What Is Saffron Rice?

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  • Written By: A. Leverkuhn
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 10 October 2019
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Saffron rice is a particular kind of rice dish that comes in many presentations, where the rice is accompanied by the saffron spice. Saffron is a dried flower element that imparts its own mild taste to the dish. This spice also gives the rice a bright yellow color.

The saffron spice comes from the saffron crocus or crocus sativus flower. The food element is the stigma of the flower, which is harvested and sold packaged. Saffron is usually quite expensive. Many cooks who want to make this kind of dish may use a cheaper spice like turmeric in place of saffron.

In terms of its use in world cuisine, saffron rice is perhaps most notable in Spanish cooking. For example, in the classic Spanish dish called paella, a large amount of rice is cooked with saffron, with a variety of other items added into the dish. Various forms of paella include seafood paella, beef and vegetable paella, as well as vegetarian options.

Cooks around the world can prepare more basic saffron rice dishes in many ways. Often, broth is added to allow the rice to soak up more moisture. Butter also may be added to improve texture or taste.


Along with saffron, many other spices may be used in saffron rice dishes. Garlic, a superfood with a lot of taste appeal, is often an addition to a saffron rice dish. Salt and pepper are also frequent ingredients. Cooks may also use a wide variety of hot or spicy peppers, either minced, powdered, or otherwise prepared.

Along with the spices and additional ingredients, some cooks who are making saffron rice may add even more to the dish in order to diversify the texture and taste. Some types of nuts are sometimes added to saffron rice, usually in small quantities and crushed into crumbs. Currants or other berries may be added, as can rasins. Vegetables like onions and peas can contribute to this kind of dish as well.

Many of those who use saffron for culinary purposes regard it as primarily a coloring element. While saffron does have a distinctive flavor, many would argue that its main utility is in the presentation of the dish. The bright yellow that cooks achieve with saffron is in many cases more appealing than the natural color of the grains of rice.


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Post 3

My mom makes a saffron rice dessert. She basically makes saffron rice and adds sugar syrup right before it's cooked. She also adds cinnamon, cardamom and cloves. It looks beautiful and it tastes delicious too.

She makes regular saffron rice with mutton and vegetables too. I think she has several different saffron rice recipes.

Post 2

@ysmina-- Saffron rice is yellow. It sounds like the rice you were served is simply decorated with some saffron rice. Saffron is very expensive, so that might be why they serve their rice that way. But traditionally, saffron rice should be completely yellow.

I've heard that some cooks use turmeric instead of saffron to make saffron rice because turmeric is cheap. That's wrong though because turmeric is much stronger in flavor and slightly bitter. If added in large amounts to a dish, the taste of turmeric will be overwhelming. This does not happen with saffron because it's a different type of spice.

Post 1

Is saffron rice completely yellow?

The Iranian restaurant I eat at often serves white rice with some yellow rice on top. They said that the yellow rice is saffron rice. Is this how saffron rice is usually made?

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