Grilled to perfection, this saffron chicken is the juiciest chicken you will eat. Deceptively easy to make, serve it with a delicious green sauce for the ultimate dinner.
We love cooking with chicken.
Why this recipe works
- Takes 20 minutes to cook. Marinate the chicken a few hours in advance and this takes barely any time to cook!
- High-protein and healthy. Grilling chicken is one of the healthiest and most delicious ways to cook it. The addition of Greek yogurt adds extra protein, too!
- Pairs with a range of dishes. This is a very versatile dish. You can serve it with rice, roasted vegetables, fresh salads, and pasta, as well as use it to make sandwiches and wraps.
What I love about this saffron-marinated chicken is just how fancy it tastes! Honestly, this is the kind of chicken dish I’d expect at restaurants!
Besides the saffron and chicken, there really isn’t much else that goes into this recipe. Here is what you’ll need:
- Saffron. Saffron is the main ingredient of this dish. It is very mild yet fragrant. I use saffron threads for this grilled chicken recipe to give the chicken an appetizing golden look and a delicate floral aroma.
- Chicken. I prefer using a mix of different chicken cuts for this recipe, including skin-on thighs, drumsticks, and legs. Feel free to solely use chicken breasts.
- Yogurt. The yogurt-based marinade tenderizes the chicken gently and effectively. Yogurt also gives the chicken a nice tangy flavor.
- Garlic. Using garlic to add extra flavor to chicken is always a good idea. Use fresh minced garlic in the yogurt marinade.
- Lemon juice. Use freshly squeezed lemon juice to further tenderize the chicken and make it flavorful.
- Butter. Saffron-flavored melted butter to make the grilled chicken extra juicy.
- Water. You will need warm water to steep the saffron.
- Salt and pepper. To taste.
- Cilantro. Chopped cilantro to sprinkle over the chicken before serving it.
How to make saffron chicken
Simple is an understatement for this recipe. Besides marinating the chicken, there isn’t very much hands-on time whatsoever.
Step 1- Steep the saffron
Combine ½ teaspoon of saffron with a tablespoon of warm water and let it steep for 10 minutes.
Step 2 – Marinate the chicken
For the marinade combine the yogurt, minced garlic, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to the steeped saffron.
Add this mixture to the chicken pieces and mix well. Cover and refrigerate overnight giving the chicken a good mix several times.
Step 3 – Grill the chicken
Preheat the grill to medium heat and grease it generously. Remove the excess marinade from the chicken pieces and place them on the grill.
Cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Flip the chicken a few times to get it evenly charred on all sides or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees.
Step 4 – Brush with saffron butter and serve
Whisk melted butter with the remaining saffron. Brush it on the grilled chicken pieces while they are hot. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve.
Tips to make the best recipe
- Make mini kebabs on skewers. Cut the chicken into even pieces and thread them onto skewers.
- Use high-quality saffron. Only high-quality saffron threads will provide the color, aroma, and subtle floral flavor that makes this dish unique.
- Don’t cook on high heat. Grilling chicken on high heat will burn it on the outside while leaving it raw inside. Cooking the chicken on medium heat allows you to achieve a safe internal temperature and an all-over golden look.
- Use leftover marinade as a sauce. The unused yogurt marinade can also be served as a sauce for the saffron chicken that is already cooked.
- To store: Store leftover saffron chicken in the fridge in an airtight container. The grilled chicken lasts up to 2 days in the fridge.
- To freeze: Place the cooked and cooled chicken in a shallow container and store it in the freezer for up to 6 months.
- To reheat: Reheat leftovers in a covered pan over medium heat, flipping the pieces a few times to get them evenly heated. You can also reheat the chicken in the oven or in the microwave.
More chicken recipes to try
- Air fryer chicken breast
- Butter chicken
- Garlic parmesan wings
- Stuffed chicken breast
- Black pepper chicken
Frequently asked questions
You can use saffron threads for cooking so long as you steep them in a warm liquid. Steeping saffron threads in warm water, milk, or white wine is essential for drawing out their color and flavor and making a dish that has a distinct saffron aroma.
Saffron Chicken | Cooks In Just 20 Minutes
- In a large bowl, combine ½ teaspoon of the saffron with warm water. Let it stand for 5 minutes.
- Add in the yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper, and mix until combined.
- Add the chicken and mix very well, until all the chicken is well coated.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or overnight, if possible.
- Preheat a hot grill to medium heat and grease generously.
- Remove the excess marinade from the chicken. Place them on the grill, and cook for 15 minutes, turning once or twice, or until the chicken reaches an internal temp of 165F.
- Once the chicken is grilled, whisk together the melted butter with the remaining ¼ teaspoon of saffron. Brush over the grilled chicken pieces.