Instant Pot Saffron Rice

Looking for some variation in your regular rice? Try this fragrant Saffron Rice made in the Instant Pot.

This makes such a great side dish for any meal. Vegan and gluten-free.

If you love all the Instant Pot vegetarian/vegan recipes that I share on the blog, please join me on this Facebook Group – Instant Pot Vegetarian Recipes. The group would feature vegetarian instant pot recipes from all around the web!

saffron rice in a black bowl with a small bowl of saffron strands in the background

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Saffron is such a special spice, isn’t it?

It not only gives a beautiful color to any dish you add but also adds so much flavor.

In India, we always had saffron in desserts like kheer and kulfi.

I don’t ever remember saffron being used in a savory dish or maybe mom used it sometimes while making something special but I was too uninterested to even care lol.

But I hardly use it in savory dishes except when making biryani.

Saffron goes really well with rice be it biryani or this saffron rice.

I have often eaten saffron rice in Mediterranean restaurants and have always enjoyed it. Super simple to make and tastes just as good with anything.

It tastes well with side of roasted veggies and for that matter any Indian curry too.

This Saffron Rice

✓ is made in the Instant Pot

✓ is vegan and gluten-free

✓ aromatic and fragrant

✓ makes a great side for any meal

You can easily make this on stove-top but I love my Instant Pot for the hands free cooking and so I made this saffron rice in my pressure cooker.

Two important things to make a good saffron rice is to use a good quality rice and saffron.

I have used basmati rice here and that too the one with extra long grains. It looks super pretty, isn’t it?

saffron rice in a small round blue plate with a fork

I have used Zebra Sela Basmati Rice here but you can use any basmati rice of your choice.

To make the saffron rice recipe, I first soak the rice in water for 30 minutes. This gives the rice a better texture once cooked and also speeds up the cooking process.

Also remember before soaking, rinse the rice with water until the water turns clear. This removes thin layer of starch which results in separate grains.

Coming to the saffron, use a brand you like. I usually buy The Gathering of Saffron from Indian store.

For that nice yellow saffron color, I soaked saffron strands in hot water. You can also warm milk in place.

Remember to crush the strands a bit and then add to hot water and let it sit for some time. You will get this beautiful yellow color.

Saffron Rice Add Ins

You can add nuts and raisins to this rice to make it more flavorful.

I only added some pine nuts since Sarvesh loves pine nuts but you can add cashews, almonds, golden raisins.

They will also taste great in this rice.

 

Method

1- Rinse the basmati rice until water turns clear. Then soak the rice for 30 minutes in 3 cups water. Set aside.

2- Meanwhile also crush saffron strands and soak in 1/4 cup hot water. Set aside.

3- Press the saute button on the Instant Pot. Once it displays hot, add the oil and then add the pine nuts and saute for 2 minutes until brown.

Remove the nuts from pot. You can skip this step if not using pine nuts in the recipe.

4- Then add chopped onion to the pot and cook for around 3 minutes until light brown and softened.

picture collage of making saffron rice in instant pot

5- Drain the rice that has been soaked for 30 minutes using a colander and then add the rice to the pot along with 2 green cardamoms (if using). Toss to combine and add 1 cup (8 oz) water.

6- Also add the 1/4 cup (2 oz) saffron water which you had prepared earlier. Total amount of water is 1.25 cups (10 oz). Add the salt and stir.

7- Close the pot with its lid and press the manual or pressure cook button. Cook on high pressure for 4 minutes with the pressure valve in the sealing position. Let the pressure release naturally.

8- Open the lid and fluff the rice with a fork. Add in the toasted pine nuts and mix.

picture collage of making saffron rice in instant pot

Serve saffron rice as a side with roasted veggies, dips, curries etc. I paired mine with falafel and a yogurt dip!

a bowl with falafel, saffron rice, greens, tomatoes and yogurt dip

More Instant Pot Rice Recipes

Instant Pot Enchilada Rice

Instant Pot Easy Vegetable Biryani

Instant Pot Mexican Rice

Instant Pot Brown Rice

If you’ve tried this Instant Pot Saffron Rice Recipe then don’t forget to rate the recipe! You can also follow me on Facebook and Instagram to see what’s latest in my kitchen!

Instant Pot Saffron Rice

Fragrant Saffron Rice makes an interesting change from the regular rice! This recipe is made in the Instant Pot and is vegan and gluten-free.

saffron rice in a black bowl with a small bowl of saffron strands in the background
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Indian, Mediterranean
Keyword saffron rice
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 3 as a side
Calories: 312 kcal
Author: Manali
5 from 1 vote
Print

Ingredients

  • 1 cup basmati rice, 200 grams, soaked for 30 minutes in 3 cups water
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron strands, soaked in 1/4 cup (2 oz) hot water
  • 3/4 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, optional
  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 2 whole green cardamom, optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 cup water, 8 oz

Instructions

  1. Rinse the basmati rice until water turns clear. Then soak the rice for 30 minutes in 3 cups water. Set aside.

  2. Meanwhile also crush saffron strands and soak in 1/4 cup hot water. Set aside.

  3. Press the saute button on the Instant Pot. Once it displays hot, add the oil and then add the pine nuts and saute for 2 minutes until brown. Remove the nuts from the pot. You can skip this step if not using pine nuts in the recipe.

  4. Then add chopped onion to the pot and cook for around 3 minutes until light brown and softened.

  5. Drain the rice that has been soaked for 30 minutes using a colander and then add the rice to the pot along with 2 green cardamoms (if using). Toss to combine and add 1 cup (8 oz) water.

  6. Also add the 1/4 cup (2 oz) saffron water which you had prepared earlier. Total amount of water is 1.25 cups (10 oz). Add the salt and stir.

  7. Close the pot with its lid and press the manual or pressure cook button. Cook on high pressure for 4 minutes with the pressure valve in the sealing position. Let the pressure release naturally. 

  8. Open the lid and fluff the rice with a fork. Add in the toasted pine nuts and mix.

  9. Serve saffron rice as a side with roasted veggies, dips, curries etc.

Stove-top Instructions

  1. To make this recipe on stove top, start with soaking the rice for 30 minutes. Then follow the rest of steps as it is on a stove-top pan except add 1.25 cups (10 oz) water along with the rice. So the total amount of liquid/water will be 1.5 cups (12 oz). Cover with a lid and cook on medium heat until rice is cooked, around 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve.

Recipe Notes

  1. To make is more rich and flavorful, you can add cashews and raisins to the rice. Saute the cashews and raisins just like the pine nuts and then add them back to the rice once it's cooked.
Nutrition Facts
Instant Pot Saffron Rice
Amount Per Serving
Calories 312 Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 12%
Sodium 202mg 8%
Potassium 144mg 4%
Total Carbohydrates 52g 17%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 1g
Protein 5g 10%
Vitamin C 2.1%
Calcium 2.3%
Iron 5.3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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