Iranian or Persian food makes us want to travel back in time. From fragrant rice to hearty soups and savory kebabs, Persian food guarantees an unforgettable dining experience! Also, Persian food isn’t just about nourishment. It represents love, connection, and warm hospitality.

Over the years, Iran was influenced by Greek, Arab, Turkish, and Central Asian cultures. The result? A truly unique collection of flavors – but which are reminiscent of more ‘famous’ cuisines. It’s a cuisine many of us don’t know much about, but Persian food is truly one of the world’s most underappreciated gems.

So, what exactly counts as Persian dishes or cuisine anyway? Carry on reading to learn more about the signature ingredients and dishes which make Persian food special.

Key Ingredients in Persian Food

What are the main ingredients that give Persian food its unique flavors and aromas? Naturally, it’s a vast amount. But like Mexican and lime, Thai and peanut, and Italian and tomato all go hand in hand, there are a few ingredients which are synonymous with Persian cuisine:

SaffronSaffron, is the “red gold” of Persian cuisine. It transforms dishes with its rich, earthy aroma and hint of floral sweetness. Moreover, its vibrant color adds a golden pop to dishes. Just a small amount of saffron can work wonders.
PomegranatePomegranate is a real superstar in Persian cooking. Bursting with flavor and loaded with antioxidants, it gives an irresistible sweet-tart kick that takes many dishes to a whole new level. Especially in dishes like Fesenjan.
RiceWhether it’s aromatic and fluffy basmati rice or in the crispy golden crust of Tahchin, rice is always ready to shine in Persian cuisine! When infused with spices like saffron and cumin, it becomes a flavorful canvas for a whole range of dishes.
Rose WaterAromatic and floral, rose water is a quintessential ingredient in Persian desserts and beverages. It adds a subtle floral note to Persian food and drinks. Its delicate flavor adds a touch of elegance to any dish.
BarberriesThese tiny tart berries are a favorite in Persian cuisine, adding a burst of tangy flavor and vibrant color to dishes. Barberries are often used in rice dishes like Tahchin, where they lend a sweet-tart contrast to its savory rice and meat.

Signature Persian Food Dishes

What are the kinds of dishes you’d find on every Persian table? You might not have heard of these, but there are some staples which make up the backbone of Persian food.

Chello Kebab
Chelo Kebab: Make an Iranian Delicacy at Home
Prep: 480min Cook: 60min
  • Onions
    2 Onions coarsely chopped
  • garlic cloves
    2 garlic cloves chopped
  • fresh lemon juice
    3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • olive oil
    3 tbsp olive oil
  • salt
    0.25 tsp salt
  • black pepper
    0.25 tsp black pepper freshly ground
  • boneless leg of lamb
    600 gm boneless leg of lamb trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • grape tomatoes
    18 grape tomatoes
  • cooking spray
    cooking spray
  • basmati rice
    1.5 cups basmati rice
  • water
    6 cups water
  • salt
    2 tsp salt
  • unsalted butter
    3 tbsp unsalted butter melted and divided
  • olive oil
    1 tbsp olive oil
  • saffron threads
    0.25 tsp saffron threads crushed
  • fresh mint
    2 tbsp fresh mint chopped
  • fresh cilantro
    2 tbsp fresh cilantro chopped

Chello Kebab is a quintessential dish of Persian cuisine. This dish is kebabs made from marinated, succulent meat that is skillfully grilled until perfectly tender. It is traditionally served over a bed of steaming saffron-infused rice, known as chelo or chello.

Ghormeh Sabzi

Ghormeh Sabzi (Persian Herb Stew) Ghormeh Sabzi (Persian Herb Stew)
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Ghormeh Sabzi (Persian Herb Stew)
Ghormeh sabzi is a classic traditional Persian herb stew with beef or lamb, fresh herbs, a nd kidney beans, that's slowly cooked, developing so much flavor.
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Prep: 15min Cook: 65min
  • vegetable oil
    1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • stewing beef
    1 lb stewing beef cut into 1.5-inch cubes
  • onion
    1 onion small, diced
  • salt
    0.5 teaspoon salt
  • ground turmeric
    0.5 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • vegetable oil
    2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • parsley
    2 bunches parsley finely chopped
  • spinach
    1 bunch spinach finely chopped
  • cilantro
    1 bunch cilantro finely chopped
  • dried fenugreek
    0.5 tablespoon dried fenugreek
  • red kidney beans
    0.5 cup red kidney beans soaked overnight, rinsed and drained
  • water
    2 cups water
  • dried limes
    2 dried limes
  • salt
  • pepper
    pepper to taste

