Saffron Roast Chicken

Nicole Enayati

1 ½ hours

Serves 8-10

Saffron Roast Chicken

Saffron Roast Chicken | Photographer: Armando Rafael. Food Stylist: Judy Haubert

Podcast host and Youtuber Nicole Enayati is a very experienced Shabbat dinner guest. But, host? That’s something new for her. When she cooked her Shabbat dinner for her and her husband’s Persian families, the pressure was on. But, as she served this chicken, rice, and a shirazi salad, her guests beamed with pride. 

The recipe is simple to make, but be sure to buy good quality saffron and serve the chicken with rice to soak up the juices. 

Read more about Nicole’s family in “When an Expert Guest Finally Hosts Her First Persian Shabbat Dinner” on the Jewish Food Society’s archive. And find our favorite Rosh Hashanah recipes here.


3 teaspoons good quality saffron, freshly ground

2-3 ice cubes

2 chickens (4-6 pounds each), patted dry with paper towels 

¼ cup grapeseed oil 

Juice of 3 limes 

Juice and zest of 2 lemons 

1 teaspoon salt per pound of chicken

2 teaspoons garlic powder 

¼ teaspoon ground pepper 

  1. reheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. In a small bowl, add 2-3 ice cubes to the ground saffron. Let the ice cubes melt completely over the spice to bloom it. 
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the bloomed saffron water, grapeseed oil, citrus zest and juices, salt, garlic powder, and pepper. Use a brush to generously cover both chickens with marinade, including the cavities.
  4. Truss the chicken legs with twine and set onto a large, parchment-lined baking dish breast-side up. 
  5. Tuck into the oven and roast for 1 hour 15 minutes, basting with the juices every 20 minutes or so.
  6. When fully cooked, remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before carving. Serve immediately.