The Washington Post

Chicken Tahdig

Chicken Tahdig 4.000

(Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)

Apr 14, 2020

Here is a one-pot Persian-style chicken and rice. The chicken, marinated in a saffron-yogurt mixture, becomes flavorful and tender, and is then layered on the bottom of the pot. It crisps as the rice steams. Boneless, skinless chicken thighs work better than chicken breast to make tahdig, and skinless thighs absorb the marinade better than skin-on ones. Tahdig is easiest to plate when made in a nonstick pot; if you don’t have a nonstick pot, use what you have. You will likely need to scrape the crispy chicken from the bottom of the pan with a spatula — it’s totally fine to do.

Correction: An earlier version of this recipe included an incorrect amount of water. The amount that gets poured around the edges of the pot before covering is 1/4 cup, not 1/2 cup. The recipe has been corrected.

Make Ahead: The saffron must bloom over melted ice, which takes about 10 minutes. The chicken will need to marinate at least 1 hour before you plan to cook the dish.

4 - 6

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4-6 servings

  • 2 ice cubes
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground saffron
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 6 to 8 pieces)
  • 2 cups (about 12 ounces) basmati rice
  • 1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup water, or more as needed

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Place the ice cubes in a small bowl and sprinkle saffron on top. Let sit on the counter until the ice is melted. This will be your bloomed saffron.

In a large bowl, stir together the yogurt with bloomed saffron, salt and pepper. Coat the chicken in the yogurt mixture and let sit for at least 1 hour at room temperature or up to 6 hours in the refrigerator.

Place the rice in a colander and wash thoroughly to get rid of the excess starch. Repeat until the water runs clear. (Alternately, place the rice in a large bowl and cover with water. Swish the rice with your hand until the water is cloudy. Drain and repeat until the water remains clear.)

Bring a 5- to 6-quart pot (preferably nonstick) of water to a rolling boil, add enough salt to the water so that it’s mildly salty, and then add the rice. Cook until the rice is soft on the outside and still hard on the inside, 3 to 4 minutes. Take one grain of rice, and if you can break it into two using your fingertips, it’s ready. Drain the rice and rinse with cold running water to stop the cooking.

Return the pot to the stove and turn the heat to medium high. Make sure the pot is completely dry, then add 1/3 cup vegetable oil. Tilt the pot to make sure the oil coats the bottom.

When the oil starts to shimmer, using tongs, lift the chicken pieces out of the marinade and thoroughly brush or wipe off extra marinade. Carefully place the chicken on the bottom of the pot and cook until one side of the chicken is well-browned, for about 10 minutes. Flip the chicken, then top with the parboiled rice. Form the rice into a mound atop the chicken, but don’t press it down. Using the handle of a wooden spoon, make five holes in the rice for the steam to escape. Pour the water around the edges, reduce heat to medium, wrap the lid in a clean kitchen towel and cover the pot.

Cook about 7 minutes. Drizzle the remaining 1/4 cup oil over the rice and cover the pot again. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the rice and chicken are fully cooked, about 30 minutes.

Taste the rice to make sure it’s fully cooked. If the grains are still hard (which is unlikely), drizzle 1/4 cup water over the rice and let steam for an additional 10 minutes.

To serve, transfer the rice to a platter and then carefully lift or scrape the chicken off the bottom of the pot and place the pieces, crispy side up, on top of the rice.

Recipe Source

From food blogger Shadi HasanzadeNemati.

Tested by Joe Yonan and Ann Maloney.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving (based on 6): 518

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 27g 42%

Saturated Fat: 3g 15%

Cholesterol: 68mg 23%

Sodium: 326mg 14%

Total Carbohydrates: 47g 16%

Dietary Fiber: 1g 4%

Sugar: 2g

Protein: 22g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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