saffron rice

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Saffron rice recipe With step by step photos – saffron rice is made in many cuisines of the world. Saffron is loved by chefs because of the aroma and the unique taste it adds to any dish. Saffron is one of the most expensive spices grown and used in many parts of the world. This is a low fat, gluten-free and vegan dish.

saffron rice, kesar rice

Saffron also known as Kesar in hindi, is not only added for aroma but also for the fact that it has many health benefits. It is anti-depressant, anti-oxidant and has anti-cancer properties and also acts as an anti-aging agent. It is also good for digestion, blood circulation and good for eyesight.

saffron, kesar

Just a pinch of saffron is enough to make your dish full of its fragrant sweet aroma and its health benefits.

One of the best ways to have the Indian curries or dals is serving them with rice, preferably steamed basmati rice. However, instead of serving just plain steamed basmati rice, you can perk up your rice by the addition of spices or herbs. These add a lot of depth and flavor not only to the rice but also to the entire meal combination.

Some ways through which you can add a lot of flavor and aroma to the rice is by making:

  1. Jeera rice
  2. Masala rice
  3. Biryani rice
  4. And obviously this saffron rice.

This kesar rice recipe is very easy to make. just fry the whole spices in oil, add rice and saffron. stir and add water. Let the rice cook till its perfectly done. Just cooked and not overly done.

Addition of saffron gives the rice a light yellow color as shown in below pic. You can also add a pinch of turmeric powder for a slightly rich yellow color.

I served the Saffron rice with Punjabi rajma. This beautiful rice dish can also be served with any Indian curry like vegetable kadai, lauki kofta, paneer butter masala. It will also go well with kadhi and any lentil dish like dal fry, dal tadka etc.

How to make saffron rice

1. Measure all the ingredients and keep ready.

ingredients for saffron rice

2. Rinse the rice 3 to 4 times in water or till the water runs clear of the starch.

rinsing the rice in running water

3. Soak the rice for 20 to 30 minutes in enough water.

soaked rice

4. Later, drain all the water and keep the rice aside.


Making saffron rice

5. Heat 1.5 tablespoons ghee or oil in a pan or pot.

ghee in a pan

6. Add ¾ teaspoon shahjeera (caraway seeds), 2 green cardamoms, 1 tej patta (Indian bay leaf), 1 inch cinnamon stick, 2 cloves and a strand of mace. On a side note, if you are wondering why the tej pasta is green – it is a fresh tej pasta from the balcony garden.

spices for saffron rice

7. Let the whole spices crackle and the aroma of spices will be felt.

cooking spices in the pot

8. Add soaked rice.

rice added to spices

9. Stir for 1 to 2 minutes very well but gently, so that the ghee coats the rice grains.

mixing rice with spices

10. Crush the saffron with your fingers or in a mortar-pestle.

saffron crushed in a mortar-pestle

11. Add the crushed saffron to the rice.

adding saffron to rice

12. Add a pinch of turmeric powder now, if you plan to add it.

added turmeric for saffron recipe

13. Stir well.

mixing saffron rice

Cooking saffron rice

14. Add 3 cups of water or as required.

added water for saffron rice

15. Sprinkle salt as required.

salt for saffron rice

16. Cover the pan tightly and let the rice cook until the grains become separately cooked and absorb all the water.

cooking saffron rice

17. Do check the rice for a couple of times when it is cooking.

cooking saffron rice

18. Once done, fluff gently with a fork.

saffron rice recipe

Serve the Saffron rice garnished with coriander or mint leaves with any lentil dish or Indian curry recipes.

saffron rice recipe
More Rice recipes

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saffron rice recipe, kesar rice recipe

Saffron Rice

5 from 8 votes
This is an easy, aromatic and light saffron rice recipe.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 40 mins

Cuisine Indian
Course: Main Course

Servings 2 to 3


  • 1.5 cups basmati rice
  • 2 to 3 generous pinch of saffron (kesar)
  • ¾ teaspoon shah jeera (caraway seeds)
  • 2 green cardamoms
  • 1 tej patta (indian bay leaf)
  • 1 inch cinnamon
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 strand of mace
  • 3 to 3.25 cups water
  • 1 pinch turmeric - optional
  • 1.5 tablespoons Ghee or oil
  • a few coriander leaves or mint leaves for garnish (optional)
  • salt as required


soaking rice

  • Rinse the rice for 3 to 4 times in water or till the water runs clear of starch. 
  • Soak the rice for 20 to 30 mins in water. Drain the water and keep the rice aside.

making saffron rice

  • Heat oil or ghee in a deep pan or pot. Add all the whole spices including shahjeera.
  • Fry till the spices crackle. 
  • Then add soaked rice. stir for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Crush the saffron with your fingers or in a mortar-pestle and add these to the rice.
  • Add turmeric powder now if you plan to add it. stir.
  • Add water along with salt.
  • Cover the pan tightly and let the rice cook till the grains become separately cooked and absorb all the water.
  • Do check the rice for a couple of times when it is cooking. Once done, fluff gently with a fork.
  • Serve the saffron rice garnished with coriander or mint leaves with any dal or indian curry.

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Dassana Amit

Meet Dassana

Welcome to Dassana's Veg Recipes. I share vegetarian recipes from India & around the World. Having been cooking for decades and with a professional background in cooking & baking, I help you to make your cooking journey easier with my tried and tested recipes showcased with step by step photos & plenty of tips & suggestions.

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  1. Hi, i think its time u have a restaurant. Ur cooking is awesome and i am core fan of your recipes. They turn out perfectly. Love your site. Dasanna we would like to see you. Please post your snaps also once a while. thanks for the 1’derful recipes.5 stars

    1. Thanks Sudha for your kind words and appreciation. Honestly speaking I don’t want to have a restaurant and instead cover as many recipes on the blog as possible. So that it helps more people. Thanks again.

  2. Thank yo for posting these recipes. This is all new to me but there isn’t an Indian food place where I live and I would like to enjoy the food more than twice a year when I travel.

    In your recipes, you list oil. What kind of oil?

    1. welcome brad. depending upon the recipe i use sun flower oil, safflower oil, rice bran oil, peanut oil or mustard oil.