Fragrant and aromatic saffron rice is a delicious change from plain white rice. Made using Basmati rice and saffron strands, it is perfect as a side dish with Indian curries, kebabs, or dal. When made in the
Saffron rice is a flavorful and aromatic rice dish made by cooking long-grain white rice with saffron threads. This
This recipe is not only super easy to make but also a crowd-pleaser that will impress your family and friends. The subtly savory flavors from the spices complement the sweet floral aroma of saffron in this fragrant
Why you will love this recipe
- Quick and easy: This is one of the easiest rice recipes you will make. It takes only 20 minutes to prepare.
- Fragrant and aromatic: The saffron-infused basmati rice is not only beautiful to look at with its vibrant yellow color, but also has a delightful aroma that will make your kitchen smell amazing.
- Crowd pleaser: With its tender, fluffy, and delicious texture, this
Instant Potsaffron rice pilaf is sure to be a hit with everyone at the table.
Ingredients to make saffron rice
Rice: White basmati rice or any variety of long grain rice must be used to make this yellow rice.
Saffron: Use good quality saffron to make this dish.
Onions: Use yellow or white onions that have a mild taste for this yellow rice recipe.
Ghee: I like making this dish with ghee. However, you may replace it with the cooking oil of your choice.
Spices: I like to keep the whole spices minimal and use only green cardamom and cloves. You can also add cinnamon stick and nutmeg in this recipe.
Cashews: Cashews are optional and can be skipped. You can also replace them with almonds or skip them entirely for a nut-free version.
Step-by-step instructions for making saffron rice
Step 1: Wash the long grain basmati rice thoroughly in running water until the water runs clear. Drain all the water from rinsing and add fresh water. Soak it for 5 minutes (image 1).
Step 2: Take saffron strands in a small bowl and crush them using the back of a spoon. Add ¼ cup of water and give it a stir. Let it sit for 5 minutes (image 2).
Step 3: Press saute mode on the
Step 4: Drain all the water from the rice and add it to the pot along with soaked saffron and salt. Add 1½ cups of water and give it a good mix. Close the
Step 5: Pressure cook for 5 minutes on high pressure. Do a natural pressure release for 5 minutes, then do a quick release. Open the lid and let it sit for a few minutes. Gently mix the perfect rice with a wooden spoon or spatula (images 7 and 8).
Rinse the rice under cold water until the water runs clear. This will remove excess starch and ensure that the rice cooks evenly.
Saffron is the key ingredient in this dish, so be sure to use good quality saffron. Look for saffron that has a deep red color and a strong aroma.
To infuse the saffron flavor into the rice, you can soak the saffron threads in a tablespoon of warm water or milk for 10-15 minutes before adding it to the rice. This will ensure that the saffron flavor is evenly distributed throughout the rice and also give the rice that beautiful color.
After cooking, let the rice sit in the
Yellow peas rice: To make this variation, simply add frozen peas to the rice before cooking.
Nuts and Raisins: I have used a small amount of cashews in my recipe. However, for a more festive and celebratory version of saffron rice, add toasted almonds, pistachios, and raisins to the rice after it is cooked.
Saffron rice with chicken or vegetables: You can make this variation in two ways. First, by adding bite-sized chicken pieces along with rice and pressure cooking. And second, by adding precooked chicken to the rice after it is cooked. You can also add other vegetables like carrots, green beans, and bell peppers to make it even more nutritious and flavorful.
Persian saffron rice (Chelo/Chelow): This is an Iranian dish that is made by soaking basmati rice in salted water for several hours before cooking it. Once cooked, the rice is mixed with saffron water and topped with crispy browned rice called tahdig.
Spanish saffron rice (Arroz con Azafran): This is a classic Spanish dish that is made by sauteing onions and lots of garlic in olive oil, then adding rice and saffron-infused chicken broth. This dish is a staple in Spanish cuisine and is often served as a side dish or a main course.
Traditionally, water is used to cook the rice so that the flavor from saffron and spices can shine. While chicken or vegetable stock (or broth) can be used instead of water, keep in mind that it may alter the taste and flavor of the dish.
You can use brown rice to make saffron rice; however, brown rice has a strong, earthy taste, which may alter the taste of the final dish. Also, to make
Yes, jasmine rice can be used; however, the texture of the final dish will not be fluffy. Also, cooking time and water-to-rice ratio may vary slightly in that case. It is best to adjust the cooking time and water-to-rice ratio according to the instructions on the package of Jasmine rice you are using.
Instant Pot recipes
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Instant Pot Saffron Rice
- Wash the rice thoroughly in running water until the water runs clear. Drain all the water from rinsing and add fresh water. Soak it for 5 minutes.
- Take saffron strands in a small bowl and crush them using the back of a spoon. Add ¼ cup of water and give it a stir. Let it sit for 5 minutes.
Make the rice:
- Set the Instant Pot in saute mode and add the ghee. Once it heats, add cardamom, cloves, and cashew. Saute until the cashew begins to turn golden brown.
- Add the onions and saute for 3 minutes, until the onions begin to turn translucent. Cancel the saute mode.
- Drain all the water from the rice and add it to the pot along with soaked saffron and salt.
- Add 1½ cups of water and give it a good mix. Close the Instant Pot lid.
- Pressure cook for 5 minutes. Do a natural pressure release for 5 minutes, then do a quick release.
- Open the lid and let it sit for a few minutes. Gently mix the rice.
- Serve with curries, kebabs, or roasted veggies.