Saffron Rice

4.53 from 17 votes
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Learn how to make the best fragrant saffron rice recipe in 30 minutes. It’s fluffy with golden vibrant color, making it a unique addition to your table. This Persian deliciousness is simple and made with a handful of ingredients.

saffron rice on a wooden background.


 

We love our rice recipes and can’t wait to share more with you. You can make this pantry staple in so many different ways, from Persian one pot tomato rice and dill rice and peas to mujadara.

Today, I’m going to show you how to make a Persian style rice with saffron at home. Follow along for the easiest and most flavorful saffron rice recipe!

What Is Saffron Rice?

Saffron is my absolute favorite spice because of its flavor and aroma. It’s delicate yet strong and if used well, it can transform any dish from normal to extraordinary. Take the humble rice as an example: we’ve all had it, we all like it. But when mixed with bloomed saffron, this good old dish will turn into a masterpiece that with every spoonful you’d ask yourself: where has this been all my life?

Also known as yellow rice, saffron rice is a dish popular in Iran and parts of South Asia. It gets its bright color and aroma from saffron, which you need to bloom on ice to get the most color, flavor and aroma.

Saffron Rice Ingredients

To make this recipe you need saffron. rice, salt, olive oil and onion.
  • Saffron: Make sure to use quality saffron strands and grind it using a pestle and mortar.
  • Olive oil: You need about 2 tablespoons of olive oil for this recipe. As always, it’s best to use extra virgin olive oil.
  • Onion: Finely chopped onion adds a lot of flavor to the rice.
  • Rice: I recommend using basmati rice as the long grains hold their shape and have just enough starch to be tender but not sticky.

How To Make Saffron Rice

Saute the onion add the rice and salt cook for 20 minutes, add the saffron and cook for 10 minutes.
  1. Bloom the saffron: Sprinkle the ground saffron over 2 cubes of ice and let it sit at room temperature for the ice to melt, this will be your bloomed saffron.
  2. Saute the onion: Heat the olive oil in a pot over medium high heat. Saute the onion until translucent and golden.
  3. Add the rice: To the sauteed onion, add the rinsed rice and salt. Give it a good stir and add in the broth or water. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes until most of the water is evaporated.
  4. Add the saffron: Uncover, add the bloomed saffron and gently stir the rice so all grains are yellow. Cover with the lid and cook on medium low for 10 minutes until the rice is fluffy and all the water is absorbed. Turn the heat off, let the rice sit covered for 10 minutes then fluff with a fork.

What Do You Eat With Saffron Rice?

You can serve saffron rice with different dishes including kabob koobideh, braised lamb, whole branzino, roasted leg of lamb and pomegranate chicken. You can also serve it with fesenjan, which is a Persian pomegranate and walnut stew or khoresh kadoo, which is a chicken and zucchini stew.

Storage

Store the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave or in a pan over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

To freeze saffron rice, let it cool completely and then transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. To serve, thaw in the fridge overnight and then reheat in a pan over medium heat.

Front shot of saffron rice on a white plate.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does saffron rice taste like?

This dish is very aromatic and has an earthy taste with subtle floral notes.

What can I use instead of saffron?

Saffron has a distinct flavor and aroma and cannot really be replaced with any other spice.

More Rice Recipes

Did you make this recipe? I’d love to hear about it! Please comment and leave a 5-star🌟 rating below. You can also follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest or subscribe to our newsletter to get a free e-Cookbook!

Front shot of saffron rice.
4.53 from 17 votes

Saffron Rice

Learn how to make the best fragrant saffron rice recipe in 30 minutes. It's fluffy with golden vibrant color, making it a unique addition to your table. This Persian deliciousness is simple and made with a handful of ingredients.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
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Ingredients 

  • 1/4 tsp ground saffron
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cup water , You can use chicken or vegetable broth as well

Instructions 

  • Wash the rice 3-5 times to get rid of extra starch. Set aside. 
  • Bloom the saffron by sprinkling the ground saffron over the 2 ice cubes in a small bowl. 
  • Heat the olive oil in a small pot or a saucepan over medium high heat. Saute the onion until golden and translucent.
  • Add in the rinsed rice and salt. Stir and add in the water. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes until most of the water is absorbed.
  • Uncover and pour in the bloomed saffron over the rice. Stir gently, cover and cook for 10 to 15 minutes so the water is completely absorbed.
  • Turn the heat off and let the rice sit covered for 10 minutes. Uncover and fluff using a fork.

Video

Notes

  • You can serve this saffron rice with fesenjan, whole branzino or kofta kebab
  • Store the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Reheat in a pan over medium heat. 

Nutrition

Calories: 242kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 589mg | Potassium: 94mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 0.5mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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About Shadi HasanzadeNemati

I'm here to show you how to make delicious Persian, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food at home. My easy to follow recipes will bring exciting new flavors to your table!

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4.53 from 17 votes (9 ratings without comment)

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9 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Enjoyed this with dinner last night and it does not disappoint! Turned out light, fluffy and delicious; my whole family loved it!

  2. 5 stars
    This rice was so easy to make, perfectly fluffy, and was packed with flavor!! It was a great side dish for our dinner last night!

  3. 5 stars
    Haha! When I make this, I can’t resist tasting it again and again until I think I’ve tasted about half a cup of rice already! Too good!

  4. 5 stars
    I think I saw this same type of recipe on the NetFlix Heat, Salt, Fat… and something else. Anywhoo…. she made this with her mom and it looked so good! Thanks for the recipe!