Sweet Persian Delight: Sholeh-Zard Recipe

Are you in search of a dessert that is both exotic and comforting? Then look no further than Sholeh-Zard, the beloved Persian saffron rice pudding also known as “yellow pudding”.

Sholeh-Zard is a staple of Iranian cuisine, served at almost every family gathering and special occasion. Traditionally made with three distinct ingredients – saffron, cardamom, and rosewater – this dessert has a nuanced flavor profile that will transport your taste buds to the bustling streets of Tehran.

But don’t be intimidated by its cultural significance – this recipe is simple to make and requires only a handful of ingredients. In fact, you likely already have most of them in your pantry. And the best part? Sholeh-Zard is ultra-comforting; a perfect addition to your holiday menu or just a cozy night in.

So let’s get cooking! Join me as I guide you through the steps to prepare this delectable dessert that will add an international flair to your culinary repertoire.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Sholeh-Zard (Persian/Iranian Dessert)
Sholeh-Zard (Persian/Iranian Dessert)

Sholeh-Zard, also known as Persian saffron rice pudding, is one of the most beloved desserts in Iran. This sweet and aromatic dish is not only incredibly delicious but also simple to make. If you’re a dessert lover like me, then you will absolutely adore this recipe.

Firstly, the subtle yet unmistakable flavors of saffron, rosewater, and cardamom will leave you with an unforgettable taste that lingers long after your last bite. The traditional Persian recipe calls for 2 cups of granulated sugar and 1 cup of jasmine rice, which means it’s the perfect balance of sweet and savory.

Secondly, it’s an incredibly versatile dish that can be served cold or warm depending on your preference. You can even add a generous sprinkle of cinnamon or top it off with chopped pistachios to elevate the flavors and presentation of this dish.

Lastly, Sholeh-Zard makes for a great choice for any dinner party or special occasion. Its vibrant yellow color is bright enough to attract attention while its smooth and silky texture is sure to make any guest wanting more.

In conclusion, if you’re in search of a new dessert experience to wow your friends and family or just love exploring the world’s cuisines from your own home, Sholeh-Zard should definitely be your next recipe on the list.

Ingredient List

 First batch of saffron threads in a hot pot
First batch of saffron threads in a hot pot

Here are the ingredients you will need to make Sholeh-Zard.

  • 1 cup of jasmine rice
  • 2 cups of granulated sugar
  • 8 cups of water
  • 1 teaspoon of ground saffron
  • 4 cups of rose water
  • Pistachios for topping (optional)

Note: For this recipe, it is best to use high-quality saffron and rose water to achieve the authentic Persian taste. You can find them in specialty stores or online.

The Recipe How-To

 Watching the starchy basmati rice turn into golden silk
Watching the starchy basmati rice turn into golden silk

Now that you have gathered all the ingredients, let’s get started with making the sholeh-zard!


  1. Rinse the rice until the water runs clear and then drain it.
  2. In a pot, bring 8 cups of water to a boil and then add the rinsed rice.
  3. Cook rice at medium heat for 15 minutes, then discard the water and rinse again.
  4. In a different pot, dissolve 2 cups of sugar in 8 cups of water over medium heat.
  5. Add the cooked rice to the sugar-water mixture and return to medium heat.
  6. Stir frequently for 10-15 minutes or until mixture thickens to a pudding consistency.
  7. Meanwhile, take a small bowl and grind 1 teaspoon of saffron. Add 2 tablespoons of hot water to it and let it steep for 3-5 minutes.
  8. Mix in the saffron mixture while stirring constantly.
  9. Add 1/4 cup of rosewater to the pot along with 1 teaspoon of cardamom and continue stirring for another minute or two until all ingredients are well incorporated.
  10. Now place your sholeh-zard in serving bowls and let it cool down to room temperature before garnishing with chopped pistachios, cinnamon, or extra saffron strands.

And voila! Your creamy and luscious Persian rice pudding called sholeh-zard is ready to devour.

