Persian Rice


This Persian rice takes the grand prize. I believe I've posted a few foolproof methods for cooking perfect rice, but this recipe is not even close to second. The beauty of this method is that it doesn't rely on any specific measurements or exact times. This will make some of you very nervous but just go with it.

Prep Time:
15 mins
Cook Time:
55 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 10 mins


  • 3 quarts water

  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt

  • 2 cups basmati rice, rinsed

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 russet potato, cut into 1/4-inch slices

  • 1 pinch ground cumin

  • salt to taste

  • 3 tablespoons butter, cut into thin slices, or to taste

  • 1 pinch saffron threads

  • 1 ? tablespoons hot water

  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, or to taste


  1. Place water and kosher salt in a pot; bring to a boil. Add rice; cook and stir for exactly 7 minutes. Drain.

  2. Heat olive oil in a pot over medium-high heat. Cover the bottom of the pot with 1 layer of potato slices. Sprinkle cumin and salt over potatoes. Cook until potatoes are sizzling, 2 to 3 minutes; top potatoes with rice to form an even layer. Reduce heat to low and place butter slices over rice.

  3. Top the pot with a layer of clean paper towels, then place the lid over the towels. Steam until rice is fluffy, about 45 minutes.

  4. Grind saffron threads with a mortar and pestle. Mix crushed saffron with 1 1/2 tablespoons hot water in a large bowl. Add a couple of spoonfuls of rice to saffron mixture and stir until rice is yellow.

  5. Spoon remaining rice into a serving bowl. Top with saffron rice and line the edges of the bowl with potatoes. Garnish with parsley.

    an overhead view of a family style serving of Persian rice
    Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

Chef's Notes:

You can use vegetable oil instead of olive oil if desired.

This is delicious served with anything, but especially with my Duck Fesenjan recipe.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

255 Calories
8g Fat
42g Carbs
4g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 8
Calories 255
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 8g 11%
Saturated Fat 3g 17%
Cholesterol 11mg 4%
Sodium 2223mg 97%
Total Carbohydrate 42g 15%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 6mg 31%
Calcium 20mg 2%
Iron 1mg 3%
Potassium 124mg 3%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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