Incredibly fluffy and aromatic saffron rice is a perfect compliment to any dish. Here you’ll find lots of tips on making perfectly fluffy saffron rice every time.
Steamed rice is my all time favorite side dish. It works pretty much with any meal, whether you’re having chicken, seafood, beef, curry- anything really! And most importantly, it’s simple and takes zero time to make it. But sometimes plain ol’ rice gets a little boring and doesn’t cut it for special occasions. Do you feel the same?
That’s when this pretty, vibrant saffron rice comes to rescue. With a pinch of saffron and one additional step, you can make this gorgeous side to compliment your dinner. I especially like to serve saffron rice with seafood, like my steelhead trout that I shared earlier this week.
Did I mention how fluffy this rice is? And you don’t even need a special rice cooker to achieve that. I’ve cooked rice on stovetop for my entire life and I have a tip or two to share with you. Don’t worry, you won’t burn it, I promise!
So what’s the secret to perfectly fluffy rice:
- Use the correct amount of liquid. This is very important! Too much water, and you’ll get mushy rice. Too little water, and you may burn the rice, or undercook it. My mom taught me that the liquid should come up about 1 inch above rice (about width of 2 fingers).
- Cook it covered and undisturbed low and slow. This means no peeking! First, bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat, and then immediately reduce the heat to low and let it cook gently for at least 15 minutes, still covered.
- Gently fluff the cooked rice with a wooden spoon or fork.
Now that basic rules are covered, let’s dive into how to make saffron rice in detail.
Purchase high quality saffron threads. There are many different kinds of saffron out there: Spanish, Indian, Afghan, etc. The origin isn’t that important though. What’s important is its color. High quality saffron has deep red color, without much yellow styles, which has no taste and only contributes dead weight. I like this Afghan saffron, but this Spanish one is pretty good too, both of these are highest grade. I don’t suggest using saffron powder, because it’s difficult to determine its quality. If you wanna learn more about saffron, like how it’s harvested, the history, its grading system, read this article. It’s so interesting!
Quick tip! Before using saffron threads, you want to steep them in hot water, this step is also called blooming. It releases its sweet floral aroma and vibrant color.
Ok, back to cooking… To make this flavor-packed saffron rice, we’re going to infuse the rice with lots of flavor. And I’m not just talking about saffron. First, we’ll cook the rice in melted butter for a few minutes to build the first layer of flavor. Once the butter is fully absorbed, we’ll add stock for another layer of flavor along with steeped saffron. At the end, you’ll get such a flavorful and vibrant rice that will compliment any dish.
See how easy it is to transform everyday plain rice into something special with one extra step and a few additional ingredients?
Hope this post was helpful. Thank you for reading!
- 1/8 teaspoon saffron threads* See note below
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup rice preferably basmati rice, but jasmine rice will work too
- 1 ½ cups 360ml chicken or vegetable stock without salt
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Put saffron threads in a small bowl.
- Add 2 tablespoons of boiling water. Let it to bloom for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium saucepan with a lid over medium high heat.
- Add rice and cook it for 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Add stock, salt, and saffron with its water.
- Cover and bring it to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook until all the liquid is absorbed and rice is fully cooked, about 15 minutes. Don’t open the lid while rice is cooking.
- Carefully fluff it with a wooden spoon and serve.
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