How to Cook with Saffron and a HUGE Saffron Giveaway!

Have you ever cooked with saffron? Most of us would answer, no. I remember when I was single, working in Miami and wanting to make some basmati rice with saffron. I didn’t have any saffron in my pitiful bachelorette kitchen, so I went to the Whole Foods Market next to my place to buy some. My eyeballs popped out of my head when I saw a small jar with like 10 threads of saffron selling for $20! Luckily, my mother ended up giving me some saffron the next time I saw her, but I will never forget that day in the market.

Did I buy the saffron? No, I did not. I wasn’t making enough money at the time to splurge $20 just for a spice. That was my weekly grocery budget!

Today, I am lucky to have a cupboard filled with saffron. My main source of saffron is from family and friends who visit us from Iran, bringing small gifts of this glorious spice. I learned early on how to cook with saffron. But for those of you who are rightfully intimidated with this expensive spice, I have these pointers for you.

How to Cook with Saffron: Roast Chicken with Saffron Butter

How to Cook with Saffron:

  1. If you can, use only saffron threads and grind it yourself using a mortar and pestle. Already ground saffron typically has additives mixed in and uses cheaper quality saffron.
  2. Keep your saffron in a sealed container and store in a cool dark place.
  3. A little bit of good quality saffron goes a long way!
  4. Add your ground saffron to a hot liquid and steep to develop it’s rich orange color. You can add it to hot water, hot oil, melted butter or any other warm liquid.

Take an ordinary roast chicken and make it extraordinary. Grind a little saffron, add it to melted butter, brush it over your chicken and you end up with a very special golden bird.

Roast Chicken with Saffron Butter

Saffron gives fragrance and golden color to the otherwise ordinary roasted chicken. Recipe adapted from Family Spice


  • 2 TBS butter, unsalted, melted
  • 1/2 tsp saffron, grounded
  • 4 lb whole roasting chicken
  • 1/2 onion, quartered
  • 1 sprig of rosemary, fresh
  • 1/2 lemon, quartered
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/8 tsp black pepper, ground


  1. In a small bowl, combine:
  2. 2 TBS butter, unsalted , melted
  3. 1/2 tsp saffron , grounded
  4. Preheat oven to 425ºF and remove from the refrigerator:
  5. 4 lb whole roasting chicken
  6. If the giblets and neck are in the chicken cavity, remove them and reserve the giblets.
  7. Rinse chicken and cavity with water and pat dry with paper towels. Place on a roasting pan with rack.
  8. Stuff inside the cavity of the chicken:
    • 1/2 onion , quartered
    • 1 sprig of rosemary, fresh
    • 1/2 lemon , quartered
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1/8 tsp black pepper, ground
  9. Using kitchen twine, tie the legs of the chicken together (optional).
  10. Brush the entire chicken with the golden saffron butter, brushing under the skin of the chicken breast, as well.
  11. Season the entire chicken with:
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp black pepper, ground
  12. Roast chicken for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350ºF.
  13. Roast chicken until meat thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 170ºF, approximately 1 hour 20 minutes.
  14. If chicken starts to brown too quickly, loosely cover with aluminum foil.
  15. Tilt chicken to allow juices from cavity to run into roasting pan.
  16. Transfer chicken to platter, cover with foil and let stand for 10 minutes, allowing internal temperature to rise.
  17. Spoon and discard fat from surface of pan juices. You can also use a fat separator.
  18. Serve chicken with pan juices on the side.

Prep Time:

Yield: Serves 4

Cook Time:

Total Time:

Roast Chicken with Saffron Butter Detail

Saffron isn’t just for paella. Add it to your ice cream, your cookies, your cake, your potatoes, your fish, and even your rice. For more saffron recipes and inspiration, click here!

How to Make Persian Basmati Rice with Saffron

This Giveaway is now CLOSED!

And now, let’s talk about FREE SAFFRON!

I am giving away 5 packages of  Top-Grade Iranian ‘Sargol’ Saffron (5 grams each) to 5 lucky readers! I was sent some Sargol Saffron from The SaffShop to sample. It was inspected and sniffed by my mother-in-law, a few aunts and some cousins. In fact, we had a nice 1 hour discussion about saffron. They all agreed that this really is top-quality saffron. The threads are dark red, the aroma is AMAZING, and 5-grams is plenty of saffron to keep you busy for all of 2013! This giveaway is open to U.S. and international residents alike!!!

What do you have to do?

1. Leave a comment below telling me what you would make with your free saffron.

For additional entries to win, please do the following:

2. Like the Saffshop on Facebook, and tell me in a comment here.

3. Follow the Saffshop on Twitter, and tell me in a comment here.

4. Tweet about the giveaway: 5 lucky winners can win 5-grams of saffron from @saffshop and @familyspice!!! ***Be sure to tell me about your tweet in a comment here.***


Happy holidays and good luck to you all!

