Sholleh Zard or sweet yellow rice pudding

I’d forgotten how delicious Sholleh Zard is but was reminded at a Norooz gathering last weekend and I  thought I’d make it and share the recipe with you.

Sholleh  Zard is a bright yellow sweet rice pudding and everywhere in the world seems to have their own versions. In Iran it is made with zaafaran and rose-water and best eaten cold although some regions in Iran like to serve it warm. The ingredients are a wonderful blend of flavors that is typically Persian and will lift your spirits.

Here is a very simple recipe which serves 6-8 people.

Sholleh  Zard


  • 1 cup of basmati rice ( you can use any rice)
  • 6 cups of water
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup of rose-water
  • 1.5  or 2 cups of sugar
  • 250 gr’s of butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon of saffron
  • 3/4 cup of sliced almonds
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cardamom ( optional)
  • Pistachios to garnish


  1. Grind the saffron with a little sugar and dissolve  in about 50 ml’s of hot water. Cover and leave to stand, stir occasionally.
  2. Rinse the rice under cold water under the water runs clear.
  3. Bring the 6 cups of water to the boil, add a pinch of salt and then add the rice.
  4. Cook the rice on a low to medium heat until the water has evaporated and the rice becomes mushy. You will need to stir occasionally to avoid any burning. This might take between 45 mins to  an hour.
  5. Remove from the heat and stir in the saffron, rose-water, sugar almonds and cardamom.
  6. Return to the lowest heat setting you can, cover and leave to simmer for about another 45 mins or until the pudding is thick and creamy and coats the back of a spoon.
  7. Stir it occasionally and you may need to add more water as you go.
  • You can continue to cook until the rice becomes completely smooth but we like ours with a little form.

To serve:

Pour into your serving dish, usually a shallow bowl or into individual bowls if preferred and allow to cool. Garnish with cinnamon and pistachios before serving.

Sholleh Zard should be stored in the fridge and can be kept for between 4 -6 days.


11 thoughts on “Sholleh Zard or sweet yellow rice pudding

    1. Hi Asiajo Sholleh zard is unforgetable! Once bitten forever smitten. Seriously rose-water is very very yummy and at the same time it does you good too. Persian food either hot or cold and rose-water is hot which means it speeds up your metabolism and thickens your blood!Thanks for your comment Javane 🙂

  1. Thanks for the explanation … I saw rose water once in Morocco but didn’t buy it because I didn’t know what to use it for … now I regret … Your cooking sounds very interesting!

    1. Your welcome but no worries you can buy rose-water from any middle eastern grocery store or Indian store. It’s not expensive and kepps well. I will have to put some more recipes using rose water on the site 🙂

  2. I will be trying the rice pudding,
    very soon,
    i also have coeliac disease,so will be looking up more of your gluten free recipes,

  3. You chain me to memories of the past when I learned the noble spirit of Persia by other Baha’i friends. Thank you for your service, Javane. Yours, Gunter

  4. Dear Miss Javane,

    I had two questions about this great rice puddings recipe. I am an poor Student who just started with cooking food instead of buying it. I am going to make this dish during my birthday, so I like to do some experiments first. But then I realized that 1 cup will not be enough for a group. My first question is, what if I use 3 or 4 cups of rice, should I just triple/Quadruple all the ingredients also? What are your experiences with making it for a group and increasing the quantity of ingredients?

    My second question is regarding the butter. In the ingredients list, the butter (250gr) is mentioned, but not in the method of when to use it in the process.

    There are also two kind of solid butters; one you can use on your sandwich and another one that is a block and u use it for baking a piece of meat in a frying pan. 250gr is one big solid block, so I just wanted to know I am using the right one and in right quantity.
    You can reply at your earliest convenience and I would be very grateful to you if you did.

    Kind regards,


    1. Thanks for your comment. Yes if you double the rice, double all the other ingredients too. This recipe will make enough for up to 10 small portions. It is very sweet as you may know and ppl will only want a small taste. Re the butter …. ooppps!! Thanks for spotting that. Firstly use any butter but not margerine or dairy spreads. Then add the butter when you are cooking the rice. And yes this is too much!!! please use a desert spoon. Hope this helps 🙂

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