This 5-ingredient saffron rice recipe is an easy way to upgrade a regular rice side dish. Just a pinch of saffron, bloomed in hot water and added to toasted rice, magically transforms plain rice into a beautiful golden colored rice with delicate floral notes.
Having the same rice, week in and week out, can be boring, but not with this saffron-infused rice!
Saffron is a magical spice that transforms your rice into something delicious and healthy. Read on for more details on this great spice!
Saffron is the world’s most expensive spice. The reason it’s SO expensive is due to the labor intensiveness of the crop.
I’d recommend, the following two products if you’re looking at buying a good quality saffron:
A word of caution! There are a lot of fake products out there, so if the price is too good to be true, ensure you do a taste test, look at it and smell it. And, I would not recommend saffron powder as it’s just so difficult to judge the quality.
What does Saffron taste like and what else can I use it for?
Saffron has a subtle flavor and aroma, I like its floral undertones, but some mention honey and others say it is pungent. So you decide!
But you have to give it a try for yourself as it is definitely a magical spice. You can have it in your tea, risottos, pilafs, and paellas even in most desserts that call for vanilla, not to be missed in custards and cookies.
What does Saffron Rice taste like?
Saffron rice is incredibly flavorful side dish. It has subtle nutty flavor from toasting the rice in the butter and earthy floral undertones from the saffron.
Saffron Rice Recipe Ingredients
- Saffron threads are sold in small jar in small amounts. But a little bit goes a long way. Don’t use saffron powder, as it tends to be subpar quality.
- Butter – I prefer unsalted butter. You can substitute salted butter if necessary and reduce the added salt.
- Basmati rice – This long-grain rice has slightly nutty and floral aroma that complements saffron perfectly. If necessary, jasmine rice works fine too.
- Stock adds flavor to this dish. And you may choose chicken or vegetable stock with no added salt.
How to make Saffron Rice
- Step 1. Bloom the saffron in hot water to wake its sweet floral aroma and vibrant color.
- Step 2. Toast the rice in melted butter for 3-5 minutes. Then add remaining ingredients, cover and bring it to a boil.
- Step 3. Reduce heat to low and cook for about 15 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed and rice is soft.
- Step 4. Fluff the rice with a wooden spoon and serve!
How to store Saffron Basmati Rice
- Store leftover saffron rice in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Saffron rice freezes well too. Place cooled saffron basmati rice in an airtight container and freeze for up to 1 month.
Saffron Rice FAQ
Not exactly. Besides saffron, yellow rice is often made with turmeric and annatto to turn the white rice yellow.
No, saffron and turmeric are different spices. Turmeric powder is made of rhizomes of flowering plant of ginger family. Saffron, on other hand, is a dried stigma of a flower.
Annatto, turmeric and safflower make a goof substitutes for saffron.
Yes, saffron doesn’t contain caffeine.
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Basmati Rice with Saffron
- 1/8 teaspoon saffron threads Note 1
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup basmati rice Note 2
- 1 ½ cups chicken or vegetable stock without salt
- ½ teaspoon salt
- To bloom the saffron, put saffron threads in a small bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of boiling water and let it steep for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium saucepan with a lid over medium-high heat.
- Add rice and cook it for 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Add stock, salt, and saffron with its water.
- Cover and bring it to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook until all the liquid is absorbed and rice is fully cooked for about 15 minutes. Don’t open the lid while rice is cooking.
- Carefully fluff it with a wooden spoon and serve.
* Disclaimer: All nutrition information are estimates only. Read full nutrition disclosure.
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This post was originally published on February 28, 2018, and last updated on April 23, 2020.