A common way of buying saffron in Sweden is to buy it pre-ground in bags of 0.5 grams.

Most saffron rice recipes use "threads" or "strands" which is pretty much useless for me.

What's a good saffron/rice ratio, in grams/deciliter?

  • 2
    For what recipe? I hate to say it, but the ground saffron I've run into isn't worth using, I hope you have a better experience!
    – GdD
    Commented Nov 14, 2019 at 20:42
  • what you're making would also affect how much you use. (and if you're using anything with a strong flavor, just leave out the saffron -- it's a waste if it's going to be buried under some other flavor). I don't know what the grams to strands conversion ratio is, but related : cooking.stackexchange.com/q/17057/67
    – Joe
    Commented Nov 14, 2019 at 21:22

4 Answers 4


A quick search does not really give a good answer to your question

For example, one recipe calls for 2 pinch of saffron for 2 cups of (dry) rice; another 3/4 tea spoon of crumble saffron for 3 cups of rice.

Have a looksie at this wikihow page.

In any case, I would highly suggest you try to find either Spanish or Iranian saffron, and if possible not pre-grounded.

And skip whatever cheap substitute you will find.


I would be surprised if you find a precise enough scale to be useful in measuring saffron in a kitchen. A half gram of unground saffron will contain dozens if not hundreds of threads, and while ground saffron is less potent, it should still not require very much, so a pinch is probably roughly equivalent to a few strands.

  • I'm actually considering getting a precision scale. Commented Nov 22, 2019 at 21:45

In my quick test, one thread of saffron weighed about half a microgram on average. When making one cup (4.5 dL) of dry rice I’d generally use about ten threads. So, approximately one microgram per deciliter. Obviously this is not a practical quantity to measure with standard kitchen equipment.

One could go from there and try to get a volume ratio. The thing is, though, pre-powdered saffron is likely to be of wildly varying (though never high) quality. So I’d say, you really need to experiment with your particular brand to find a ratio that gives you your preferred aroma and color.

FWIW I never weigh or even count my strands (well, other than just now). I just know what size pinch to use.


Max's answer of 2 pinches saffron to 2 cups dry rice is perfect AND precise IMO.

Perfect, because in my 40+ years of making risotto, I have settled on that same amount of saffron. Precise because the recipe calls for 2 pinches. A pinch is 1/16 tsp, (dash = 1/8 tsp), and we use a dash for two cups of arborro rice, therefore 2 pinch or 1 dash just like the recipe suggests.

(This pertains to ground saffron, of course, not threads)


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