Description: Food Network Kitchen's Iranian Yellow Rice with Saffron.

Iranian Yellow Rice with Saffron

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 35 min
  • Active: 30 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
This sunny-hued rice gets its color from saffron. Saffron is an expensive spice, but when used properly, a little goes a long way. It lends a unique bright flavor and sweet earthy aroma. Topped with fried onions and raisins, this simple and fast side dish has a distinct Middle Eastern flair and pairs well with stews and kabobs.





  1. For the rice: Sprinkle the saffron on the ice cubes in a small bowl and let sit at room temperature until the ice is completely melted, about 1 hour. This is your bloomed saffron.
  2. Meanwhile, rinse the rice a few times until the water runs clean.  
  3. Melt the butter in a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add half the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and 1 teaspoon salt and stir to combine. Add 3 1/4 cups water and the bloomed saffron, then turn the heat to medium high.  
  4. Bring the liquid to a boil, then lower the heat to medium. Cover the pan and cook until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, 15 to 20 minutes.  
  5. For the topping: Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions and fry, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Add the raisins and cook, stirring occasionally, until warmed and slightly softened, about 2 minutes (see Cook’s Note). Set aside. 
  6. When the rice is ready, remove from the heat and let sit for 5 minutes so it can finish steaming. Fluff with a fork and transfer to a serving plate. Top with the onion and raisin mixture and serve.  

Cook’s Note

Don’t fry the raisins for more than about 2 minutes or they’ll burn and become bitter.