How to Bloom Saffron (aka Liquid Saffron)

Want to know how to bloom saffron? Or make liquid saffron as it’s also known? Keep reading! to get your hands on this liquid gold!

Originally published in 2016. Republished with updated content July 2023.

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Liquid saffron (bloomed saffron) in a small white bowl on black background
Liquid saffron or Bloomed Saffron

What is Liquid Saffron or Bloomed Saffron?

Liquid saffron or bloomed saffron is basically saffron that’s been pounded or ground and then left to soak in water. There are 2 methods of doing this.

Liquid Saffron with Water

This is my preferred method, as I find that you get the strongest aroma and flavour when you bloom saffron or soak saffron in hot water.

The hot water permeates better with greater osmosis, allowing the essential oil more movement, releasing a stronger scent and flavour. That’s just basic science.

How to Bloom Saffron with Ice Cube

The other method is to drop an ice cube on your pounded saffron, leaving it to melt. When the ice is fully melted, you get bloomed saffron or liquid saffron. This method is also perfectly fine, it’s just a matter of preference. And science.

Why do we Bloom Saffron?

If you’ve cooked with saffron before, you’ll know that many recipes will ask you to soak the whole saffron pistils in liquid before using. Or perhaps some will ask you to crumble the saffron as you add it to rice or stews or curries.

Persian recipes call for liquid saffron or bloomed saffron, that is pounding, then soaking, as discussed above.

What’s the difference?

When you only soak the saffron in water, you are not utilising everything that this potent ingredient has to offer. You get the aroma, the flavour, and the colour, but the very substance of the saffron, to me, remains elusive when you leave it whole.

But grinding it, then soaking it in hot water or ice cube, allows you to use and enjoy all that those little guys have to offer. Just like matcha, the Japanese ground green tea, when you think about it.

Liquid saffron (bloomed saffron) in a small white bowl on black background
Don’t you just love the colour?

How do we Bloom Saffron?

Easy, we crush those little guys in a pestle and mortar first, with an optional tiny pinch of salt or sugar to aid the grinding, then we soak it in water. The salt or sugar helps the grinding process, as the crystals act as little stones. But this is purely optional, you can just grind or pound the saffron pistils on their own.

Do you use sugar or salt to grind saffron? This depends on the recipe you’re using it in. If you’re blooming saffron for desserts like Sholeh Zard, then you can add a pinch of sugar.

But if you’re preparing it for a savoury dish like Zereshk Polo Morgh, then it makes sense to use salt to help with the grinding.

After pounding or grinding the saffron, you soak it in hot water (not boiling) or drop an ice cube on it, whatever your preferred method is.

Saffron threads, dark photo
Saffron pistils

How much Saffron to Use?

This will completely depend on your recipe. But a rough guide is about 1/4 teaspoon or a pinch, as many would call it.

A pinch (or 1/4 teaspoon) of saffron plus 2 Tablespoons of hot water is perfect for many recipes. If I don’t want too much liquid, then I reduce the amount of water to just 1 Tbsp for concentrated liquid saffron.

How long does Bloomed Saffron Keep?

If you’ve made more than you need, store it in an airtight little jar in the fridge. Kept this way, it will last 3 days. But making liquid saffron or bloomed saffron is such an easy job, you don’t really want to make it ahead just to save some time.

As with all spices, its potency is best made fresh.

Recipes Using Liquid Saffron

I have many, many recipes here on LinsFood using saffron, from Middle Eastern to North African to South Asian. Just do a search for saffron in the search bar above. Here are some examples.

Morasa Polow (Persian Jewelled Rice)
The King of all Persian dishes, the Persian Jewelled Rice or Morasa Polow bedazzles the eye with twinkles of red, green, orange and gold. Morasa means jewels.
Last Updated May 2023.
Get the Recipe!
Morasa Polow, Persian Jewelled Rice
Rista Recipe (Kashmiri Meatballs in Saffron Flavoured Red Curry)
Rista is a saffron flavoured Kashmiri dish of mutton meatballs in a thin, non spicy red curry, popularly served in the legendary Kashmiri Wazwaan.
Get the Recipe!
Rista recipe, Kashmiri Meatballs in red sauce

If you enjoy the recipe and article, drop me a comment and let me know. And if you are feeling like a star, don’t forget that 5-star rating!

If you make this recipe, post it on Instagram and tag me @azlinbloor and hashtag it #linsfood.

Lin xx

liquid saffron, bloomed saffron in a white teaspoon resting on a grey mortar

How to make Liquid Saffron (Bloomed Saffron)

How to make Liquid Saffron or Bloomed Saffron at home, an indispensable ingredient in the Persian kitchen, but perfect for all cuisines.
Originally published in 2016. Republished with updated content July 2023.
4.97 from 209 votes
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Course: Ingredients
Cuisine: North African, Persian, South Asian
Keyword: saffron
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 1 minute
Soaking Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 4 for 1 recipe
Calories: 0.02kcal
Author: Azlin Bloor


  • 1 mortar and pestle
  • 1 kettle or something to heat water
  • 1 small bowl
  • 1 tablespoon


  • ¼ tsp saffron pistils
  • 1 small pinch of sugar or salt (optional) just enough to help grind the saffron, read the article above on which to use
  • 2 Tbsp hot water OR (let it boil, then leave it until needed but no more than 10 minutes)
  • 1 ice cube hot water or ice cube, not both


Liquid Saffron with Hot Water

  • Put the kettle on with just a small amount of water. You only need 2 Tbsp. Leave it to cool slightly while you get pounding/grinding.
  • Place the saffron and sugar or salt in the mortar and grind it with the pestle.
  • Add the hot water and leave to soak for 5 minutes.
  • Use in your recipe as required, including any residue.

Liquid Saffron with Ice Cube

  • Place the saffron and sugar or salt in the mortar and grind it with the pestle.
  • When done, drop the ice cube in the mortar and leave it to melt. When melted, you'll get your liquid or bloomed saffron.
  • Use in your recipe as required, including any residue.



Calories: 0.02kcal | Carbohydrates: 0.01g | Sodium: 0.01mg | Potassium: 0.1mg | Vitamin A: 0.03IU | Vitamin C: 0.01mg | Calcium: 0.01mg
Did you make this recipe?Mention @azlinbloor and tag #linsfood!
Made it? Upload your photosMention @azlinbloor and tag #linsfood!

6 thoughts on “How to Bloom Saffron (aka Liquid Saffron)”

  1. 5 stars
    This sounds like a simple recipe that I can make in the comfort of my home.
    I will def try this later.

  2. 5 stars
    Oh my, this looks great and very appealing liquid seasoning! A perfect stuff in every kitchen for our dishes! I’ll definitely make this! Thanks!

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