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Sholeh Zard, A Creamy Saffron Persian Rice Pudding

Shawn Gavin March 13, 2021

Saffron Rice Pudding 

Ever hear of Sholeh Zard?  Most people have not, but for those of you who don't know, it is a saffron based rice pudding traditionally made throughout the Persian empire dating back hundreds of years. The word Sholeh Zard is actually farsi for yellow rice. In the most traditional recipes it is made with saffron, basmati rice, sugar, cardamom, rosewater, etc. Eaten mostly at special occasions, such as birthdays, new years, and even weddings, this dessert can now be enjoyed for many reasons far beyond its traditional uses. Buying saffron online has never been easier. Finding the right recipes to use your saffron is just as easy. Some great ideas are available right here at Slofoodgroup. We hope you enjoy this recipe and share it with others. Like, comment, subscribe, but most of all enjoy. 


Persian Rice Pudding with Saffron


For brewing the saffron:
  • A generous pinch of saffron, about 1 tbsp
  • 3 tbsp warm water
  • 1 ice cube
For the saffron rice pudding:
  • ½ cup jasmine rice
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • Brewed saffron
  • 2 tablespoon rose water
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh-ground cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon sliced pistachios + for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon slivered almonds + for garnish
  • Dried rose buds, to garnish 


  1. Place a generous pinch of saffron stigmas to a mortar and grind it to a fine powder with the pestle.
  2. Transfer the ground saffron to a small glass and pour warm water and drop 1 ice cube. Close the glass and leave it aside to use it later.
  3. Wash and rinse the rice and soak for an hour in a medium bowl.
  4. Add the soaked rice to a heavy bottom pan and add water. Once the water reaches boiling, lower the flame and close with the lid. Cook until the water added is completely absorbed (16-20 minutes) by the rice.
  5. Stir in the sugar and cook for 5 minutes. Add the brewed saffron and cook further.
  6. Add the rose water, ground cardamom, ground cinnamon and butter. Cook for 5 more minutes.
  7. Finally add the chopped nuts and remove the pan from heat.
  8. Garnish the rice pudding with nuts and dried rose buds and serve warm or chill.