Chicken Biryani – Instant Pot

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Chicken Biryani – The epitome of a one-pot meal made with aromatic basmati rice, tender chicken, spices and herbs that is cooked over low heat for the most delectable flavors.

Chicken Biryani is one of my most favorite dishes and definitely one of the most requested meals at my house. I say meal because you have your proteins and grains all together and you really don’t need anything else to accompany this dish. There are many variations of this recipe that originate in several states of India. My favorite, of course, is the one made by my mom that I grew up eating. I distinctly remember the day when her friend came over to teach her how to make “Dum Biryani”. They spent almost half of the day grinding fresh spices, frying batches of caramelized golden onions and then cooking the chicken marinated in yogurt and spices over long grain basmati rice. It was cooked on a low setting in a large pot with a tightly sealed lid. They actually sealed the lid with dough to make sure it was airtight! Hours passed. We all waited for the big reveal and when the lid opened our entire home was filled with a warm, deep spiced aroma. That was possibly the most heavenly biryani I have ever had. Thankfully, we had enough leftovers and it was surprising to see how much more the flavors developed the next day.

chicken biryani

For many years now we have enjoyed my mom’s “Dum Biryani”. Cooked in homemade ghee, homemade garam masala, herbs and basmati rice, this Biryani is everyone’s favorite. I have simplified the recipe so that it can be easily prepared for a weeknight meal. Other than caramelizing the onions, which is a must, the rest of the process is pretty straight forward. Making the Chicken Biryani in the Instant Pot also takes it to another level of simplicity.

chicken biryani

 

Here is my favorite dish, an easy chicken biryani recipe, with perfect texture and flavors cooked in the InstaPot:

4.16 from 13 votes
Chicken Biryani
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Chicken Biryani - Instant Pot
Prep Time
40 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
1 hrs 20 mins
 
A one-pot dish made with long grain basmati rice, chicken, fresh spices and herbs that is cooked over low heat for the most delectable flavors
Course: Entree
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 6 -8
Author: Archana Mundhe
Ingredients
Marinade
  • 2 tsp garam masala Add 3 tsp for spicier Biryani
  • 1 tbsp ginger grated
  • 1 tbsp garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp red chili powder
  • 1 ⁄2 tsp turmeric
  • ¼ th cup of mint leaves
  • ¼ th cup of chopped cilantro
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 lb whole bone in chicken skinless cut into 12 pieces (If using chicken breasts cut into 2 inch pieces)
Remaining Ingredients
  • 3 cups Basmati rice
  • 3 tbsp ghee divided
  • 2 large onions thinly sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp saffron mixed in 1 tbsp warm milk
  • 6 boiled and shelled eggs optional
  • 1 jalapeno sliced into 8 wedges optional for extra spicy **
Instructions
  1. Make Marinade by mixing garam masala, ginger paste, garlic paste, red chili powder, turmeric, mint leaves, half of the chopped cilantro, lemon juice, yogurt and salt. Add chicken and coat evenly with the marinade. Keep in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  2. While the chicken is marinating, wash and soak the basmati rice in water. Keep aside for 20 mins.
  3. Turn IP to Saute(Hi). After the ‘hot’ sign displays, add 2 tbsp of ghee and add thinly sliced onions. Cook stirring frequently for 15 mins or until the onions are golden brown and caramelized. Take out half of the onion and keep aside for garnishing the biryani.
  4. Add 1 tbsp of ghee to the IP with half of the caramelized onions already in the pot. For extra spicy Biryani add sliced jalapeno. Add bay leaves and marinated chicken. Mix well, deglazing the pot with a spatula to take out any browning of the pot from sautéing the onions.
  5. a) For Chicken on bone - Close IP and turn pressure valve to sealing. Set IP to Manual mode for 4 mins. Follow with Quick release. Give the chicken a quick stir.
  6. or
  7. b) For Chicken Breasts - Mix well and cook on Saute mode 3 mins.
  8. Drain the rice and gently pour over the chicken. Add 2 tsp of salt. Add 3 cups of water. Close IP and turn pressure valve to sealing. Set IP to Manual mode for 6 mins. Follow with Quick release.
  9. Gently fluff and mix the rice with the chicken on the bottom of the pan.
  10. Garnish with the remaining caramelized onions, saffron and cilantro.
  11. Serve with Raita (Onions and tomatoes mixed in yogurt), hard boiled egg and lemon wedges.
  12. ** This recipe makes medium spicy Biryani. For extra spicy add jalapeno. OR add another tsp of garam masala to the chicken.
Recipe Notes

Remember to deglaze the pot after adding the marinated chicken to remove any browned bits from the pot. This will help the Instant Pot come to pressure and also prevent the biryani from burning.

