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Shole Zard - Saffron Rice Pudding

Course Dessert
Cuisine Persian
Keyword dessert, rice pudding, saffron, Shole Zard
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 8 people


  • 1 cup Basmati rice (200g)
  • 8 cups water (+1.5 cup for syrup, saffron, and rosewater) (2 litres)
  • 1.5 cups sugar (150g)
  • 1/4 tsp ground saffron
  • 4 tbsp slivered almonds
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 10 cardamom pods (1/4 tsp ground cardamom)
  • 1 tsp rosewater essence
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • Cinnamon for serving
  • Slivered pistachios for serving


  1. Wash the rice until the water runs clear and let it soak in water for 30 minutes.
  2. Combine the rosewater essence with a little water and let the slivered almonds soak in it. Crush the cardamom pods and add them to the rosewater as well.
  3. Mix the saffron with some freshly boiled water in a small glass and keep it in a warm place.
  4. After the 30 minutes soaking time check if the rice is soft enough to split it into smaller pieces. Gently squeeze the rice between your fingers. If it’s difficult to spit the rice corns into smaller pieces, let them soak a bit longer.
  5. Drain the rice and transfer it into a pan. Add 8 cups of cold water to it and put it on a medium to high heat to bring the water to boil.

  6. Once the water is boiling, reduce the temperature to low and skim off the foam from the surface. Let the rice cook gently until most of the water is absorbed and evaporated. This will take about 30 min.
  7. Now you can add the saffron water. You might not need all of it. Add little by little and stir until the colour is a rich bright yellow.

  8. Add the cinnamon stick, rosewater, almonds, and cardamom to your Shole Zard now. If you’re unsure about how much rosewater to add, try adding a little and taste if it’s enough. You can always add more but if you add too much at once, your Shole Zard will taste like soap!

  9. From this point on you wanna stir regularly to prevent your rice pudding from sticking to the pan.

  10. Boil 1 cup of water and combine it with the sugar until dissolved. Add it to the Shole Zard and stir it in.

  11. Let your Shole Zard simmer gently until it has the desired consistency. Remove the cinnamon sticks and cardamom pods. Add the butter and stir it in.

  12. Transfer your Shole Zard into portion sized serving bowls and decorate it with cinnamon powder and slivered pistachios. Enjoy hot or cold!