.

      You could try making a different dressing, like the one we use in our creamy pasta salad. It’s with yogurt and vegan mayo (which still contains some oil). You could try making it with just yogurt 🙂

      I hope this helps.
      Nico

      1. 5 stars
        I’ve tried a few of your recipes so far which are amazing and a great selection! I love your site and videos. Thank you for all you do!! 😃🫶🏻🥗

        1. Fantastic, Cindy!

          Thank you for your kind feedback I’m very happy you enjoy our food 🎉 All the best,

          Louise

  1. 5 stars
    Omg I gave it a little taste and ended up having spoonfuls -it’s so so so so good! I made as written -wow wonderful. Love the maple syrup-can’t taste the maple which for me was a good thing -it added perfect level of sweetness -wasn’t excessive. Then added a TB of Bison French onion dip and 1 extra small garlic clove – added a different dimension -equally as good. I love this! Thank you. Love your Instagram posts. So glad I found you.

    1. Hi Anna,
      I’m delighted you liked the dressing, thank you for the tip on the onion dip and extra garlic!
      We’re so happy you are here, thank you for following along our cooking 🙂
      Kindest,
      Louise