One Guide with 6 Economical Saffron Substitute + Spicy Paella Rice Recipe

One Guide with 6 Economical Saffron Substitute + Spicy Paella Rice Recipe

Looking for a saffron equivalent is the only reason, that is BUDGET. Yeah! Saffron is undoubtedly the most expensive spice to have in kitchens.

Because it is so expensive, it is also called the most legendary spice in the world because you only have to pay around $10,000 for one KG of Saffron. Isn’t that too big?

Why is saffron so expensive? Is it because of taste, demand or other reasons? As a result of the research, we learned that the reason was the low yield of saffron. (Saffron Substitute)

“One flower yields only 0.006 grams of saffron, making it an expensive spice.”

So, which economical herbs can be used instead of saffron?

Saffron Substitute or Replacements

When looking for a substitute for saffron, you should consider three things:

  1. saffron flavor
  2. saffron spice
  3. saffron color

One pinch = 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon saffron powder

Available in two forms, thread and powder, it lets you check out all the saffron substitutes:

Saffron Powder Substitute:

Saffron Substitute

Some recommended substitutes for saffron are:

1. Turmeric:

Saffron Substitute

Turmeric, a famous spice, belongs to the ginger family. It is one of the most recommended saffron substitutes and unscrupulous traders sell it as a substitute for real Saffron as it provides a yellowish texture similar to dishes when added. (Saffron Substitute)

Turmeric and Saffron are recommended as substitutes, but they are not that similar.

  • Turmeric and Saffron have different families: Saffron is obtained from the crocus flower family, while Turmeric is obtained from the ginger family.
  • Saffron and Turmeric belong to different regions: Saffron is native to Crete, where Turmeric is an Indian herb.
  • Turmeric and Saffron Have Different Tastes: Saffron flavor is mild and mild, while Turmeric is sharp and harsh than Saffron. (Saffron Substitute)

Therefore, when replacing Turmeric with Saffron, you should consider the amount.

The formula of the famous American Chef Geoffrey Zakaria for a perfect saffron flavor:

Saffron Substitute

did you get it?

Replace saffron with Turmeric for similar taste and texture:

1/4 teaspoon turmeric + 1/2 teaspoon paprika = use 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon Saffron

In addition, the use of turmeric in meals and foodstuffs is quite economical compared to Safran. If you ask the price of turmeric per kilo, for your answer you should know that Turmeric is sold in two forms.

One is in root form and the other in powder form. Turmeric root, also called turmeric rhizome, is purer compared to powder because shopkeepers often contaminate it with food coloring and other additives.

226 grams of Turmeric can be purchased for around $13. (Saffron Substitute)

2. Food Coloring:

If you don’t want to use anything specific but want to achieve a similar flavor, food color can play the best role.

Use two drops of yellow food coloring and one drop of red food coloring to achieve a similar saffron texture and color. (Saffron Substitute)

3. Safflower:

Saffron Substitute

Saffron’s most recommended and third best replacement is safflower. Safflower grass belongs to the daisy family and is mostly used to make safflower oil. (Saffron Substitute)

Did you know: Safflower has more names like Mexican Saffron or Zofran.

However, despite being called Saffron, it is not exactly like the saffron plant.

Safflower spice does not have a sharp taste. But it is recommended to achieve a light yellow and orange texture in the dishes.

Another difference between Safflower and Saffron is that saffron is obtained from the stigma of the flower whereas safflower is derived from the dry petals of chamomile flowers.

Even so, safflower may be the least expensive substitute for saffron because it only costs $4 – $10 per pound. (Saffron Substitute)

How much is Safflower and Saffron?

Use the following formula to change it:

1 Tbsp of Saffron = 1 Tbsp of Safflower

4. Paprika:

Saffron Substitute

Another spice, paprika, is also known as an excellent alternative to saffron. The spice is available in powder form and is derived from the sweeter plant varieties of capsicum annuum.

You can find different combinations of peppers in this herb. It is also an excellent alternative to cayenne pepper.

However, when used instead of saffron, it is mixed with turmeric.

Paprika and Turmeric make the perfect Spanish Paella recipe. The recipe is included in the following sections on this blog.

5. Annatto:

Saffron Substitute

Last but not least, annatto is the cheapest Saffron substitute. Yes, where saffron is the most expensive spice, annatto is one of the most listed, inexpensive spices.

