Persian-ish Rice with Tahdig

A flavorful rice dish with a crispy bottom layer, known as Tahdig.

Persian-ish Rice with Tahdig

  • Servings: 4 servings

This recipe uses a combination of yogurt, butter, and oil to achieve the perfect crust. This recipe is a take on the traditional Persian rice dish with Tahdig, the crispy bottom layer of the rice. The combination of yogurt, butter, and oil gives the Tahdig a unique flavor and texture.


  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • Salt
  • 3 tbsp plain yogurt
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp neutral-tasting oil


  • Place rice in a bowl and rinse with cold water. Swirl vigorously with your fingers to release the starch, and change the water at least five times, until it runs clear. Once the water runs clear, let rice soak for 30 minutes.

  • Fill a large stockpot with 4 quarts of water. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat.

  • Once the water comes to a boil, salt it heavily. The precise amount will vary depending on what kind of salt you’re using, but it’s about 6 tbsp fine sea salt or a generous ½ cup kosher salt. Drain the rice, then add it to the pot and stir.

  • Set a fine-mesh sieve or colander in the sink. Cook rice, stirring occasionally, until al dente, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain into the sieve, then rinse with cold water to keep rice from cooking further. Drain rice well and place in a large bowl.

  • Remove 1 heaping cup of the rice to a small bowl and combine it with the yogurt.

  • Set a very well seasoned 10-inch cast iron pan or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add butter and the oil. When butter melts, add rice-yogurt mixture and spread it out into a thin, even layer with a heatproof spatula.

  • Pile remaining rice into the pan, mounding it gently toward the center. Using the handle of a wooden spoon, gently dig 6 holes into the rice down to the bottom of the pot. Dig 5 of the holes about 2 inches from the sides of the pan, and put one in the center.

  • Continue cooking rice over medium-high heat for 8 minutes, or until evenly browned along the edges, rotating the pan a half turn after 4 minutes to ensure even browning. Wrap a lid with a kitchen towel and cover pan. Turn the heat as low as it will go and continue cooking another 45 minutes, rotating the pan a quarter turn every 10 to 12 minutes. The rice is done when it’s cooked completely through.

  • To unmold the rice, carefully run an offset spatula or butter knife along the edges of the pan to ensure that no part of the crust is sticking. Tip out any excess fat at the bottom of the pan into a bowl, gather your courage, and then carefully flip it onto a platter or cutting board. Serve immediately.

  • If for any reason your rice doesn’t slip out in one piece, do what every Persian grandmother since the beginning of time has done: scoop out the rice, chip out the tahdig in pieces with a spoon or metal spatula, and pretend you meant to do it this way. No one will be the wiser.