Mexican Azafran


Azafran, or safflower is the dried flower of the (Carthamus tinctorius). It is used in various recipes for it's color. It is not a true substitute for saffron as it has none of the same flavoring but it will impart a pleasing color. The safflower plant is best know for production of safflower oil. Azafran can be found in Mexican as well as other Hispanic grocery stores. The flowers are also used as a dye.


Other names: safflower, Azafran, Poor Man's saffron, false saffron

Physical Description

Reddish in color and shaped like tiny flower petals.

Colors: Reddish Orange

Tasting Notes

Flavors: Bitter and floral, Herbacious
Mouthfeel: Delicate.
Substitutes: Saffron (use 1 pinch to equal 2 tbsp azafran)

Selecting and Buying

Choosing: Look for well dried herbs in sealed packages.
Buying: Available online and at Mexican Grocers.

Preparation and Use

It is found primarily in chicken and seafood dishes, especially in combination with rice.

Cleaning: Not Necessary.

Conserving and Storing

Store in a container with a good seal in a cool dark cabinet.


Used in cooking to add reddish color.


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