Persian Saffron Rice Pudding (Sholeh Zard)

Sholeh zard Persian rice pudding
Cook Time
1h 30 min
6-8 servings

Say hello to my favourite dessert growing up! Sholeh zard is an aromatic Persian rice pudding dish made with rosewater, saffron and sugar. It’s slowly cooked and makes your house smell amazing.

My mom used to make this only for special occasions, but truth be told, it’s quite easy to whip up. Its vibrant yellow colour is due to the saffron — a very common spice in Persian households! While you can serve it as is, it is usually decorated with cinnamon, dried rose petals and slivered pistachios.

Related: Marinated Persian Olives With Whipped Ricotta



cup basmati rice, rinsed
cups water
tsp salt
tsp ground saffron
Tbsp hot water
cups sugar
cup rosewater
cup slivered almonds
Tbsp unsalted butter
Ground cinnamon, to garnish
Dried rose petals, to garnish
Slivered pistachios, to garnish



This recipe requires 2 hours chill time.

Ingredients for sholeh zard Persian rice pudding
Step 1

In a medium pot, combine rinsed rice, water and salt. Bring to a boil and then turn down heat to low. Simmer on low heat for 1 hour, partially covered. Occasionally stir and using a wooden spoon, slightly press rice up against side of pot, slightly crushing it.

Step 2

In the meantime, add saffron to a small bowl. Add 2 tablespoons hot water, slightly stir and cover with a small plate. Set aside until needed.

Saffron in water
Step 3

At the 1 hour mark, add in sugar, rosewater, almonds and saffron into the rice pot. Mix well.

Sugar, rosewater, almonds and saffron added into the rice pot
Step 4

Cover your pot lid with a tea towel. Place on top of pot and continue to cook on low heat for an additional 30 minutes. (Stir every so often so rice doesn’t get stuck to bottom of pot).

Pot lid covered by tea towel
Step 5

When done, mixture will have a pudding like consistency. There might still be a touch of liquid, that is fine as it will continue to harden.

Rice pudding on spoon
Step 6

Immediately place into individual serving bowls or 1 large dish.

Sholeh zard Persian rice pudding in individual bowls
Step 7

Let slightly cool and then cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Remove and decorate with pistachios, rose petals and cinnamon. Serve cold.

Sholeh zard Persian rice pudding

Rate Recipe

My rating for Persian Saffron Rice Pudding (Sholeh Zard)