Do you know? Is Annatto known as the poor man’s saffron?

Annatto is actually the seed of the achiote tree and is grown in South and Central America. Annatto is recommended as a saffron substitute for both saffron spice and saffron color.

However, since it is available in seed form, you need to make a few preparations before using it as a substitute. For this,

  • Make powder by grinding
  • or
  • Make dough with oil or water

The taste of annatto is earthy and musky, making it one of the great substitutes for saffron in paella dishes.

6. Marigold flowers:

Saffron Substitute

Marigold is once again a yellow-petaled flower that best replaces the color of Saffron. Marigold belongs to the sunflower family and is native to the Americas.

Because of its fresh yellow texture, it is used as an herb as well as a spice in a number of dishes. Its leaves are dried in the sun or in an oven to make marigold spice.

Did you know: Marigold spice is known as Imaret saffron.

It is used in Georgian dishes for the best sauce formation. Marigold leaves also give a yellow color when dried and poured into dishes. Therefore, it becomes one of the substitutes for good Saffron.

Marigold is the best saffron substitute for soups and rice dishes like paella.

7. DIY saffron substitute By a Web-Surfer:

Saffron Substitute

We haven’t tested this recipe on our own, but we did find it on a random forum where someone had created a saffron substitute that understood the unique formula and herbs.

We believe that all women are wonderful kitchen witches and know how to experiment with herbs and spices.

Therefore, we add it to see if it helps:

Saffron seasoning & color Substitute = ½ TBS lemon juice + ¼ TBS cumin + ¼ TBS chicken stock (powder) + 1 TSP Turmeric

Cooking with Saffron Substitutes:

Here you will find delicious recipes using herbs and spices instead of saffron.

So, let’s start cooking good food without breaking your bank:

1. Paella seasoning recipe:

Saffron Substitute

We believe paella is the most sought after query when it comes to making a saffron substitute recipe.

It must be, because life feels incredible when spicy fresh paella comes out of the pan.

Saffron plays a very important role in making paella rice, so it is absolutely essential. But what if Saffron is not available or you can’t afford it?

Here is the recipe for paella you can make with saffron subs:

Basic Materials You’ll Need:

Rice (Paella or risotto)300 gramsRaw
Chicken breast2 poundsBoneless/chopped
Seafood mix400 gramsFrozen
Olive oil2 tspTo marinate

Herbs & Spices you will need:

Saffron subTurmeric
¼ teaspoon
½ teaspoon
Cayenne Pepper1 tsp or as per tastePowder
Garlic3 – 4 tbsPowder
Black paper1 tspGround
SaltFor tastePowder
Red pepper1 tspCrushed
Oregano2 tspDried
Bay leaf1Leaf
Parsley½ bunchChopped
Thyme1 tspDried
Bell pepper1Chopped

For Cooking:

Olive Oil2 TbspOil
Chicken stock1 quartLiquid

Note: You can use any caraway seed alternative instead of dried thyme.

Tools You Need:

chopper, a medium bowl with an airtight lid, spoons, paella pan, defrosting tray

Step by Step Method:

Before you on the stove,

  1. Marinate the diced chicken in a medium bowl with two tablespoons of olive oil, paprika, thyme, salt and pepper. Cover with an airtight lid and put in the refrigerator.
  2. To thaw frozen seafood, put it in the defrosting tray.
    After that, start cooking,

3. Set the stove heat to medium and place a paella pan on it. Add the rice, garlic and red pepper flakes and continue mixing for three minutes.
4. Add all the other spices with chicken broth and lemon zest and wait for it to boil.
5. After boiling, reduce the heat and cook the casserole for 20 minutes.
During these 20 minutes:

6. Put a pan on medium heat on the other side of the stove. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and stir in the marinated chicken cutlets.
7. After a few minutes add the bell pepper and sausage and let the ingredients cook for 5 minutes.
8. Add the seafood and cook until you see them starting to brown.
Now the last part, the service:

Spread your cooked rice on a serving tray with the seafood and meat mixture as the top layer.


After you try this recipe, don’t forget to comment below how it was cooked with saffron substitute and if you felt anything different in taste.

Also, don’t forget to pin/bookmark and visit our blog for more interesting but original information.

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