Sholeh Zard (Persian Saffron Rice Pudding)

Sholeh Zard (Persian saffron rice pudding) has to be my all time favorite Persian dessert! I am constantly looking for excuses to make it. So you graduated from preschool? Let me make you some sholeh zard. Your relative passed? Let me make you some sholeh zard. We’re going to a party. I better make some sholeh zard.

If you know anything about Persians and their hospitality, you know that it’s taboo to return a borrowed bowl or plate empty. So, of course I am filling the bowl my friend had brought food for us in with Sholeh Zard and taking another to a dinner party tonight to share with friends. Desserts taste better when shared 🙂

SholehZard SholehZard2

Here’s my mom’s wonderful recipe that’s sure to bring a smile to you and your guests:

  • 1 cup of white rice (Jasmine rice is best for this dessert)
  • 6 cups of water
  • 1 1/2 cup of sugar
  • ¼ cup of rose water (available at Middle Eastern grocery stores [Sadaf and Yek ‘o Yek are my preferred brands])
  • 2/3 stick of salted butter = 1/3 cup of salted butter
  • 1 tsp of ground saffron
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • a handful of slivered almonds
  • Cinnamon for garnish
  • Ground pistachios for garnish (optional)
  1. Rinse the rice.
  2. Pour the rice and water in a big pot and bring to a boil.
  3. Add the sugar, cardamom, and saffron and stir until completely dissolved. Allow the rice to fully cook on medium heat and become mushy while making sure to stir to avoid the rice sticking to the pot. This takes about half an hour or so. If the water runs out add ½ cup more water at a time while stirring.
  4. Add the rose water, butter, slivered almonds and stir for another 15 minutes until the texture looks like that of rice pudding.
  5. Taste-test time! If the dessert still needs more sugar, add up to ½ cup more in smaller increments and stir making sure to allow the sugar to dissolve.
  6. Pour the dessert into the desired bowls, allow to cool, and garnish with slivered almonds, cinnamon, and ground pistachios (optional).

Noosheh jaan (bon appetit)!


Some yummy Sholeh Zard (Persian Saffron rice pudding) made by my talented cousin. Love the design!


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