Ghormeh Sabzi is a cherished dish in Persian cuisine. It’s a hearty herb and meat stew steeped in Iran’s rich culinary heritage. It’s made with a flavorful blend of sautéed herbs, kidney beans, and tender lamb or beef meat. Whether enjoyed at home or in a Persian restaurant, Ghormeh Sabzi is healthy, hearty, and full of flavor.


Fesenjan, Persian Walnut and Pomegranate Stew Fesenjan, Persian Walnut and Pomegranate Stew
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Fesenjan, Persian Walnut and Pomegranate Stew
This dish is normally done with duck or chicken legs, but you can use goose, pheasant, or turkey, too. Pomegranate molasses can be found in specialty store and Whole Foods, or online. Barring that, try using cranberry juice, which will get you close.
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Prep: 25min Cook: 180min
  • duck fat
    1 tablespoon duck fat or clarified butter
  • duck legs
    3 pounds duck legs or chicken legs
  • onion
    1 onion large, chopped
  • pomegranate molasses
    0.5 cup pomegranate molasses see above for substitutes
  • walnut halves
    0.33 pound walnut halves toasted and finely ground
  • duck stock
    2 cups duck stock or chicken stock
  • saffron
    0.25 teaspoon saffron optional
  • cinnamon
    0.25 teaspoon cinnamon
  • nutmeg
    0.5 teaspoon nutmeg
  • ground black pepper
    1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Pomegranate seeds
    Pomegranate seeds for garnish, optional
  • parsley
    3 tablespoons parsley chopped, for garnish

Fesenjan is a beloved Persian dish that boasts a unique blend of sweet and sour flavors. Just like many other dishes here, Fesenjan has been in Iranian culture for centuries. This rich and velvety stew uses tender meat (often chicken or duck) cooked with ground walnuts and pomegranate molasses. Variations include additional ingredients like onions, garlic, or spices.

Tahchin Morgh Recipe
Tahchin Morgh Recipe (Crispy Persian Saffron Rice Cake)
Prep: 20min Cook: 90min
  • basmati rice
    2 cups basmati rice
  • egg yolks
    2 egg yolks
  • dried barberries
    0.33 cup dried barberries
  • plain yogurt
    1 cup plain yogurt thick, Strained Yogurt
  • rose water
    1 tablespoon rose water optional
  • butter
    2 tablespoons butter
  • oil
    0.33 cup oil plus more for greasing the pans
  • ground saffron threads
    0.25 teaspoon ground saffron threads
  • turmeric
    0.5 teaspoon turmeric
  • salt
    salt as needed
  • pepper
  • cinnamon stick
    1 cinnamon stick small, optional
  • boneless chicken breast
    1 boneless chicken breast
  • onion
    1 onion large
  • slivered almonds
    2 tablespoon slivered almonds optional
  • slivered pistachios
    2 tablespoon slivered pistachios optional

Tahchin is a savory rice cake is layered with yogurt, saffron, and tender meat (such as chicken or lamb), creating a golden, crispy crust when baked. With origins deeply rooted in Persian culture, Tahchin is often served at special occasions and gatherings.

