Spice up your rice with this delicious and easy yellow saffron rice recipe. Made with basmati rice, high-quality saffron threads and stock, you will never go back to your basic, boring rice recipe again.
The other day I was chatting with my friend Sahar about how much we love saffron. To be fair, we were discussing it more in the context of skincare (particularly this saffron facial serum) but Sahar was teaching me about how saffron is often used in skincare and haircare products in Pakistan and India. It got me thinking about one of my favorite saffron recipes, this easy saffron rice recipe, which I used to make all the time.
A little secret for you: One of the reasons I stopped making saffron rice as often was because when we moved to California I couldn’t just go over to Mama Maven’s to steal some of her saffron. Because in case you didn’t know, saffron is expensive and in my early 20s I could still justify shopping from my parent’s pantry.
But now I’m a full-fledged adult and I really can’t justify it anymore. So I bought a small amount of saffron from an ethically sourced company called Rumi. I was 100% influenced by the name but thankfully the product holds up and now this yellow saffron rice recipe is back on the meal plan.
The History of Saffron Rice
Saffron rice is a common dish across many areas of the world. Most commonly it is used in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and other parts of South Asia. It is also found in Persian cooking across the Middle Eastern cooking and even in other parts of Asia such as in Thai cooking (where it is made with jasmine rice and mixed with fish sauce).
Traditionally it is made with white basmati rice and can be found in both sweet & savory versions.
What is saffron? Saffron is a spice derived from the flower of Crocus sativus. Good quality saffron has an earthy, floral flavor. It can taste a bit sweet to some. Poor quality saffron can have a bitter taste to it so avoid the cheap stuff if you can. Saffron strands is what gives yellow saffron rice its yellow color.
Ingredients for Saffron Rice Recipe
- Basmati rice – stick to white basmati rice for saffron rice or white jasmine rice if that’s all you have. In general I’d recommend using a long grain rice.
- Chicken broth/stock – you can also use vegetable broth if vegan or vegetarian.
- Olive oil – Ideally extra virgin olive oil. Helps give a richer taste to this yellow saffron rice recipe.
- Saffron – usually purchased as saffron threads.
- Turmeric – for flavor and also for color.
- Sea Salt – add more or less depending on flavor preference and sodium levels.
Tips for Cooking with Saffron
1. Invest in good quality saffron – saffron can be a bit pricey but it’s important to invest in good-quality saffron. The fake stuff lacks the true aromatic flavors and just isn’t worth it. Also look to purchase fair trade from areas of the world where saffron is typically grown – These days 90% of saffron is grown in Iran.
2. A little bit goes a long way – even though saffron can be expensive (it’s known as the world’s most expensive spice!), a little bit goes a long way so you do not need to purchase a lot of it. You just need a 1/4 tsp of saffron which comes out to roughly a pinch of saffron.
3. Always soak your saffron in hot water – this helps to release the aromatic flavors that are then infused into your saffron rice.
How to Make this Saffron Rice Recipe
STEP 1: PREP SAFFRON
Add saffron to mortar and using a pestle grind up saffron until it reaches a powdery consistency. Add your 1/4 cup of hot water directly to the pestle and stir to combine. Set aside.
STEP 2: COOK RICE
Add your chicken or vegetable stock to a medium saucepan or pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once the stock is boiling add in your saffron/water mix, olive oil, turmeric and salt. Stir well. Add rice and bring mixture back up to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat to a simmer and cover tightly with a lid. Simmer on low for 15 minutes.
STEP 3: FINISH COOKING + FLUFF
Turn off heat and let rice sit, covered with lid for 5-10 minutes until all liquid has been absorbed. Remove lid and fluff rice with a fork.
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Rice is generally better fresh but you can heat up leftovers in the microwave if you have some.
What to Pair with Saffron Rice
There are so many ways to use this yellow saffron rice recipe. You can replace your regular rice recipe or pair with any of these delicious recipes listed below.
Easy Saffron Rice Recipe
Spice up your rice with this delicious and easy saffron rice recipe. Made with basmati rice, high-quality saffron threads and stock, you will never go back to your basic, boring rice recipe again.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
- Category: Side
- Method: Cook
- Cuisine: Persian
- Diet: Gluten Free
- 2 cups white basmati rice
- 3 1/4 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 tsp saffron threads (+ 1/4 cup hot water)
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 3/4 tsp sea salt
- Add saffron to mortar and using a pestle grind up saffron until it reaches a powdery consistency.
- Add your 1/4 cup of hot water directly to the pestle and stir to combine. Set aside.
- Add your chicken or vegetable stock to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil on the stove top over medium-high heat.
- Once the stock is boiling add in your saffron/water mix, olive oil, turmeric and salt. Stir well.
- Add rice and bring mixture back up to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat to a simmer and cover tightly with a lid.
- Simmer on low for 15 minutes.
- Turn off heat and let rice sit, covered with lid for 5-10 minutes until all liquid has been absorbed.
- Remove lid and fluff rice with a fork.
Keywords: saffron rice, turmeric rice, yellow rice, saffron rice recipe
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