 

 

145 thoughts on “Chicken Biryani – Instant Pot

  1. This looks amazing, any chance you are willing to share the spices used to make your masala for this? I find too much difference and fillers in many of the pre made “garam masala” available where I live.

  2. I only have brown basmati rice. I usually cook it on high for 15 and NPR for 5. Could I do that’s here or do you think soaking th rice helps reduce the cook time? Thanks

    1. Hi Christina, Yes you can soak the brown basmati and then use your method of high 15. I have not tried making this with brown rice but I know brown rice takes much longer than basmati. Soaking will reduce some of the time.

      1. I tried this again tonight with the brown rice using the 15 minute suggested by Christina. It was very watery when I opened it. Put it back on for another 15 and then did QR better than the first time I opened it, but think I’ll have to try it a few times with the brown rice and work on the timing.

        1. Hi Krina! I have to agree that I still haven’t had a chance to try this with brown rice. Make sure your chicken is dry when you marinate it. I will post an update as soon as I get a chance to try the brown rice biryani.

  3. So Archana if one is using skinless and boneless chicken breast or thighs then does one skip step 5 and proceed to step 6?

    1. Kalyani, Yes you can proceed to next step which is – b) For Chicken Breasts – Mix well and cook on Saute mode 3 mins.

  4. Thank you so much just made it, eaisiest Biryani recipe ever made with no compromise on taste!!

    Please share veg Palav or veg Biryani soon

    1. Shiji, So glad you enjoyed the Biryani recipe. I have a bunch of other IP recipes on my blog if you are interested. Thank you of your feedback.

  5. New instant pot user here – I made this recipe this evening and it turned out watery. Does it make a difference if the Basmati rice was long grain? I got Basmati rice, however I don’t think it was long grain which may have caused it to be watery and mushy. It had great flavor though!

    1. Hi Nancy, Basmati Rice will not make the difference. Do you wash your chicken or use frozen? IF so, Make sure you dry the chicken with paper towels before marinating. That could add to extra liquids. Also make sure to use full fat yogurt only as yogurt has a lot of water too. If you see the video when I pour the marinade it wasn’t too watery. Before adding rice, if you see a lot of water being released, reduce the water you add over rice. Instead of 2 cups add only 2 or 2-1/2 cups. I hope you will give it a try again! Thank you for your feedback.

  6. I’m in the UK, I made this last night and it was amazing. It is very similar to an authentic recipe I use from Bangalore, but with fewer steps.
    I used a chilli powder that I have which comprises of ground chillis. But have just read somewhere that red chili powder is ground cayenne. Can I ask what you use?

    1. Hi Penny! So glad you enjoyed the Biryani! I like to take lot of unnecessary steps as well as ingredients out of my recipes just to make it easy for everyone. Chili powder is just ground chilies. It could be any kind of friend red chili,my favorite is the kashmiri chili powder which is vibrant red but mild. I do not really use cayenne in indian cooking as it is way to spicy and takes away the flavor of the main dish.

    1. I use a mini grater and grate fresh ginger and garlic. If I need larger quantity I use my food processor.

  7. Thanks, looks very tempting. Just one question, by QR do you mean 10 min QR or as soon as cooking time is up.
    Thanks!

  8. Hi I have been trying to open the vegetable biryani recipe but the link doesn’t work. Pls help. Waiting impatiently 😉

  9. Hi Archana – I am a new IP user and tried your biryani receipe last night. It was delicious!! I am going to make it again this week-end and wanted to know what cooking modifications need to be made if I want to double the chicken? Thanks!

    1. Hi Annette, Most of the cooking times remain the same. It will take longer to caramelize the onions, but thats basically it. Let me know how it comes out?

    1. Nur, not sure how big they are but I would say add another minute in the beginning when you cook just the chicken or allow 5 mins of NPR before opening IP to add rice.