Ash-e Reshteh

Ash Reshteh (Persian Greens, Bean and Noodle Soup) Ash Reshteh (Persian Greens, Bean and Noodle Soup)
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Ash Reshteh (Persian Greens, Bean and Noodle Soup)
Ash reshteh’s flavor is defined by two uniquely Persian ingredients: reshteh and kashk. The soup, served during the festivities leading up to Nowruz, the Persian New Year, wouldn’t be the same without the soup noodles called reshteh, which are saltier and starchier than Italian noodles — though you could substitute linguine in a pinch. Kashk, a form of drained yogurt or whey, is saltier and more sour than Greek yogurt or sour cream. More like feta than yogurt, liquid kashk gives ash its distinct, satisfying flavor. If you can’t find liquid kashk, buy it powdered and hydrate it with warm water to the consistency of sour cream. Look for both items at a Middle Eastern grocery.
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Cook: 165min
  • dried chickpeas
    0.25 cup dried chickpeas
  • dried white beans
    0.25 cup dried white beans such as navy, or cannellini
  • fine sea salt
    fine sea salt
  • black pepper
    black pepper freshly ground
  • spinach
    2 pounds spinach
  • cilantro
    1 pound cilantro
  • italian parsley
    1 pound italian parsley
  • dill
    2 bunches dill large
  • chives
    1 bunch chives large
  • fresh mint leaves
    20 fresh mint leaves large
  • extra-virgin olive oil
    6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • yellow onions
    2 yellow onions large, 1 finely chopped and 1 thinly sliced
  • garlic cloves
    2 garlic cloves minced
  • dried green lentils
    1 cup dried green lentils or brown
  • ground turmeric
    0.5 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • chicken stock
    2 quarts chicken stock or beef, preferably homemade, or water
  • liquid kashk
    1.5 cups liquid kashk persian sun-dried yogurt or whey, plus 1/2 cup, for serving
  • reshteh
    8 ounces reshteh persian soup noodles
  • dried mint
    1 tablespoon dried mint

Ash-e Reshteh is a comforting Persian food that holds a special place in Iranian cuisine. This nourishing dish features a hearty blend of herbs, legumes, and noodles, which are simmered to perfection. Ash-e Reshteh is often enjoyed during Nowruz, the Persian New Year, and other festive occasions.

Morasa Polow
Traditional Morassa Polo Recipe
Morassa Polo is a Persian traditional Cholo and it is made by rice, silvered almond, silve red orange skin, silvered pistachio and raisins, it can be nourished by chicken breasts and minced meat. To make the dish fancier, Persians prefer to make it by ghelgheli meat, which is a term used for meat balls. The ingredients are a little bit more than normal for a single meal. But the recipe is not such difficult. You can make it in less than 3hours.
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Prep: 30min Cook: 120min
  • rice
    4 cups rice unit can be a simple cup you use for serving tea or a glass you use for drinking water
  • Chicken breasts
    2 pieces Chicken breasts
  • onion
    1 onion
  • salt
    1 teasp salt
  • turmeric
    1 teasp turmeric
  • Pepper
    1 teasp Pepper
  • orange skin
    1 unit orange skin Silvered
  • Silvered almond
    1 unit Silvered almond
  • pistachio
    1 pistachio unit silvered
  • Barberries
    1 unit Barberries
  • Raisins
    1 unit Raisins
  • butter
    100 g butter
  • sugar
    2 tbsp sugar
  • saffron
    saffron Brewed, as much as required

Morasa Polow is a jewel of Persian cuisine. In fact, it’s a festive rice dish symbolizing prosperity and celebration. Morasa Polow is often served at weddings, Nowruz festivities, and other special occasions. This aromatic dish includes fragrant rice, an array of dried fruits, nuts, and shredded carrots.

Kuku Sabzi

Kuku Sabzi: Baked Persian Herb Omelet Kuku Sabzi: Baked Persian Herb Omelet
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Kuku Sabzi: Baked Persian Herb Omelet
Kuku Sabzi is a light, flavor-packed Persian baked omelet. This is an all-star, easy recip e with loads of fresh herbs! Perfect for your next brunch!
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Prep: 20min Cook: 20min
  • extra virgin olive oil
    5 tbsp Private Reserve extra virgin olive oil Greek
  • flat-leaf parsley
    2 cups flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • cilantro
    2 cups cilantro leaves and tender stems
  • fresh dill
    1 cup fresh dill roughly chopped
  • scallions
    6 scallions trimmed and coarsely chopped
  • baking powder
    1.5 tsp baking powder
  • kosher salt
    1 tsp kosher salt
  • ground green cardamom
    0.75 tsp ground green cardamom
  • ground cinnamon
    0.75 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ground cumin
    0.5 tsp ground cumin
  • ground black pepper
    0.25 tsp ground black pepper
  • eggs
    6 eggs large
  • walnuts
    0.5 cup walnuts toasted and chopped, optional
  • dried cranberries
    0.33 cup dried cranberries coarsely chopped, optional

Kuku Sabzi is essentially a Persian herb frittata. It’s a savory dish which leans heavily on a mix of parsley, cilantro, and dill mixed with eggs and spices.


