Indian Saffron Rice Recipe -
Indian Saffron Rice Recipe
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Indian Saffron Rice
Spice up your rice side dish with a smidge of saffron. See more
  • READY IN 25 mins

Indian Saffron Rice

Recipe by  

"Indian saffron is richer, darker in its red-orange color then the Spanish or Italian, and gives a better flavor to rice. The saffron should always be steeped in hot water ahead of time and used as part of the liquid in the recipe. The following is a recipe prepared in the Indian manner."

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Original recipe makes 6 servings Change Servings
  • PREP

    5 mins
  • COOK

    20 mins

    25 mins


  1. Steep the saffron in 1/2 cup boiling water.
  2. In a skillet that can be tightly covered, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Stir in the rice and salt. Cook, stirring constantly, until the rice begins to absorb the butter and becomes opaque, but do not brown the rice.
  3. Quickly pour in the remaining 1 1/2 cups boiling water along with the saffron water. Cover immediately, reduce heat to low, and cook 20 minutes, or until all of the liquid is absorbed. For best results, do not remove the lid while the rice is cooking.
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Reviews More Reviews

Most Helpful Positive Review
Jan 30, 2008

I used Basmati rice, replaced the water with chicken stock and added a cinnamon stick. I first heated about a 1/4 cup of stock with the saffron in the microwave for about 2 mins. Let it set for about 5 mins. Added everything to my rice cooker and let stand on "warm" for about 1/2 hour. This allowed the flavors to really settle in before turning on to cook. Rice came out bright and colorful. At the end added some frozen peas/carrots that had been defrosted in the microwave.

Most Helpful Critical Review
Jul 31, 2008

Good recipe, but unnecessarily complicated. The saffron does not need to be steeped separately, nor does the water have to be boiling in order to turn out perfectly cooked and fluffy rice. I used saffron threads to taste, and chicken broth rather than water. This is a perfect, pretty and understated rice side dish to complement spicier meats or main dishes.

Nov 01, 2006

Like several others, I used saffron threads instead of powder. I steeped the saffron in 1/2c room temp. white wine. I used chicken bullion (veg. stock would also be a good substitute) for the remaining 1 1/2c liquid. Both these additions added a good amount of flavor to the rice.

Apr 18, 2004

What a great way to make flavored rice. I only used only about 1 tablespoon of butter. Instead of using powdered saffron, I went to an Indian store and purchase saffron threads, they are much cheaper compare to the American grocer. I put the saffron thread with boiling water, mush it with the back of the spoon to help release more of the flavor before pouring it to the rice. For one cup of rice I used a little less than 1/4 tsp of thread. I hope this helps!

Apr 07, 2007

I tripled this recipe for a dinner party and it came out great. It was the first thing to disappear from the platter and the first thing that I was complimented on by my guests. I used whole Spanish saffron threads, but used more than I would have if I had Indian saffron. I also added about 8 green cardamom pods and 8 cloves to give a little extra flavor. I also used ghee instead of whole butter. I couldn't have been more pleased with it, and I'm pretty picky about my basmati!

Jun 02, 2003

I agree with other reviewers that the texture of the rice did come out perfect. However, my rice also suffered from a lack of taste. Maybe because I had to use Mexican Saffron. That was all I could find. It does have a pretty yellow color though. I served with Indonesian Pork Satay. The nice part was the taste of this rice did not over power my main dish.

Aug 19, 2006

Excellent recipe. I topped each serving with a light sprinkle of cinnamon and toasted pine nuts as they do in a local restaurant. Scrumptious!

Dec 16, 2004

Great recipe!! However, I used chicken broth instead of the water, and it turned out excellent. The saffron rice went great with the Marakesh Vegetable Curry.


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  • Calories
  • 154 kcal
  • 8%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 26.1 g
  • 8%
  • Cholesterol
  • 10 mg
  • 3%
  • Fat
  • 4.1 g
  • 6%
  • Fiber
  • 0.4 g
  • 1%
  • Protein
  • 2.5 g
  • 5%
  • Sodium
  • 418 mg
  • 17%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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