  10. Hi Archana, I tried your recipe today and it came out great and my kids enjoyed it too! The only difference was that after I added the rice layer I had to do manual mode for six minutes twice because after the first six minutes the rice hardly cooked and most of the water remained. I made sure I had it on seal and closed it properly. Has that ever happened to you? Also what would happen if I put it on rice mode instead for 20 min? Finally, have you tried this with lamb or goat meat and, if so, did you modify the cooking time?

    1. Hi Faridha, So happy to know that your kids enjoyed the biryani. When you did QR first time was there any pressure built? After I start the IP, if the stainless steel pin does not pop up in a few mins I gently push the lid down and the pin pops up if there is enough pressure. I have also opened the IP and secured the ring back in once for another recipe where the pressure was not getting built.

      1. I don’t think the pressure built up properly the first time so I will try out your tips. By the way have you tried this with red meat – curious how you would modify the recipe/cooking time? Thanks!

        1. Faridha, a few people have tried with lamb with the same cooking time and recipe and it has worked well for them. Let me know if you make it too!

  11. tried your recipe today! Family loved it! I did have excess water leftover from cooking chicken so i had decreased amount of water i put in with rice. It was a simple delicious recipe. I will be try the saag daal next. Thank for posting!

    1. Mehvash, Thank you for your feedback. When you marinate the chicken make sure it is dry and also use whole milk yogurt which should reduce extra liquids. But it was a good call that you removed the extra liquids. Do let me know how you like the Saag Daal.

    1. Hi Zara, water contents from the marinade are enough to cook chicken on the bones. You do not need to add extra water.

      1. Hi Archana, I am looking forward to cooking this biryani this weekend 🙂 I can never find bone-in, skinless chicken ..Its usually skinless and boneless

        1. Hi Radha! you are right. I buy the whole chicken legs or drumsticks and then de-skin them at home. I hope you enjoy the Biryani. Let me know!

  12. This looks great! If I want to cut the recipe by half (for 3 people) can I just do half of all the recommended quantities and add 1.5 cups of water instead of 3 cups at the end? Thanks!

    1. Hi Anu! Yes you can do half of all the quantities just keep the same pressure cooking time. Time caramelize the onions will be less too.

        1. That is awesome Anu! So glad you enjoyed this. There are a bunch of other recipes on my blog that use my garam masala. Hope you will try some. Thank you!

  13. Hi, can I make this with boneless chicken thighs? What would be the setting and timing for cooking the chicken? How about boneless lamb? Thanks.

    1. Hi Protima! Just reduce the timing by a min for boneless chicken. Although, I have not cooked Biryani with lamb, several other readers have tried with same timings and has worked well for them. Please let me know how you like this!

      1. Thanks. So to confirm when using chicken thighs, I should reduce manual time used for boned chicken, not saute time as used for chicken breasts? I will definitely give this a try.

          1. Can we not make kache gosh ki biryani in instant pot . I mean layer marinated raw chicken on top with half cooked rice

          2. Hi Bushra! Although I have not made it, I am sure it will work in Instant Pot. It should be cooked as slow cooker option or cook on Lo Pressure mode.

  14. Amazing recipe! Just got my instant pot today and this is is first thing I made in it. 🙂 So glad, the biryani was flavorful and tasty. Much more convenient than the dum cooking when you want to fix up some biryani in a short time. Thank you so much for this!

    1. Hi Rashmi! Congratulations on your Instant Pot. I am so thrilled to hear that you chose my recipe as your first one. I agree that its so delicious and authentic tasting for such little efforts and time. I have a bunch of Instant Pot recipes that you might enjoy. Thank you for your feedback. It truly makes my day 🙂

  15. Hi Archana, love all your recipes and am trying out the chicken biryani today! If I use 4 lb bone in chicken do I increase the first cook time to 7 to 8 minutes?

    1. Hi Gayatri! Thank you, I am glad you are enjoying my recipes. Cook time remains same even if you have more chicken. You can follow the recipe exactly 🙂 Let me know how it comes out.

  16. this is the first thing I tried to make in my new IP. I got to say it tasted awesome! you were very detailed in explaining the process and the end result was great! yummy in my tummy! 🙂

    1. Hi Christine! Awesome!! I am so happy that you chose my Biryani recipe as your first Instant Pot recipe. Its all about the initial cooking experience and if it is positive and yummy you want to cook more!! I love how easy and delicious this recipe is in IP. You will enjoy my other recipes too 🙂 Thank you for your feedback, it truly made my day!