Disclosure: The SaffShop sent me 5-grams of Sargol Saffron to review and giveaway on my blog. Contest ends 12/31/2012 and winner will be announced 1/1/2013.  I was NOT compensated in any other way for this post and the opinions I expressed here are mine. If I didn’t like it, I wouldn’t blog about!

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123 Responses to How to Cook with Saffron and a HUGE Saffron Giveaway!

  1. One of my favorite things to do with it is a saffron and chicken panade that my mom used to make when we were kids. Such a wonderful warming soup for the upcoming cold weather

    • Yuriy at #

      I would defnitely make a special chicken rub with it..

  2. Jaime at #

    What a fabulous giveaway!! I adore cooking with saffron but do not do so as often as I’d like because they are so dear. Every once in a blue moon, I spruce up boring old boiled rice by cooking it with saffron seeped in spiced milk. I also love a saffron roasted chicken but if I won this brilliant prize, I would love to try and use this beautiful ingredient in a sweet as I am currently training as a pastry chef and expanding my baking horizon. Thank you for the opportunity x

  3. I’d make paella!

  4. What a great giveaway. I think I would start simple with either rice or that gorgeous chicken. I am one who has never cooked with it, but wants to!

  5. I follow Saffshop on Twitter

  6. Heather at #

    I’ve had a recipe for saffron gelato bookmarked for a long time…

  7. Lara at #

    I would love to try it on chicken! And maybe even on icecream!

  8. Fatima at #

    I would make some zereshk polo with chicken. That is my go-to recipe for company.

  9. Kristina at #

    I would make my favorite tea… one of the main ingredients is saffron and it is so, SO good.

  10. Kristina at #

    I am now following saffshop on twitter!

  11. Coming from Spanish ancestry, saffron is familiar to me (although dear). My favorite use of saffron is in making Empanada Gallega (a codfish, peppers and onion savory pie).

    P.S. Love your saffron butter!

  12. Saffron – my favorite. I would roast a chicken and flavor couscous.

  13. I would make saffron risotto!

  14. Kat at #

    Wow that chicken looks delicious, think I would have to make that first. Thanks for the giveaway.

  15. I’ve never cooked with saffron before, much of the reason being the cost as well as my lack of knowledge on how to use it. But if I were to win, I think I would try to make ice cream. I saw your picture at the top and I’m so intrigued by it!

  16. Sara P. at #

    I would make a vegetarian risotto!

  17. Ooh, what a super fun giveaway! I would make paella and would love to try that saffron gelato as well. I’m drooling over these photos and this post!

  18. LIke Jen, I would make paella. I have tried a few different recipes but none have come to the level of the wonderful paellas I ate in Spain. I have to keep experimenting.

  19. Zan at #

    I have long wanted to cook with Saffron. I would make the chicken you described in your blog.

    Thank you for the giveaway offer!

  20. I’ll make the famous paella I’ve heard so much about.

  21. Really good chicken picture. Chicken can be surprisingly unphotogenic, but you did a good job. I’ve never tried saffron butter on chicken before – it sounds like a terrific idea. I wonder what the butter would taste like with lobster? I’ll bet it would be a wonderful match. Although one of my favorite ways to use saffron is in paella. Although with 5 grams of saffron? That’s a lot of saffron! I’d have to feed the entire street. 😉

  22. Ron at #

    saffron cookies

  23. Micky at #

    I would try to make paella with the saffron.

  24. Lia Smpson at #

    Roasted veggie soup

  25. Lia Simpson at #

    I like Saffshop on Facebook

  26. Lia Simpson at #

    I Follow Saffshop on twitter @liasim

  27. Lia Simpson at #

    I tweeted about your giveaway @liasim

  28. Eha at #

    I was oh so fortunate to win this giveaway some six months ago: have used the beautiful quality spice very carefully on so many occasions and there is just enough to make my favourite saffron rice for Christmas. I wish you all lots of luck and happy Yule preparations!

  29. Deb at #

    I have been wanting to try a savory version of shortbread cookies flavored with saffron. The color would be stunning!

  30. Aly at #

    Oh wow! I am inspired by your suggestion of ice cream. I think I would like to try it that way somehow. Maybe with vanilla?

  31. Joanne at #

    I would make an ice cream that my best friend’s father grew up eating and making in Iran — vanilla ice cream, softened, with chunks of frozen cream, saffron water, and a hint of rose water mixed into it, before it is all frozen again into one cohesive treat. Delicious!

  32. Varda at #

    I’d make a huge gorgeous paella over an open fire in a real paella pan and invite all the neighbors for a taste!

