Saffron is a sweet and delicate spice made from the flower of the Crocus sativus. Cooking with this herb can be expensive but it’s packed with antioxidants and complex flavors.
If you’re looking for a simple one-pan dish then try this chicken and saffron rice recipe. Although this dish uses leftover chicken, any kind of fish our poultry compliments the flavors.
Saffron threads are used to make this delicious dish, but if you can’t find these then the powdered form is a good substitute.
Leaving the saffron to infuse with the stock helps to intensify the flavors which will eventually be used to cook the rice.
To make an authentic Italian saffron risotto, chicken or beef broth is used to flavor the rice. Substituting this with a vegetable stock can easily make this dish vegetarian if needed.
This recipe creates a creamy and comforting risotto that will please the whole dinner table, plus it doesn’t take that long to cook.
Be warned, a lot of butter (about one stick) is used here so you might want to have a healthier meal the next day. White wine, saffron threads, and grated Parmesan cheese help to give this dish a rich and fragrant flavor.
The saffron threads are dissolved in stock here before being added to the risotto mixture.
Explore the flavors of Tuscany with this tender and moist chicken breast cooked in a creamy saffron sauce along with some wilted spinach. It truly is a special dinner that can make mid-week feel like the weekend.
Taking no longer than 30 minutes to create this dish, you’ll be cooking it every week.
Here, saffron is infused with cream to make a rich and delicious sauce with which to cook your chicken breasts. If you’d prefer to have a thicker sauce, add some cornstarch or flour until you’ve reached your desired consistency.
White wine is also added to the sauce to provide some acidity and balance out the flavors.
An easy tapas-style dish to make if serving small plates or just as an appetizer, this garlic shrimp recipe won’t leave you with any leftovers.
Using jumbo shrimp here, they are seasoned and cooked with garlic, shallots, herbs, and spices.
A saffron-infused white wine with some fresh parsley is added to the shrimp whilst it’s cooking to bring all the different flavors together. Allowing the sauce to thicken whilst cooking is vital to creating an awesome dish.
Serve in a deep enough bowl that the warm and tasty sauce can coat all the shrimp equally.
To create a signature Indian dish of saffron rice, make sure to steep the saffron threads in hot water ahead of time. This liquid mixture is then used later on in the recipe to add flavor to the rice.
Some people question whether there is a point in trying to enhance the flavors of rice, but they haven’t tried this recipe.
Rich and dark in color, this tasty rice dish makes the perfect accompaniment to a curry. Basmati rice also works well as a substitute and can produce a more authentic dish.
Topping with a little cinnamon can deepen the flavors of the rice and complement a curry.
For an easy recipe guaranteed to please all fish lovers, serve this oven-roasted cod with some roasted potatoes and fresh vegetables for a fantastic meal. Fresh or thawed cod can be used here, depending on preference.
The real star of the show is the saffron, using high-quality saffron, garlic, rosemary, and lemon juice a rich and delicious paste is made.
This paste is spread evenly over the fish fillets before being baked in the oven surrounded by some lemon slices. Serve with sprigs of fresh rosemary for a fragrant extra that will get the senses going.
A classic Indian breakfast dish consisting of smoked fish and boiled eggs, kedgeree has inspired this vegetarian version (find more tasty Asian breakfasts right here).
Arborio rice, saffron, and curry spices are used to flavor the base of this dish which is then topped with juicy roasted cherry tomatoes.
Other toppings include cashew nuts, a soft-boiled egg cut in half, and some fresh cilantro. These toppings aren’t set in stone and can be changed to suit the individual, especially if you have any dietary restrictions.
Taking inspiration from a traditional korma recipe, there are some additional flavors here from the indulgent saffron threads.
Layers of classic Indian spices such as cardamom, turmeric, and garam masala give this dish a delightful kick.
The chicken thighs are browned and braised with vegetables, yogurt, and broth to create a creamy curry texture. Herbs and spices are certainly an integral part of creating this dish.
Serve with your favorite sides such as basmati rice or naan bread for a delicious Indian feast.
Another luxurious pasta dish for you to try, this creamy sauce is perfect for a weeknight meal or a dinner party showstopper.
Pasta dishes are great because they don’t take ages to cook, this dish is ready in just 15 minutes.
Infusing saffron with garlic and butter creates the base of the sauce, with the cream added to act as a thickening agent.
Don’t forget to save some pasta water! Lemon juice, pasta water, and Parmesan cheese are all combined with the rest of the ingredients to leave a tasty, silky coating on the pasta.
Season with a little salt and pepper before serving.
Saffron is widely used in Moroccan cuisine. A low-calorie tagine is a perfect way to warm yourself during the cold winter months.
White fish and fish stock are flavored with saffron, almonds, cinnamon, and ginger for the perfect blend of sweetness and spice.
When the one-pan dish is ready, serve with some couscous and a big dollop of natural yogurt for an authentic taste of Morocco.
This traditional Cornish recipe adds something extra to a classic British fruit bread. Strands of saffron are infused with milk and cream for a combination of rich indulgence and delicate aromas.
Dried fruits such as sultanas and raisins are added to the bread dough, which is then left to prove.