  17. Hi Archana, I made this biryani when we had some friends over this weekend, it came out really good, everyone liked it! I feel the rice may have gotten a little softer than I would prefer in biryani…is there something I should change when I do make it next time? Thanks

    1. Hi Samantha! So glad you tried this recipe and enjoyed it. I wonder there was a lot of liquids in the marinade. Depending on the yogurt you use and the type of chicken it can release a lot of water. Few tips – 1. Pat dry your chicken before marinating. 2. Use full fat or greek yogurt

      1. oh ok.. thanks for the tips Archana! will try it again soon! 🙂 n also can i use brown rice instead of white rice and what would be the cooking time?

    1. Although I have not tried with goat meat, few of my readers have and tell me that it comes out delicious. Same timings. Let me know if you make it.

    1. I always use Basmati rice for Biryani. I think Sona masoori will also work well, except that it will not be long grained. You can follow the same time and water ratio. Please let me know how it comes out!

  18. Hi! Thanks for sharing this recipe. It was the 2nd dish I made in the IP. The consistency came out good, as well as the tenderness of the chicken breasts, however I felt like it lacked in flavor and spice. Any suggestions on how to add flavor in the back end? I probably marinated the chicken for 1.5 hours. Would you recommend a longer time? Thank you and look forward to your response.

    1. Hi Lisa! So glad you tried this recipe. To make it more flavorful and spicy you can add some more garam masala, red chili powder and jalapeños.You can also add some whole spices like 8-10 black pepper corn and 6-8 cloves in the chicken.

  19. I just tried this tonight and my husband and I couldn’t eat it fast enough! It turned out perfect, just like our moms would make. Just divine! Also made me love my Instant Pot even more 😉 This recipe is going to be archived. Thanks so much for saving dinner!

    1. Hi Saba! Your comment made my day! Comments like these make all the time and efforts I put to perfect my recipes well worth it. Thank you Thank you!!

      1. Hi Archana! Question – on the newer Instant Pot Ultra 60, there’s no manual mode. Would you suggest using any of the other settings and adjusting the time? For example, there’s an “egg” setting with 5 minutes. The pressure is high by default. Can I use this (I usually make more, so the extra minute is probably fine).

        Thanks!

        1. Hi Saba! On the newer Instant Pots, Manual option is replaced with Pressure Cook. So you can use that to set the pressure cook time. Let me know if you have any questions and how you like this biryani!

          1. Hi Archana! I’ve tried this recipe before, but that was on my old Instant Pot. On my new one, I just wasn’t sure about which setting to use. I’m still getting used to it. In any case, in general, would you suggest high pressure setting (on pressure cook) for meat/poultry dishes and then low pressure setting for veggie dishes? I’m in learning mode and trying to get a better feel for it, since I haven’t been using the Instant Pot that long.

            P.S. I used the pressure cooking setting on high pressure for the chicken biryani, it turned out great again!

          2. Hi Saba, Thank you for your feedback. So on the new Instant Pots, Manual button is replaced with “pressure cook”. And like you said high pressure works great for poultry/meal/beans etc. Low pressure for veggie dishes. And looks like are already making Biryani in the new pot!

  20. We made this over the weekend (first recipe in my new Instant Pot!) and it was amazing! So easy and delicious and we had it for lunch leftovers today. Served with some raita and it was perfect combination of spicy and cool. Thank you – we’ll be making this again and again!

    1. Hi Jasmine!! Thank you!! You made my day. It means so much to get this feedback from a talented blogger like you. I am so glad you decided to make this and enjoyed the flavors. I think it’s better than any restaurant version. Also, you might like my shrimp and veggie biryani recipes too! Enjoy your new Instantpot it is so much fun to cook in it!

      1. What kind of red chili powder do you use? I haven’t tried the recipe yet because I’m a little concerned about the amount of heat. I know I can just cut back, but wonder how hot the dish is, made as written. Thanks!

        1. Hi Jeff!! I use Kashmiri red chili powder which is mild. But the heat in Biryani is from the ginger and garam masala too. You can cut down on garam masala and red chili powder and add more in the end if needed.