  33. Varda at #

    I liked the Saffshop on Facebook!

  34. Varda at #

    I tweeted about the saffron giveaway on Twitter!

  35. Ali at #

    I LOVE saffron chicken, and would probably make that first, but I would also love to try my hand at making saffron bread! I have a lot of dietary restrictions, and food has become very boring for me. I have been looking for a way to bring a little flavor back into my life, and I think this would be a wonderful start!

  36. Donna at #

    I love adding saffron to rice cooked with chicken stock.

  37. Donna at #

    I liked them on Facebook.

  38. I would definitely make that chicken… in fact, I might go buy some and make it for Friday night! I tweeted the contest too – – and have like the pages as This American Bite.

  39. Donna at #

    I’m following them on Twitter.

  40. Donna at #

    And I tweeted!

  41. Marnely Rodriguez-Murray at #

    I’d love to make some saffron butter sauce!

  42. Marnely Rodriguez-Murray at #

    I follow on FB

  43. Marnely Rodriguez-Murray at #

    I tweeted

  44. Marnely Rodriguez-Murray at #

    I follow them on Twitter

  45. Carrie at #

    Mmm, I would make my favorite seafood chowder from my favorite fishmonger–Monahan’s saffron-rice (with a little tomato) seafood chowder.

  46. I want to make your saffron chicken! That bird is gorgeous!

  47. Tiffany at #

    I’m following them on Twitter.
    and you may also find interesting in my blog

  48. Jordie at #

    I love the idea of saffron in roast chicken, it would make it divine! It would be the first thing I’d make with some free saffron. And after that, I’d make a massive range of delicious Christmassy, Scandinavian meals and desserts like St Lucia buns and honeyed saffron cake and also proper lasagna and Persian ice cream… Mmm… my mouth is watering already! :d

  49. I am now following @Saffshop on Twitter.

  50. Jackie Spurlock at #

    I would make adas pollo, with lentils and rice. I am vegan, but I LOVE Persian food and am still able to enjoy many of my favorites by leaving out the meat.

  51. Carol at #

    I would make Saffron Halibut Packets, a dish I have wanted to make for a dinner party with friends.

  52. Sunithi at #

    I would make saffron almond milk with some honey. My fav way to use saffron 🙂

  53. Sunithi at #

    Fb ! done !!

  54. Sunithi at #

    Twitter done !

  55. Sunithi at #

    Tweeted twice 🙂 !!

  56. Sondra at #

    Liked on Facebook

  57. I would try your Sholeh-Zard recipe!

  58. I liked the SaffShop on facebook. User name = Camilla M Mann

  59. Following SaffShop on twitter. User name = @Culinary_Cam

  60. Sondra at #

    Following on Twitter as well.

    – @hip_m0m

  61. Sondra at #

    One of my best friends makes chicken & rice with saffron and I love her recipe so I’d make that if I won.

  62. Jen H at #

    I had a similar eye-popping experience years ago when attempting to purchase saffron for a wonderful saffron rice recipe that I have. Thankfully I had a friend at the time who owned a restaurant, and was willing to keep me stocked! That was forever ago, but I am still too thrifty to buy it on a regular basis. I’ve never used it for cookies or other sweets, but that sounds interesting!

  63. becky at #

    Oooh, that sounds nice! We’ve had saffron in our house, but I have to admit we don’t use it a lot. I love chicken, so I think I’d try something with that and see how good it tastes with really nice spices! 🙂

  64. Mmmm … saffron rice!

  65. Julie at #

    I have a sopa de mariscos (seafood soup) recipe that calls for a tiny bit of saffron but I haven’t added it because it’s too expensive to buy! I’d love to win some. 🙂

  66. NancyF at #

    Ooh…what a wonderful give-away! I always add a few threads to my homemake chicken stock. However, an incredible fish soup will be the first thing on my list to make if I win this wonderful give-away!

  67. What I’d make with saffron? Paella, of course! I have a handed down recipe from a Spanish friend that’s absolutely fantastic. Now you’ve made me think of it and I’m going to have to make it!

  68. I tweeted! @The_Mom_Chef. Many thanks!

  69. Carolyn G at #

    I would make paella

  70. Carolyn G at #

    Like saffronshop on FB: carolyn gozalez

  71. Carolyn G at #

    like saffshop on twitter: carogonza

  72. Aneesa at #

    I would use it in a Moroccan lamb tagine I make!

  73. Aneesa at #

    I liked the Saffron Shop on Facebook (Aneesa Bint Lewis)

  74. Aneesa at #

    I follow the Saffron Shop on Twitter (@AneesaLewis1)

  75. April at #

    In paella, I’ve been wanting to make some for a long long time! Thanks for the giveaway!

