What Does Saffron Rice Taste Like? (Flavor, Smell, Color + More)

Saffron rice is a type of yellow rice that uses saffron to flavor the rice instead of turmeric. While both saffron and turmeric produce delicious yellow rice, they often taste different.

If you want to enjoy yellow rice but are not sure whether you should choose the saffron variety, you will want to know what saffron rice tastes like. Here is what I discovered!

What Does Saffron Rice Taste Like?

Saffron rice is a type of yellow rice that has a floral and earthy taste, as well as a mild sweetness to it. Compared to turmeric yellow rice, saffron is more subtle. Nevertheless, saffron rice still exhibits a distinct flavor that can have spicy undertones too depending on the type of saffron used.

In case you are curious to learn more about the nuances in the taste of saffron rice and how saffron rice compares to rice varieties like white and brown rice, keep reading!

What Flavor Does Saffron Add To Rice?

Saffron has a sweet, earthy taste and floral notes that make rice smell and taste good. Additionally, saffron imparts a yellow color to the rice that improves the saffron rice’s appeal.

However, if you use saffron that turns your rice metallic or bitter, there is a good chance that the saffron is of poor quality or is just an imitation.

Is Yellow Rice The Same As Saffron Rice?

Yellow rice is not always the same as saffron rice. While saffron is a popular ingredient in making yellow rice, there are yellow rice variants that are made from turmeric as well.

Furthermore, turmeric yellow rice and saffron yellow rice produce slightly different-looking and tasting yellow rice.

Additionally, there are homemade and commercially prepared yellow rice that use both saffron and turmeric either in equal or varying measures.

Does Saffron Rice Taste Like Turmeric Rice?

Saffron rice and turmeric rice have similarities in both appearance and taste, but turmeric rice tends to have a richer and bolder color and flavor.

Meanwhile, saffron rice has a more subdued taste that is distinctly sweet, floral, and a little nutty.

Moreover, the similarities between saffron rice and turmeric rice can increase or decrease depending on the recipe and the type of saffron and turmeric you are using.

Which Is Better Saffron Rice Or Turmeric Rice?

Whether saffron rice is better than turmeric or vice versa depends on how the yellow rice is cooked and the person’s preferences.

Generally, if you prefer yellow rice with more flavor, you are going to like turmeric yellow rice more.

However, if you prefer yellow rice to have a subtler and sweeter flavor, you will like saffron yellow rice better.

What Does Saffron Rice Smell Like?

Saffron rice has a subtle spiciness in its aroma with hints of earth and grass. On the other hand, some saffron rice has a sweet and floral scent that extends to the saffron rice’s taste.

Is Saffron Rice Naturally Yellow?

Contrary to popular belief, saffron rice is not a rice variant, but rather a way of making yellow rice.

Unless you are using parboiled rice which has a natural yellow tint, the white rice used to make saffron rice wouldn’t look anywhere close to cooked saffron rice.

Additionally, saffron rice naturally turns yellow thanks to the yellow pigment that bleeds from the saffron to the white rice.

What Goes Best With Saffron Rice?

What Goes Best With Saffron Rice?

Since saffron rice has a mildly sweet, floral, and earthy flavor, you will want to pair saffron rice with soup, vegetables, and meat that are richer in taste and aroma.

Seafood, chicken, pork, and beef that are heavily seasoned tend to go well with saffron rice. Additionally, you can pair saffron rice with buttered and salted vegetables.

What Is The Taste Of Indian Saffron Rice?

Indian saffron rice tends to have an orange to red tint to the predominant yellow of the rice.

Apart from the darker color of the saffron used in Indian saffron rice, the yield also has a bolder flavor than most western-made and commercially prepared saffron rice.

Moreover, Indian saffron rice has a hint of spiciness to it, and this can be amplified or minimized depending on the specific Indian saffron rice recipe used.

Is Saffron Rice The Same As Cauliflower Rice?

Saffron rice is not the same as cauliflower rice. Firstly, saffron rice is made from white rice and saffron, while cauliflower rice is made from cauliflower, not grain.

Additionally, cauliflower rice has an undeniable vegetal taste with nutty undertones. Meanwhile, saffron rice has a floral taste and earthy notes.

Nutrition-wise, both are impressive, but cauliflower rice is packed with more vitamins and minerals.

Is Saffron Rice The Same As White Rice?

Saffron rice is typically made from white rice and can be considered flavored white rice. In terms of taste, white rice is neutral while saffron rice is rich and aromatic.

What Is The Difference Between Saffron Rice And Brown Rice?

Saffron rice is not a type of grain, while brown rice is. On the palate, brown rice has a bolder earthy flavor while saffron rice is reminiscent of bouquets and mild honey-like tastes.

Additionally, brown rice tends to be firmer and chewier. Since saffron rice typically uses white rice, saffron rice is often softer and fluffier than brown rice.

Which Is Better Saffron Rice Or Basmati Rice?

Determining which between saffron rice and Basmati rice is better depends on a person’s preferences.

Generally, saffron rice is any white rice flavored with saffron, so saffron rice will naturally have a stronger aroma and taste than Basmati rice.

Additionally, saffron rice has the advantage of sharing the nutrients that come with the saffron used.

Similar to saffron rice, Basmati rice is known to have a floral and nutty flavor with a hint of spiciness. Although more subdued, Basmati rice can taste a little similar to saffron rice.

Check out our related articles to learn what stick rice tastes like, what sushi rice tastes like, and what black rice tastes like.


While not as bold as turmeric yellow rice, saffron rice is just as tasty and appealing.

Moreover, the blend of floral notes and sweetness in saffron rice make saffron rice the ideal food to pair with braised meat and heavily seasoned vegetables.

Depending on the type of saffron and recipe used, saffron rice can be a bright yellow or have a red tinge to saffron rice. Additionally, saffron rice can have hints of spice too.

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