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Persian Saffron Rice Pudding Flavored with Rosewater

Persian Saffron Rice Pudding Flavored with Rosewater
Home » Holidays or Celebrations » Persian Saffron Rice Pudding Flavored with Rosewater

Persian saffron rice pudding makes a scrumptious springtime dessert, often enjoyed for Ramadan or Easter. In this recipe, traditional Persian spices of cardamom, cinnamon and saffron pair with sweet rice for the classic rice pudding dessert. Rose water is also added, which gives it a floral hint that is quite unique.

3 bowls of saffron rice pudding with rose petals and pistachio nuts on the side
Persian Saffron Rice Pudding

Jump to: RECIPE | A Brief History | Ingredients & Substitutions | Serving Ideas

A Brief History

Rice pudding with saffron was historically served during Nowruz, or Persian New Year. These days it is served more often but still regarded as a “special occasion” dessert. The pudding originates from Iran, where families would often make a large batch of the pudding and distribute smaller portions to extended family, friends, and as charitable gifts to anyone in need.

Saffron flavored rice pudding is usually a family recipe passed down for generations. Every family’s recipe has slight variations in the ingredients and every recipe is, of course, “the best”!

Main Ingredients in Saffron Rice Pudding

There are only a few ingredients in saffron rice pudding, which means you will need to take care to get the best available ingredients to get the best flavor. The two most important ingredients are the rice and the saffron.

The spices are varied according to the family cook and the addition of rose water is not always included.

Ingredients for saffron rice pudding
Ingredients for saffron rice pudding


For the recipe below, we used short grain white rice as it is what we had on hand. However, most traditional recipes use either basmati or jasmine rice.

Any rice that would work in a rice pudding or arroz con leche would work in this recipe. Basmati rice is often used as it has a higher starch content which helps achieve the correct consistency.

The method of cooking the rice is also important. It is important to cook the rice on low heat slowly to bring out the starch content of the rice you are using.


The quality and quantity of saffron used in this recipe can also impact the flavor and looks of the recipe.

Saffron is what gives the dish its’ unique yellow color. Using a saffron that is older or a paler color may not get the bright yellow color desired.

When selecting a saffron to use, all of the strands or threads should be red. This will indicate the highest quality.

How to Serve Saffron Rice Pudding

While the ingredients that go into saffron rice pudding are important, which garnishes and how you garnish your pudding is what distinguishes it and takes it to the next level.

Here are some garnishes we like to use:

  • Slivered almonds
  •  Dried rose petals
  • Crushed pistachios

This dish is served cold, and the crunchy garnishes add texture to the creamy rice and the rose petals make it beautiful and special.

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Persian Rice Pudding with Saffron

3 bowls of saffron rice pudding with rose petals and pistachio nuts on the side
Rice pudding enhanced with saffron and Middle Eastern flavors is traditionally served at special occasions.
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Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 234



  • 1 Cup White rice Short grain white rice, basmati, jasmine or arborio all work
  • 8 Cups Water
  • 2 Cups Sugar
  • ¼ Cup Rosewater
  • ½ tsp Saffron
  • ½ tsp Cardamom ground
  • Cinnamon ground, for garnish
  • Pistachios crushed or slivered, for garnish
  • Rose petals for garnish


  • Rinse rice until water runs clear. Soak in a large bowl for approximately 6 hours. Rinse the rice again.
    1 Cup White rice
  • Add 8 cups of water and soaked rice to a Dutch oven or large nonstick pot. Bring to a boil- add a pinch of salt to boil water faster if desired. Lower the heat to medium, partially cover, and cook for one hour stirring occasionally.
    8 Cups Water
  • Add remaining ingredients (with the exception of the pistachios, cinnamon and rose petals) and gently stir. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for another 30 minutes until the texture is soft.
    2 Cups Sugar, 1/4 Cup Rosewater, 1/2 tsp Saffron, 1/2 tsp Cardamom
  • Pour into individual serving dishes and chill for a few hours. Garnish with cinnamon, pistachios, and rose petals (or garnish of your choice)
    Cinnamon, Pistachios, Rose petals


Calories: 234kcalCarbohydrates: 59gProtein: 1gFat: 0.3gSaturated Fat: 0.02gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.02gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.02gSodium: 13mgPotassium: 5mgFiber: 0.2gSugar: 50gVitamin A: 0.03IUVitamin C: 0.03mgCalcium: 10mgIron: 1mg
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