FREE Delivery in US, Canada on orders above 150 USD!

Saffron-Infused Roast Chicken with Dried Fruit Stuffing

saffron chicken

There's something universally comforting and lavish about enjoying a whole roasted chicken, a tradition that spans across cultures. Once a rare treat reserved for special occasions, roast chicken has evolved into a more casual meal, yet in Iranian cuisine, a saffron-roasted chicken, especially when stuffed, retains an air of elegance and celebration.


  • 1 whole chicken (1.8 kg), cleaned
  • 1.5 tbsp salt
  • 1 lemon, halved


  • 1 cup prunes, pitted
  • 0.5 cup dried apricots, halved
  • 2/3 cup dried barberries or cranberries
  • 30g butter
  • 2/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • ⅓ cup golden sultanas (optional)
  • 1 tsp sugar (for barberries)
  • 2 tbsp golden onion
  • 2 tbsp saffron infusion
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 0.25 tsp black pepper

Saffron Butter:

  • 100g butter
  • 3 tbsp saffron infusion
  • 1.5 tsp salt

Saffron Infusion Preparation

Saffron, a defining element of Iranian cooking, is best used when infused in warm water. Avoid using saffron threads dry. To prepare, grind the saffron strands with a pinch of sugar. Add this to hot (not boiling) water and let it brew covered for at least 10 minutes. This method unlocks saffron's full flavor and color potential. You can store the infusion in the fridge for up to 5 days.

  • 0.5 tsp saffron threads
  • A pinch of sugar

Grind saffron with sugar, add hot (not boiling) water, and let it brew for 10 minutes. Store any leftover infusion in the fridge.

This recipe not only provides a succulent feast but also a connection to cultural heritage and family traditions, embodying the essence of Iranian culinary art.

Golden Onion Preparation

The golden onion, a staple in Iranian cuisine, is more than just a simple sautéed onion. It's a foundation and garnish in many dishes, requiring careful preparation. The onions should be sliced, not diced, and fried in a single layer in hot oil until they turn golden. Use an oil with a high smoke point, like sunflower or peanut oil. Remember, one medium onion yields about 1 tablespoon of fried golden onion. It's best to prepare a large batch, as it can be stored in the fridge or frozen for future use.

  • Oil for frying
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 0.25 tsp ground turmeric

Fry sliced onions in hot oil until golden, stirring in turmeric towards the end. Store in the fridge or freeze.

Saffron Roast Chicken Preparation:

  • Pat the chicken dry and season with salt and lemon juice inside the cavity, leaving it in the fridge (uncovered) for several hours or overnight.
  • Bring the chicken to room temperature before cooking. Remove the lemon.
  • For the stuffing, soak the dried fruits in water, then sauté in butter with walnuts, sultanas, golden onion, saffron infusion, salt, and pepper.
  • Preheat the oven to 220°C. Prepare the saffron butter by mixing melted butter, saffron infusion, and salt.
  • Make deep incisions in the chicken legs for even cooking. Carefully separate the skin from the meat and stuff the cavity with half of the fruit mixture.
  • Tie the legs, place in a baking dish, and brush with saffron butter.
  • Roast for 1 hour 20 minutes, basting every 30 minutes.
  • Let the chicken rest before serving. Heat the remaining stuffing with some of the juices and serve as a garnish.

This saffron roast chicken recipe transcends the boundaries of a mere culinary delight, weaving a rich tapestry of cultural heritage, familial bonds, and gastronomic artistry. It's not just about the harmonious blend of flavors and textures, but also about the stories and traditions that come alive with every bite.

Whether it graces your table for a special occasion or serves as a comforting weekend meal, this dish is a testament to the timeless beauty of sharing a meal with loved ones, carrying with it the essence of Iranian cuisine and the warmth of family gatherings. Let each mouthful be a journey through history and a celebration of togetherness, making every dining experience a cherished memory.