Saffron Rice

Rice with saffron is a very tasty dish.
Rice with saffron is a very tasty dish.

Saffron rice is a simple dish that usually consists of basmati rice, chicken or vegetable broth, and of course, saffron. While most people think of India when they see this bright yellow dish, many different countries have their own variations of this classic Middle Eastern recipe.

How Do You Make Saffron Rice?

It's fairly simple to make rice with saffron. Perhaps the most common recipe includes rice, broth, saffron, and a little salt for seasoning. More exotic recipes can be found throughout the world in areas where saffron is harvested, such as Thailand, Portugal, and the Philippines.

Below you will find recipe for two different saffron dishes, inspired by two entirely different countries. The Indian recipe contains vegetable broth, making it a heartier dish, while the Thai recipe contains coconut milk and yields a slighter richer, sweeter dish.

Indian Saffron Rice

Rice with saffron is often associated with Indian cooking, and this recipe is a new twist on a classic Kashmir dish. This yellow rice will make a great side to any meat or vegetarian entrees, and the bright color will add a little flare to your dining room table.

Cooking time: 50 minute, including rice cooking time Serves 4


  • 2 cups basmati rice, uncooked
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 2 tablespoons boiling water
  • 4 tablespoons butter or ghee
  • 6 cardamom pods, whole
  • 4 cloves, whole
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped fine
  • 3 cups vegetable broth, boiling
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt


  1. Rinse and drain rice. Cover with cold water and soak for 30 minutes.
  2. In a small bowl, soak saffron threads in two tablespoons boiling water.
  3. Over medium heat, melt butter in a large saucepan. Add cardamom, cloves and cinnamon. Fry for one minute, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add onion and sauté for two minutes, stirring constantly, until onions are translucent.
  5. Add in rice. Reduce heat to low and simmer for five minutes, stirring constantly.
  6. Add in boiling broth.
  7. Stir in salt and saffron.
  8. Cover and cook until rice is cooked through and all liquid is absorbed, about 40 minutes.
  9. Fish out cardamom pods, fluff with a fork and serve hot.

Thai Coconut Saffron Rice Recipe


Saffron rice is a great side to any meal, and its bright yellow color will brighten up your dinner spread. This recipe uses coconut milk to sweeten up the flavor a bit and tone down the pungent saffron smell, making for a well balanced side dish that your family will love. Cooking time: 30 minutes Serves 4


  • 2 teaspoons peanut oil (or oil of your preference)
  • 2 cups uncooked basmati rice
  • 2 cup coconut milk (canned with work fine)
  • 1-3/4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads


  1. Have all ingredients measured and ready to go.
  2. In a large saucepan, heat peanut oil until it begins to shimmer. Toss in rice, stirring with a wooden spoon until all grains are coated with oil.
  3. Continue to stir-fry for one minute.
  4. Place the remaining ingredients in pot, taking care not to get burned when it splatters.
  5. Gently stir ingredients with a fork, making sure that nothing sticks to the bottom while the liquid comes to a boil.
  6. Once liquid comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low. Place lid on pot, slightly vented to allow some steam to escape.
  7. Occasionally stir to make sure rice doesn't stick to bottom of pan and the coconut milk doesn't burn.
  8. Allow to simmer gently for 15-20 minutes, or until rice is mostly tender.
  9. Remove from heat and place lid firmly on pot. Allow to sit for five minutes.
  10. Fluff with a fork and serve warm.
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