Saffron and Rose Rice Pudding

Serves 4

| Prep Time: 15 minutes

| Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

| Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

You may need: Dried Garlic Powder

Discover The Recipe

We always get excited when we can send our subscribers saffron, one of the world’s most expensive spices! Saffron is hand-harvested from stigmas of the flowers of the crocus plant. Each flower only contains three saffron threads. So, the labor-intensive production process drives up the cost. This Saffron and Rose Rice pudding is a Persian dessert made for special occasions. Delicate rose is paired with saffron for an intoxicating flavor and aroma bouquet. 

Saffron has been a revered spice in Persian culture for thousands of years. It is used to flavor special stews and soups, but most commonly adorns and bejewels rice dishes including Tahdig Persian Crispy Rice, an alternative recipe you can can make with saffron. Chefs use saffron to imbue dishes with aroma, color, and flavor complexity. Some think saffron tastes and smells like honey while others sense floral notes. The industry taste experts liken high-quality saffron to an “earthy-grassy almost bittersweet flavor” with “hay-like aroma”. However each of us individually senses it, the flavor is unmistakeable and quite lovely in a wide range of dishes! You can find rose water in many large supermarkets and online. But it tastes great without it.


  • 1/2 cup jasmine rice

  • 4 cups water 

  • 1 cup plant milk (soy, almond, oat; regular milk works fine, too)

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1/2 Tbsp culinary rose water (optional)

  • 1/8 tsp (6-8 threads) Piquant Post Saffron

  • Garnishes: dried rose petals, chopped pistachios and/or sesame seeds (optional)


When you’re cooking this recipe, be sure to keep an eye on how quickly the water is getting absorbed! If you need to add a little more before the cooking time is through, add a little at a time. 

Dried rose petals are a beautiful garnish for this dessert, but many Persian cooks love to make delicate designs with ground cinnamon, nuts and seeds in geometric shapes or floral designs. Feel free to get creative!

"Blooming" the saffron by soaking it in a little bit of boiler water is a great way to maximize the flavor from just a few threads while evenly spreading the flavor throughout the dish. Saffron is edible and yummy so don't strain out the threads after you soak them. Just dump everything in the dish.

Be sure to leave comments and feedback on your meals and experiments in the comments for others to read.


Rinse the rice well and then place it in a medium sized saucepan with the water and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat to Low and gently simmer uncovered for 1 hour and 15 minutes. 

After the rice has cooked it should be thick, creamy and the water should be completely absorbed. Next, bloom the saffron by adding the threads to a small bowl and carefully pouring ~2-3 Tbsp of boiling water over top. Soak for 3-5 minutes to extract the flavor in the water (don't strain the threads out). Add milk, sugar, rose water, and saffron water to rice. Cook for another 15 minutes stirring frequently to make sure rice doesn’t stick to the pan. Cook until mixture has thickened.

Divide mixture into 4 small bowls and refrigerate for a couple hours until the mixture is completely chilled.

To serve, remove bowls from the refrigerator and garnish with dried rose petals, toasted sesame seeds, and/ or chopped pistachios.

Alternatives & Substitutions

  • We recommend using jasmine rice with this recipe, but any medium or long grain white rice will work.

  • We used plant milk to keep this recipe vegan. If you prefer regular (cow) milk, feel free to substitute. 

  • For the plant milk, it’s nice to use a creamy barista blend milk, even one with a little vanilla flavor! We used macadamia milk, but almond milk, oat milk or even soy milk is great! 

  • The rose water is a very traditional Persian ingredient and is available in many large supermarkets, Walmart, Target, and everywhere online. Make sure to buy culinary (edible) rose water as there are rose water is used in many beauty products.  If you can’t get rose water, don’t worry! This dessert is delicious without it!

  • Try using Saffron in our Persian-style Lemon Saffron Chicken recipe.

  • Learn more about saffron here.

  • For more saffron recipes, try these Braised Lamb Shanks with Perian Broad Beans or this Saffron and Walnut Courgette Cake.

  • Be sure to leave comments and feedback on your meals and experiments in the comments for others to read.

  • Post pictures of your masterpiece meal on social media and tag us. We repost!

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