Yoghurt Chicken With Saffron Rice: Recipe

This yoghurt chicken with saffron rice recipe has become a staple in our household over the years. It is a low effort meal which can be left marinating overnight so when you arrive home after a busy day all you have to do is place it in the oven and relax while it cooks.  I would definitely recommend adding this fragrant, healthy dish into your repertoire. We used to eat it with plain rice until we came back from Iran and were inspired to add saffron to the rice. It’s super tasty with plain rice, but the saffron elevates things to another level.

yoghurt chicken saffron rice recipe

Marinating Time: 2-6 hours        /          Cooking Time: 45 minutes         /         Serves: 4-6


  • 1kg chicken thigh fillets
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 4g cumin seeds
  • 2g coriander seeds
  • 40ml lemon juice
  • ½ brown onion
  • 500g unsweetened natural yoghurt
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 5 saffron threads
  • sprinkle of smoked paprika
  • 5g fresh coriander leaves



  1. Heat up a dry frying pan.
  2. Once the pan is hot, add the cumin and coriander seeds.
  3. Toast the spices for 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat and crush the spices in a pestle and mortar.
  5. In a large bowl add the crushed spices, garlic, lemon juice, 400g of yoghurt, chicken, sprinkle of paprika and onion.
  6. Cover the bowl with cling film and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. For best results marinate overnight.
  7. Preheat the oven to 200°C fan forced.
  8. Transfer the contents of the bowl into a lined baking tray and bake for 40-45 minutes.
  9. At the same time place the rice and saffron into a rice cooker. Cook as per the manufacturers instructions.
  10. Remove the chicken from the baking tray. Add the remaining yoghurt and mix well.
  11. Serve the chicken on the saffron rice with a scoop of the yoghurt sauce and scatter with fresh coriander leaves.


I would generally recommend marinating the chicken the night before. That way when you get home from work all you have to do is put the oven and rice cooker on and dinner is ready in 40 minutes.



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