Substitutions and Variations

 Honey-sweet and saffron-infused - a perfect match in Sholeh-Zard
Honey-sweet and saffron-infused – a perfect match in Sholeh-Zard

Sholeh-Zard is a traditional Persian dessert that can be adjusted to fit your personal tastes. Here are some substitutions and variations that you can consider:

– Rice: You can use basmati rice or any other long-grain rice instead of jasmine rice. However, jasmine rice tends to have a delicate flavor that complements saffron and rosewater perfectly.

– Saffron: If you cannot access saffron or find it too expensive, you can use turmeric instead. While turmeric does not have the same flavor profile as saffron, it imparts a similar yellow color.

– Rosewater: Instead of rosewater, you can use orange blossom water or vanilla extract. Both ingredients lend their own unique flavor notes to this dish.

– Nuts: Besides pistachios, you can use slivered almonds or chopped walnuts. They add crunch and texture to the soft and creamy pudding.

– Sugar: You can use honey or maple syrup instead of granulated sugar for a more natural sweetener. Just remember that they will alter the taste and consistency slightly compared to using granulated sugar.

– Toppings and Garnishes: Besides adding pistachios to the top of the dish, you can also add pomegranate seeds, dried rose petals, or even shredded coconut for an added visual appeal.

These alternatives give the dish a unique twist and bring new flavors to the table while maintaining its original essence. Feel free to experiment with these substitutions to create a Sholeh-Zard recipe that is uniquely yours.

Serving and Pairing

 Melt-in-your-mouth goodness sprinkled with cinnamon
Melt-in-your-mouth goodness sprinkled with cinnamon

Once you’ve made your delicious Sholeh-Zard, it’s time to think about the serving and pairing. This Persian rice pudding is a filling dessert that is perfect for any occasion. Here are some tips on how to serve and pair this yellow pudding.

First off, I recommend serving Sholeh-Zard chilled or at room temperature. Traditionally, it is served in small bowls garnished with sliced pistachios, rose petals or cinnamon powder. The contrast of the crunchy pistachios with the creamy rice pudding is a delightful surprise in every bite.

Another way to serve Sholeh-Zard is as a part of a dessert platter with other Persian sweets or fruits such as baklava, sesame brittle or pomegranates. This pairing gives your guests options to choose from and makes for an impressive presentation.

To balance out the sweetness of Sholeh-Zard, I suggest pairing it with a warm glass of black tea with mint, saffron infused tea or even an espresso. The bitterness of the hot beverage complements the sweetness of the pudding and brings complementary flavors together.

Lastly, this saffron rice pudding can be enjoyed all year round but is especially comforting during fall and winter months. Serve it after a hearty meal to bring a little bit of sunshine into your day.

In conclusion, don’t underestimate the importance of serving and pairing when it comes to enjoying this delicious Persian rice pudding. With these tips in mind, your dining experience will be complete with every bite.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Can't wait to taste my delicious Persian dessert
Can’t wait to taste my delicious Persian dessert

My Sholeh-Zard recipe is a perfect make-ahead dessert as it can be stored in the refrigerator for several days. To store, let the pudding cool completely to room temperature and then transfer it into an airtight container. Before storing, add a layer of plastic wrap on top of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming.

When you’re ready to serve the Sholeh-Zard, just take it out of the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes to bring it back to its original consistency. You may also add a splash of milk to make it creamier.

You can also reheat the Sholeh-Zard if desired. Just place it in a saucepan and add a splash of milk or water to loosen it up. Stir continuously over low heat until heated through, being careful not to boil or overheat the pudding which can cause it to curdle or separate.

This dessert is also perfect for serving at potlucks or dinner parties because you can easily double or triple the recipe without sacrificing quality or taste. Again, refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container, and reheat accordingly before serving again.

With these storage and reheating tips you can enjoy your leftover Sholeh-Zard for days without any worry of spoilage or loss of flavor.

Tips for Perfect Results

 An important tip - don't forget to stir frequently while cooking
An important tip – don’t forget to stir frequently while cooking

When it comes to making sholeh-zard, attention to detail is key in achieving a perfectly creamy texture and a wonderfully aromatic dessert. Here are some tips that will help you get the most out of your recipe:

Firstly, it is best to use high-quality saffron threads that have a deep red color and a strong aroma. Moreover, always steep them in hot water for at least 30 minutes before adding them to the rice pudding. This way, their flavor and color will infuse well into the dessert.

