Saffron Poached Pears

Saffron-poached pears

A delicious, decadent, alcohol-free alternative to red wine poached pears – these Saffron Poached Pears are just as easy to make, and look just as impressive! 



  • 4 medium pears
  • 10 cardamom pods
  • 320 g caster sugar
  • ½ a vanilla pod
  • 100 mg saffron
  • 1 small stick of cinnamon


  1. Peel the pears, leaving the stalk intact. Crush the cardamom pods.
  2. Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan with 1 litre of water, bring to a simmer and gently poach the pears for about 2 hours or until tender. Remove from the heat, allow to cool, then refrigerate overnight to steep.
  3. Before serving, remove the pears and set aside to bring to room temperature.
  4. Boil the syrup until reduced to a sticky glaze, about 250ml. Drizzle about 2 tablespoons of saffron glaze over the pears, then serve with ice cream or cream.

Below are a few tips and tricks for ensuring perfect Saffron Poached Pears every time:

  • You’ll need about one cup of water per pear. I tested the recipe with both too much boiling water and also not enough. I found that about 1 cup of water for each pear will be enough to poach the pears but also not too much that boiling down the liquid to a sauce will take too long after the pears are done.
  • Peel the pears before you boil the water.  The small amount of water used in the recipe will boil fast, so have the pears ready to go.
  • Substitute apple juice for apple cider vinegar if needed. Apple juice can be substituted for the vinegar, but if you do use juice consider reducing the brown sugar if you do not like overly sweet dessert (you can always add more sugar, but not take it away!).
  • Saffron poached pears keep well in the refrigerator and are delicious as leftovers. I put the pears on oatmeal, yogurt, and in pancakes and the pears (and their flavor) held up well.
  • Better with bosc. Bosc pears are the tried and true perfect pear for poaching due to their ability to hold their shape well when boiled. And they take on a beautiful yellow hue when poached with saffron!