Chicken Biryani – Instant Pot

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:

Chicken Biryani - Instant Pot
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8
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
  • Marinade:
  • 2 tsp garam masala (Add 3 tsp for spicier Biryani)
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 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
  • ¾ 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)
  • 1 jalapeno sliced into 8 wedges (optional for extra spicy) **
  • 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. 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.
  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.



48 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.

  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.

  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.

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