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instant pot saffron rice
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5 from 1 vote

Saffron Rice (Instant Pot & Stove Top)

Aromatic saffron rice with colorful and flavorful toppings. Detailed recipe for making perfect saffron rice in instant pot and stove top. Vegan and gluten free perfect side dish for rich curries, koftas and this rice will also be a great fit in your Middle Eastern menu.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time12 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian, Mediterranean
Keyword: saffron rice
Servings: 3
Calories: 324kcal
Author: Harini


  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 green cardamoms
  • 1/4 inch cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
  • salt to taste
  • 3/4 cup fried onions
  • 1/4 cup fried cashews
  • 1/4 cup fried raisins
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate jewels


  • Pick and rinse basmati rice well. Change water and rinse thrice to remove starch as much as possible. This step yields fluffy non sticky cooked rice.
  • Soak for 15 minutes, drain and spread on a plate.
  • Place the inner pot or insert in your instant pot and switch it on. Press saute mode and set the timer for 8 minutes.
  • Once the display shows hot, your pot is ready to cook.
  • Add 2 tablespoons oil and fry the whole spices for 2 minutes.
  • Add the drained rice and saute very well for next 6 minutes until all the moisture in the rice is leaves. You don’t have to keep sauteing for 6 minutes continuously though, just leave the rice in saute mode and keep an eye.
  • Now add 2 cups water to the sauteed rice. Also add 1/4 saffron threads and salt to taste. Mix gently.
  • Close the instant pot, set pressure valve to seal.
  • Press pressure cooker/manual button and set the timer to 5 minutes. You can also cook for 4 minutes but as I said above, I prefer to cook the rice perfectly to ensure proper digestion.
  • After five minutes of pressure cooker, let the pressure settle down on its own.
  • Open your instant pot and fluff the rice gently.
  • Add fried onions, fried cashews and raisins. Mix well.
  • Serve immedietly topped with more nuts and pomegranate jewels.


Saffron- Saffron is the star ingredient of this recipe. For 1 cup rice we need only 3 small pinches or 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads. Source the best quality one you can. Please note that saffron is a very expensive spice, so anything that is sold ridiculously cheap may not be real.
Rice- Traditionally this instant pot saffron rice is made with basmati rice. If you don’t have basmati rice, use any variety of long grained rice.
The recipe can be doubled but make sure your instant pot would accommodate.
You can butter instead of oil for richer taste.
For pronounced color, soak saffron in warm water for few minutes, add to the rice along with that water.


Serving: 3g | Calories: 324kcal