Discover the 10 Countries That Produce the Most Saffron

One of the most sought-after specialty spices available is saffron. It is an indispensable ingredient in most kitchens due to its distinct flavor and texture. It pairs well with recipes such as Risotto alla Milanese, roasted chicken, and Arroz con Perdiz. Saffron, sometimes known as red gold, is a premium item that may fetch up to $9,000 per pound. A gram of genuine saffron costs $10 to $20 in retail establishments.

To offer their products for less money, several businesses dilute genuine, true saffron with safflower or other alternatives. Since the saffron crocus plant requires a great deal of labor to harvest, real, authentic saffron is more costly. Additionally, as each plant only produces three saffron threads, thousands of plants may be required to yield even a single ounce of the spice. So where is the source of saffron? Find out which nations produce the most saffron by reading on!

1. Italy

Italy is the tenth-largest saffron grower in the world, exporting over 38,179 pounds of the spice every year. Its saffron crop is grown on between 50 and 55 hectares of land. Sardinia, Abruzzo, Toscana, Umbria, and Marche are among the regions in the nation that contribute to the production of saffron. Saffron has been grown in the nation for generations and has been used in a variety of Italian cuisines, including risotto alla Milanese. This dish’s distinctive golden color is a result of the saffron used in it!

2. India

India comes next on the list of nations that produce the most saffron, coming in at number nine. Every year, the South Asian nation exports about 46,422 pounds of saffron. Indian saffron has a stronger peppery flavor than saffron from other nations. It works well as a thickening in the kitchen and is a staple in many curries. Mango Kulfi, Panha, an Indian mango drink, and Tandoori Paneer Tikka are popular Indian dishes that use saffron in their preparations.

3. Afghanistan

Afghanistan comes next on the list, exporting 47,306 pounds of saffron a year. Afghan saffron stands out for its silkiness and ability to withstand drying. Popular Middle Eastern cuisines that use it include saffron chicken, saffron ladoo, and saffron phirni. The flavor of Afghan saffron is flowery with a somewhat bitter aftertaste. In comparison to other saffrons, it is softer. Afghan saffron was named the greatest in the world in 2016 due to its distinct flavors, textures, and consistency. It is also less expensive than saffron from other nations.

4. Netherlands

The Netherlands is the next nation on the list; each year, this European nation produces about 48,750 pounds of saffron. The Netherlands has entered the saffron business despite the fact that saffron is usually grown in the Middle East and along the Mediterranean coast. The saffron crocus bulbs are first grown outside before being moved inside and grown under a unique type of lighting system. The Dutch yellowtail fish with creamy saffron sauce is a well-known recipe that uses saffron.

5. Poland

Poland, ranked sixth, exports 56,414 pounds of saffron annually on average. Polish cuisine frequently uses a wide range of spices in their recipes. The Polish use a lot of pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, ginger, and a host of other spices to season their food in addition to saffron. Polish pike in white sauce is a well-liked saffron-based meal. This is a century-old Polish staple that is frequently considered a delicacy. The quantity of spices used—saffron, pepper, nutmeg, and ginger are essential for giving this meal the necessary kick—makes it unmistakably Polish.

6. Czech Republic

Every year, the Czech Republic produces about 114,704 pounds of saffron. This Central European nation consumes a lot of saffron even though it produces a lot of the spice. It is used in saffron rice, of course, but it’s also in saffron vegetable soup and salmon with orange saffron sauce.

7. Spain

Spain is well-known worldwide for using saffron in a wide range of Spanish cuisines. It makes sense—every year, Spain produces over 173,940 pounds of the spice. Since its introduction to Spain in the seventh century, saffron has become an essential ingredient in Spanish cooking. Paella is one of the most well-known dishes in Spanish cuisine and culture that uses saffron. The meal known as paella originated in Valencia, Spain, and has since spread throughout the globe. Saffron is often used in Spanish sauces, stews, soups, and other dishes. Because of all the various applications it may be used for, it is highly popular across the nation. It’s so popular that several sweets, including ice cream, use it!

8. United Kingdom

The United Kingdom is the country that grows and produces saffron, and it exports about 262,656 pounds a year. The costly spice is believed to have arrived in the United Kingdom around the fourteenth century. It eventually spread and became a typical spice used all over the nation. Saffron is used by the British in their soups, stews, salad dressings, and even in their saffron cookies!

9. China

Secondly, China is the world’s second-largest producer of saffron. The Asian nation ships 329,776 pounds of red gold out of its borders each year. It is believed that the Persians brought saffron to China. On the other hand, the third-century Chinese medical treatise Shennong Bencaojing mentions the spice. It was estimated that this medical encyclopedia was written between 300 and 200 BCE. But of days, it’s a widely utilized, very popular commodity in the nation. In addition to the traditional saffron rice, red gold is an essential component of saffron vegetable fried rice.

10. Iran

And lastly, Iran, the nation that produces the most saffron! Iran exports more saffron than any other country in the world, with an annual total of roughly 616,430 pounds of the priciest spice. Iran is not only among the nations that produces the most saffron, but it was also the country where it was originally grown. The Khorasan province of Iran, which is currently divided into Razavi Khorasan, North Khorasan, and South Khorasan, is where most saffron is produced. A staple of many distinct Iranian recipes is saffron. Tahchin, joojeh kabab, shole zard, and Persian saffron chicken are a few mainstays.

Overview of the Top Countries That Produce the Most Saffron

Country Approximate Pounds Exported Annually
Iran 616,430
China 329,776
United Kingdom 262,656
Spain 173,940
Czech Republic 114,704
Poland 56,414
Netherlands 48,750
Afghanistan 47,306
India 46,422
Italy 38,179