  21. Made this last night and it was very tasty! Thank you for the recipe. Maybe it’s a matter of personal preference, but we thought 3 cups was way too much rice. Is Biryani supposed to be this rice-y? Thanks again!

    1. Hi Mike! Thank you for your feedback. As you said, it is a matter of preference. You can try reducing Rice to 2 cups. But Biryani is a Rice-Y dish.

    1. Hi Wajeeha, add potatoes just before you add the rice. Cut potatoes into cubes so they will cook perfect with Rice. Layer them on top of partially cooked chicken and then layer rice over! It will be delicious ?

  22. I’ve never tried cooking briyani before and I’m trying to cook using using rice cooker. I’m afraid it won’t turn well. 🙁

  23. Look absolutely delicious.. I started to make byriani with the IP but both times, the rice was not fluffy at all but clumpy 🙁 I will try your recipe and hopefully I can get that fluffy rice. Thanks for sharing

  24. Had a question about the biriyani – if I reduced the rice to 2 cups and meat to 1.5 pounds do I have to change cooking time or measurement of anything else. Im thinking I have to drop amount of water to 2 cups? Thanks – Jeny

    1. You can certainly reduce the chicken and Rice amounts. You may also want to reduce the red chili powder and garam masala too unless you want the Biryani to be spicy. And water to rice ratio is 1:1. So for 2 cups of rice you will put 2 cups of water. Remember to soak the rice for 20 mins. Let me know how it comes out for you.

  25. Hi archana,

    Had a quick question. Normally I add 2 cups of water for one cup of rice, but in this recipe you mention 3 cups water and 3 cups rice. Is that generally the case for all basmati rice?

    1. Hi Aditi! Only for Biryani it’s 1:1 ratio since there are also liquids from chicken and the yogurt. Hence reducing the water ratio plus for biryani you want the rice be firmer than usual. Hope this helps?

  26. A little heads up. Today I made again your biryani (excellent as usual) and I purposely waited until it went “hot” before adding the ghee to sauté the onions, BUT within 1 sec, and before I could do anything, my IP went dead. All the lights were off and there was nothing I could do. “Gosh, has it blown?” I thought, but it seemed unlikely. I suspected that it had shut itself down as a precautionary measure, and in fact within a few minutes it started again and at last I could begin cooking.
    Perhaps it is model dependent, but with my IP it is not a good idea to wait until it says “hot” 😀
    (Cant remember what model I have but it has the “yogurt” function, I bought it a year ago and I think it has room for 6 cups.)

    1. Hi Andrea! So glad you are enjoying the Biryani, it is my FAV too! I wonder what is going on with your Saute option. Might be a good idea to call Instant Pot support, they truly are super helpful. Just incase there is something wrong with yours? I think we have the same one 7-in-1 duo which is my FAV model.

      1. Hi Archana,

        this is what the IP guy said:
        “Andrea
        You are exactly correct – I believe you should not wait until the HOT appears before adding food – it often trips the overheat protection”
        😉

        1. Hi Andrea, Thank you for following up with the IP experts. I will just preheat the IP for a couple of minutes going forward instead of waiting for the hot sign.

  27. Hi Archana – do you use the measuring cup that comes along with the IP or a regular measuring cup? The sizes are different thus the question.

  28. Hi Archana,

    I am a new ip user. Tried this recipe today…so easy yet so delicious. You made my life easier today. Thank you for sharing your recipe.

    1. Hi Anne! Thank you for your comments. I am SO glad you are enjoying this Biryani recipe and nice to know that the same recipe works well with lamb.

  29. Hi Archana, I tried this recipe today and it tasted very good. I made it with mild spices for my 4 year old with chicken breast. I had marinated them for 1 hour, however they turned out to be chewy and hard. I haven’t cooked chicken as much before and in IP it’s first time so I am sure I have missed it something here. Any views what would have gone wrong? Thanks!

    1. Hi Shalvini, Thank you for your feedback. Basically you have to marinade chicken breasts for a longer time, atleast 3 hours, for it to come out tender. Give it a try next time!

  30. Loved this!! This was my third recipe using my new Instant pot. This biryani was so simple and easy and it was a treat for the tastebuds as well! Thank you for making me feel like a rockstar!

    1. Thank you Sue! So glad you enjoyed this recipe. I recently added star ratings option to each recipe. I would appreciate your rating on this recipe.

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