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4.65 from 31 votes

Persian Chicken with Saffron

Persian Chicken and Saffron is a traditional dish that can be served with several different side dishes. This amazing dish is made with the golden spice and is bursting with enchanting flavors from a land far far away.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 20 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Persian
Servings: 4 Servings
Calories: 415kcal


  • 4 Whole Chicken Leg Quarters Bone-in Skin-on
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • cup Bloomed Saffron See Notes #4
  • 2 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Large Yellow Sweet Onion Thinly Sliced
  • 1 Large Green Bell Pepper Cut into one-inch pieces
  • ½ teaspoon Turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • ½ teaspoon Ground Cinnamon See Notes #2
  • 1 Cup Water


  • Heat a skillet over medium heat. Pat dry chicken legs and sprinkle salt on both sides. 
  • Place the chicken legs, skin side down in the pan and sear until the skin is golden and the fat is rendered. 
  • Add in one tablespoon bloomed saffron to the pan, shake the pan so the saffron spreads on the skin on the chicken. 
  • Turn the chicken legs and sear the other side for seven to eight minutes until golden. 
  • Transfer the chicken legs to a plate and cover. Discard the fat. 
  • In the same pan, heat the olive oil. Once shimmery and ready, saute sliced until until translucent and golden on the edges. 
  • Add in green bell pepper and saute for another minute. 
  • Add in turmeric, cinnamon and black pepper. Cook for another five minutes. 
  • Place the chicken legs on the onion and pepper mixture. 
  • Add in Water and turn the heat to high. 
  • Bring it to simmer, cover and cook for 40 minutes, until the chicken is almost cooked. 
  • Add in the rest of bloomed saffron. Cook for another 10 to 15 minutes until the chicken is fully cooked. 
  • Serve with Persian rice, or Persian dill and green pea rice. 


  1. You can use one cinnamon stick in this recipe instead of ground cinnamon. 
  2. It's also possible to use boneless skinless chicken for this recipe. If doing so, start the recipe by heating one tablespoon of olive oil in a pan and then sear the chicken. It will also take less time for the chicken to cook with peppers and onions.
  3. This saffron chicken recipe is different from Persian chicken kebab. Both have saffron but this Persian chicken recipe is made in a pan whereas the kebab is made on charcoal grill.
  4. You need to bloom saffron for this recipe as saffron shouldn't be used as a strand. To bloom saffron, grind 5 strands using a mortar and pestle, then sprinkle over 3 cubes of ice and leave it on the counter. Once the ice is melted, the bloomed saffron is ready.
  5. Store the leftover chicken in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to two days. To reheat, place the chicken in a pan, cover it and heat over medium low heat.


Calories: 415kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 142mg | Sodium: 704mg | Potassium: 466mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 264IU | Vitamin C: 37mg | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 1mg