Baked until well risen and golden, you’ll be salivating as you brush the top of the bread with some sweet honey. Thick slices of the bread are best served with clotted cream and a nice cup of tea in true British style.
As saffron risotto is so delicious and popular, we thought we’d include a vegan version to allow everyone to get a wonderful taste of Italy.
Instead of butter, a little oil and nutritional yeast help to make this risotto recipe vegan friendly and oh so creamy.
Toasting the rice enhances the flavor before adding any broth as well as helps to keep the rice al dente.
This risotto contains onion, but you might want to serve with a big plate of fresh green vegetables on the side to complete the dish.
13. Spanish Paella
Paella is probably one of the most well-known dishes to use saffron.
No paella pan is needed here, simply use your largest pan that is deep enough to contain all the ingredients to create this one-pot dish.
With a combination of chicken, Spanish rice, seafood, and some vegetables there is nothing quite like a homemade paella.
Saffron is added to the paella along with the other spices at the start of cooking. Stirring the spice in with the others along with some oil and vegetables helps to infuse the flavors.
Paella is easily adaptable and you can add any type of protein you like to make the perfect dish.
Kheer is an Indian rice pudding and the perfect one-pot dessert. Not everyone is a huge lover of chocolate, if you want to try something a little more exotic and unusual then kheer might be your new favorite.
Rice is slow-cooked with milk which is complimented by fragrant spices such as saffron, cardamon, rose water, and a selection of nuts.
To sweeten the dish sugar or jaggery (cane sugar) is added before being simmered to its final texture. Rose water may be difficult to get hold of and is an optional extra, but can be worth your while if you can source it.
Persian cuisine uses saffron in a wide variety of dishes. This traditional recipe sears the chicken thighs with bloomed saffron to give the chicken some color and help it to turn a beautiful golden brown when cooked.
Spices, vegetables, and thighs are cooked in water until almost ready. More saffron is added to the water before being finished off. For best results, serve with a Persian rice dish and some fresh vegetables such as peas.
16. Saffron Cake
A blend of classic Middle Eastern flavors such as rosewater, pistachio, and saffron is blended here to make a fragrant and delicious cake. To make the most of the delicate taste of saffron, strands are heated gently with milk.
This traybake-style cake is covered in a rosewater syrup once cooked and scattered with some remaining pistachios.
Lamb is marinated in yogurt and salt to increase the tenderness of the meat. The aromatic spices add depth and color to the dish which compliments the meat nicely.
Saffron threads are ground to make a fine powder and are added to warmed milk to steep.
The saffron-infused rice is poured over the rice with rosewater and pandan water before everything is covered and placed in a Dutch oven to let the rice steam and infuse with these sensational flavors.
The fragrant combination of saffron, rosewater, cream, milk, and pistachios leaves you with irresistible ice cream that will impress your dinner guests.
This Persian ice cream is a traditional dessert and very popular during the summer months.
Milk and cornstarch are used to thicken the ice cream in this recipe, but this can be adjusted to your preferences. If you can find it, Persian saffron will give you the best flavor, color, and intensity with this dessert.
If you hadn’t already guessed, Saffron is a famous Middle Eastern spice, so much so it’s even added to coffee!
The floral and earthy tones of the spice add complexity and spiciness to a creamy cup of coffee. Honey and milk help to balance out these flavors. Sprinkling some cinnamon on top creates the perfect warming cup of joe.
Spanish cooking is all about vibrance, which is seen in this dish. Beef is coated in spices such as paprika and cumin for impactful flavors.
Topped with irresistible creamy lemon aioli, the taste of Spain is practically jumping off your plate. Saffron is introduced to this dish in the infused bed of rice which contains sweet, chewy dates.
This recipe requires you to marinate the lamb overnight so you’ll need to plan ahead here. The marinade consists of yogurt, lemon zest, garlic, and saffron.
For best results, grill the lamb rather than cooking it in the oven for a smoky, charcoaled flavor. Once cooked, let the lamb rest for around 10 minutes before serving. It’s quick, simple, and guaranteed to please.
Poached pears aren’t for everyone, many people would rather have an indulgent chocolate dessert. However, this twist on an old classic may change your mind.
A combination of cardamom, wine, sugar, lemon juice, and saffron is simmered before adding pears. The pears should be tender but not too soft and mushy.
When the pears are done remove them from the pan and continue to boil the liquid until it creates a syrup.
This part can be done ahead of time as it may take longer. Spoon the deliciously sweet syrup over the pears before enjoying.
Rice infused with delicate saffron and the fire of cinnamon and cayenne pepper you’ll always want to eat this dish.
Tahdig otherwise known as the scorched layer of rice at the bottom of the pan makes you truly appreciate this dish.
Extra Firm tofu is used here as a protein source which can be substituted for meat if desired. Fresh and firm asparagus and tomatoes add in some essential nutrients for a complete meal.
There are many more recipes that include saffron, we’ve just included a snippet for you. We hope you enjoyed reading this article and have found your new favorite saffron infused dish to make.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Eat Saffron Threads Raw?
Generally, eating saffron raw carries little risk. If it is eaten in larger quantities it can be toxic, however, this is considered to be around 5g of saffron.
Cooking with saffron is a great way to incorporate it into your diet without the risk.