Secondly, rinse the rice in cold water several times until the water runs clear before boiling it. This ensures that any excess starch is removed from the rice grains and they will cook evenly. Use jasmine rice for best results.

Thirdly, keep an eye on the rice pudding while it’s cooking, making sure to stir frequently so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot. A non-stick pot is ideal for this recipe.

Fourthly, avoid adding the sugar before the rice is fully cooked. Doing so can alter its consistency and make it mushy.

Lastly, let the sholeh-zard cool down to room temperature before adding rosewater and other flavorings such as ground cinnamon or cardamom powder. If you add these ingredients while the pudding is still hot, their aroma and taste will be lost due to the heat.

By following these tips, you will be able to make a heavenly sweet treat that will delight your taste buds with every spoonful of saffron-infused yellow pudding called sholeh zard!


As you prepare to make this delightful Sholeh-Zard recipe, you might have some questions running through your mind. Below are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) that will give you a better understanding of the recipe and ensure that you achieve perfect results every time you make it. Take a look at them before getting started; they may answer any questions or concerns that you have.

What is Shole Zard made of?

Sholeh Zard, a Persian rice pudding, highlights three key ingredients- saffron, cardamom, and rosewater- that create a unique combination of delicate and aromatic flavors that are hard to resist.

What is the translation of sholeh zard?

The dish called Sholeh Zard, which I will be sharing today, gets its name from the Farsi language and translates to “yellow pudding.”

Bottom Line

In conclusion, Sholeh-Zard or Persian Saffron Rice Pudding is a magnificent dessert that you won’t regret making. With its rich and bold flavors, this traditional Iranian dessert will satisfy your sweet tooth and leave you wanting more. Its three distinct ingredients, saffron, cardamom, and rosewater, come together to create an otherworldly taste that is hard to resist. Not only is this dessert delicious, but it’s also easy to make and involves simple ingredients that are easily accessible.

With minimal effort and just a few steps, you can easily recreate this classic dish in the comfort of your own kitchen. So take the leap and try making Sholeh-Zard today. This alluring gold-colored pudding is guaranteed to impress your friends and family at your next dinner party or celebration. Trust us when we say that you won’t be disappointed with the incredible taste of this Persian delicacy.

So give it a try and savor the velvety texture of the rice and the interplay of saffron, cardamom, cinnamon, pistachios, rose water and sugar in every spoonful. This recipe has so much potential for customization that you’ll never get tired of making it. The aroma of this heavenly dessert will linger on long after the last bite has been savored, enticing your tastebuds for more.

Without a doubt, Sholeh-Zard deserves its place among the pantheon of Persian sweets as one of its most popular recipes. Once you make it yourself, you will see why it is such a popular dessert in Iran and among lovers of Middle Eastern cuisine. Try it out today – and don’t forget to share the joy (and recipe) with others!

Sholeh-Zard (Persian/Iranian Dessert)

Sholeh-Zard (Persian/Iranian Dessert) Recipe

Very delicious dessert.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 2 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Persian/Iranian
Calories 1846.9 kcal


  • 500 g rice
  • 1 kg sugar
  • cooking oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron
  • 1/2 cup rose water
  • pistachios, crushed
  • almonds, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon


  • Wash rice a few times until the water is clear, then drain.
  • Add six times water and bring to a boil, removing the foam.
  • When rice softens completely, add sugar and stir well.
  • Dissolve saffron in half a cup of hot water and add to the mix.
  • Heat up oil and also add to the mix.
  • Add in most of the almonds and the rosewater.
  • Stir well and cover.
  • Cook in oven at low temperature for half an hour.
  • Serve with pistachio, almond and cinnamon sprinkled on top.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 501gCalories: 1846.9kcalCarbohydrates: 443.9gProtein: 16.1gFat: 1.4gSaturated Fat: 0.4gSodium: 5.1mgFiber: 3.8gSugar: 249.5g
Keyword < 60 Mins, Asian, Dessert, Easy, Middle Eastern
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