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Saffron Substitutes

bonappetit's picture


SaffronSaffron is one of the most exotic spices available, but due to its advantage of storing it for years, it is quite convenient to use over a period of time if purchased once. It can be grounded as fine as you wish and use it in small quantities. Though there is really nothing that can impart exactly the same flavor as saffron, however, you can consider these saffron substitutes to impart color to your food if you ever run out of the spice.


1. Turmeric: it is used to impart golden color to the dishes. It should be avoided in excess as it is considered strong and can dominate the whole flavor. You can add a pinch of turmeric to add some saffron like color to the food.

2. Annatto oil: Mildly heat the mixture of vegetable oil and annatto seeds until it sizzles. Allow the mixture to cool, you can refrigerate the oil or keep it in a bottle for future use. This oil will be dark orange  in color. Adding this oil to the rice while cooking will impart the same yellow golden color.

3. Curry powder: it is a mixture of various spices. It will impart the yellow color to the dishes and will make the food taste spicy. It can be used with nutmeg to enhance sweetness.

4. Paprika: Though it won’t impart the same richness as saffron to the food, it can be a substitute to impart the color and exotic sweet and spicy flavor.

5. Safflower: It is also called Mexican saffron and can be purchased from Mexican grocery market. It is much economical than saffron. It provides the same color however; the taste imparted to the dish is not the same as saffron.

7. Marigold blossoms: these are also used for imparting the yellow color to the food. Though, it cannot compensate to the taste of saffron, it is a fair saffron substitute for imparting the color.


Well, so now you can easily impart that saffron like golden yellow color to your dishes without burning a hole in your pocket. Go on and use these saffron substitutes and boast of being a champion of substitutes.



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invincible.memory's picture
Saffron Substitutes