Saffron is a vivid, red, thread-like spice typically used to season and color foods. Harvesting saffron takes a lot of physical effort to get the flowers from the fields to the final destination. One acre and 75,000 flowers, which hold the saffron thread, only produce one pound of the final product. These flowers also only bloom one week per year. All of these factors, combined with the distinctive flavor, smell and color make Saffron the most expensive spice in the world.
Substitute for Saffron
Saffron is such a rare and unique spice, that it is hard to find a substitute that will have all of the same qualities of the pricier version - another reason why it’s so irresistible. One of the most loved aspects of saffron is the bright yellow color it gives to dishes, commonly seen in paella or Spanish rice. To add a bit of saffron color to dishes in a pinch you can use:
- Sweet paprika
Common Saffron Substitution Questions
What is a Good Substitute for Saffron in Paella
Turmeric is usually used in place of saffron in Paella when the traditional saffron threads aren’t used. Although the flavors are not the same - turmeric being much more bold and peppery - the turmeric will provide the traditional yellow color found in paella.
How Much Turmeric Do I Use in Place of Saffron?
You can use ¼ teaspoon of turmeric with ½ teaspoon of paprika to achieve a close color and taste combination to one large pinch of saffron.
What Does Saffron Taste Like?
Saffron has a sweet, lightly floral essence to it. It’s both earthy and complex, making it an incredibly unique experience.