saffron threads vs saffron powder
Written by Vahid Epagloo, Food Consultant Updated:

The nutritional and therapeutic properties, as well as the exotic flavor, color and aroma of saffron threads have also been always tempting for different people, especially for chefs. The redness of the strings of this spice and the deep yellow it give to our dishes catches our eyes. Some people know that there is no difference between the chemical composition of saffron powder or saffron stigma, but even when their recipe calls for the powder, since the beautiful appearance is what some people are willing to spend more money on, thread Saffron attracts the attention of customers.

To grind or not grind, that is the question

Before addressing the form of saffron, saffron users as the customers of the most expensive spices always face two basic questions. How to recognize fake saffron and how to consume saffron? but even the answers to these questions are related to the form of saffron. Regarding the first question, the answer could be “very difficult” when you are going to buy saffron powder. In this situation, only reputable laboratories or trusted companies can be responsible.

As per the second question, it is “simple”. even those who buy saffron in the form of strands, when they want to obtain the essence of saffron, may pound or grind these strands in a mortar because saffron powder releases its color and aroma more easily.

Therefore, you should have a detailed knowledge of saffron and also buy from reputable companies so that you don’t get caught cheating on this precious spice.

The red delicate stigmas

What we know as saffron is actually the stigmas of the Crocus Sativus flower, the stigmas have two parts, the upper part which is red, the middle part which is yellow, and the end part which is creamy white, and this reason, is called “Khameh” in Farsi which means cream.

Most of the people of the world only know the red and yellow part of this flower as this spice and they have never seen the whole stigma of the flower which includes the cream. Also, many people think that when buying this red gold, they should only buy it as a string because the probability of adulteration in this case is zero or very low. This is true to some extent, but unfortunately, the high profitability of saffron attracts many profit-seeking people, and there is a possibility of fraud even in this form of saffron.

The correct strategy for buying saffron

The most correct strategy to avoid fraud is to buy saffron from reputable companies such as Queen of Flower, which has collected the best saffrons in Iran, and while conducting testing and sorting them in different packages, both in the form of saffron strings and They supply powder to their customers. This company mainly has three types of stringed saffron: Supernagin, Negin, and Pushal.

Why do we powder saffron?

In the process of transportation from agricultural land to Ghaaneh factory (the partner of Queen of Flower Company) and during the sorting and packaging process, naturally, some of the red strands of saffron may break. Ghaaneh factory grinds and turns those broken strands of saffron into powder for two purposes.

First, pulverized strands mean that customers can easily and directly use the powder, as anyway, they have to grind their saffron threads by their own hand. Meanwhile, the powder of saffron which is produced by a special spice grinder gives a better color to food and dessert than saffron threads or saffron ground by hand. This powder can be poured directly into food or dessert, or some of this powder can be brewed with lukewarm water.

Second, the shelf life of saffron powder is longer than broken strands. Saffron powder compared to that of ground by mortar and pestle and then brewed does not need to be frozen or stored in the refrigerator. Yes, if you pound some saffron threads in a mortar and then brew it and you feel that you have brewed more than the required amount for that food, you should put the rest in the freezer and finally consume it within 6 months. But powdered saffron can stay like unbrewed saffron strands for up to 4 years in the right conditions (darkness and away from humidity).

Ghaaneh makes powder of Super Negin

One of the advantages of saffron powder compared to hand-pounded saffron is the amount required for flavor and aroma of food. If you prepare Ghaaneh saffron powder, you can use a smaller amount of saffron to prepare all kinds of food. In fact, when you have powdered saffron, you don’t need to soak it in hot or warm water and pour the saffron extract into the food after 15 minutes. You can pour saffron powder directly into the food and get more aroma and taste in a shorter time.


Sometimes the appearance of food is more important than its taste and aroma. If you have a party with important guests and you need them to know that you have prepared expensive Iranian saffron to respect their sense of taste, you may want to sprinkle some saffron threads on your food. Also, it seems that some classic dishes and traditional recipes that are cooked on special occasions, basically call for saffron threads. To make your culinary audience feel nostalgic, you need to decorate your food like it was before the grinder machines!

Not completely red

Ghaaneh factory powders only the broken but high-quality Iranian saffron (Super-Negin) strands with high precision, while, unfortunately, some companies may grind other types of saffron products such as their old Pushal saffron or whatever is left in their warehouse for a long time, just in order to make more profit.

You should know that only the external part of the stigma is completely red, and the inner layer of saffron threads that have more volume is yellow. Therefore, naturally, when you grind even Super-Negin saffron, you actually get a powder that is red to yellow. But if the saffron powder was completely yellow, i.e. something similar to turmeric, its quality and authenticity should be doubted. Therefore, you can choose the color of the two-gram powder packs of Queen of Flowers Company as your purchase criteria.


While the ingredients in saffron powder or strands are basically not different (unless you are abused and buy counterfeit), and both could help you have amazing recipes, it must be said that saffron powder has advantages over ground saffron. The time-consuming step of pounding and brewing saffron strands normally in hot water is eliminated when using saffron powder. Also, saffron powder practically releases more flavor. Usually, saffron powder is cheaper, and the amount of its use is less compared to string saffron. The only thing you should consider when using saffron powder is that you should buy it from a reliable source. Queen of Flower offers you the original powder of Super-Negin saffron so that you can move the boundaries of taste and aroma in cooking.


Why saffron threads are more expensive?

People pay for appearance, while both powdered saffron and threads are the same in terms of active ingredients.

Which is better saffron threads or powder?

Technically, there is no difference between them. But if you want to spend less time and use less amount of saffron to prepare your food, powdered saffron is preferable.

Why is a saffron powder not completely red?

Only the external layer of the stigma is crimson, and the inner part of the saffron threads is yellow. Therefore, the result of grinding even Super-Negin is a red-to-yellow powder.