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Fragrant Saffron Rice

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This recipe for Saffron Rice is what I call special rice. I have a handful of recipes for special rice and none would be considered difficult to make. The additional prep time is no more than five or ten minutes but for an everyday dinner I often go for plain old white rice. White rice cooks in twenty minutes and many days my dinner is timed around that. 

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Good Quality Rice

To clarify, when I say plain old white rice I mean either fragrant Thai Jasmine rice or the aromatic, long grain basmati rice from India. I’ve never thought of myself as a rice snob but I think that is highly possible. I eat a lot of rice and I’ve tried every kind out there.

Each of my special rice dishes has a unique flavour combination or ingredient that elevates the rice itself. They are all associated with a specific ethnic cuisine. These include a classic French rice pilaf, Thai Jasmine Coconut Rice, Fruited Rice Pilaf with pine nuts and this saffron rice recipe. I think each of these recipes is perfect for entertaining but don’t wait for that. Try it with an everyday chicken recipe or food with a Spanish, Mexican or South Western flare.

Saffron Threads for Saffron Rice

Saffron is the world’s most expensive spice but don’t let that discourage you from buying it. For less than the cost of a bottle of wine you can purchase a tiny box of saffron threads, hand picked from Spain. It may last you more than a year but to help you use it but after you make this rice you can try making paella.

A Canadian Celiac Podcast

Follower Sue J shared a beautiful photo of this saffron rice recipe made in her kitchen.

Saffron Rice -follower photo by Sue J
Saffron Rice -follower photo by Sue J
Sue is the host of A Canadian Celiac podcast. I always recommend  this informative podcast for anyone on a gluten free diet. The only thing we know for sure is that things change so continuous learning needs to be a priority. Listening to the podcast is a great way to stay up to date.


Let me know in the comments below if you enjoyed this saffron rice.


1 tsp saffron threads
¼ cup olive oil
½ onion, finely minced
2 tsp finely minced garlic
1½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
2 cups long grain white rice
3 cups water


Toast the saffron in a small, non-stick frying pan on medium heat for about 2 minutes or until fragrant. Continuously shake the pan to prevent burning. Set aside.
In a large pot over medium heat combine the oil, onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Stir for about 2 minutes, then add the rice. Stir constantly until all the grains of rice are covered in oil, about 2 minutes.
Add water and stir so all the rice settles to the bottom. Add the toasted saffron (without stirring) and bring to a boil over medium heat.
Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until all the water is absorbed, 25-30 minutes.
Gently stir in the saffron as you transfer the rice to a serving bowl or plates.
NOTE – This is a large recipe but I think it is worth making the whole thing. It keeps in the fridge for several days and can be enjoyed with many ordinary dinners.


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