Saffron Rice Pudding – An Aromatic Twist On A Traditional Recipe

Saffron Rice Pudding – An Aromatic Twist On A Traditional Recipe

Saffron rice pudding? Are you mad? Pure Notions! 

Pure notions is absolutely right and I do acknowledge that tis far from saffron rice pudding we were all raised. But sometimes, you just have to look at tradition, shake it up a bit, dust it off and give it a bit of a glow up. 

For the last year or so, I’ve been on a mission. I love rice pudding you see but there are so many recipes out there, I’ve always been disappointed when making at home. So I’ve been trying a new recipe every 6 weeks or so. Some of these recipes included ingredients like cream, double cream and butter. In the end, the recipe that works for me is a mix of a few I found and tested and I’m hoping you will enjoy it as much as I do. 

I suppose you could serve this saffron rice pudding with a bit of jam on the side as per the tradition but that’s not for me. You could even sprinkle some sugar and torch it for a bit of a brûlé effect but really, that doesn’t do it for me either. 

The reason why this particular saffron rice pudding recipe works for me is quite simple. I used pudding rice which is not overly glutinous. I rinsed it well to take a lot of the starch away. This means the grains form a mass but are not stuck together. The pudding is gently moist without the heaviness and sometimes greasiness butter and cream can add to the dish. 

The milk in Ireland is so full of grassy flavour that I prefer not to use vanilla in this dessert. Dairy cows in Ireland are mainly grass fed and due to our wonderful rainy weather, the grass itself is plentiful, this, in turn, means our milk is of the highest possible quality. This really comes through in simple dairy based dishes like this saffron rice pudding. 

Cows in Ireland -

What kind of rice should you be using I hear you ask? Well, this is taste dependent. Here are some thoughts on the different varieties you could potentially use. 

Long grain rice: the thinner the grain the less sticky the rice is. So if you’re after a non glutinous pudding with separate grains of rice, this one is your guy. 

Short grain rice: we’re talking arborio rice, pudding rice, which are short, rounder grains. They tend to be a stickier variety. 

As I love sticky rice, I elected to make this saffron rice pudding with good old pudding rice. 

Saffron Rice Pudding - Properfood (1) (1)



  • 200 g of rice
  • 100 g of sugar
  • 1.5 l of whole (full fat) milk
  • 1 pinch of saffron
  • 1 green cardamom pod (which you will crush to a powder)



  • Preheat the oven to 150 C
  • Grease the oven dish with a bit of butter.
  • Rinse the rice well under cold water and put in the oven dish. Top it with all the ingredients and give it a gentle stir or two to spread the sugar. 
  • Cook it for two hours or until the top is golden (I love the skin but if you don’t, just remove it and place some parchment paper on the top while it cools down so that it doesn’t reform). 

Saffron Rice Pudding - Properfood (2) (1)

If you have a bit of saffron left over after this dish, here are other recipes you may consider: 

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