Saffron rice – fragrant one-pot exotic dish packed full of flavours and aroma. Subtly flavoured, yellow hue savoury Indian saffron rice doesn't require any chopping, sautéing or grinding - means one of the easy and quick gluten free rice recipes that gets ready in under 30 minutes.
Aromatic saffron basmati rice is a perfect accompaniment to most main courses. It can be prepared ahead of time and reheated in a microwave oven just before serving on busy days. The intense earthy flavour and floral aroma of saffron provide a royal taste to both sweet and savoury dishes. Just a few strands are sufficient to impart lovely flavour and colour to the whole dish. Check out more saffron recipes on the blog - basundi with condensed milk, bread rasmalai, badam halwa and vegetable biryani.
Rice: Basmati rice has been used here in making saffron rice.
Liquid: Plain warm water to soak saffron and hot water to cook rice.
Herbs and Nuts: Fresh coriander leaves and cashew nuts are used here.
Dairy: Butter to fry the spices and to impart a lovely flavour to the rice.
How to make saffron rice?
1. Wash rice with cold tap water 2-3 times or until water runs clear. Soak it in sufficient water for 20 minutes.
2. In a small bowl, soak ¼ teaspoon saffron threads in 2-3 tablespoon warm water.
3. Melt butter in a deep-bottomed pot/saucepan over medium heat. Add whole spices - bay leaf, cloves, cardamom, cassia, cumin and fry for a few seconds until the spices are fragrant and cumin sizzles.
4. Add cashews and fry for a minute until it starts to turn light brown.
5. Drain water from soaked rice and add it to the pot along with soaked saffron with liquid and salt.
6. Add boiling water, coriander and gently stir.
7. Slightly increase the flame and bring it to a boil. Now reduce the heat, close the pot with a lid and simmer for 10-12 minutes until all the water is absorbed and the rice is cooked well.
8. Switch off the flame and let it sit for 10 minutes and then take the lid off the pan and fluff the rice with a fork.
Serve delicious yellow saffron rice with any side dish of your choice.
Add 2-3 green chillies or crushed black peppercorn for a fiery flavour.
Consider adding more dry fruits such as raisins, almonds, walnuts, dried cranberries for extra taste and to give yellow saffron rice a royal taste.
Add caramelised onion to give it a contrasting colour, texture and flavour.
Vegetables and soyachunks could be added for extra nutrition and to transform it into a vegetable saffron rice pilaf (pulao).
You could swap vegetable stock for plain water for extra flavour.
How to cook rice perfectly?
The water-to-price ratio plays an important role in making perfect rice. You can use any rice such as basmati, long-grain, easy cook, jasmine or brown, but make sure to follow the cooking instructions on the pack. Cooking time and water to rice ratio varies with different varieties and quality of rice. Some rice varieties may require more water to cook without soaking than the rice that has been soaked for 15-20 minutes. Cooking with or without soaking rice is one more deciding factor of cooking time and the water-to-rice ratio.
Fridge: Leftover saffron rice could be stored in the fridge for 2-3 days if kept in a clean airtight container.
Reheat: Place the rice in a microwave-safe bowl and heat it in the microwave until it's piping hot. Pause at intervals, remove the bowl from the microwave, and stir the rice using a spoon for even heating.
Instant Pot Method
Follow steps 1 and 2 from the stovetop method.
Press the sauté button and melt the butter.
Fry whole spices – cloves, cardamom, cassia, bay leaf and cumin until fragrant.
Add cashews and fry for a few seconds until it starts to turn light brown.
Cancel sauté mode.
Add soaked rice, saffron with liquid, coriander, salt and water.
Stir gently and close the pot with the lid and turn the knob to the SEALING position.
Set pressure cook mode and adjust the timer to 5 minutes at high pressure.
Once the timer goes off, let pressure release naturally for 10 minutes.
Turn the knob to the VENT position and wait until the pin located next to the knob goes down.
Take the lid off the pot and fluff the rice.
Serve delicious Indian saffron yellow rice with any side dish of your choice.
Cooking time may vary depending on the type of burner you use and your expertise in the kitchen.
Skip cashews for a nut-free option.
For vegan saffron rice, swap extra virgin olive oil or vegan butter for regular dairy butter.
Consider using high quality saffron.
Grind saffron threads as much as you can in mortar and pestle and then soak them in warm water. This way you can extract maximum flavours and colour from saffron.
Do not fluff or stir the rice immediately after you switch the flame off. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes with the lid on and then fluff it up gently with a fork. This allows rice to absorb any last drops of water and make rice soft and fluffier.
Keep saffron in a dry, cool place out of direct sunlight in an airtight container. To prevent the loss of its flavour and colour, keep saffron away from moisture.
Although saffron rice can be frozen, it may have a slightly different texture after thawing. Place it in an airtight container and freeze it for 2-3 months. When you're ready to eat, gently thaw it and then reheat.
With notes of floral and honey, saffron has a distinctive earthy flavour. It imparts a delicate yet flavorful touch to dishes and is frequently characterised as mildly sweet and musky.
More Rice Recipes
Masala Rice: An easy and quick one-pot dish that comes together in less than 30 minutes.
Peas Pulao: Delicious and aromatic one-pot rice dish flavoured with peas and spices.
Mint Rice: An aromatic and delicious one-pot vegan rice flavoured with fresh mint and spices.
Jeera Rice: Cumin-flavoured aromatic rice dish made with whole cumin seeds, fragrant spices and basmati rice.
📖 Recipe Card
1 Cup = 250ml ; 1 Tablespoon = 15ml ; 1 Teaspoon =15ml
- 1 Tablespoon (or) 15 gms Butter
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 1 Green Cardamom lightly smashed but left whole
- 1 inch piece Cassia
- 2 Cloves
- 1 Teaspoon Cumin
- 12 Cashewnuts Each broken into half
- Salt as required
- ¼ teaspoon Saffron
- 3 Tablespoons Water warm
- 1 cup (or) 215 gms Basmati rice
- 1 ¼ cup (or) 312.5 ml Water
- handful Coriander leaves chopped
- Rinse and wash rice for 3-4 times under cold running water until water runs clear.1 cup (or) 215 gms Basmati rice
- Soak rice in sufficient water for 20 minutes then drain and keep it aside.
- In a small bowl, soak saffron strands in 3 tablespoon warm water.¼ teaspoon Saffron, 3 Tablespoons Water
- Melt butter in a deep bottomed pot or saucepan over medium flame.1 Tablespoon (or) 15 gms Butter
- Put bayleaf, cardamom, cloves, cassia, cumin and fry for few seconds until spices are fragrant.1 Bay Leaf, 1 Green Cardamom, 1 inch piece Cassia, 2 Cloves, 1 Teaspoon Cumin
- Now add cashews and fry for a minute until it starts to turn light brown.12 Cashewnuts
- Add water, salt and stir well. Slightly increase the flame and bring water to rolling boil.Salt, 1 ¼ cup (or) 312.5 ml Water
- Reduce flame slightly, add rice, salt, saffron along with its liquid, boiling water, coriander. Now increase the flame, stir gently and bring it to boil.handful Coriander leaves
- Now reduce heat to lowest possible setting, close the pot with lid and simmer for 10-12 minutes .
- Carefully lift the lid, check water has been completely absorbed and rice is cooked well, grains are soft and fluffy. If rice is not cooked then close the lid and simmer for few more minutes.
- Turn the flame off, close the pot with lid and let rice sit for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, take the lid off the pot and fluff the rice.
- Serve delicious and fragrant saffron rice with any side dish of your choice.
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Looking for other rice recipes like this? Try these:
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