Saffron Cookies

Saffron Cookies Shortbread in Small Bowl

Saffron cookies are an unexpected morsel. The earthy, unique flavor of saffron is surrounded in a familiar butter cookie for a deliciously balanced recipe.

As much as we love cookies in our household, my husband is very faithful to the classic chocolate chip cookie (even fun mini chocolate chip cookies). And as I say time and time again, we think our homemade version is the best, so I can understand why he reverts to his favorite.

But sometimes his loyalty stifles my creativity because I know he won’t help me eat as many cookies as I’d like! But in the name of variety and experimentation, I do try new recipes here and there.

Hence a return to these saffron cookies that are deliciously unique and unexpected while comforting all at the same time!

Saffron Cookies in Small Bowl with Espresso

Saffron Cookies

Another exciting thing about this saffron recipe is that now we have a second recipe that calls for saffron. I love a good paella, but it’s a bit of an undertaking, so it’s not on my normal rotation in any way shape or form.

Instead of going full force with paella, however, you can add some saffron, dried thyme, salt, and pepper into your rice dish one night for a fun twist on a household favorite!

And then use more of the saffron in a tasty afternoon morsel or after dinner treat!

Saffron Cookies Recipe - Dessert

Where to buy saffron

Saffron can be very expensive, but Trader Joe’s sells a small vial of it (the amount called for in this recipe in fact) for $6. Since you probably already have the flour, butter, and sugar, and possibly the orange juice, it’s worth the splurge!

If you’ve never smelled or tasted saffron before, these cookies might taste a little funny at first. The saffron flavor is mild. So mild, in fact, that you might not even be able to tell that it’s what you’re tasting (besides the delicious butter cookie of course).

But as you make your way through the first cookie, and then, inevitably, the second, you’ll learn to have a better knowledge of saffron’s true flavor and you’ll have fewer and fewer cookies you have to share with friends. It’s the price to pay for unique deliciousness!

Why is Saffron good for you?

If you haven’t heard, saffron is actually a great thing to have in your diet. The flower stigma are high in antioxidants and studies are showing its positive effects on mood, memory, and even pms symptoms.

I’m slowly learning more about what herbs and spices are just so good for your health and trying to incorporate them more into our foods. While I might recommend a high-quality saffron supplement rather than eating your fair share of saffron cookies to regularly reap the benefits, I’m not saying there isn’t some goodness to enjoy both ways!

Saffron Shortbread

If you love cookies as much as we do, you love these peanut butter granola cookies, muesli cookieskey lime cookies, crispy sugar cookies, and pistachio & matcha cookies!

Saffron Cookies in Small Bowl with Espresso
Print Recipe
4.91 from 10 votes


I'm fairly convinced all shortbread cookies are delicious. This fun twist on a traditional cookie with flavorful saffron is just an easy way to take your traditional butter cookie and turn it into an experience! You'll love the flavors in these saffron cookies.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Total Time50 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cookies, dessert, holidays
Servings: 36
Calories: 65kcal
Author: Luci Petlack


  • ¾ Cup salted butter softened
  • ¼ Cup sugar
  • 2 Cups flour
  • .70 grams/.02oz saffron threads approx. 2-3 teaspoons
  • 1-2 Tablespoons orange juice
  • small bowl of water


  • Mix butter and sugar in a large bowl. Pinch saffron thread between fingers to break them up and release flavors. Add saffron and flour to butter mixture. Add in one tablespoon orange juice. Continue adding juice, one teaspoon at a time until dough comes together.
  • Divide dough in half. Roll each half into a log (roughly 1½-inch tall). Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least one hour
  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Remove one dough roll from refrigerator and remove plastic wrap. Slice into ½ inch pieces and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Dab fingertips in small bowl of water and gently rub tops of cookies to even out the surface.
  • Bake twenty minutes or until set. Remove to wire rack immediately.


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Calories: 65kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 31mg | Potassium: 10mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 119IU | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 0.3mg

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  1. 4 stars
    I really liked these cookies but I would recommend adding some salt. My pallet does not go towards salty foods but some foods do need a salt boost. I did add about a 1/4 tsp and they still seemed a bit bland. I will definitely make them again and add a 1/2 tsp salt or just used salted butter.

    Overall love the shortbread flavor. Super easy to make and the cookies came out perfect.

    1. Thanks for the feedback. Yes, it should be salted butter and I forgot to include that not above in the recipe card (updating it now). Glad you loved them otherwise. The saffron is such a unique flavor, I find it fun to play around with flavors and accompaniments.

  2. 5 stars
    I love saffron in just about every type of dessert but I never thought to add it to cookies until I came across your recipe! These shortbread cookies were buttery and delicious and the saffron put them over the top!

  3. 5 stars
    Such and interesting way to have saffron in cookies. I’ll have to search for saffron at my grocery stores to get some. I am very curious to try these cookies.

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