Persian Saffron Rice Pudding decorated with dried rose buds and rose petals

Persian Saffron Rice Pudding (Sholeh Zard)

  • Author: Azlin Bloor
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 8-10 1x


Persian Saffron Rice Pudding, or Sholeh Zard, is romance in a bowl! No milk or cream, it’s infused with saffron, cardamom and rose water.



  • 200g (1 cup) short grain rice but not risotto rice
  • 1.75 litres (6 1/2 cups) water
  • 400g (2 cups) white sugar
  • 30g (1 oz) salted butter
  • 2 Tbsp liquid saffron, made with a generous pinch of saffron
  • ground seeds of 4 cardamoms
  • 4 Tbsp rose water

Garnish/Decorations (as many or as little as you want)

  • ground cinnamon
  • slivered pistachios and almonds
  • almond flakes
  • whole almonds
  • dried crushed rose petals
  • rose buds
  • edible silver or gold leaf


  1. Rinse the rice a couple of times and drain.
  2. Place the rice in a large saucepan, along with all the water, and bring to a boil on high heat.
  3. When the rice is boiling, give it a quick stir, and reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 hour, if using pudding rice. If using long grain rice, give it another 30 minutes.
  4. Add the sugar, stir to mix, then follow with the butter, saffron and cardamom. Bring back to a boil on medium heat.
  5. When boiling, reduce the heat to low, stir once, then simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. At the end of the 10 minutes, turn the heat off, remove from the hot stove and stir in the rose water.
  7. Serve into serving dishes, leave to cool slightly for 10 minutes, then cover with cling film and chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours, and up to 2 days. The pudding will thicken as it cools.
  8. When you are ready to serve, garnish/decorate as you wish.


Prep time includes about 10 minutes given to garnishing the rice pudding.
Total time does not include cooling and chilling time.

  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Easy
  • Cuisine: Persian

Keywords: persian, dessert, rice, ramadan