  76. April at #

    Followed on FB!

  77. April at #

    Followed on Twitter!

  78. April at #


  79. Daniel at #

    I’ve not cooked with saffron, like many because of the expense, but I’d love to. If I won, I think I’d make some sort of simple bisque where I could really show it off and not let a bunch of other ingredients get in the way of the flavor.

  80. Daniel at #

    I’ve liked SaffShop on FB.

  81. Daniel at #

    And I’ve followed Saffshop on Twitter.

  82. Cheryl W. at #

    Oh my goodness, I just thought of the perfect thing to use the coveted said saffron. I have a bit of an obsession lately. It is to pickle, marinated and brine anything and everything. I am moving onto garlic cloves soon, and was wondering what uniqueness could I bring to these pearly nuggets. Saffron! That would be genius. Just steep a pinch in with the brine. I can see the magic now. The rich color and flavor it would impart. So excited by the possibilities. Thank you so much for the opportunity to enter my name.

  83. Cheryl W. at #

    I like the Saffshop on Facebook (Cheryl HeartnSoulmom)

  84. Cheryl W. at #

    I follow the Saffshop on Twitter @HeartnSoulmom

  85. Maggie at #

    I tweeted and liked. 🙂

  86. Deborah at #

    I would love to try many things. I cannot have gluten or milk so food gets very bland tasting. I’ve had saffron rice made by one of my daughters friends before and it was amazing. I’d flavor rice , cookies , chicken, soups, tea, you name it. Thank you for the drawing. I love you site. Liked Saffshop on Facebook as well.

  87. I love to cook with saffron. Saffron and pistachio ice cream is my favorite! I also love saffron rice. 🙂

  88. That roast chicken with saffron butter looks totally yum! I would make that! running. in. boise@ gmail. com

  89. Megan at #

    I plan on making a sauce for fish with my saffron!

    the recipe is here…

  90. zosia at #

    I like the Saffshop on Facebook!

  91. zosia at #

    I’d like to make Polish yeast bread with the saffron – according to tradition, this adds an earthy taste, as well as a lovely golden colour!

  92. Catherine at #

    I’d make paella! And probably try my hand at that saffron ice cream…

  93. Sarah at #

    I’d first make some paella with the saffron, but then I guess I’d have to research more recipes! Yum!

  94. Alicia K at #

    I would definitely make a paella! I have always wanted to but could never due to the saffron expense!

  95. Alicia K at #

    I am following Saffshop on twitter

  96. Alicia K at #

    I liked Saffshop on facebook…. Really glad you have this posting because I know finding good quality saffron is hard. Now I know where to buy it!

  97. Alicia K at #

    I tweeted about the giveaway!

  98. Kathy at #

    I would try your chicken recipe. Looks yummo!
    I have NEVER purchased saffron. Talked about it with friends and agree it is toooooo expensive.
    I would love to try it as I love trying new things.

    Thanks for a great give-a-way.

  99. jacquie at #

    i have long wanted to cook w/ saffron but could not afford to purchase it so would love to have the opportunity to try. i was going to say those saffron cookies that you have pictured about but then saw recipe for the rice and cabbage and as i have been on a cabbage binge of late might go w/ that 1st.

  100. Kathy at #

    I liked Saffshop on Facebook.
    I followed on Twitter.
    AND I tweeted about the giveaway.

  101. I have never had the chance to taste saffron even though I was always curious about it. I could never justify spending that much money on something that I had never tried. Of course, if I was to win I would try your Roast Chicken with Saffron Butter recipe.

  102. Also, I have liked the Saffshop on Facebook.

  103. I am also now following the Saffshop.

  104. Oh, that chicken with saffron butter looks amazing. I’d definitely make that!

  105. Mandy at #

    I’d definitely make your roasted chicken and saffron butter recipe!

  106. Mandy at #

    Oh, and I liked The Saffshop on facebook.

  107. Delight Meanor at #

    I have never made anything with saffron, but I am so eager to try it. I am way up in years and I love to try new recipes. My son-in-law and daughter have told me about saffron and how they would love to use but quite expensive. Hope to have the chance to try it . Thanks for giving us this opportunity.

  108. Barb at #

    Wow – I love saffron so much! Thank you so much for this opportunity. I would make my mother’s Arroz con Pollo recipe as well as expand out into some of the yummies on this site. How exciting. 5 grams is so much! Good luck to everyone! Thanks for this opportunity.

  109. Chaya at #

    I really love safron! I would simply make a rice with peas dish. See how it turned out and then get adventurous with other dishes.

  110. Chaya at #

    I clicked on Like on your FB page…and Tweeted it!


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