Wanderlust Flavors
Abgoosht (ab stands for water and gusht for meat)
Abgoosht or dizi is a Persian soup or stew that is traditionally prepared with lamb, chick peas, white beans, potatoes and tomatoes. My fresh spice collection comes from my friends @ world spice merchants ( – al
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Prep: 40min Cook: 270min
  • beef shank
    3 lb beef shank or lamb, cut into pieces
  • onions
    2 onions diced
  • garlic
    3 cloves garlic crushed
  • chickpeas
    2 cups chickpeas previously soaked for 8 hours
  • white beans
    2 cups white beans previously soaked for 8 hours
  • potatoes
    1 lb potatoes small, peeled and halved
  • turmeric
    1 teaspoon turmeric
  • dried limes
    2 dried limes o amani
  • tomato paste
    2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • tomatoes
    2 lb tomatoes peeled, seeded, and diced
  • green bell pepper
    1 green bell pepper diced
  • oil
    3 tablespoons oil
  • cinnamon
    1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • salt
  • pepper

Abgoosht, a hearty Persian lamb and chickpea stew, is awell-known comfort dish in Iranian cuisine. It features tender pieces of lamb, chickpeas, potatoes, and tomatoes, slow-cooked to perfection. Abgoosht is often enjoyed as a nourishing family dinner during colder months.

Mast-o Khiar (Persian Cucumber and Herb Yogurt)
Yogurt, both plain and with cucumbers, is everywhere on Iranian tables — the thicker and sourer, the better. Mast-o khiar is an everyday side similar to Indian raita or Greek tzatziki, but raisins, walnuts and rose petals elevate this version of the dish, adding a host of different flavors and textures. Dice, rather than grate, the cucumbers to keep them from getting watery, and don’t skip the dried mint and dried dill, which add dimension to the fresh herbs.
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Cook: 20min
  • black raisins
    0.25 cup black raisins or golden
  • persian cucumbers
    0.5 pound persian cucumbers
  • greek yogurt
    24 ounces greek yogurt or labneh
  • fresh parsley
    2 tablespoons fresh parsley any combination of, finely chopped, cilantro, basil, tarragon or dill
  • garlic clove
    1 garlic clove finely grated or pounded into a smooth paste with a pinch of salt
  • fine sea salt
    fine sea salt
  • black pepper
    black pepper freshly ground
  • dried rose petals
    0.75 teaspoon dried rose petals ground or crumbled, optional
  • dried mint
    1 teaspoon dried mint
  • dried dill
    1 teaspoon dried dill
  • chopped toasted walnut
    3 tablespoons chopped toasted walnut roughly, pieces

Mast-o-Khiar is a cool and tangy Persian yogurt and cucumber dip that adds a burst of flavor to any meal. This creamy and delicious yogurt is made with thick yogurt, grated cucumber, garlic, and mint. And it has just the right amount of zing. Think tzatziki with a Persian twist!

Shirin Polo
Serves 4-5
  • orange zest
    1 cup orange zest thinly sliced, 1 medium orange and 2 tangerines
  • tangerine zest
    1 cup tangerine zest
  • water
    1 cup water
  • sugar
    0.5 cup sugar
  • yellow onion
    1 yellow onion medium, peeled and thinly sliced
  • butter
    3 TBSP butter for caramelizing the onions
  • matchstick carrots
    5 ounces matchstick carrots these are thin carrot sticks sold in small bags near the whole carrots in the produce department if unable to find, thinly slice the peeled carrots then cut them julienne style
  • kosher salt
    pinch kosher salt
  • butter
    2 TBSP butter for caramelizing the carrots
  • pistachios
    0.33 cup pistachios roughly chopped, unsalted preferred
  • slivered almonds
    0.33 cup slivered almonds homemade or store bought
  • raisins
    0.33 cup raisins
  • basmati rice
    3 cups basmati rice uncooked, please refer to this link for rice and tahdig instructions
  • Saffron powder
    Saffron powder optional, to sprinkle between layers of rice before steaming

Shirin Polo is a delightful Persian sweet rice dish. It combines basmati rice with a blend of saffron, orange zest, and pistachios. As well as that, it symbolizes joy and abundance. And it’s often served at special occasions and festive gatherings. Enjoy it as a main course or side dish!